Balon D’or Winner announced Today…



Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for, right? The day we find out who has been voted the best player this year. 

The ceremony takes place in Paris and starts at 7.45pm local time and will be hosted by former Tottenham and Newcastle winger David Ginola.

The award did count as World player of the year from 2010 until 2015, but is now back as it’s own commodity, although still holds plenty of prestige. First awarded in 1956, the award which translates as ‘Golden Ball’ has been won by many of the world’s greats. 

The award is decided by a vote made by journalists from around the globe. 173 votes in total.

Here is the shortlist of who’s in the running for the award…

Neymar – Paris Saint-Germain

N’Golo Kante – Chelsea

Luka Modric – Real Madrid

Paulo Dybala – Juventus

Marcelo – Real Madrid

Edin Dzeko – Roma

Harry Kane – Tottenham

David De Gea – Manchester United

Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich

Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

Karim Benzema – Real Madrid

Pierre-Emerick Aubemyang – Borussia Dortmund

Edinson Cavani – Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi – Barcelona

Mats Hummels – Bayern Munich

Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool

Luis Suarez – Barcelona

Jan Oblak – Atletico Madrid

Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid

Dries Mertens – Napoli

Radamel Falcao – Monaco

Sadio Mane – Liverpool

Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus

Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid

Toni Kroos – Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

Leonardo Bonucci – AC Milan

Isco – Real Madrid

Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain

Some huge names in that list and I would like to think that many of them have a great chance of scooping the highly sort after accolade. However, truth be told, it will undoubtedly come down to a likely 2 horse race. Despite 30 players being nominated the last 9 awards have been won by 2 players… Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The former having won 4 and the latter having won 5.

The Real Madrid superstar appears to be the clear favourite this year after recently claiming the Fifa World player of the year award.

So, sit tight and get ready to find out who will be this year’s winner. Will Cristiano be pipped at the post by an outsider? Could Messi defy the odds and claim a 6th Balon D’or. Only time will tell.

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Slutsky Leaves Hull City

Hull City have announced that manager Leonid Slutsky has left the club by mutual consent. 

Confirmation via the clubs Twitter account…

Slutsky took over the reigns at The KCOM Stadium last summer and leaves with The Tigers currently sitting just above the drop zone in 20th position in the Championship with 19 points from 20 games. 

The Russian is a close friend of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and reports have suggested he could be a replacement for Michael Emanalo at Stamford Bridge. Time will tell on whether that position will be Slutsky’s next move. 

Hull will now look to find a replacement with Ex Southampton and Reading boss Nigel Adkins the bookies favourite with the likes of Paul Lambert and former Middlesbrough man Aitor Karanka also thought to be in the running.

2018 WORLD CUP DRAW


The draw for the group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia has been made in Moscow this afternoon. The excitement levels were evident as those 32 qualifying countries awaited for news of  who they would face as they embark on their quest to become World Champions.

The hosts automatically placed in group A will be pleased as they face Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay. 

World Champions Germany are in Group F and face stern tests against Mexico, Sweden and South Korea. 

Group B will be very interesting as Spain will come up against neighbours Portugal, but without underestimating anybody they will both expect to progress as Morocco and Iran make up the group. 

Belgium and England will both be confident in group G as they come up against Panama and Tunisia.

Meanwhile, in group E Brazil might well find it tricky as they are up against Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica.

Below is the full group stage draw….



So who do you fancy to qualify for the last 16? Ultimately who are your favourites?

The Oddest Football Shirts Of All Time 

 Recently  I embarked on selling some of my old shirts. Difficult decisions being made as many have memories and sentimental value that stops me even considering parting with them. One such shirt that I did sell is this Chelsea Away Shirt circa 1994-96. Yes, that odd tangerine and graphite number donned by the likes of Ruud Gullit and Mark Hughes amongst others.

  

With this in mind it got me thinking about some of the odd looking shirts that have been available over the years. Whether it be the colour or the design, there have certainly been some, well, unusual to put it politely creations

Here are a few others that have sparked debate. Iconic or eyesore?

Just what were Arsenal thinking with this creation in 1991? I suppose as League Champions they were allowed to do what they like.

 Stoke City may have upstaged that with this 1993 away shirt. Tie dye was popular back then, but not a football field surely.

Next up is a quite well known and often mentioned in these type of discussions. Yes! It’s Norwich City. Kind of looks like a dress your grandmother would wesr. But to be fair to the boys from East Anglia, I always think of Jeremy Goss in Munich when I see this.

Finally an eyesore before it’s time. Yes it’s Coventry City’s somewhat famous brown kit from 1979 to 1981. Bourbon biscuit springs to mind.

There are plenty of other eyesores. Comment below and send us your pics.

Morata Answers His Critics And Why Costa Won’t Be Missed

It’s been a big week for Chelsea Football Club as the Diego Costa saga finally looks to be coming to an end. I won’t go into the whole episode as it’s dragged on for some time now and most Chelsea fans are pleased that it is coming to an end

Diego played a huge part in securing two League titles in three years and for that I, like most blues fans will be eternally grateful. However, it’s been obvious he doesn’t want to be at Stamford Bridge and his petulance was often his Achilles heel as well as being what made him his snarling best at times.  so it’s ‘Adios Amigo’ and best of luck.

Now there’s a new kid on the block…Alvaro Morata. The fellow spaniard has made a decent start for Chelsea with 3 goals in his opening 5 games in the Premier League. Following the Costa sale many pundits and experts asked the question as to the whether the former Real Madrid man could emulate his predecessor? It was also noticeable that he had scored all 3 goals with his head. 

Well, yesterday at Stoke City’s Bet 365 Stadium he answered those uncertainties with a display that even the staunch Morata backers wouldn’t have expected. A fine hatrick that showed his finishing ability is of the highest order and all 3 with his feet I must add. It brings his total for the season to 6 in 6 games and shows he has settled into the Stamford Bridge fold perfectly.

Costa gave passion and power and some will argue the Brazilian born striker is a better finisher. Morata on the other hand still needs to adjust to the physical nature of the Premier League. He’s a very different player to Costa and if I had to liken him to anybody, it would be another famous Spanish striker who donned the number 9 shirt at Stamford Bridge… Fernando Torres. Now before you shout “What you on about?” Despite the obvious link, I’m talking more about the Torres that graced Anfield. Pace and a great finishing ability as shown by Alvaro’s 2nd goal yesterday.

It’s still early days as to whether Morata will turn out to be a prize asset and a suitable replacement, but for now it looks a great bit of business as reports suggest Chelsea are making around £58m on the sale of Costa. Which is pretty much the down payment made for Morata. Add-ons being subject to his success could make the fee rise to £70m. So potentially the blues have sold a player 4 years older and replaced him with a fresh young player full of experience but still with plenty of potential who could lead the line for a good few years to come at potentially the paultry difference of £12m. A great bit of business and well done to the powers that be at Stamford Bridge for not giving in to the reported demands of Costa and the fees offered by Atletico.

What do you think… Will Morata prove to be a great bit of business and a perfect replacement? 

Comment below with your thoughts…

Will Klopp Get The Chop?

It’s still early days with a lot of football to come this season, but the pressure does appear to be mounting on the German.

The reds midweek Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester City has certainly brought out some criticism to be aimed at the former Dortmund boss. However, is it justified?

It’s been nearly two years since Klopp took over the reins at Anfield. A club that is full of expectancy but have rarely lived up their title of Big guns in recent years. The Merseyside club have become the butt of many a joke owing to their last title success coming 1990. They have of course claimed domestic cup success and have the magic of Istanbul to look back on during that period. However, what the fans crave is a Premier League title.

Managers have come and gone and that day in October 2015 saw a new wave of hope and expectancy on the red half of Merseyside. 

Jurgen Klopp arrived with a decent CV and reds fans finally felt they had found the man to realise their dreams. 

Taking over from the much maligned Brendan Rodgers, the big German put together two great cup runs reaching both the League Cup and Europa League Finals. ‘So close, yet so far’ and despite a disappointing 8th placed premier league finish the foundations had been laid and things were shaping up nicely. 

The 2016/17 season saw an improvement from a league prospective with champions league qualification from a 4th place finish. A run to the League Cup semi finals also showed the club could combine a healthy league campaign with a cup run. 

This season has seen a difficult start for Klopp and his redmen. A point on the opening day at Watford was followed by a narrow victory at home to Palace. Qualification to the Champions League group stages and a convincing 4-0 win at home to Arsenal looked to be setting the wheels in motion. However, a home draw against Sevilla in Europe and Burnley in the premier league have left the Anfield faithful frustrated. Add the heavy defeat at Man City and elimination from the League Cup and you can see why the pressure is mounting.

I personally think it’s too soon to wield the axe, but football can be a fickle sport and you have to wonder whether FSG may consider a change is needed as soon as possible. A lot hangs on this weekend when Liverpool once again face a trip to Leicester. Will #kloppout be trending on Twitter again?

What do you think? Is Klopp’s time as reds boss coming to an end? If so who could replace him? 

Join the debate on Twitter by voting in the poll

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Comment below with your thoughts…

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly…. A Blues View

It’s always difficult to take any positives or negatives from a goalless draw. Especially at home where it feels as if you’ve dropped vital points. But nevertheless I’ve given it a go.

Today saw Chelsea face Arsenal in a titanic London derby. Chelsea have been in good form after the opening day horror show against Burnley. Meanwhile a mixed start from Arsenal has seen the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade reappear.

So, it wasn’t the most entertaining game and from a Chelsea point of view very frustrating. In the first half the blues lacked any cohesion, but improved during the 2nd half but still lacked the potency to snatch the 3 points. 

The plus points must start with another welcome clean sheet for Tibaut Courtois. The Belgian has been a target for criticism from some quarters, but although not overly troubled it will surely be a huge confidence boost.

Gary Cahill: Another to receive a fair bit of abuse recently. I personally think Gary has been a great servant and deserves more respect. However, it is fair to say that has days as a permanent starter may be coming to an end.

Cesc Fabregas: Cesc will a bit of a luxury player in my opinion. I’ve been a big fan of his and he arrives with a bang during the 2014/15 season. His assists record talks for itself. The decline with the Spaniard is typified by his lack of work rate. He simply doesn’t work as part of a 2 man midfield. He rarely tackles back and Kante looks exposed alongside him. If we’re chasing a game his inventive going forward is paramount to our success in the final third, but even that was lacking today.

Victor Moses: I like the Nigerian international a lot. He does seem to have lost his mojo somewhat though. Converting him into a wing back was a act of genius from Conte. We haven’t really seen the best of him in that role for some time now though and the early signs of Davide Zappacosta shows me that Moses really has to up his game to keep his place in the starting XI.

I’m not one to talk about referees and it’s fair to say he got the red card right. He does like many others lack consistency. Too many niggly fouls went unpunished whilst other challenges that seemed like nothing warranted a booking from Mr Oliver.

Eden Hazard’s return is a huge plus. He showed today in his cameo performance of 20 minutes that he will soon be back to his best. Welcome back Eden.

Tiemoue Bakayoko: His 2nd half performance today was his best yet in a Chelsea shirt. He has been recovering from injury and adapting to the premier league in all fairness, but today he showed fight and an ability going forward as well as tackling back that makes him the perfect partner for N’Golo Kante as part of a two man central misfield. 

I haven’t included David Luiz as a pro or a con as I thought he was excellent before the ‘Rush of blood’ moment. It was rash and he deserved to go. I did think he was one of the best on the pitch before that though.

Their were other not so good performances today and at times the blues looked lacklustre. At the end of the day it’s a long old season and a lot will have been learned today. 

So are there any other positives and negatives that you can take from today’s game?

Please comment below with your thoughts…