Chelsea V Everton: Match Preview

Here we go again. Chelsea are back in action following one of the biggest victories of the season on Thursday night, as the Blues host former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton at Stamford Bridge. The London side fought tooth and nail to defeat Liverpool, and now face their Merseyside neighbours in a pivotal encounter for both sides. Both Chelsea and Everton have their sights set on top four, and a win for either side could provide an all important boost to assist them in doing so. It’s a battle between 4th and 5th in South West London this evening.

The season so far:

Both sides have enjoyed a strong season thus far, and their league positions reinforce this. Chelsea’s win over Liverpool now means they are unbeaten in 11 games, 10 of those coming under Thomas Tuchel’s reign. Not only is the 11 game unbeaten run impressive on its own, but Chelsea have only conceded twice in those games. Twice. Thomas Tuchel has reignited a fire inside this Chelsea squad, and the Blues have shown no signs of slowing down.

As for their opponents, the Toffees are also in good form, securing three wins in their last three. Everton have also failed to lose an away game since November 1st, which could benefit Ancelotti’s side tonight. This doesn’t mean Chelsea are in trouble, however, as the Blues are on a six game unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge.

Some would argue that the blue half of Merseyside are more venomous this season, and Chelsea can validate this, after the Blues lost 1-0 at Goodison Park earlier in the season, thanks to a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty. That being said, Chelsea have picked off some big names under Tuchel so far, and the German will hope this can continue tonight.

Player updates and news:

Thomas Tuchel has revealed that N’Golo Kante is still being preserved since returning from injury, and although he may start, he is unlikely to play 90 minutes. This could be a blow to Chelsea, as the Frenchman has been terrific as of late.

Thiago Silva could also be in contention to start his first game in over a month, after the Brazilian has been back in training recently. This would provide Chelsea a strong chance this evening, however, if the 36-year-old is not fully fit, the back three of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are more than up to the challenge, and the three have been reinvigorated under Tuchel.

Callum Hudson Odoi could also be in with a chance of starting, as the youngster missed out on any action against Liverpool on Thursday. Hudson Odoi has a point to prove as Thomas Tuchel has implemented a ruthless approach to his tactics, and the Englishman will hope he can show the boss what he can do.

Predicted line-up:

Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Kante, Mount, Chilwell, Hudson Odoi, Werner, Giroud.

As I said in the Liverpool preview, I would love for Havertz to start, but given the importance of the fixture in putting a gap between Chelsea and Everton, I don’t think it’s the perfect time to take the risk. Hopefully we will see a Havertz cameo later in the game.

I also struggled to leave Jorginho out of the side, as the Italian played his best game in a Chelsea shirt against Liverpool. The reason he didn’t make my XI is just because of the importance of N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount, who grabbed our all important match winner at Anfield. That being said, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Jorginho start this evening.

Tammy Abraham could also be in for a shout ahead of Olivier Giroud, but I’m unsure on whether he can provide the same impact as Oli against Everton’s strong, deep backline.

Players to watch:

Timo Werner: It is no secret that Timo hasn’t hit the heights that Chelsea fans expected, but nevertheless, the German has not had a bad season at all. With 19 goals/assists in all competitions, the 25-year-old has looked bright under Thomas Tuchel. Werner had a terrific performance against Liverpool, and also scored in our last game on a Monday against Newcastle. Werner could very well impress tonight, coming off the back of a solid performance at Anfield.

Richarlison: The Everton star has netted in each of the Toffees’ last four games, which makes him the player to watch for the away side this evening. Not only that, but Richarlison can change a game at any given time, The prolific forward has a darting pace that Azpilicueta may struggle to counter. Whether it is Reece James or Callum Hudson Odoi on that right flank, Azpi will need as much help as possible to keep the Brazilian at bay.

This fixture happens to be a year on from our last game inside a full Stamford Bridge. That game’s opponents? Everton. For the fans now watching from their living rooms, lets give them another win to cheer.

Written by @mashgreaves

Liverpool V Chelsea: Match Preview

The time has rolled around for our beloved Blues to face the reigning champions once more. A fixture with an enriched history. Goals. Bites. Slips. You name it, this game has seen it. Liverpool vs Chelsea has always impressed, and tonight will be no exception.

Now, lets start by looking at the season so far. Both sides have endured some ups, alongside some downs, but it’s the London boys who own the position of promise for this game. Chelsea currently sit 5th in the Premier League, just once place above their opponents, holding the Reds off by a single point. Earlier in the season, Liverpool picked Chelsea off in a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, which saw Andreas Christensen sent off for a clumsy challenge on Sadio Mane.

Liverpool have the home advantage, but in recent weeks, this has proven to be nothing but a myth. The Reds have failed to secure a victory at Anfield since December 16th, 2020. Now, three months into the new year, Klopp’s men are still struggling. Chelsea, on the other hand, have won four out of five away bouts under Thomas Tuchel. Not only is the away record impressive for the Blues, but Tuchel’s army are unbeaten in 10 games, nine of which have come under the German’s reign. Compare that with the hosts, who have just four wins out of their last nine games, and the odds swoop in the favour of the South West Londoners.

The fixture seems to have landed at the perfect time for Chelsea, but business is still business, and the Blues will not tread lightly over this evenings opponents.

Player updates and news:

During yesterday’s press conference, Tuchel revealed that Thiago Silva is still not fit for action, which does provide a blow to Chelsea, given the opponents strength in attack. That said, the trio of Antonio Rudiger, the aforementioned Christensen, and skipper Cesar Azpilicueta have taken the Brazilian’s absence as a reason to step up, and all three players have shown signs of improvement over recent weeks. If we see the trusted back three, I have no doubt this will continue.

“Thiago made his first training with the team but did not finish the last exercise, not because of any pain but just to be aware of taking a risk.” (Thomas Tuchel via The 5th Stand app.)Callum Hudson Odoi is fit, however, after the player was once again subbed off in the last game against Manchester United. This is pivotal for Chelsea as the youngster has shown a real insurgence of quality into his game, which is no surprise as we all knew he had it.

The only other concern is Tammy Abraham, who was left out of the matchday squad on Sunday. Tuchel said “Tammy had some problems yesterday on his ankle again. Let’s see how this works out.”

Everyone else seems to be available, so with that being said, who can we expect to see this evening?

Predicted Lineup:

Mendy, Azpi, Christensen, Rudiger, Hudson Odoi, Kovacic, Kante, Alonso, Mount, Werner, Giroud.

My heart is saying Havertz but my head is saying Giroud. Tuchel has mentioned he sees Kai as someone he can rely on at the top of our attack, but I just don’t think Liverpool away is the right time to test this. I also think Ziyech will drop to the bench as the Moroccan has struggled to find any form since his move to SW6.

Players to watch:

Mason Mount: Our trusted number 19. He’s always worth watching. Mount commands every blade of grass he plays on, and can release some killer passes through to Werner and Giroud, which could give Chelsea a real chance. Chelsea have produced the second most attempts on goal (86) in the league since Tuchel arrived, but have struggled to convert these into goals. Hopefully we can see this change tonight.

Allison Becker: Now, when I looked at Liverpool’s past games, no one has stood out significantly, which sounds bizarre to even say when you look at the star power across the whole squad. I went for Allison, as the Brazilian has a real point to prove following some lacklustre performances as of late, those including some serious mistakes which have cost the Reds a lot of points. Jurgen Klopp will need his number one to be at his best tonight.

Written by @mashgreaves

Can Thomas Tuchel bring the best out of Mateo Kovacic?

Through the years at Chelsea, many players have come and gone. Many players are favoured by particular managers, then once that manager is gone, the player loses his touch. It’s a vicious cycle that can seriously tarnish a player’s ability. In this piece, I’m going to discuss how Thomas Tuchel can prevent this from happening with Mateo Kovacic.

Kovacic has been a fantastic addition to the Chelsea side since his arrival in 2018. ‘Kova’ shone in his season-long loan spell, enough to earn himself a permanent move to the Bridge last season. During last season, the Croatian set the pitch alight, with stand out performances throughout the season. This secured him the Club’s Player of the Season award, a credit to his ability and performances.

Despite the accolade, there remained a lot missing in his game. Kova struggles with precision in the final third and can be relatively weak defensively. With that being said, since Tuchel arrived at the Bridge, he has reignited a fire inside Mateo that is becoming very clear to see. In his first five league games under Tuchel, Kovacic has proved just how important he can be when he performs to this high standard. Over the five games, Mateo has racked up a pass accuracy percentage of 91% and has completed 16 of his 18 attempted dribbles. Quite the achievement.It is no doubt that one of his strongest qualities is his pristine dribbling, which is evident to see when he glides around the pitch, almost effortlessly. Remind you of anyone? That’s right, a certain Eden Hazard. Kova also has impeccable ball retention, and rarely looks nervous when in possession. In Chelsea’s recent game against Newcastle, Kovacic showed just how important he is to Chelsea by displaying a more ambitious side to his game. Mateo is excellent at acquiring the ball from deep and driving it into open space. One thing he is lacking is that attacking mindset, to visualise where the runners are and pick out that key pass, which if he implements into his game, Chelsea will be scoring for fun.

Kovacic also needs to develop more of an eye for goal. We have seen it on the odd occasion, the Croatian can strike a ball. Valencia in the Champions League and Everton away last season proved this. The issue is, it is such a rarity that he attempts the shot. Chelsea ultimately lack a real goal scoring midfielder, as Kante will turn on a swivel and pass back to Rudiger if his vision of the goal is slightly blocked, so Kova being more of an attacking threat would create more opportunities for Chelsea to score. With goalscoring added to his arsenal, there really is no ceiling for the 26-year-old.

As Tuchel outlined after Newcastle, the whole squad often struggle with decision making. This is especially detectable with Kovacic. It’s clear to see just how imaginative Kova can be at times, the problem is that we just don’t see it enough. I feel Kovacic is weakest when paired alongside Jorginho. Now, this is in no way a negative opinion towards either player, it is just that together, they offer us little. The two can often get caught up in a possession loop of which looks attractive but limits our chance creation. It is no question just how versatile Kovacic can be, but can Tuchel pull those hidden qualities out of Kovacic and get him to the next level?

Thomas Tuchel has already proven that if something isn’t working, he will change it. Changes at half-time are relatively rare at Chelsea. Frank Lampard would often wait too late to make a change, which would limit the time the substitutes had to make an impact. With Tuchel’s ruthless attitude, I think the players will feel they have a lot more to fight for and must work harder than ever to secure their place in the side. If Tuchel can get the player who dominated against Newcastle every week, Chelsea have a serious player on their hands.

Written by @mashgreaves

Can Kepa revive his career with a move away from Stamford Bridge?

Kepa Arrizabalaga is the perfect example of a panic buy. Chelsea were left with a vastly important decision to make following the unpleasant departure of Thibaut Courtois. A replacement had to be signed, and it had to be done fast.

Then came the announcement that Chelsea had signed Athletic Bilbao keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. For many, this came as a shock, as Kepa wasn’t entirely known as a stand out keeper, and many saw the move as a downgrade to Courtois. As well as varied opinions on the player himself, the price tag raised many concerns as to whether this deal was the best for the club.

£72million for a 24-year-old goalkeeper who was yet to prove himself entirely at his former club was nothing short of outrageous from Chelsea. The move showed next to no ambition and was seen as a huge stab in the dark. However, there must have been certain things that attracted Chelsea toward the Spaniard, right?

Kepa’s time at Athletic Bilbao:

Well, to go off stats alone, Kepa produced far from attractive numbers to trigger a move from Chelsea for the Spaniard. In 53 games, Kepa managed 15 clean sheets. During his first season in the BBVA, he made on average, 1.7 saves per 90 minutes, which isn’t an admirable statistic. He improved slightly in his second season, with an average of 3.2 saves per 90 minutes. (Stats from and

The stats reinforce the idea that Chelsea panicked when Courtois exited and didn’t do enough homework when searching for a replacement. A signing was certainly required, but you would expect better recruitment from a club with Chelsea’s stature. The price tag doesn’t help at all, either. Had Chelsea picked Kepa up for sub £30million, it would arguably not have been as big of a flop as it actually was, but for £72million, you expect a world class talent, and Kepa just isn’t that.

Where could he go?:

Kepa’s time in the Premier League has ultimately been a dissapointment. The Spaniard failed to live up to the hype, and now finds himself in a difficult position. A move away from Stamford Bridge is the only way he can revive his career. So where would he go?

At the age of 26, Kepa still has a lot to prove. A move back to Spain could be a positive option for him, as the game is completely different to English football. Premier League football has an extremely high intensity, and defenders rely heavily on passing back to the keeper. This has never been good for Kepa, as his distribution is very poor. In Spain, the game is played at a slower pace, which would benefit Kepa’s overall performance, giving him more time to prepare for shots, and also takes the pressure off when he recieves the ball.

Kepa has proved that he is a decent shot stopper, with important saves including THAT penalty save against Frankfurt, the wonder save against Watford, and the incredible double save in the Super Cup against Liverpool. That being said, he has let Chelsea down on countless occasions, thus leading to a depleting confidence, which may improve with a move back to his native country.

Chelsea’s current standpoint:

Chelsea have made it pretty clear that Kepa has no future at the club. The arrival of Edouard Mendy made that very clear, as Mendy has impressed immensely since moving to the SW6. The Blues have also been heavily linked with AC Milan superstar Gianluigi Donnarumma, which would potentially leave Kepa as Chelsea’s third choice. It is also unlikely that Chelsea would continue to pay the high wages of Kepa, meaning his career in London is very much over.

Kepa could very well revive his career with a move back to Spain, much like Courtois did following a rough patch in his Chelsea career. Courtois is now recognised as one of the world’s best goalkeepers, and Kepa could be the same. Only time will tell what happens with the Spaniard, but it is all but confirmed that his Chelsea career is coming to an end.

Written by @mashgreaves

Is Barkley’s loan move the right decision?

It has been confirmed by the club that Ross Barkley has completed a one-year loan move to Aston Villa. In this piece, I will look at whether this the right decision by the club, and the effect it may have on Chelsea’s season in the long run?

Ross Barkley’s Chelsea career has ultimately been a successful one. With two trophies in 3 seasons to his name and some pivotal performances in blue, the Englishman has divided opinions across the entire fan base. Whether you like him or not, it can’t be denied that Ross Barkley has given his all in a Chelsea shirt, and will be missed throughout this season.

So with that being said, why is this transfer so important?

Given the fact that it is now unlikely for Chelsea to bring anyone into the club to replace Barkley, the attacking midfield options are now very thin. With Ruben Loftus Cheek struggling to find his feet after a spell of injuries halting his development, it leaves Chelsea with the aforementioned Loftus Cheek, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz as attacking options as either 8s or 10s. New signing Hakim Ziyech can also comfortably play in the middle, but it is more than likely we will see the Moroccan international start out on the right when he is back from injury, due to the departures of Willian and Pedro leaving Chelsea thin on the ground in wide options.

With this being said, was it the right call for Barkley to go out on loan? It will only take one injury to either Mason Mount or Kai Havertz to severely put Chelsea on the back foot. Youngster Conor Gallagher also left the club earlier this month to complete a one-year loan move to West Bromwich Albion, which is another option gone for the season. With the Carabao Cup exit last week, Chelsea will have fewer games, however, fatigue and possible injury will still be a huge factor, and Chelsea may really miss Barkley’s presence come December when games come thick and fast. On the other hand, Barkley would not have been used as a key player this season, and Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech would have been selected before Barkley, meaning this move may not be the worst decision by the club, as it gives Barkley a chance to develop away from the club.

Chelsea's Forgotten Man Ross Barkley Fighting to Prevent Another False Dawn
Barkley and the Boss last season (Image credit:

Good move for Barkley?:

It is likely that Barkley would have been used predominantly off the bench this season, so from his perspective the move is perfect. He is almost guaranteed regular first-team football at Villa Park, and at the age of 26, Barkley will still want to fight for his place in the England squad. The move to Aston Villa allows him much more of an opportunity for this than if he was to stay at Chelsea, which makes this move a smart one for him.

Barkley fits into Aston Villa’s side comfortably, with Dean Smith being able to play him along side Jack Grealish as two 8’s, or deploying either man on the left flank with the other playing as a 10, allowing Villa to create attacks with more versitility. Barkley in the side allows for John McGinn and Douglas Luiz to cover the defensive duties, which will ultimately strengthen the Villa back line. This move also takes the pressure off of Barkley as at a club like Chelsea, the expectations are through the roof, whereas a season at Villa Park will allow Ross to play with more confidence, which will improve his overall game.

Another reason as to why this move is a strange one from Chelsea’s point of view is that Barkley is a player with a lot of quality, and on his day, can create moments which win games, for example, his goals against Liverpool and Leicester in the FA Cup last season. Barkley also changed the game against Brighton on the opening weekend this season, adding fight and determination to a pretty stale encounter, thus leading to Chelsea’s triumph. Barkley is a very important player to have in the squad, so this transfer could prove to be costly for the Blues in the long run.

Thankfully, this is only a loan deal, meaning Barkley will return at the end of the season. Should Chelsea manage without the Liverpudlian, Ross may depart on a permanent basis if he has a successful season away from the Bridge. If this is the case, Chelsea will need to look at a replacement, whether it is just a squad strengthener or a marquee signing. Nonetheless, we wish Ross the best of luck at Aston Villa.

Brighton V Chelsea: Match Preview

Preview: Brighton vs Chelsea | Premier League
Werner celebrates his goal in our friendly with Brighton (Image credit: Sports Illiustrated)

We can’t believe it either, but it is that time again. The time for our beloved Blues to begin yet another Premier League campaign and this season might just be one of the most exciting prospects in years. Chelsea have had a spellbinding transfer window so far, welcoming new stars all across the field. Our new arrivals thus far, as if you need reminding, are Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr, and of course, the extraordinary acquisition that is Kai Havertz.

Frank Lampard has spent big this summer, that is no secret. Following the club’s two-window transfer ban, it was inevitable that Frank would want to splash the cash this summer. Not only that but following a successful first season as Chelsea boss last year, multiple weaknesses were discovered during the campaign. These signings will certainly strengthen the squad, as well as providing some important competition to the players already at the club, which will help develop their own game.

With that being said, let’s take a look at our first outing of the new season, an away fixture against Brighton. Chelsea recently travelled to the Amex to participate in a pre-season friendly against Brighton, which finished one apiece. Our goal came from Timo Werner (of course) after a delicious cross-field ball from Hakim Ziyech (of course) was met by Callum Hudson-Odoi who failed to connect comfortably with his header, which then dropped to Werner who hit home after 4 minutes. Pascal Gross equalised from the spot for the home side in stoppage time.

New Chelsea signings Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell to miss start of the  season against Brighton
Our new Wizard in action against Brighton before his knock (Image credit: Sports Illustrated)

Chelsea will head into the fixture with high expectations, as the Blues have departed victorious in 9 out of the last 10 league meetings with Brighton. Some more good fortune for Chelsea is that both previous seasons we kicked off on a Monday resulted in the Blues securing the top spot. This stat will hopefully be continued, as Chelsea are favourites for the fixture.

Team news and updates:

New boys Ziyech, Chilwell and Silva are all out of contention for the game, after Ziyech picked up a knock in the friendly at the Amex, and Chilwell and Silva are nursing injuries from their time at their former clubs. Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud are both fit and will battle Timo Werner for a starting place. Kai Havertz is also in the squad, as well as Christian Pulisic, who after his form following last seasons’ restart feels like a new signing to many fans. Our beloved skipper is also back in action following his injury against Arsenal in the FA Cup Final last season.

Chelsea transfer news: What Kai Havertz will bring to Blues | The  Independent
Our new wonderboy with his brand new Chelsea shirt (Image credit: The Independent)

Players to watch:

Timo Werner:
It is likely we will see Timo Werner start against Brighton, after his goal in the friendly and also following two very solid performances for Germany in the UEFA Nations League last week. Werner will have all eyes on him and will have plenty of expectations riding with him too. The prolific German will hope to pick up where he left off, after scoring an astounding 34 goals across all competitions last season. Werner should be able to trouble Brighton’s defence and help Chelsea secure victory.

Adam Lallana:
Following a title-winning season at Liverpool, Lallana recently made a move down to the South Coast. Tonight’s game will be his first test, and what a test it is. After beating Chelsea three times last season, Lallana will hope he can help his new side get one up over Lampard’s Blues. Lallana will have plenty to do, as Chelsea’s side has strengthened immensely.

Jules Breach on why Tariq Lamptey is her new favourite and offers bold Brighton  vs Chelsea prediction | Sussex Express
Lamptey in action against Chelsea in the friendly (Image credit: Sussex Express)

Key Battle:
Tariq Lamptey v Christian Pulisic:
Ex Chelsea youngster Lamptey made a move to Brighton in January, and since joining the Albion, has seriously impressed the fans. Lamptey has been a breath of fresh air to Brighton’s defence, adding pace and agility to the backline. Tonight, however, he faces a huge task in keeping Christian Pulisic quiet. Pulisic ended last season in terrific form and sadly suffered an injury in the FA Cup Final. ‘Captain America’ is back fit for tonight’s game, and if he starts, it will provide an entertaining battle for the game.

Written by Mash Greaves.

A Farewell To Willian

As one chapter begins, another one must come to an end. That is the case for this season’s number 10, Willian, as a move across the city to Arsenal has been confirmed. Willian has enjoyed a superb innings at the club, after signing in August of 2013 for a fee of £30m. In this piece, I will look at Willian’s best moments, my favourite memories and give an overview of his time in the famous royal blue shirt, as we bid farewell to our number 10.

The landing of Willian was a huge breath of fresh air for Chelsea, as the then 24-year-old had also attracted the eyes of Tottenham, and the North London club was desperate to land the Brazilian. Willian completed a medical at White Hart Lane before deciding he wanted the Chelsea move. The player has since claimed he always preferred the option of Chelsea, and that he would only have chosen Spurs had the Chelsea deal fallen through. This created the infamous “Willian Saw The Light” chant that echoed around Stamford Bridge on a weekly basis.

Willian made his Chelsea debut in the Champions League group stage against Basel, during Chelsea’s return to the competition after competing in the Europa League the season prior, and winning the whole thing. His first Chelsea goal came during a 3-1 victory over Norwich City, where the winger fired a stunning long-range strike past John Ruddy, which was nominated for the club’s goal of the season award. The Brazilian struggled to keep momentum following this game and took his time to acclimatise to the pressure and standards of the Premier League, but he eventually found his feet and cemented himself as a key Chelsea player. Willian earned himself a call up to Brazil’s World Cup squad for 2014, which was testament to his solid form for Chelsea.

As the 2014/15 season rolled around, Willian was now part of the devastating front 3 alongside Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, who decimated the league during this campaign and helped secure Chelsea’s 4th Premier League. Willian enjoyed a fantastic campaign and topped it off with two trophies, playing 36/38 League games for the Blues. He was also involved in the goal that won the Capital One Cup against Tottenham at Wembley, which was the perfect way to wrap up an exceptional season for Chelsea.

Over the course of his Chelsea career, Willian cemented himself as a serial winner, and his trophy cabinet is nothing short of impressive. The Brazilian won 2 Premier Leagues, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, 1 Europa League, and also won the Chelsea Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season in the 2015/16 season. This range of accolades proves the quality and importance he had to the club.

Some Of My Favourite Willian Moments:

The opinion splitter himself has had some very memorable moments in a Chelsea shirt, some good, some bad, but memories us fans will have forever. Here are just a few of my favourite Willian moments:

THAT goal vs Manchester City (2016/17)

This game remains one of my favourite Chelsea games, as it outlined just how devastating we can be on the counter. After going 1-0 down after a Gary Cahill own goal, we turned it around in style and scored 3 tremendous counter-attacking goals, the second coming from Willian. As Costa picked the ball up on the halfway line, Willian had already flicked the burners on and destroyed Alexander Kolarov in a race to the ball and slotted it home to take the lead. A real showcase of the true speed he had.Brace vs Tottenham (2019/20)

The Brazilian helped the Blues pick up an all-important victory over Spurs this season, which set Frank Lampard up to be the first manager in history to do a league double over Jose Mourinho. Willian netted twice, once from the penalty spot, and one scorcher on his right foot following a short corner, which set the away end alight. This performance really highlighted his importance to the side.

Identical free-kicks against Dynamo Kiev (2015 and 2019)

This moment was one of the most exciting things we’ve seen Willian do at Chelsea. A moment of sheer beauty in our Europa League game against Dynamo Kiev in 2019. Willian put his freekick into the top left-hand corner, which was an absolute peach of a goal. This goal would have likely made the list on its own, but the fact it was absolutely identical to the one he scored past the same side in the Champions League in 2015 is what makes it so special. Us fans thought we’d gone back in time when this one hit the net, a real favourite of mine.

4 in a row (2015/16)

A particular run of events springs to mind when I think of Willian. Back in the 2015/16 season, the Brazilian netted four freekicks in four games, and each one was special. The best of the four came against Southampton, and what a freekick it was. Bent from 25 yards across the goal and in off the far post, this moment stands out to me as one of his best goals in blue.


Whether you love him or hate him, we can all agree he helped out on numerous occasions and gave us many memorable moments. Willian has been a terrific player for Chelsea, and we are grateful for the time he spent with us. Thankyou Willian.

FA Cup Final: Chelsea v Arsenal: Match Preview

Former Gunner Olivier Giroud after his winner against Norwich City (Image Credit: The Mirror)

The time has finally come. Again. Chelsea and Arsenal take centre stage at Wembley in the FA Cup final for the third time. Arsenal have the historic advantage, having won the competition more times than any other team (13), but can Chelsea dig out that all important performance for when it matters most that we have seen so often in recent years. The last time these two sides faced each other in a cup competition was in the Europa League final in Baku last year, a fixture that Chelsea fans will remember forever, which included a dominant display from Eden Hazard in his last appearance for the Blues, and also featured a cameo goal from former gunner Olivier Giroud.

Both sides come into the game coming off the back of a victory on the last league game of the season, however Chelsea made it look a lot easier than Arsenal, with the Gunners just managing to keep Watford at bay. Arsenal are sure to have a vendetta as this is their last chance to secure European football for next season, after Mikel Arteta’s side missed out on Europe after Arsenal suffered their worst Premier League finish in over 20 years. This final will be the first time since 2012 that two managers will face each other after playing against each other for their respected clubs, with both bosses hoping to achieve the bragging rights as well as the lucrative trophy.

As mentioned previously, Arteta’s side have struggled for the majority of the season, and finished lower than both Chelsea and Tottenham, which is sure to be a significant blow to the sides confidence going into the game. Chelsea achieved a top 4 finish which surprised the entire footballing world, and the Blues will hope to keep the dream going for a little bit longer. Can Lampard be a thorn in Arteta’s side once more, or do the Gunners have what it takes to fight one last time.

Tammy Abraham celebrates his goal against Arsenal earlier in the season (Image Credit: Football365)

Team news and press conference updates:

Frank stated in his press conference that N’Golo Kante and Willian are back in the squad, which is a huge boost for the Blues, as a player of Kante’s quality is missed greatly when he is absent, and Willians form since the restart has been exceptional which will also benefit the Blues. Disheartening news followed, as Ruben Loftus Cheek is out of the squad after picking up a minor injury in training yesterday. Frank expressed his feelings on the absence of the fans for the game, saying he expects a different game without them, and is sad they won’t be in attendance, but he aims to get his hands on the silverware on behalf of the fans and the club. He followed by saying he expects a very tough game against a side who showcased their ability in the semi final.

Lampard also said that his selection for the game will be difficult, as everyone wants to play in the final, but he hopes his team can stick together and try and win together. He also spoke from experience when he said “you learn more with every final you play in”. Lampard and his men will be hoping this is the first of many for his young side.

Players to watch:

Mason Mount during his electric display against Man United in the semi final (Image Credit: We Ain’t Got No History)

Mason Mount: Mason has had an absolutely phenomenal first season at Stamford Bridge, and what better way to culminate it than at Wembley in the FA Cup final, playing for his boyhood club. Mount set the stadium alight in the semi final with a standout performance against Man United, which featured a wonder strike from himself that David De Gea failed to keep out. Mount also struck gold in the final Premier League game of the season, netting a free kick from nothing shy of 20 yards. The youngster will aim to carry this momentum through to the final, and will hopefully get his hands on some silverware for the Blues.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: The Gabonese international had a wonderful performance against Manchester City in the semi final two weeks ago, which included a brace from the striker. He also had an incredible season, given the circumstances of Arsenals poor finish, finding the net 22 times, just one short of the golden boot award. Arteta will hope that the Gunners see the best of Aubameyang in the final, as he is the sides best chance at securing the vital win.

Key Battle:

Christian Pulisic celebrates his stunning strike at Selhurst Park (Image Credit: Fox Sports)

Christian Pulisic v Hector Bellerin/Cedric

Whoever starts at right back for Arsenal will be sure to have their work cut out for them, as Chelsea’s “Captain America” has been in fantastic form since the restart, and the young man appears to have really found his feet at Stamford Bridge. The winger will hope to achieve glory in his first season in England, and will be a serious threat to the Arsenal defence, given his sheer pace and low centre of gravity that reminds Chelsea fans of a certain Belgian that haunted Arsenal fans for 7 years. Pulisic can however be matched at pace by Hector Bellerin, as the lightening fast defender can put up a good fight against Chelsea’s playmaker. Cedric on the other hand may struggle to keep up with Pulisic, but given the intense circumstances of the final, the Portuguese international may be able to get one up on the Chelsea winger. Whatever the outcome, this battle is sure to impress.

Frank Lampard becomes the 6th Chelsea manager to take the Blues to the FA Cup final in their debut season in charge, and will hope he can bring the trophy home to top off an already impressive season.

Written by Mash Greaves.

Chelsea v Norwich: Match Preview

Chelsea securing 3 points in the reverse fixture in August, Photo credit: Sportstar

Following a distasteful defeat at the hands of Sheffield United on Saturday, Chelsea are hoping to bounce back with a victory over already relegated Norwich City. After a strong restart to the campaign, including a spell bounding victory over Man City, the Blues have stumbled across a severely disappointing run of form, losing to West Ham and Sheffield United, and just managing 3 points of the finest of margins away at Crystal Palace. Chelsea’s top 4 hopes are changing drastically after every game, and with results elsewhere seeming to go in their favour, will the Blues capitalise on dropped points around the grounds.

Oli McBurnie celebrating his goal during Chelsea’s loss at Bramall Lane, Photo Credit: The Guardian

As previously stated, Chelsea’s form as of late has been nothing short of mediocre, with lousy defensive performances costing them points in games they were certain favourites for. Norwich on the other hand, have nothing to lose heading into the game. The Canaries have been relegated after just one season back in the Premier League, and a discouraging campaign has seen them headed for the Championship. Norwich are without a league win since February 28th, and are coming off the back of a devastating defeat at the hands of West Ham United, or more appropriately, Michail Antonio, who bagged 4 at Carrow Road.

As news recently broke revealing that Manchester City’s European Football ban had been overturned, Chelsea’s final 3 league games are more vital than ever. With Manchester United breathing heavily down their necks, the Blues must ensure they strive for maximum points in their final 3 fixtures, and avoid clumsy performances that we’ve seen in recent weeks. Man United slipped up in the top 4 race when they conceded a 96th minute equaliser against Southampton last night, which has lifted pressure off Frank Lampard slightly, but the Boss can not rely on other teams picking up points against their top 4 rivals, and will need his men to perform to the best standard possible in their attempts to achieve top 4. Leicester’s thumping at the hands of Bournemouth also worked in the favour of the Blues, which could spur Chelsea on to secure the all important victory at Stamford Bridge this evening.

Team news and press conference:

Following Lampard’s press conference yesterday, multiple topics were addressed including the defeat to the Blades and how it affected the squads morale, and the upcoming fixtures in the league and FA Cup. The Boss stated that for now the only game that matters is this evening’s tie with Norwich. Lampard also revealed that there is now a positive feeling in the camp after the weekend’s loss, and that the squad is motivated to achieve the best result possible tonight. As far as team news goes, Lampard has not given much away, other than revealing N’Golo Kante is not fit and will miss today’s game. Andreas Christensen is in the squad despite his injury against Sheffield United, which saw him make way for Antonio Rüdiger at half time. Frank also said that Norwich are not a side to walk over, and praised Daniel Farke’s side, saying the team deserves a lot of respect, and also suggests they have been unfortunate this season not to pick up the results they sought after.

Tammy Abraham celebrating one of two goals at Carrow Road in August, Photo Credit: Sky Sports

Players to watch:

Olivier Giroud: The Frenchman has performed admirably since the restart, taking multiple chances when he has been given them, and has helped Chelsea pick up vital points at the business end of the season. After a poor performance from Tammy Abraham on Saturday, it is likely we will see Giroud start, or at least feature, and the targetman will be sure to test Norwich’s wounded back line.

Max Aarons: The young Englishman may very well have his hands full should Christian Pulisic start on the left tonight. Aarons is a very capable defender with a lot of heart, but Pulisic has taken off to a flyer since the restart, and will be looking to improve on his form. This being said, it will be very interesting to see how Aarons deals with the American star.

Key Battle:

Mason Mount vs Todd Cantwell: These two Englishmen are very similar players, from their sudden movements that worry defenders and fantastic dribbling techniques, both players will have a chance to shine later this evening. Mount has started very well since the restart, and Cantwell has also performed strongly, despite a very poor run of results for the Canaries. This battle is sure to be a good one.

West Ham vs Chelsea: Match Preview

As the games are approaching thick and fast, Chelsea are challenged with a London derby that could affect their entire season. The Blues are hunting down Leicester City for that lucrative 3rd place spot, and with just seven games to go, every game is a final for Lampard and his men. Chelsea are currently on a five-game winning streak and will aim to continue this scintillating form moving forward. Their next challenge, West Ham United.

The Irons have severely struggled to gain any momentum heading into this derby, procuring just 3 points out of their last five league games. David Moyes’ side are in serious jeopardy heading into the business end of the season. The Hammers have also failed to find the net in their last 3 outings, which doesn’t assist their chances for a victory this evening.

As mentioned previously, Chelsea are chasing Leicester down with a vengeance, with their eyes on 3rd place and guaranteed Champions League football next season. The Blues are just one point behind Leicester and with the Foxes facing a significantly stronger opponent in Everton this week, Chelsea will not want to waste this opportunity to steal the coveted 3rd place spot. West Ham, on the other hand, are fighting for their lives, and sit just above the relegation zone, level on points with Bournemouth and Aston Villa.

Around the grounds:

Only four games have been played thus far in Matchweek 32, however, two of the results may very well affect Chelsea’s top-four hopes if they fail to capitalise on the dip in Leicester’s form. Both Manchester United and Wolves picked up maximum points this week, tightening the gap between those and Chelsea to just two points. Chelsea do, however, have this game in hand at the London Stadium to extend it back to 5. West Ham have been handed a lifeline with Aston Villa dropping points yet again when they lost to Wolves, but the side would benefit largely from a result against Chelsea.

With the fixture congestion required to finish the season, Lampard will have to ensure he rotates his players to maintain the highest level of fitness possible. That being said, every game is of paramount importance to our season and Chelsea will aim to win each one. Following the FA Cup quarter-final victory over Leicester, it will be interesting to see who keeps their place, and who is drafted out for the West Ham challenge. Nonetheless, this is how Chelsea line-up this evening:
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso, Kovacic, Kante, Barkley, Willian, Abraham, Pulisic.
We are yet to see a game since the restart that Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante have not started, and following his build-up of fatigue on Sunday, it is likely Mount has been rested, purely out of precaution. The same can’t be said for Kante, as the Frenchman is arguably the most important player in the squad, and will provide some serious cover for the defence. Christian Pulisic also looked unlikely to start, after he felt a tightness in his calf on Sunday, which hopefully is as minor as possible, but the American makes the 11 once again.

Despite the current run of form, Lampard stated in his recent press conference “We have to focus on what’s ahead rather than what’s gone before. We’ve had a good week but we’ve got a lot of work to do.” Frank was also asked about his favoured positioning of N’Golo Kante, in which he responded “It is a different position to what I’m asking of Kante to what Makelele played. With eras and the players around you that changes. With N’Golo I have a way I want us to work in midfield to have some fluidity to us, which allows N’Golo to bring his best attributes to the game.”

Players to watch:

Mateo Kovacic: The Croatian changed the game instantly on Sunday when he replaced Mason Mount at half time. As he has all season, Kovacic picked up the ball in areas which our other players were struggling to do and added a surge of energy that we were certainly missing. Mateo dictates the play so well, whilst getting himself stuck into anything he deems possible, which is a pleasure to watch. All we can do is hope we see more of the Croatian magician today.

Declan Rice: The rumours are back, as they always are, that Chelsea are interested in bringing Chelsea academy star Declan Rice back to the Bridge, and with this game later today, it will be interesting to see how Rice performs under the spotlight. Rice will most likely be observed a lot more by Chelsea fans than by West Ham fans, and Moyes will hope Rice can prevent Chelsea from breaking the deadlock, whether it’s as a 6, or as a centre half.

Key Battle:

Andreas Christensen vs Michail Antonio:
Christensen impressed strongly in the victory over Man City last week and proved many doubters wrong after his shaky performance at Villa Park. The Dane will aim to keep West Ham’s Antonio at bay and will have an important job to do so, given Antonio’s sheer power and pace, a deadly mix and a worrying sign for any defender. The game has all the ingredients to be a classic, as both sides are desperate for the victory, and Chelsea will hope to wipe the slate clean after their loss earlier in the season, courtesy of Aaron Cresswell.

Written by Mash Greaves.

Leicester City vs Chelsea: FA Cup QF Match Preview

Chelsea stumble across another roadblock in their season in the form of an FA Cup Quarter Final clash with Leicester City. The Blues are in terrific form, gaining 6 points in the two league games since the restart, including a creditable victory over Manchester City. The home side, however, have struggled to amass any momentum heading into the tie, with just 2 points out of a possible 6. This Leicester form will ignite a fire in Frank Lampard’s men that will hopefully take The Blues through to the Semi-Finals.

Chelsea have had a strong run in the competition thus far, with comfortable victories over Nottingham Forest, Hull City, and this season’s Champions of England Liverpool, in a game that shocked the footballing universe. Leicester have also sailed through pleasantly with wins over Wigan, Brentford and Birmingham City. This game has the potential to tick every box, with both teams also fighting for 3rd place in the Premier League, and both sides also having the quality to go all the way in the cup.

As mentioned previously, both sides will believe they can win the FA Cup, and Lampard and Rodgers will hope to get the upper hand at the King Power Stadium later today. Chelsea are the favourites heading into the game, but form isn’t the most important factor thanks to the magic of the FA Cup. With Chelsea’s next fixture just around the corner, Lampard will want to rotate as much as possible, without ruining the momentum of the side. By virtue of this, I expect the Boss to line up as follows:
Cabellero, James, Zouma, Rudiger, Emerson, Barkley, Gilmour, Kovacic, Pedro, Loftus Cheek, Abraham.
Lampard has given us some insight into what to expect from the lads, stating: “We will certainly have to think about if we need to rotate a bit to keep freshness in the players.”

Following his outstanding performance against Man City, Christian Pulisic will hope to continue his red hot form, but a bench appearance is more likely for the American, considering the importance of the West Ham game on Wednesday. Lampard praised Captain America following his Man of the Match performance on Thursday. “He definitely has the talent, and he needs to try and get to that level. I’m delighted to have him at the minute, he works hard every day, and he has to set his sights as high as he possibly can.”

Players to watch:
Reece James: The youngster has struggled to find his place in the starting 11 since the Premier League restart, and this hasn’t been assisted by Cesar Azpilicueta’s fantastic performances. Reece has also been nursing a slight injury but is expected to start against Leicester. With a dominant performance today, we can expect James to gradually find his feet again. The full-back oozes quality and provides a strong balance of attacking and defensive work-rate. An exciting game awaits.

Demarai Gray: Gray has impacted both previous games, starting one and featuring off the bench, with a mix of pacey, darting runs, and movement through the middle. The Englishman has a chance to thrive on the left-hand-side but will be up against a strong defender in Reece James. With that being said, Gray has the quality to provide Leicester with a major threat and will hope to drive his team to glory.

Key Battle:
Hamza Choudhury vs Billy Gilmour
The battle of the 6’s. Both players provide plenty of quality, and both have aspirations to thrive on the big stage. Hamza Choudhury can move with the ball and is capable of producing cutthroat passes into Vardy or Iheanacho. As for Gilmour, the sky is the limit. The ‘Scottish Iniesta’ has patrolled each game he has been called upon, including Chelsea’s last two games before the 3-month break. This has the potential to be a very interesting battle in the middle of the park.

Written by Mash Greaves.

Chelsea vs Manchester City: Match Preview

Stamford Bridge is finally opening the gates back up, after a long-awaited return to the Pride of London. Despite the anticipation of the return to the Bridge, it is however only open for players, staff and stewards until further notice. The Blues welcome a dominant Manchester City side to the Bridge, with a lot more than 3 points on the line. Guardiola’s side have netted 8 times in their past 2 games, with Chelsea scoring twice in their victory over Aston Villa on Sunday. City have looked deadly since the restart, and have sailed past Arsenal and Burnley with ease. A City win on Thursday means Liverpool can not win the league, yet. Anything but a win for the Manchester side means Liverpool will be crowned victorious after a 30-year wait for glory.

Chelsea currently sit in 4th place and following Man United’s victory over Sheffield United on Wednesday, are just 2 points ahead of the Red Devils. This puts The Blues in a worrying position as their game in hand happens to be against the reigning champions. City are second, and should they win, will stay a comfortable distance from Leicester, with the Foxes dropping 4 points in their last 2 games. Chelsea will hope to capitalise on this poor run of form for the Foxes, but the task of defeating City is a lot easier said than done.

Man City v Chelsea, 2019/20 | Premier League
Kante striking a shot in the reverse fixture, Photo credit: Premier League

As mentioned before, anything but a Man City victory will guarantee Liverpool are this season’s winners. The Reds made light work of Crystal Palace on Wednesday, hitting the Eagles for four. It will, however, be interesting to see how both sides line up, with the FA Cup Quarter Finals taking place at the weekend, and this late in the season neither manager can afford unnecessary injuries. Frank Lampard has confirmed there will be absences of both Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi, so with that news coming yesterday, this is how I would line up:
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, James, Kovacic, Kante, Alonso, Mount, Abraham, Pulisic.
The 3-4-3 formation is better suited against a City side who are known for their attacking prowess, and due to the clumsiness of our centre-halves on Sunday, an alteration may be required.

In his press conference, Lampard stated that it is not his ambition to be able to make as many team changes game-to-game as Man City are at the moment, but he hoped to be able to slot players into the team when required. The Boss also mentioned that we are only 4 points behind Leicester now, but emphasised how we still have tough games to come. City were victorious in the reverse fixture, beating the Blues 2-1, thanks to former Blue Kevin De Bruyne, and Riyad Mahrez, with Kante netting for the Blues.

Players to watch:

Pulisic, Giroud score as Chelsea rallies to beat Villa 2-1 | Your ...
Pulisic celebrating his equaliser against Villa on Sunday, Photo credit:

Christian Pulisic: Pulisic changed the game on Sunday the second he entered the pitch. His impactful runs, his movement and speed made it almost impossible for Ezri Konsa to stick with him. ‘Captain America’ ignited the fire of Chelsea’s comeback when he found himself on the end of a picture-perfect cross from Azpilicueta. Should he start on Thursday, his speedy runs and his low centre of gravity will cause trouble for the weakened City defence, and with a major point to prove, keep your eye on Christian Pulisic.

Phil Foden: The City youngster, nicknamed The Stockport Iniesta has had an astounding restart to the season, netting 3 times in the last 2 games. Foden has a major point to prove, with the European Championships taking place next summer, and the youngster will want to do everything in his power to grab himself a seat on the plane. Foden can shine on the big stage and will look to make the headlines yet again, and a win against Chelsea will certainly do so.

Key Battle:

Maurizio Sarri has already made Chelsea Manchester City's biggest ...
Sane against Chelsea in 2017/18, Photo credit: Evening Standard

Leroy Sane vs Reece James.
Following Guardiola’s recent statement that his main focus is on Newcastle at the weekend, it is unlikely we will see City’s strongest side on Thursday. Following a very lengthy injury that kept him on the sidelines for months, Sane will want to slowly increase his game time in order to reach full fitness. Should Sane start on the left, he will most likely be up against Chelsea’s very own Hulk in Reece James. Sane vs Reece is a showdown that I think can interest everyone and anyone, with Sane’s lightning-quick runs and James’ sturdy defensive skills, this battle is sure to impress.

Written by Mash Greaves.

Aston Villa vs Chelsea: Match Preview

The time has finally come. Our beloved Blues are back in action on Sunday 21st June, as Frank Lampard takes his side to the midlands, where Chelsea will meet Aston Villa at Villa Park. Prior to the break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Chelsea had struck a golden run of form, knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup, and hitting Everton for four at Stamford Bridge. Both games shocked all as Billy Gilmour stole the spotlight, picking up back to back Man of the Match awards. The same cannot be said for Aston Villa, as Dean Smith’s side have only managed a single point in their last 6 fixtures. The one point they managed to secure came after a 0-0 draw with Sheffield United on the first game since the break, following a controversial decision leading to a disallowed Blades goal, in which the hawk-eye technology system failed to inform referee Michael Oliver that the ball had crossed the line.

With the return of the Premier League kicking off on Wednesday evening, clubs have been making their preparations in order to finish the season on a high. Aston Villa recently held a friendly with West Brom at Villa Park, which finished 2-2. The Lions then took place in 2 training exercises with Leicester City, but there are no official reports on the scorelines. As mentioned previously, Villa only managed a point on the restart game which kept them in 19th place. Chelsea have also been buckling down, with the players looking confident and full of motivation for the restart. The Blues defeated Reading 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, with Pedro supplying the goal, and also bulldozed through Queens Park Rangers 7-1, with Ruben Loftus Cheek and Billy Gilmour both scoring twice, along with Mason Mount, Willian and Olivier Giroud.

There is currently a 22 point gap between the two sides, with Chelsea sitting in 4th place, and Manchester United, Sheffield United and Wolves breathing down their necks, and Villa are battling for survival, but just a point away from safety. Chelsea and Villa both need a victory as much as each other and with Villa gaining a controversial yet respectable point against Sheffield United, the Blues will need to ensure their focus is at its peak. 5th place Manchester United were held to a draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday evening, meaning a victory on Sunday will put Lampard’s men 5 points clear of Manchester United.

How the Blues could line up:

After the long break the boys have had, our injured players have had a chance to return to full fitness. Players like Ruben Loftus Cheek and Christian Pulisic to name a few, have been seen training with the full squad and looking very spritely too. I expect Frank will favour the 4-3-3 formation which he has implemented for the most part of the season, with my expected lineup as follows:
Kepa, James, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Barkley, Gilmour, Willian, Mount, Abraham.
As much as us fans want to see Loftus Cheek in the starting XI, it is unlikely that he will be implemented in this way after so long out. With the new rule allowing teams to make 5 substitutions as opposed to 3 however, we can expect to see the Englishman on the field on Sunday.

The same goes for Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante, who have also been suffering from injuries over the past few months. The opportunity to make 5 substitutions could enhance Chelsea’s performance because of the depth in the squad. Chelsea will hope for a repeat of the reverse fixture, where the Blues came out victorious with a 2-1 victory, with goals coming from Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.

Frank attended a press conference on Friday and discussed a number of aspects of the vastly awaited return. The Boss said “We’ve trained really well and had some friendlies but nothing replicated the Premier League. We have to go full throttle no matter what game it is in terms of giving it everything. It won’t be easy but we need to be focused and be at our best.” Lampard also stated that we will be without Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who are both out with short term injuries. A promising sign for Chelsea fans is that Frank has confirmed Ruben Loftus Cheek is physically fit and has looked good in training. Lampard also looks forward to reuniting with John Terry on the sidelines on Sunday. “I have huge respect for him as a friend but we both have big things at stake.”

Players to watch:

Tammy Abraham: Chelsea’s current top scorer has a huge point to prove with the upcoming continuation of the Premier League season. Chelsea have all but confirmed the signing of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, which means Abraham will be faced with some serious competition come next season, as well as Olivier Giroud signing a contract extension, proving he is still up to the task. With Abraham shining in the first part of the season, watch out for the Englishman to be even more hungry when the season resumes.

Jack Grealish: Grealish has been Aston Villa’s starman for years now, and the player oozes quality when he steps on the pitch. With 13 goal involvements for the struggling Villa side, the captain will be on the front line in an attempt to prevent Chelsea from running away with the game. Grealish recently scored in the behind closed doors friendly with West Brom and also put up some very impressive numbers against Sheffield United, with 100% final third pass accuracy, 97% overall pass accuracy, 3 chances created and 2 successful take-ons. With this performance, Grealish will hope to carry that form into Sunday’s fixture.

Key Battle:

Tammy Abraham vs Tyrone Mings
These two men know each other very well, as the duo helped Aston Villa achieve promotion to the Premier League last season. With Abraham’s sharp turns and fierce movement, Mings will have to step up to plate to prohibit Abraham from firing the Blues ahead. Mings matches Abraham in the air and takes the edge on physicality, but Abraham will hope to stay one step ahead of the Villa defender, and lead Chelsea to victory.

Written by Mash Greaves

Alonso v Emerson – Who should stay?

It is no secret that Chelsea have suffered on the left side of their backline since the departure of veteran Ashley Cole. Current Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta stepped up to the task when he joined the Blues, but the Spaniard appeared more comfortable on the right-hand side, despite solid performances at left-back. During the second managerial spell of opinion-splitter Jose Mourinho, Brazilian Filipe Luis joined the club and accompanied Chelsea’s side to their fourth Premier League title, but the lightning-quick defender struggled to find his feet at Stamford Bridge, and rarely featured in the starting 11. The Brazilian departed after a lacklustre season in blue, returning to the red side of Madrid, where he had enjoyed a terrific spell prior to his London move.


Chelsea later acquired the services of then Fiorentina wing-back Marcos Alonso for £24m. The Spaniard was one of Chelsea’s keys to success during their dominant campaign in 2016/17, where manager Antonio Conte secured the league title in his debut season. Alonso impressed the fans with his energetic runs forward and his wonderful crosses that were often poked home by talisman Diego Costa but struggled to keep his momentum during the following season, which saw Chelsea finish 5th.

Fast forward to January 2018, and Conte brought Emerson Palmieri to the club, for a fee of £20m + add ons. The Italian secured an assist in his first Chelsea game, causing the Chelsea faithful to take a certain liking to the pacey defender. Emerson has now played 52 games in all competitions for Chelsea but has only got 6 goal involvements under his belt, compared to Alonso’s 39 in 140 appearances.

Why Alonso?

Rumours are circulating that Chelsea are looking to bring in a new long term left-back, due to the unreliable left-hand side. With an arrival looking imminent, it is unlikely that Lampard will want to keep 3 left-backs at the club, especially when the two current options offer very little defensively. In Marcos Alonso’s case, the Spaniard performs admirably when situated at wing-back in a back three, a position in which he thrived in Antonio Conte’s first season. Nonetheless, he looks extremely uncomfortable in a back four and has often cost the Blues points throughout his career.

Alonso is terrific when going forward, and fans have previously stated that if his defensive attributes improved, he would make a very strong player, and would be one of the first names on the teamsheet. This, however, is not the case, and Alonso’s clumsiness along with poor defensive decision making means he is not favoured by Chelsea fans. On average, Alonso makes 1.91 interceptions per game, as well as 1.89 tackles won. The Spaniard makes 3.48 passes into the final third per game, registering 17 assists for the blues. Alonso can be phenomenal as a wing-back, and when Lampard has preferred the 3-back approach, Marcos has performed admirably. With a first-choice left-back taking a high priority spot on the shortlist, Alonso could be the perfect back-up, especially with the system options Frank has at his disposal.

Why Emerson?

Emerson has often been favoured over Alonso by Chelsea fans, particularly last season, but part of this movement was purely down to a strong dislike of Alonso in the starting 11. The Italian suffered a hamstring injury in the later stages of 2019, which kept him out of the side for 6 games. Since his return, Alonso has still been preferred by Lampard and has capitalised on moments such as a goal against rivals Tottenham earlier on this season.

Emerson makes 1.86 interceptions per game, along with 1.12 tackles a game. He makes an average of 2.72 passes into the final third which puts him behind Alonso in that field. Emerson has a pass completion rate of 85.7% and a higher dribble success percentage with 60.8%. As stated, Emerson struggles more defensively than Alonso despite his more natural positioning and lack of mistakes, linking to Alonso’s favouritism. The 25-year-old has never really prospered at Chelsea and would perhaps be more suited elsewhere.


It has to be clarified that both players are strong footballers and on their day, can produce stand out performances that earn them future starts, but with a strong link to Chilwell arising recently, Lampard will have intentions to cash out on one of the two full-backs in order to keep the squad morale as high as possible. For this matter, I would suggest that Alonso is the player that should stay at the club, as he has more in his locker than his defensive counterpart, and with the system adaptations that will be required throughout next season to ensure players stay fit and motivated, the Spaniard fits the bill and will rise to the challenge. Alonso also has more experience, and with a Premier League winners medal to his name, will act as an effective mentor for our new left-back, should Chelsea follow their targets for next season.

Written by Mash Greaves.

Can Chelsea cement a serious challenge for the title next season?

Given the recent news that broke surrounding a shock move for Timo Werner, who has been reported to have agreed terms with Chelsea, and other rumours floating around involving Ben Chilwell, Nicolas Tagliafico and German sensation Kai Havertz, can Chelsea create a serious contention for the Premier League next season?

The main consideration that must be acknowledged is that as of right now, Chelsea are yet to secure any of the aforementioned players, despite Werner’s transfer looking imminent. This piece simply outlines the possibilities of a title-capturing season if the Blues can pull the deals off. For the past 3 seasons, Chelsea have looked relatively weak compared to reigning champions Manchester City, and this season’s dominant Liverpool side. Chelsea’s best campaign since their victory in 2016-17 happened to take place just last year, with the London side capturing a Europa League, whilst also finishing 3rd in the Premier League. The Blue’s were then faced with a transfer ban, prohibiting their chances of structural improvements in the side, following the departure of club legend Eden Hazard. Chelsea have gone on to silence all doubters and place considerably higher than many expected them to, currently sitting 4th in the Premier League, with 9 games to play.

Fast forward to June and Roman Abramovich has reopened his wallet and is not scared to break the bank to land some serious marquee signings for the Blues. As previously mentioned, Chelsea have all but confirmed their signing of RB Leipzig’s talisman Timo Werner, for a fee that could be as low as £52m, which in today’s market is unfathomable. The undoubtedly young Chelsea side have struggled for goals this season, with most of their attempts being turned away by Tammy Abraham, who has been nothing short of impressive in front of goal, but if Chelsea can land Timo Werner, the strike partnership of the prolific German and the goal-hungry Abraham, there is no doubt that the duo will score goals. Werner has rattled the net an astounding 31 times in all competitions this season, with 4 games to go before the end of the season. Abraham has surprised many by securing 15 goals in all competitions. 

As well as the Werner news, it looks like Chelsea are out for more, as news broke earlier this week that the Blues have declared serious interest over Bayer Leverkusen’s wonderkid Kai Havertz (per @cfbayern). If Chelsea can land this deal, beating rivals Manchester United amongst other clubs desperate to acquire the German star, the attacking possibilities at Stamford Bridge would be nothing short of fantastic. Kai Havertz is a truly dynamic player, with a serious eye for goals and assists, as well as exceptional hold up play, the 20-year-old has it all, and would be a perfect addition to Frank Lampard’s youth-based side. With Chelsea already landing Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, who can comfortably play out wide, or at the height of a midfield three, the Blues will be unstoppable going forward.

Football Manager 2020: What happens to Kai Havertz? - Football ...
Bayer Leverkusen youngster Kai Havertz, one of Chelsea’s main targets, Photo credit: Football Whispers

With the attacking options, if all goes well, looking a certain threat, Chelsea will also need to strengthen their defence. This has been made clear by Chelsea, with the blues mounting interest on Ben Chilwell, Nicolas Tagliafico and Alex Telles. Chelsea have suffered on the left-hand side for a while now, with Marcos Alonso looking considerably uncomfortable in a solid back four, and with Emerson looking like he is Italy bound. Despite Chelsea’s interest, Alex Telles has been toying with PSG over a move to the French giants, which means Chelsea have a toss-up between experienced full-back Nicolas Tagliafico, or 23-year-old Englishman Ben Chilwell. Whilst Tagliafico’s fee sits somewhere around the £23m mark, which would be a certain steal for a player with his quality, Leicester’s Chilwell appears a better fit for Lampard’s youth-orientated squad. Chilwell has played comfortably in a solid back-four for Leicester this season, and if Chelsea can acquire the Englishman at full-back, he will have the right players and coaches around him to take his defensive game to the next level.

With the completion of the acquisitions mentioned, and the removal of various ‘deadwood’ players in the squad like Drinkwater, Emerson, Batshuayi, and Mario Pasalic, who looks set for a permanent move to Serie A underdogs Atalanta for a fee of around £13m, Chelsea will not need to delve into their transfer budget as much as people think, with fees for Morata and Eden Hazard still at the club’s disposal. Furthermore, the potential new additions to the side will provide the Blues with some serious star power, as well as a refreshing balance from defence to attack, not to mention the sheer firepower in the midfield, with fan favourite Ruben Loftus Cheek returning from his elongated injury, and our player of the season Mateo Kovacic, Chelsea’s side, all signings considered, can mount a serious contention to take the top spot come May 2021.

Written by Mash Greaves.

Why Cesar Azpilicueta should be recognised as a Chelsea legend

Cesar Azpilicueta has been a fantastic servant to Chelsea in the eight seasons that he’s been at Stamford Bridge and has grown continuously into a strong, well-rounded defender. The Spaniard has provided Chelsea fans with many shining moments in blue, from his first goal against London rivals Arsenal to his goal that ignited the fire in Chelsea as they clawed back from the depths of defeat to pull off that magnificent 4-4 draw against Ajax in this season’s Champions League group stage. Ever since Azpilicueta was announced as a Chelsea player back in August of 2012, us fans have warmed to the full-back even more with every season that goes by.

Image from TEAMtalk

As reigning champions of Europe, Chelsea had an attraction for any player to want to join the London side and the club knew reinforcements would be required to avoid complacency in the team. Azpilicueta arrived at Chelsea to provide fan-favourite Branislav Ivanovic with some fierce competition, but ‘Dave’ found himself regularly starting as a left-back in his first season, a position in which club legend Ashley Cole had dominated in during his astonishing career at Chelsea. Azpilicueta thrived at left-back during this season and impressed the fans, as a successor to Ashley Cole was one of the main targets Chelsea sought after.

Azpilicueta: Twitter Talk |
Image from

Azpilicueta’s first goal in blue, as previously mentioned, came in an assertive victory over Arsenal in the EFL cup in October 2013. Your first goal for Chelsea against one of their biggest rivals is not a bad way to cement your name in the Chelsea goalscoring books. His first goal in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful came in a 2-2 draw against West Brom on Matchday 21 of the Premier League in 2016. Chelsea’s current club captain has secured himself 58 goal involvements (13 goals and 45 assists) throughout his Chelsea tenure, which for a defensive full-back is quite the impressive stat.

Since Azpilicueta arrived at Stamford Bridge from Marseille in 2012 for an outrageous bargain of £7m, the Spaniard has had an illustrious career which has been draped in silverware. The defender has captured two Premier League titles, two Europa League trophies, an FA cup and an EFL cup, which in eight seasons is a fantastic achievement. Azpilicueta has achieved enough in his Chelsea career to be deemed a club legend, and with that term being thrown around excessively, it is important that us fans use it in the right places.

Following John Terry’s departure in 2017, a hole so large was left that many expect it never to be filled again, but Azpilicueta and his former counterpart Gary Cahill took it upon themselves to perform at the highest quality to ensure that Terry’s legacy continued. ‘Dave’, as he is known to Chelsea fans, was named Chelsea’s vice-captain to Gary Cahill in 2017, and when the Englishman left the club following Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over Arsenal in Baku last year, the Spaniard stepped up to receive the armband for the 2019-20 season and performed under the pressure with extreme positivity. Azpilicueta is one of Chelsea’s senior players and provides a sufficient amount of experience to Frank Lampard’s very young side. Azpilicueta has acted as a mentor for the likes of Fikayo Tomori, Andreas Christensen, and most importantly, Chelsea’s ‘next big thing’ Reece James.

Chelsea fans will love Cesar Azpilicueta's reaction to be being ...
Skipper Azpilicueta with prospect Reece James, Image from Football.London

Following an outstanding season on loan at Wigan Athletic, James was Chelsea fan’s favoured option at right-back this season, and Azpilicueta has been the perfect competition for a young, thriving defender like Reece. ‘Dave’ has not shyed from the task of keeping James out of the side, and when the youngster has been preferred over the veteran, Azpilicueta has taken the switch as constructively as you would expect, working hard in training, thus showing Frank Lampard that he can still go. With a weakened left-hand side defensively, Chelsea have often looked at Azpilicueta to fill the gap at left-back over Marcos Alonso and Emerson, and when approached with the task, the 30-year-old has performed admirably and has proved to be a true inspiration to the youngsters at Chelsea. With a lot still left in the tank, Cesar Azpilicueta can fulfil every opportunity he finds in his place, and for this reason amongst many, the Spaniard, in my eyes, is definitely a Chelsea legend.

Written by Mash Greaves.