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IS CRISIS-HIT CONTE'S CHELSEA CAREER DESTINED TO END LIKE MOURINHO'S?

Published in England Premier League
Saturday, 21 October 2017 06:31

Chelsea have been unable to match their title-winning form so far this season with injuries beginning to pile up and energy levels low

Chelsea caught in Dzeko chamber, FA defence turns to vapour

Published in Champions League
Thursday, 19 October 2017 07:06

Jack Lang salutes Benfica's Svilar surfer and cringes at Peter Drury's latest mouthful...

Morata ruled out of Chelsea's trip to Crystal Palace

Published in England Premier League
Saturday, 14 October 2017 10:46

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata will miss tomorrow's game at Crystal Palace due to the hamstring injury he picked up against Manchester City.

The Spaniard limped out of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to City at Stamford Bridge and subsequently missed the international break with Spain.

The 24-year-old had a scan last week, with Spain's medical staff claiming he had suffered a grade two hamstring injury.
He won't recover in time for tomorrow's match at Selhurst Park but he could return for Chelsea's Champions League match against Roma on Wednesday.

Alvaro Morata could miss two months with hamstring injury

Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 07:51

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has withdrawn from the Spain squad due to a hamstring strain and could be out for eight weeks.

The 24-year-old was substituted in the first-half of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City with a hamstring problem, and subsequent scans have revealed a grade 2 hamstring strain.
Spain have confirmed the injury after the player was assessed in a Madrid hospital.

A grade 2 hamstring strain can take between four to eight weeks to recover from.
Morata was expected to lead the line for Spain in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel, but his withdrawal leaves Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas as the only natural striker in the squad.

Spain manager Julen Lopetgeui may opt instead to use a striker-less formation, as he did to such great effect in the recent 3-0 win over Italy.

Morata has been a revelation at Chelsea, expertly filling the gap left by Diego Costa in the Blues' attacking and finding the net six times in the Premier League. He is expected to be fit to play for Chelsea against Crystal Palace on October 14.

Alvaro Morata withdraws from Spain squad with hamstring injury

Published in England Premier League
Monday, 02 October 2017 12:13

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has withdrawn from the Spain squad due to a hamstring strain.

The 24-year-old was substituted in the first-half of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City with a hamstring problem, and subsequent scans have revealed a grade 2 hamstring strain.
Morata was expected to lead the line for Spain in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel, but his withdrawal leaves Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas as the only natural striker in the squad.

Spain manager Julen Lopetgeui may opt instead to use a striker-less formation, as he did to such great effect in the recent 3-0 win over Italy.

Morata has been a revelation at Chelsea, expertly filling the gap left by Diego Costa in the Blues' attacking and finding the net six times in the Premier League. He is expected to be fit to play for Chelsea against Crystal Palace on October 14.

Antonio Conte says Chelsea players were tired after busy week

Published in England Premier League
Sunday, 01 October 2017 09:49

Antonio Conte said his Chelsea players were fatigued after only 30 minutes of their 1-0 loss to Manchester City on Saturday, three days after they defeated Atletico Madrid away in the Champions League.

“About this issue I have already spoken," Conte said. "When you have to play a massive game only (three) days later, you must consider the fatigue in the legs of your players.
“It’s impossible to press box to box and after 30 minutes you don’t have the energy to continue to play this game."

Saturday's result leaves the Premier League champions fourth in the table, six points behind leaders City and second-placed Manchester United and one point behind third-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Conte had complained earlier this week that his players would not have enough time to recover from Wednesday's Champions League game, saying his side were being "penalised" by the scheduling.

Chelsea’s misery was compounded by the loss of top scorer Alvaro Morata to injury 10 minutes before halftime but Conte said his substitution was made out of caution and he hoped the problem would not result in a long lay-off.

“It’s a muscular problem," the Italian said. "I don’t think it’s a serious problem. He stopped before to prevent it becoming a serious injury. He said: ‘Coach, I prefer to stop myself, otherwise I risk to have a bad injury’.

"The doctor in the next days has to check the situation."

Chelsea have now lost twice at Stamford Bridge this season and Conte said they had faced a tough fixtures schedule.

“You have to consider in seven games we played Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and also Everton. Our start wasn’t so easy. We have the points we deserve.”

Kevin de Bruyne fires Manchester City to statement win at Chelsea

Published in England Premier League
Sunday, 01 October 2017 09:38

Premier League, Stamford Bridge – Chelsea 0 Manchester City 1 (67)

Kevin de Bruyne hit the winner as Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City enjoyed more than two-thirds of the possession in the first half as they dominated proceedings, but struggled to make a breakthrough against disciplined Chelsea defending.

Chelsea were dealt a blow when Alvaro Morata - a doubt before the game - limped off with a hamstring injury on the half-hour mark.

City needed a win to go back ahead of Manchester United on goal difference, and went closest in the first half when Fernandinho's header from close range was expertly palmed away by Thibaut Courtois.

In the second half, a slick passing move from City let De Bruyne rifle in a brilliant shot from distance as Pep Guardiola secured his second win in seven games against Chelsea, with a superbly suffocating performance.

TALKING POINT

City's performance was remarkable, and they look like favourites for the title ahead of United. Jose Mourinho can park the bus with the best of them, but he is a defensive manager in big games. Guardiola, against Chelsea, showed how he can stifle one of the best teams in Europe that only this week defeated Atletico Madrid comfortable.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City): He was part of a Manchester City forward line that, in truth, started from the base of midfield. Their dominance was almost total throughout the match, and De Bruyne's incisive passing meant that Chelsea were camped back in their own half. However, it was his brilliant strike which settled the tie, and was the sole case of world class talent shining through after 90 minutes.

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY
PLAYER RATINGS

Chelsea: Courtois 6, Rudiger 6, Christensen 7, Cahill 5, Azpilicueta 6, Kante 5, Fabregas 6, Bakayoko 6, Alonso 5, Hazard 6. Subs: Wiilian 5, Pedro 6, Batshuayi 6.

Manchester City: Ederson 7, Walker 7, Stones 6, Otamendi 6, Delph 7, Fernandinho 7, Sterling 7, De Bruyne 8, Sané 6, Silva 7, Jesus 7. Subs: Danilo 6, Gündogan 6, Silva 6.

KEY EVENTS

15' - JESUS CHANCE - City go close. Jesus closes in on Courtois who clears the ball straight at the striker, and it bounces just wide of the goal.

26' - EDERSON SAVE - Azpilicueta seizes on a loose ball to hook a volley at the near post after a Bakayoko air-shot, and Ederson tips his shot away at the near post.

45' - COURTOIS SAVE - Fernandinho heads at goal from point blank range from De Bruyne's corner, and Courtois palms it away brilliantly to keep City in the game just before half time.

61' - HAZARD SHOT - Fabregas clips a pass out to Hazard, in space in the box on the left, and his shot across Ederson brings a smart stop.

67' - GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City. De Bruyne scores - De Bruyne plays a smooth one-two with Jesus, and he lashes in a left-foot rocket past Courtois.

84' - RUDIGER CLEARANCE - Gundogan finds Sterling ahead of him down the right, and Sterling floats it to the back post for Jesus. His excellent volley beats Courtois, but Rudiger is on hand to clear it off the line.

KEY STAT

Seven of Kevin De Bruyne's 14 Premier League goals have come from outside the box.

Chelsea vs. Manchester City: Team News, Preview

Saturday, 30 September 2017 08:44

Chelsea welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the Premier League’s standout fixture of the weekend.

A win for Antonio Conte's side would move them level on points with the visitors, in what will be both teams' final fixture before the international break.
Team News

Chelsea go into the game with few injury problems; only Danny Drinkwater is sidelined and not expected back until October, per BBC Sport.
Manager Antonio Conte may make changes, however, with his side having been in Spain in midweek to take on Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

Manchester City will be without defender Benjamin Mendy after the club confirmed he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and is to undergo surgery.

Danilo could come in to replace Mendy, although manager Pep Guardiola could switch formation and use Leroy Sane or Raheem Sterling as a wing-back.

However, that looks unlikely as both forwards are in excellent form attacking-wise, having scored against both Crystal Palace last weekend and Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.

City are likely to be without Sergio Aguero following reports of him being involved in a car accident in Amsterdam that could rule him out for a couple of months, per ESPN:
Preview

This is a huge clash at the top of the table that pits two in-form teams against each other and will test the title credentials of both sides.

City head to west London having scored 16 goals without reply in their last three Premier League matches.
Chelsea are also on a good run, having beaten Stoke City 4-0 last time out, with Alvaro Morata again proving what a superb buy he has been with a hat-trick.
Chelsea may also be able to call on Eden Hazard, who is yet to start in the Premier League this season, per WhoScored.com.

Conte will surely want to have the Belgian's creativity and ability to go past players against City, particularly with Morata in such red-hot form.

The two teams look well-matched ahead of the game, but Chelsea will need to find an answer to City's in-form forwards if they are to get anything out of the game.

 

Batman seals Chelsea win while Robben eats his words

Published in Champions League
Thursday, 28 September 2017 08:49

Jack Lang brings news of Champions League romps, nascent Twitter feuds and plenty more besides...

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea predictions: Champions League preview

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 08:50

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea – 101 Great Goals prediction: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Chelsea

Wednesday night’s clash is expected to be a close one. Both sides head into the game in promising form.

Chelsea have scored four or more goals in three of their last four games, but they face an Atletico side that are yet to lose this season.
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea: Champions League preview
Premier League champions Chelsea travel to Spain to take on Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.

The match will be the first ever European game at Atletico’s brand new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Atletico have won both of their first two matches at the 67,000-seater stadium, including Saturday’s 2-0 win over Sevilla. Goals from Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann helped the Spanish side to a third straight win.

Diego Simeone’s side are yet to lose a match this season and are currently 2nd in La Liga, four points behind leaders Barcelona.

Last year’s semi-finalists were held to a 0-0 draw in their opening match away at Roma.

Chelsea, meanwhile, cruised to a 6-0 home win over Group C minnows Qarabag. Pedro, Davide Zappacosta, Cesar Azpilicueta, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi all got their names on the scoresheet.

Antonio Conte’s side extended their unbeaten run to seven matches on Saturday, beating Stoke 4-0 at the bet365 Stadium. Alvaro Morata bagged his first hat-trick for the club, with Pedro adding another. Morata actually began his youth career with Atletico in 2005.

Atletico Madrid team news v Chelsea: Torres reunion
Augusto Fernandez is back in training for the home side following a hamstring injury, but Wednesday’s game may come too soon for the midfielder.

Filipe Luis and Fernando Torres are both in line to face their old club.

Chelsea team news v Atletico Madrid: Courtois OK
Conte confirmed that Marcos Alonso is fine and that withdrawal at the weekend was a tactical one.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been given the all-clear following a head injury and is expected to start against his former club.

David Luiz’s suspension only applies to domestic matches, but there’s a slight chance the Brazilian could still miss out due to a wrist injury picked up against Arsenal.

Danny Drinkwater missed Saturday’s win with a calf injury and is targeting a return after the international break. The former Leicester midfielder is yet to make his debut for the Blues.

Diego Costa won’t be involved as he seeks a move away from Stamford Bridge. The Chelsea striker will most likely be rooting for his former (and likely future) employers.

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