Chelsea Team News – Morata, Luiz And More -Southampton (Home) 

Antonio Conte has just finished his latest pre match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Southampton the visitors to Stamford Bridge.

First up the Italian spoke of availability following injuries such as Alvaro Morata, who missed the midweek win at Huddersfield. The Spaniard is a maybe with Conte confidently informing the press filled room that the striker has trained the past couple of days and is in contention to play this weekend.

Another notable absence recently has been David Luiz. Amid stories of talks between the two with the Brazilian desiring to sort out his future with the transfer window imminent. Conte spoke of the latest of his injury problems stating his has a big inflammation on his knee and doesn’t know when the former PSG man will be back. Make of that what you will. However, it will certainly not put any rumours to bed in the short term.

Continuing on the absentee front it’s good news as there have been no further injuries this week.

How Chelsea line up remains to be seen, but bare in mind the blues face Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday before the busy festive period and so changes and players being rested is a huge possibility. 

In reference to playing without a recognised striker on Tuesday night… Conte explained it’s an advantage as it doesn’t give the opponent a point of reference. Adding “keeping a good balance remains the key” A possible hint that Morata may not figure from the start perhaps? One possible replacement to lead the line is Batshuayi. On the Belgian…  “He is part of my squad. He was out for three weeks because he had a problem in his ankle and then he struggled a bit to find the right physical condition. Now he is starting to stay in good form” 

With 3 points being paramount to any prolonged title challenge… The former Juventus coach said “We must find the right solution to contend for the title and challenge Manchester City”

On Southampton… The Italian is certainly not underestimating the visitors and commented the blues will find it difficult tomorrow due to the saints “young and fast players” Picking out Long, Bouffal, Tadic and Austin as the most dangerous. He went onto mention how unlucky they were in losing late on at the Etihad recently. 


Luiz In Conte Talks?

Out of favour Chelsea defender David Luiz is in talks with blues boss Antonio Conte over his future according to reports this morning.

Re-signed from PSG last summer in a £30m deal, the Brazilian played a huge part in Chelsea’s title success last season, but has found regular appearances hard to come by of late, with youngster Andreas Christensen proving a perfect replacement. 

Luiz originally lost his place in the team after being sent off against Arsenal. He has also suffered with injury problems of late, making a total of 13 appearances of which 8 have been in the Premier League.

A huge character and personality within the dressing room at Stamford Bridge, the man known for his trademark curly locks may well be seeking some answers about his future with Bayern Munich reportedly showing an interest. 

Whether the no nonsense Conte will give him the answers he wants to hear remains to be seen. 

With the transfer window reopening in just over two weeks, this story could run for some time as their are bound to be other suitors for the 30 year olds signature.

Should David Luiz look for pastures new? Or should Antonio Conte restore him to the starting line up?

Comment below with your thoughts..

Musonda Signs New Deal For Blues

It has been confirmed that Chelsea’s exciting youngster Charly Musonda has signed a new deal with the blues that keeps him at Stamford Bridge until 2022.

On signing Musonda told 

I am very happy and very proud. I came here very young and am very happy to continue my journey here. I love this club so it’s a great moment for me and my family. Now I want to establish myself and progress into the team and stay here permanently.’

The young Begian spent last season on loan at La Liga club Real Betis. This season the 21 year old has been a regular addition to the first team squad and made his full debut in the Carabao Cup against Nottingham Forest, a game in which he scored. He has gone on to make a total of 5 appearances and is seen as having huge potential to become a star at Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea Transfer Policy – Will they regret Traore Sale?

Courtesy: Olympique Lyonais twitter

As youth football goes Chelsea have an extremely successful set up when it comes to winning trophies. In recent years the young blues have tasted plenty of success in the FA Youth Cup and won the youth champions league in back to back to season’s. They are the current youth league Champions as well, having completed a treble last season.

When will we see these talented youngsters given a fair crack of first team football. Things have improved a tiny bit in recent years with a number of youngsters getting a number of games, but the last star to come through remains John Terry.

Now, Bertrand Traore isn’t a youth product in the same guise as the likes of Nathaniel Cholabah or Ruben Loftus Cheek, but he did originally go into the set up when arriving as a triallist at the age of 17.

The young African then went on loan to Vittesse Arnhem before coming back and joining the first team squad.

During the 2015/16 season he was given a chance amid unrest at Stamford Bridge and showed what a star he might become.

A fabulous long range effort against Stoke and a neat header against Manchester City were the highlights and it was highly thought the Sierra Lione striker had plenty to offer.

The ever changing managerial merry-go-round at Chelsea can’t help and although you can in no way fault Antonio Conte, it is obvious the difference of opinion from manager to manager does appear to effect the chances youngsters get at the bridge.

Traore found himself out on loan again. This time at Ajax. His performances in Amsterdam did seem to divide opinion with reporting problems with the Dutch clubs management. He did hit score 13 goals though, most notably 2 in the first leg of their Europa league semi final against Lyon.

Yesterday it was announced he was on the move away again. This time a permanent move to Lyon. The fee of €10m (£8.8m) does seem a snip for a 21 year old who has shown so much potential.

The Chelsea policy of buying potential and then loaning out is without doubt a winner. The clubs net spend has been low in recent seasons and 2 league titles in 3 years shows it works. It is frustrating when young talent leaves, but football is very much a business these days.

Will Chelsea regret it? Only time will tell, but you do have to look at where he stood in the pecking order in South West London. Michy Batshuayi is ahead of him and doesn’t get a look in. In addition you have youngsters such as Abraham and further down the list there’s Ugbo. Not forgetting the constant links with top strikers to replace the departing Diego Costa.

I certainly hope Chelsea won’t regret it and wish Bertrand Traore the best of luck in his career.

2017/18 Premier League Fixtures Announced 

The moment football fans worldwide have been waiting for….The Premier fixtures have been announced.

Last season’s champions Chelsea face Burnley meanwhile newly promoted Newcastle entertain Tottenham, Brighton entertain Man City and  Huddersfield travel to Crystal Palace.

Opening weekend…

  • Arsenal v Leicester
  • Brighton v Manchester City
  • Chelsea v Burnley
  • Crystal Palace v Huddersfield
  • Everton v Stoke
  • Manchester United v West Ham
  • Newcastle v Tottenham
  • Southampton v Swansea
  • Watford v Liverpool
  • West Brom v Bournemouth

All fixtures can be found on the Premier League official site

Remembering Being A Member Of Those Who Remember The Full Members Cup – Do You Remember?

1985 and English clubs are banned from europe following the Heysel Stadium diaaster. Suddenly there are several spare midweek football slots to fill. What do you do? Well obviously you create a competition for the top two divisions in English football to fill that void. Could this be something to excite the masses and rival the league cup and of course the world’s oldest competition… The FA Cup? 

Well in a nutshell…. No!!! However, there were exciting games during the 7 seasons it ran for. Crowds weren’t exactly sellouts, but nonetheless it had a place… sort of.

The Cup was the brainchild of long serving Chelsea chairman Ken Bates. Yes, the former dairy farmer who bought the club for a quid and then sold them to Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich for £140m. 

Now, it’s fair to say the competition wasn’t everybody’s ‘cup of tea’. Actually if it was a cup of tea it would be one those weak poor brews that your mate that doesn’t like making you one serves up. Many clubs pulled out some years and in particular Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham declined the invitation completely. 

The format was pretty simple as teams were broken into a regional draw… North and South. They did trial a first round group system but It a was in the most part a knockout competition that included a two legged regional final before the regional winners faced each other in a Wembley showpiece final. Who wouldn’t want a day out at the twin towers to cheer on their team?

The first final took place on a Sunday between Bates own club… Chelsea, and Manchester City. Surely not great to have to rearrange a league fixture for a ‘meaningless’ cup game you might say. Well, no because both clubs played league games the day before. ‘Excuse me, what? How would today’s players feel about that? Could you imagine Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero facing off in a cup final only 24 hours after a league game? No nor me.

As it turned out it was an entertaining affair as Chelsea ran out 5-4 winners. The blues were 5-1 up at one stage before a City comeback was too little too late.

So after the great advert the final gave the competition it continued. Blackburn Rovers defeated Charlton Athletic 1-0 and the competition them gained sponsorship in the form of Italian Sportswear manufacturer Simod. 

Reading were the winners next in what was a rare success for the royals. Following a sponsorship change with the competition being called The Zenith Data Systems Cup… Nottingham Forest won the competition twice in 1989 and 1992, Chelsea added a 2nd title in 1990 and Crystal Palace enjoyed a day out in 1991. 

So was it all worth it? Yes I believe it was. As a Chelsea fan I was there in 1990 at the tender age of 12 to see Tony Dorigo curl in a fabulous freekick in what was the only goal of a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough. I’d hope there were fans like me who enjoyed their club having a dream day out and seeing their club lift a trophy. 

On the whole I can’t see there being a ‘Bring back the Full Members Cup’ campaign in the near future, but it is one that for some brings back some happy memories of how football used to be.

What are your memories of this competition?

Begovic Completes Move To The South Coast

Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has today completed a move to AFC Bournemouth for a fee believed to be around £10m. 

The Bosnian has been at the club for two years and generally played second string to first choice stopper Thibaut Courtois. 

The big Bosnian had a brief loan spell with the cherries in 2007.

The former Portsmouth and Stoke keeper made his debut last season following a prolonged injury suffered by the Belgian and more recently played in the blues 4-3 victory over Watford. 

Overall he made 33 appearances and kept 10 clean sheets.

He will officially sign for the cherries when the transfer window opens on the 1st of July.