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. 


Have United Fans Had Enough Of The Mourinho Mentality? 

Manchester United seemingly bounced back from Sunday’s Manchester derby defeat last night with a win at Old Trafford against Bournemouth

However, not everybody that supports the red half of Manchester was satisfied with the overall performance. Romelu Lukaku’s first half goal clinched the 3 points, but the lack of attacking prowess, as United only managed 2 shots on target thoughout the 90 minutes has left some with an axe to grind. 

It’s not the first time the Portuguese tactician has been called into question during his time in the Old Trafford hotseat. 

Many have questioned they are not ‘Playing the United way’… Eeking out odd goal victories amid a ‘backs to the wall’ performance is a million miles away from the free flowing entertaining title winning football served up under the tender of the great Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Mourinho out brigade are slowly starting to rear their heads, but it’s fair to say that with the size of United’s worldwide fan base, what might seem like a vocal section of discontent is actually just a small minority of keyboard warriors. 

Or is there more to it? What is the mood like on the Stretford End? Many may share the notion that all in all it’s the points that matter. Even if we do want to be entertained we can’t always get the wish to be engrossed in a free flowing comfortable victories. On the other hand some would argue they pay enough money and would expect a certain level of entertainment.

Overall, is the criticism unfair or does Jose need to change things? 

United do sit 2nd in the premier and have scored 37 goals. Which is the 2nd most. It’s hard to use Manchester City’s form as a yardstick as their season has been extraordinary so far. 

There have been games where United have convincingly dispatched teams and scored 3 or 4 goals. However the Mourinho out camp would argue there have been more games where United have sat back and negatively held on by the skin of their teeth or approached games from the off with the plan to ‘shut up shop’

So what’s it to be? Happy to scrap for the points by whatever means? Or the need to be satisfyingly entertained? 

Take poll in our Twitter poll here

Or leave your feelings and comments below

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. 

Money, Money, Money

It‘s that time of year when we discover what exactly football clubs make from tv rights and prize money.

A lot is made of the incredible amount of money that changes hands at the top level of the game. Whether that be transfer fees, agents fees or wages…. Us normal folk could only dream of ever having those amounts of money. Well only if we were lucky enough to win the lotto maybe.

So buckle up your seatbelts and take a look at this…..

Source: Sporting Intelligence 

As it shows there’s no surprise that Champions Chelsea are top of the pile with  £150.8m. However, it’s incredible that bottom club Sunderland still walk away with a staggering £93.4m 

The prize money is yet another increase on last year and you do have to wonder whether it will ever slow down. But whether the bubble will burst on football is another story and for now clubs can enjoy their riches and invest it as they wish.

I do believe there should be more money filtered down to the lower divisions, but in theory there is through player sales and money is set aside for grassroots. The worrying aspect is the gulf is getting bigger. 

MLS – Is It Any Good?

With the MLS season in full swing, I thought I’d share a taste of how things are stateside. 

Football or soccer as it’s more commonly known has always been a long way down the pecking order in the thoughts of sports fans over the pond. Often ridiculed for poor quality and seen as a retirement home for ex stars looking for one last payday. I thought I’d have a look and see what is the current state of affairs. Crowds vary from club to club and the current highest of the season was achieved by new club or franchise as they are known over there… Atlanta United. In excess 55k is their biggest to date with an average of 48k. At the other end of the scale Colombus Crew are averaging just over 13k. In whole some very healthy turnouts though. 

There are a number of decent players currently plying their trade in the MLS at the moment. Most notably the likes of David Villa at New York City FC, Kaka at Orlando City and Ashley Cole at LA Galaxy. 

The game has had it’s flaws since it’s relaunch as MLS in 1993. This was after a similar venture during the 70s with The North American Soccer League. One notable flaw was a kind of run up with the ball penalty shootout to decide any games that were drawn. However the game does now take on the more conventional worldly used way of football with a points system and drawn matches. They do take on a similar model to other American sports though regional conferences and a playoff system.

Overall I’m going to keep an eye on things and report how things are fairing in the MLS. I believe putting the league out to a wider audience is paramount in the continuation of it’s growth.

For more info including current standings….