Chelsea Pre-Season Preview…

One of my favourite times of the season has returned – preseason. Some hate it, some love it. For me, nothing beats the excitement of the return of football. New signings, new academy players and new tactics (and normally a new manager).

For Chelsea fans, it couldn’t get any better either. Life under Todd Boehly has started off with a bang, and it seems like Thomas Tuchel is finally getting the proper backing he deserves.

Our first pre-season fixture is tomorrow morning (U.K.) and I know I’ll be watching at 3am, hoping to see some of these players I’m about to mention below. Here are just a few names I’m really looking forward to watching over the next 3-4 games:

Levi Colwill

I understand Levi has a minor knock and as a result is unlikely to feature in tonight’s game against Club America, but that doesn’t change him being one of the largest talking points at the moment in world football.

I recognise it’s slightly hypocritical as I have been banging on about him on a weekly basis for the last 36 months, but I do feel the talk is getting a bit too much now. Whether that’s people overhyping him and saying he should be starting every week, or people saying that that he’s got a massive ego and should stop complaining about wanting a chance.

You do have to remember that this is a 19 year old who has just come out of the Championship. He’s in a very very similar situation to Reece James coming out of his loan at Wigan. With that in mind, you must allow Levi to make mistakes this season (assuming he stays) and trust that we’ll see the best of him in the next few years just like we’re seeing with James now.

I don’t need to talk too much about him other as you’ve all heard about the talent he’s got, and it’s time for Colwill to be given those chances and for him to take it. There’s no better centre backs to learn from than Koulibaly and Silva.

Ethan Ampadu

Ethan’s an option who still isn’t being talked about enough. The matter of fact is last season he performed excellently in multiple positions in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues.

Despite the RB Leipzig loan not working out and going down with Sheffield United, he still has so much experience under his belt at such a young age. The big one certainly being playing for Wales against some of the biggest nations in the world.

He can play at centre-back and in defensive midfield to a really high level, and last season showed he can even do a shift at RWB. That surely makes him a really attractive player for Tuchel to keep around, and I do think he’d stay if he was given rotational minutes.

I’ve always been a massive fan of Ethan and I wouldn’t be surprised if his pre-season is similar to Trevoh Chalobah’s last year where he surprises a couple people – manager included.

Tino Anjorin and Ethan Ampadu have spots to fight for…

Kalidou Koulibaly

“Men’s” signing number 2 of the season. There isn’t much else to say to this other than I can’t wait to see him in action.

We unfortunately may see him even later than Raheem Sterling as he hasn’t started training yet, but what I’m most looking forward to is what position he’ll play in the back three.

I imagine he’ll play at LCB, with Silva centrally and Azpilicueta or Trevoh on the right hand side. I’ve also been told Levi in first team training so far has been playing centrally, which does make a lot of sense as he’s one of the best passers I’ve seen and can learn so much from Thiago.

I think most people will be surprised by Koulibaly’s dribbling ability. Don’t be shocked if he goes on a few of those Rudiger runs…

Conor Gallagher

It has now been confirmed by Conor himself, and Tuchel, that he will be staying at the club this season.

Conor’s an interesting one. I think Tuchel sees him as an option in midfield, and as much as he has absolutely done a job there before, I’d rather use him a bit further forward.

Ideally we switch to four at the back and use him in midfield as that’ll certainly be utilising our squad depth fully, but that doesn’t seem to be an option currently.

I remember during the academy I wasn’t totally convinced on Gallagher, and then I watched his debut for Charlton Athletic and everything switched. He then went on to having a great loan at Swansea, followed by two impressive Premier League shifts at West Brom and Crystal Palace.

There’s a bit of work to do with him on the ball, but are there any 22 year olds in the world who don’t need improving? I remember having this exact same conversation about Mason Mount one or two seasons ago. It’ll come. Conor’s here to stay.

Billy Gilmour

Billy….this is difficult. I’m a massive fan, and I think Tuchel is too. His loan at Norwich did not go to plan, but in the same way I viewed Loftus-Cheek’s time at Fulham and Ampadu’s at Sheffield United, it’s valuable Premier League experience which he may not have got if he stuck around at the club.

But, I’m not sure the full trust from the manager is there. I remember vividly the game against Arsenal under lockdown when Gilmour was playing well and Jorginho was one of the worst players on the pitch, and it was the former who was subbed off.

But then again Billy started against City at the Etihad and was brilliant, with Rudiger individually picking him out afterwards for his performance.

I do think this two man midfield suits him quite well too. I’d be interested to see how he’d play with someone like Ethan next to him (in pre season). I’ve got no doubt Billy’s Chelsea quality, and maybe he senses a chance with Kante and Loftus-Cheek very behind at the moment in the plane due to their vaccination status.

Harvey Vale

Academy Player of the Season – it was only right he’d be on this tour in the US. It’s a bit of a shame it’s only him and Teddy Sharman-Lowe from the academy, but I don’t want to complain too much.

I’m slightly worried that he may not get as many minutes as he deserves as he’s still got Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount all ahead of him in terms of “squad status”.

But, maybe he’ll play a bit more at wingback especially after his success there in the Euros as captain, despite him preferring to play higher up the pitch or more centrally.

I really hope it helps with the contract talks too. I wonder if it’s a bit too late to go on loan as he wouldn’t have enough time to train with the other clubs ahead of the new season, so maybe staying with there being 5 subs may be the best choice for him at the moment. It’s one to keep an eye on.

Will all three impress in pre-season? (Billy Gilmour, Conor Gallagher & Harvey Vale)

Callum Hudson-Odoi

I seem to be saying this every year, but I do really think it’s make or break season for Callum.

He’s had an early start after coming back from his injury which kept him out for months, and he looks much bigger and says he feels more confident in his body.

The Sterling signing certainly makes things difficult for him as Mount is pretty undroppable for Tuchel and you’d expect Raheem to start. Callum needs to make sure he’s that third option whenever the other two are dropped/rested or there’s a change in formation so Mason goes into midfield.

We saw when Callum was given that trust last season and played constantly, he would perform and we suffered creatively without him. It’s now time for him to be that guy we all know he can be.

Tino Anjorin

The forgotten man…when he shouldn’t be that forgotten.

Often in the past compared to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, so far he’s followed a pretty similar senior career too where he hasn’t played enough football due to injury and certain decisions which haven’t worked out.

I worry that he’s going to be told at the end of this tour that he’s not a wanted man, and that he’ll go on loan again to a club which has settled already and it’ll take even longer for Tino to get minutes.

Either way, this attacking role in our formation suits Tino to a gem. We also shouldn’t forget that this is one of the best attacking talents Cobham have ever produced, physically dominating everyone and probably still being the best finisher at the club.

Similarly to Billy, Tuchel’s a massive fan. Last pre-season he was unfortunate picking up COVID at a terrible time, so maybe with more minutes he can really show what he’s about.

Raheem Sterling

I’ve already mentioned him in this piece a few times, but Chelsea fans should be so excited to see him play in that darker blue.

What I can see happening is him missing a sitter or scuffing a shot and that being replayed all over Twitter, when in reality it’ll be the other good stuff they ignore.

It’ll also be quite interesting to see how the Chelsea squad, and Tuchel, adapt to having someone like Sterling in the squad. Having such an elite winger with incredible movement and technical ability is something the Chelsea players won’t be used to.

Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi are going to rip the league apart 🔥

Armando Broja

A lot of bids have been going in for the Albanian recently. He’s a wanted man.

How wanted is he at Chelsea, though? If I’m being honest, I think he had a very good couple months at Southampton showing he’s got Premier League ability, but other than that went a bit missing and it seemed like defenders had worked him out.

And that is absolutely fine. He’s still so so young. I remember last pre-season he even shocked me as at Vitesse he struggled physically, but all of a sudden he was shrugging off players and linking up really well.

I think he could be a really useful option to have off the bench or against certain opposition this season, so I wouldn’t be against keeping him and pushing him alongside Kai Havertz.

So, that’s it for the preview. There are other players I’m going to keep an eye on as always, but which ones are yours? Let us know on our social media platforms!

I also wrote an academy season preview for Football London where I talked about who to look out for and Neil Bath’s new responsibility under Todd Boehly – so please check that out!

Written by Paree

Reece James Injured , Now What?

When the news surfaced of Chilwell needing surgery on his ACL injury we didn’t even fathom that potentially another injury of that magnitude was right around the corner. Reece James quite literally hobbled off of the pitch and was seen after the game walking only with the aid of some crutches. The injury is rumoured to be his hamstring and these kinds of injuries can vary in severity.

I’m no insider at the club but I can assume some scans will be done ASAP, probably today or tomorrow. Hamstring injuries can be tedious and are often flared up again if overdone and the normal thing would be to ease Reece back into play slowly. However, with 5 games in the next 17 days this is just not possible. This leaves Tuchel and the team in quite the predicament.

Below is a great post surrounding the possibilities of Reece James’ injury and the different types of recovery times for the different grades of hamstring injuries.

The options remaining at right-wing back now read Azpilicueta, Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi. Two of these aren’t even defenders… Azpilicueta is slowly declining which is saddening for everyone to see but is still a great option at RCB and to see him against the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham at wing back could be dangerous. Pulisic is still adapting to the position and everyone knows with him playing there against the aforementioned teams we could be in serious trouble. Hudson-Odoi didn’t have his finest match today against Brighton but it is evident to see he is more suited to the attacking positions. Both Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi will be in defensive bother trying to mark Mane if they have to play there and this will definitely reduce their attacking output as they would have to deal with a marauding Robertson and Mane.

An injury concern still looms over Andreas Christensen as his back problem flared up again tonight. A back injury like he has usually comes with the need for rest and with the hectic January schedule, it won’t do him any favours continuing to play through the pain. This means Azpilicueta could be forced to play RCB, lessening the options at wing back even further.

The only natural wing back at the club that is fit is Marcos Alonso. Even tonight he was having trouble against Lamptey, imagine the damage that Salah will do come Sunday. The idea was floated around before the game that Tuchel could be getting Reece James adapted to the left wing-back role as a way to prepare him for playing there against Liverpool. Well if that was a tactical plan by Tuchel, that went terribly wrong.

Obviously, we know that Reece James’ scans could all come back positive and he could be fine within a few weeks but what can we do in that time? My thoughts are that Tuchel will use Azpilicueta there against Liverpool to try and stay compact but for the other games throughout January he will use either Hudson-Odoi or Pulisic.

It would be nice if we had maybe Tino Livramento and Tariq Lamptey to replace Reece for the moment but we don’t. There are academy options that fit the profile of a wing back. For example, Dion Rankine is a pacy and dynamic player that has been utilised in this role before in the youth setup. Against Brentford we saw Xavier Simons play there and he put in a decent enough performance to earn some trust from Tuchel. It would be a big risk for academy players to be used in these big matches and I can’t really see it happening apart from the Chesterfield match.

If worst comes to worst and we need to explore the market for wing back options it would be a good idea for Tuchel and his recruitment team to possibly find a player capable of operating on both sides.

Another thorn in the side of a Chelsea side that has been ravaged by Covid and injuries over the past few weeks. The schedule comes under scrutiny and maybe rightly so but now is the time for the team to scrape together a few wins and steady the ship.

Written by Frankie

18th July 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Marc Guehi

Today Guehi completed his move to Crystal Palace in a five-year deal that is expected to be ‘at least’ £18m. (Sam Inkersole)

The deal includes future sell-on incentives and an option for Chelsea to match any offers that Guehi could receive later down the line.

Armando Broja

Broja today has agreed to a new five-year contract for the Blues. This will see Broja stay at Stamford Bridge until 2026.

Broja had this to say about his new contract: “I want to build on these foundations and I am really looking forward to progressing and making an impact at Chelsea in the years to come”. (Chelsea FC)

Broja signs five-year Chelsea deal with Tuchel ready to hand him chance
Image Source : Qlur

Erling Haaland

Chelsea are leaving ‘no stone unturned’ in their pursuit of signing Erling Haaland but are yet to make an official offer.

Chelsea are yet to offer an official bid or even hold official talks with Dortmund and talks are being done through “intermediaries”.

Chelsea will remain keen on Haaland for the remainder of the transfer window and are attempting to work through middlemen to try and get the deal done. (Sky Sports Germany via Sport Witness)

Kingsley Coman and Callum Hudson-Odoi

Chelsea are looking to engineer a swap deal with Bayern Munich that would see Kinglsey Coman come to Stamford Bridge and see Hudson-Odoi go to the Allianz.

For over two months the contract extension negotiations between Coman and Bayern have stalled, doubting a future at the club for the Frenchman. Their last meeting was 2 months ago, Coman’s agents demanded Sané’s wages (around €18m/yr). Bayern offered €13m/yr. Coman currently earns around €9m/yr.

Thomas Tuchel is reportedly a fan of Coman and the board are supposedly pushing the premise of including Hudson-Odoi in a deal.

However, Julian Nagelsmann is also a big fan of Kingsley Coman and is willing to try and keep him at Bayern.

Nagelsmann may be willing to keep the Frenchman but the club itself are willing to sell, citing a price of €90m to secure Coman’s services. (L’Équipe via GetFrenchFootballNews)

Kingsley Coman: Bayern Munich winger eyes Premier League move after  rejecting new contract offer | Football News | Sky Sports
Image Source : Sky Sports

Ethan Ennis

Chelsea are interested in 16-year-old Liverpool prospect Ethan Ennis.

Ennis scored a 26 minute hat trick against Sutton United U18 in one of his most impressive performances in the FA Youth Cup this year.

Ennis has turned down a scholarship offer from Liverpool and now looks set to join either Manchester United or Chelsea. (Liverpool Echo)

Despite being 16, Ennis has been a key figure in the Liverpool U18 setup and now looks to be moving on.

Ennis posted to his Instagram story a while ago that he had in fact visited Cobham, sparking the rumours that he may be on his way to the Blues.

Dan Coombs on Twitter: "Had been suggested Liverpool youngster Ethan Ennis  could sign for United. Appears he is off to Chelsea instead...… "

Written by Frankie

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

Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle Match Report

After the result at the weekend, Chelsea’s game against Newcastle meant the Blues had a chance to jump into a top 4 position. With Liverpool losing to Leicester, a win over the Magpies would mean they’d be in 4th place – only 4 points behind 3rd and 2nd place Leicester, and Manchester United respectively.

Thomas Tuchel has enjoyed a fruitful start to his managerial career at Chelsea. With 5 wins and 1 draw in all competitions, as well as 5 clean sheets in the previous 6, Chelsea look completely revitalized. With important ramifications on the table, this game was crucial in gaining ground in the race for top 4. Once again Tuchel chose to stick with the 3 at the back formation, with a few changes that had fans questioning his methods.

Source: Google

Starting Line-up: Arrizabalaga; Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta (C), Hudson-Odoi (Out 78′), Jorginho, Kovačić, Alonso, Werner, Mount (Out 70′), Abraham (Out 20′)

Subs: Mendy, Palmieri, Kanté (In 70′), Ziyech, Pulisic, Zouma, Chilwell, James (In 78′), Giroud (In 20′)

Moving Callum Hudson-Odoi back to the right wing-back role where we originally saw him feature, Reece James was left on the bench. Finally, Kepa started in goal after his performance against Barnsley and Mendy was moved then to the bench. With Thiago Silva still out injured Christensen remained the starter, and Tuchel opted for Tammy Abraham to lead the line.

First Half

The first half started out quite well, the Blues looked sharp right from the beginning, and gave Newcastle trouble in defense. The Magpies did not sit as deep as was likely expected early on in the game. Instead they setup in a 5-3-3. out of possession in a mid-block leaving space behind for runners.

Early on in the half around the 2nd minute, a quality passage of play from the Blues saw Azpilicueta play the ball into Mount who laid off the ball to CHO on the right flank. CHO cut in and laid the ball off to Kovačić who switched the play to the left in space for Marcos Alonso to take a shot on target.


The shot was saved comfortably however it showed much of the space available to operate in which Chelsea could exploit, stretching the back line of Newcastle’s defense horizontally.

Soon after in the 6th minute of the game, Azpi had a chance from a corner won that was a strong attempt on goal. After a second consecutive corner was won from a header by Marcos Alonso, Mount played in the second corner in which Azpi made a run toward the near post.


The header was flicked onto the far post, where Dwight Gayle was standing and was able to clear the ball over the top of the goal. Had it not been for Dwight Gayle, it seemed likely Azpi’s effort could’ve resulted in a goal.

At about the 14th minute, Tammy Abraham was given a great chance to open the scoring for Chelsea. Kovačić received the ball from deep and skipped past a few of the Newcastle frontline defenders. He spotted an excellently timed run by Tammy Abraham as an option to play the ball over the top to.


Tammy took a great touch in stride to put the ball out in front of him. However while he was through on goal, Jamaal Lascelles recovered quite well and put in controversial tackle on Tammy inside the box. He slides from behind Tammy and just gets the ball although he may have went through Abraham and tackled him before getting the ball. Regardless, the decision of no penalty was the result.

However, Tammy did end up getting hurt after the challenge. Although he carried on until about the 20th minute, he never quite recovered and was limping the entire time while he remained on the pitch. As a result, Tuchel opted to bring on Olivier Giroud to replace him.

Around the 25h minute Chelsea saw another serious chance which could’ve ended Werner’s goal drought in the league. Mason Mount laid the ball off to Giroud who dropped deep and saw a switch of play to Alonso on the left side of the box.


Werner throughout this process intelligently positioned himself in the central gaps left open by the Newcastle defense, and got on the end of Alonso’s headed pass. Unfortunately, Werner was forced to lunge forward for the ball, and he was unable to drive it goalwards, putting his attempt just wide right.

However, it wasn’t long after when Chelsea opened the scoring. At about the 30th minute mark, Timo Werner played a pivotal role in opening the scoring. Christensen played the ball over the top and out wide to Werner who had dropped deep. Werner controlled the pass and drove with the ball down the line, slowing down and accelerating to beat his man on the left flank.


He fizzed in a ball into the danger zone directed at Mount, but the keeper got a hand to it and pushed the ball out. The ball however, dropped to Giroud who was well positioned for the second chance and had practically an open goal to bury the chance for Chelsea’s opener.

Shortly after, Timo Werner is presented with yet another opportunity to end his streak and extend the lead for the Blues. Kovačić once again with his excellent dribbling ability drove through two Newcastle defenders, played a beautiful 1-2 sequence with Giroud to beat another man, then delicately played the ball just above the ground and through to Werner. Werner took this chance first time, and made good contact on the effort, but unfortunately lifted the ball just too much to go over the crossbar.

However, Werner did finally end his drought in the game. After having won a corner around the 38th minute, Mason Mount delivered a ball over the top into the box. On its way, the ball missed Giroud, and bounced off a couple Newcastle defenders, and fell to the feet of Werner at the far post.


The ball was hit just over the line, and although the goal was scrappy, a nervy VAR check resulted in the confirmation of the goal and Timo was thrilled to finally get on the score sheet.

After this point in the game, a couple more chances which did not result in goals occurred. Around the 41st minute, Mount took an audacious attempt from the right half space on his weaker foot. He struck the ball very well with power, but the effort went wide and did not trouble the keeper.

Newcastle just before halftime began to become more aggressive in their press, slightly causing Chelsea to struggle, however just around the 46th minute after a Chelsea corner, Newcastle defended well and looked to break quickly. The transition was cut out by Alonso who quickly found Mount open in the left side of the box for a shot which he dragged wide right.

Overall, the half was quite dominant by Chelsea. They defended excellently and barely allowed Newcastle opportunities in the first half if any. In addition to being able to play through their press, they were able to create loads of chances, and potentially could’ve scored more had all their chances been taken.

Second Half

The second half however, was not as impressive. Newcastle adjusted their intensity at halftime and made it a point to apply pressure on Chelsea’s midfield pivot. This resulted in a more difficult process when trying to build out from the. back.

Early on their aggression paid off as they got an opportunity after winning the ball from a blocked pass off Azpilicueta. Saint-Maximin played the ball won into a central position to Isaac Hayden, who took a shot that deflect onto goal for a simple save by Kepa.

Soon after Newcastle won a free kick in a dangerous area. Jonjo Shelvey lined up to take the free kick and struck the ball with a lot of power.


However, Kepa’s form was good today and he was equal to the chance. He reached the shot quite easily and held onto the attempt to disallow any second chance opportunities.

The next 20 or so minutes no substantial opportunities were created. Chelsea tried attacking Newcastle’s box, however had trouble in really breaking down their opponent as they did in the first half. At about the 64th minute, Kovačić once again was involved in carry the ball from deeping while evade a few Newcastle players in the process.He. drove forward with the ball and laid off a great pass out wide in the path of CHO who fizzes a ball in, but is cleared for a corner.

Shortly after, Timo Werner dropped deep on the left side of the pitch and played the ball centrally to Jorginho. Jorginho played Mount on the right, who then drove forward with the ball into the opponent’s box and laid off the ball to CHO who was overlapping.


CHO played the ball across the face of goal and between many Newcastle defenders. Unfortunately, no Chelsea player is able to get on the end of the opportunity and the ball ran through.

This was Mount’s final involvement as he was replaced in the 70th minute by N’Golo Kanté who added a third man to the Chelsea midfield. Very soon after, a ball which was played over the top to Werner results with him inside the Newcastle box. However, Lascelles once again the culprit, put a slight shove on Werner who tried to control the ball and Werner fell over. After review once again, the decision was no penalty.

Finally, the last substantial chance of Newcastle resulted around the 74th minute, with Joe Willock. After a throw in for Newcastle, they attempted to attack Chelsea who were looking to defend deeper and see the game out. Newcastle had been constantly playing deep crosses from wide areas into the box hoping to score off these opportunities. Ryan Fraser who had come on later in the game whipped in a ball from deep into the box.


Willock made an excellent diagonal run into the box, elevated over multiple Chelsea defenders for an excellent headed attempt which was goal bound. Once again, Kepa was quick to react in the situation, and got a strong hand to the ball to push it wide.

After this point, in the 78th minute Reece James replaced Callum Hudson-Odoi and the game was seen out by Chelsea to hold onto the clean sheet and win their 4th game in a row in the league.

Brief Tactical Overview:

Chelsea with the ball were often looking to play through the press of Newcastle, utilizing Jorginho and Kovačić heavily in the first half. Additionally, the wide defenders would also often progress and play the ball into either one of the dual 10s or wing-backs if playing through the middle was not available for them to then create attacks at the opponents box. In the second half, once the press became more intense from Newcastle, Chelsea adjusted by having a man from the front drop deeper and add more numbers to the midfield as further passing options.

Without the ball, Chelsea’s front line pressed well trying to close down opponents very quickly. They were intense and with purpose, while heavily utilizing the dual 10s and mids to create wide overloads and pin the opponent in wide areas with no options. In the second half, the intensity of the press dropped off as time went on, as the team geared more towards game management and holding the clean sheet. As a result, they opted to hold their shape and defend a bit deeper for better anticipation of Newcastle’s crosses.

Positives and Negatives:

In the first half, Chelsea did well in playing through the press of the front 3 press using the midfielders to play between lines and progress the attacks. Kovačić was especially excellent in this regard, as his dribbling and beating players allowed the Blues us to take on the back line, and his passing decisions and execution were very sharp. Additionally, Chelsea were very strong in the buildup. Often they were able to play from the left to evade the press, then switch the play to the right using either Jorginho or Kovačić who linked up with Mount or CHO on right to drive the attack.

In the second half this became more of a struggle, however the adjustment of dropping players deeper as outlets allowed Chelsea to better cope with the additional pressure placed on the midfield pivot. Finally, Chelsea created a number of chances this game from corners as a result of well timed and angled runs in the box (Azpi), intelligently positioned players (Werner), and excellent services (Mount).

Chelsea did also have areas in which they would have improved on. At times, playing around the back too much especially after the press from Newcastle picked up. This resulted in playing the ball between the central defenders excessively at times and led to a few chances for Newcastle. Although the Blues scored two, they created plenty of chances and possibly deserved more. More chances could definitely have been taken and should improve to kill off games earlier and more convincingly (Timo a couple chances and Mount one before half).

More particularly in the second half, Jorginho losing the ball not being able to deal with aggressive press from Newcastle was definitely an area of concern to think about for future opposition which press more effectively. Finally particularly in the second half, final balls also could have been better after playing through the press and on transition chances.

Implications and Next:

Chelsea now sit in 4th, level on point with West Ham but ahead on goal difference. Although a few clubs in the below positions have a game or two in hand, Chelsea are very much in the driver’s seat for their top 4 destiny. With about 14 games to go, Chelsea’s next run of fixtures show to be difficult ones.

Playing Southampton in the league next on the weekend, this would be the first time Chelsea face an intense pressing side under Thomas Tuchel. Therefore, it will be an interesting showcase of how the team adapts and the selection/formation he opts for. After this, Chelsea have Atletico Madrid in the UCL, and Manchester United and Everton in the league, as their next three fixtures. After these next few games, Chelsea fans should get a better understanding of where Tuchel’s Chelsea stands and what to expect.

Chelsea 2-0 Burnley Match Report

Playing against another team known to sit deep and defend compact, Chelsea’s second game under Thomas Tuchel would provide interesting insight on how the new manager would fair against such sides in the league.

In the last game against Wolves, the Blues failed to score a goal, settling for a 0-0 draw. In what seemed to be a similar game, Tuchel opted to retain his chosen 3-4-2-1 formation in the first match, with a few changes in the side.

Source: Chosen11

Starting Line-up: Mendy; Rüdiger, Silva, Azpilicueta (C), Hudson-Odoi (Out 72′), Jorginho, Kovačić, Alonso, Werner, Mount (Out 80′), Abraham (Out 45′)

Subs: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Kanté, Havertz (In 80′), Pulisic (In 45′), Zouma, Chilwell, James (In 72′), Giroud

First Half

The first 15 minutes started scrappy, with no real spells of strong possession. Burnley decided to pressure the Blues a bit, before beginning to settle a bit deeper in their side. In the 7th minute Timo Werner cut in from the left flank and played a great pass to Mount on the left side of the box who took a shot but couldn’t hit the target.

Afterwards, Thiago Silva had a crucial interception in our box for an opportunity that was breaking for Burnley, one of many chances Silva cut out in the game. However, the first real chance didn’t come until the 20th minute or so.

Mateo Kovačić played a quick 1-2 pass with Jorginho which allowed him to evade the opposition press and play a ball into the box for Callum Hudson-Odoi to run onto for a shot.

Source: SuperSport

However, the pass lacked pace and as a result Odoi was unable to make much of the opportunity as he cut inside to shoot instead of hitting the shot first time.

Source: SuperSport3

Outside of this opportunity, Chelsea struggled to create all too much in the first 20 minutes of the match. With clear struggles in the final third, breaking down Burnley proved to be difficult.

The next chance came from a Jorginho ball over the top of the defensive line around the 24th minute. Alonso made a back post run as Jorginho played a ball for Alonso to get his head onto.

Source: SuperSport

Unfortunately, Alonso’s headed effort was placed towards the back post, a bit too far for both Tammy and Mount to get onto, and resulted in a goal kick once again representing the lack of quality of final balls and touches in the opponent’s box.

However, Callum Hudson-Odoi was clearly a focal point in the build-up from the back to progress the ball quickly. In addition, he was deployed to run at the defense and leverage his creativity to make opportunities for the team. Around the 28th minute, Odoi drove with the ball from the right flank and played in a ball to the feet of Timo Werner with pace. Werner was unable to control the ball for a shot which ended up squandering the chance for the team.

Once again, the decisiveness and ability of the team particularly in the final third, struggled throughout the half. Organizationally the team seemed settled, however the feeling was uneasy when attacking in terms of the approach and quality. Nothing seemed to be going for the Blues in terms of resulting in any dangerous chances created, until just before half-time.

Chelsea’s goal resulted from a wonderful counter attack with speed and directness. The team had a throw-in in their own half which was received by Jorginho, who immediately turned to play Mount running into space and looking to progress the ball.

Source: SuperSport

In front of Mount running down the right flank was none other than Hudson-Odoi, who received the ball from Mount and progressed it into the box. Subsequently, Azpilicueta made the overlapping run into the box from the right centre half position to support.

Odoi drove in drawing defenders and laid off the ball to Azpilicueta who had acres of space to take a shot from inside the box.

Source: SuperSport

Azpilicueta caught the ball perfectly and generated too much power for Pope to react quick enough as the ball hit the back of the net for the game’s opening goal. The goal proved to be a huge turning point as Burnley were now down just before half.

Overall the half was decent, and the great counter attack the Blues scored from made up for other forgone opportunities. However, it was clear Chelsea could improve in possession when breaking down the low block, with a better understanding between the players and their approach, as well as better end product.

Second Half

Going into the second-half, refining and improving on the positives of the first-half was the goal and that was the theme for the remainder of the game. Tuchel opted for a change at half-time, as he subbed off Tammy Abraham for Christian Pulisic, moving Timo Werner to the central striker position.

The team was playing better in possession and creating more chances this half down the right flank with once again, Callum Hudson-Odoi being the focal point. Early on in the second half, Odoi received the ball and began to drive at the Burnley backline.

Source: SuperSport

Odoi created space for himself for a shot, and took his opportunity in the box. The shot however, deflected off of the defender, and clipped the outside of the near post and went out for a goal kick.

At about the 68th minute or so, Odoi again was involved in the attack. Being played down line by Mount, Odoi got on the end of the pass and played a driven cross on the ground in front of the face of the goal.

Source: SuperSport

However, Burnley defender Ben Mee attempted to block the cross, which proved to be almost fatal for his side as he gets very close to putting the ball into his own net.

Source: SuperSport

After having deflected the cross, the ball deflect on target which required the excellent reach and reactions of Nick Pope, who kept his side in the game and the score at 1-0.

Before getting subbed off in the 72nd minute, Odoi was involved in one last passage of play. Mount again, linked up with Odoi, and played him a pass on the flank. Odoi received the ball and noticed Pulisic looking for the cut back in space inside the box. He played Pulisic in with an excellent pass, who just steered his shot wide right of the Burnley goal.

Odoi went off in the 72nd minute and went on to win man of the match, as Reece James replaced him for the rest of the game. With Rudiger and Kovačić constantly looking for diagonal switch balls to Odoi, he was clearly the focal point of attack for the game.

Source: WhoScored

As a result, Odoi ended with 64 touches throughout the game all down the right hand side, proving to be the most threatening player for the Chelsea side this game.

After this point, the game seemed to be in cruise control. Reece James had an opportunity around the 74th minute just after coming on, with a volley from the right side of the box. Pope however made a good save with his legs, and was careful not to spill the shot for another opportunity in the box.

As the game pushed on, Burnley began to push further out of their half in hopes of getting an equalizer, as they were still down 1-0. However, around the 84th minute, Chelsea scored their second goal to bury any hope for Burnley to salvage a point from the game.

Antonia Rudiger broke into the midfield with the ball, and laid it off to Alonso who played Pulisic down line.

Source: SuperSport

Pulisic cut on the edge of the box, while Alonso made a run into the box. He chipped in a cross to Alonso who controlled it in the air and turned for a great volley from a tight angle.

Source: SuperSport

Alonso’s shot hit off the crossbar and went in, leaving no chance for Pope to save the shot. Alonso’s goal put the Blues up 2-0 and the game ended this way.

Results and Implications

With the win today and other results around the league, Chelsea have moved to 7th in the table, level on points with 6th place Spurs and 8th place Everton. With the title race looking to be out of reach for the Blues, top 4 is the priority for the club as they sit 6 points off Leicester City in 4th, who lost to Leeds today.

Next week, Chelsea travel to White Hart Lane to play London rivals Tottenham Hotspur who are level on points but have a game in hand over Chelsea. This means their game on Thursday is even more crucial than just beating rivals, it has greater implications on the race for top 4.

Hudson-Odoi and Werner hold the keys to Lampard’s future

Try as hard as you like but you can never get three players into two positions. Harder still is getting three into one. This is the situation Frank Lampard currently finds himself in, as he struggles to select his starting wingers. In Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Lampard has at his disposal arguably one of the most talented unit of natural wide men in Europe, but finding a way to keep them all happy has proven difficult. The main spanner in the works is Timo Werner’s inclusion on the left wing, meaning Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi are forced either to their weaker flank or to the bench. Finding a solution to his problems on the flanks could lead to Lampard getting his Chelsea side to click, but a number of issues must be solved before he can do this: deciding whether to deviate from the 4-3-3 he knows and trusts, getting the best out of the misfiring Werner and managing game time of all three wingers to avoid consistent injury issues.  

Breaking down the game time of Chelsea’s four main flank options highlights a startling statistic: Callum Hudson-Odoi has started just 16% of the side’s league games this term. This seems like a very low proportion for such an incredibly talented player, not least when you consider his reported £120,000 per week contract and that the club rejected an offer of a loan with a £70 million option to buy from Bayern Munich for him last summer. So, the 20-year-old must find it strange that he can barely get on the pitch under Lampard despite the European Champions showing interest in acquiring his services. More startling still is the fact that Pulisic and Ziyech have started only 47% and 37% of league games so far, meaning Hudson-Odoi is not being kept out by two more experienced wide men. Mason Mount and even Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been preferred to Hudson-Odoi in a wide role at times this season, perhaps hinting at a lack of faith in him from Lampard. More confusing still were the manager’s comments made post-Fulham match about the winger, ‘Callum deserved to start today, to be fair. It’s not easy selections for me on that side of the pitch at the moment.’ Those comments infer a lack of meritocracy at the club. Incidentally when Hudson-Odoi did come on in the 75th minute of that game, he immediately sparked Chelsea into action and was integral in Mount’s winning goal just three minutes after his introduction.

As Chelsea have slumped into the doldrums of midtable following a chastening run of form in December and January – which has included just 2 wins from 8 in the league – very few players have stood out for the right reasons. One of the select few is Hudson-Odoi, who has made a huge impact when fighting lost causes against Arsenal and Manchester City, and in changing games such as the aforementioned Fulham match. The youngsters brilliant assist from his unfavoured right flank against Arsenal almost led Chelsea to an unlikely comeback, before a certain regista missed yet another penalty. His clever run in behind Zinchenko and composed sliding finish to score a consolation goal against City were testament to his footballing intelligence, pace and composure. Put simply, if Lampard wants to revitalise his side, putting his faith in Hudson-Odoi is a good place to start. Recent lacklustre performances from last season’s post-restart talisman, Pulisic, who has a solitary goal from 786 minutes of league action so far this campaign, should open up a slot on the left flank for the Englishmen to get a regular run of games. With fixtures against Luton, Burnley and Wolves coming up, now is as good a time as any for Lampard to throw him in.

Could it finally be time for Hudson-Odoi to take centre stage at Stamford Bridge and fulfil his huge potential? Photo credit: Metro

Whilst Ziyech, Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi have struggled for game time due to a lack of fitness or trust from the manager, Timo Werner has had no such worries. Starting 82% of Chelsea’s league fixtures to date, with the majority (63%) of these starts on the left flank, the German has the third most league minutes for the Blues behind Mount and Kanté. It is obvious that Lampard is desperate for his summer signing to succeed but he is not suited to a role on the left wing in a 4-3-3. A modern-day Premier League winger must be creative, a good crosser and able to maintain and progress possession, traits which Werner does not yet possess. This is highlighted by his lacklustre 0.8 key passes and 0.2 successful crosses, as well as his huge 3.2 combined poor touches and times dispossessed per game, illustrating his lack of creativity and his inability to keep the ball let alone do anything dangerous with it. He still has a very respectable 7.16 expected goals to his name after 16 starts (his actual tally of 4 goals shows a lack of confidence in front of goal), as he manages to pop up in threatening positions. When compared to Hudson-Odoi’s 1.2 key passes, 0.5 successful crosses (a figure which could still improve) and 0.9 combined poor touches and dispossessions per game, it is clear that Chelsea could do with a natural winger on the left side.

A vital aspect of Lampard turning his side’s form around is getting the best out of £54 million signing Werner. The German has caused selection headaches for Lampard, with his ability to play in an alien 4-3-3 formation under question. Not physical enough to hold the ball up as a lone number 9 and nowhere near progressive enough to play as an out-and-out left winger as discussed, Werner does not seem comfortable anywhere in the current system. It is now well documented that the German enjoyed his most successful period at Red Bull Leipzig as part of a two man centre forward partnership, often paired with the tall and combative Dane, Yussuf Poulsen. Fortunately for the Blues, in Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham they have two centre forwards who fit the Poulsen mould and if anything should strike up a better partnership with Werner as they are much more rounded players than his former teammate. Playing Werner as a second striker (whoever his partner is) would also free up room on the left flank for one of Pulisic or Hudson-Odoi.

Werner has shown flashes of brilliance but must rediscover his scoring touch to save Lampard’s job. Could a positional change pave the way? Photo credit: talkSPORT

Werner was always going to take time to adapt to a new country and league, but one factor not spoken about enough is the new playing style he has been forced to adapt to. His frightening pace – topping out at an impressive 35 km/hour in the Bundesliga, quicker even than Pulisic! – made him perfect for a counter-attacking side shy on possession and desperate to transition from defence to attack as quickly as possible in Leipzig. At Chelsea he has still been able to break away past high defensive lines (see his late miss vs Fulham) but has also been expected to be a part of more patient build up play, something which will take time to adapt to. Playing as a second striker, he will have less responsibility when it comes to progressing the ball and tracking back, two of his least favourite parts of the game, and more opportunity to sit on the shoulder of the last defender and run in behind defences when possible.

When chasing results recently, Lampard has shown that he is not scared to switch up his tactics. An exciting 4-2-2-2 formation has been experimented with, most notably when chasing the game against a ten-man Fulham. This system would involve two holding midfielders covering an awful lot of ground to avoid the Blues losing the midfield battle, but if a pivot of Mount and Kanté could do the work of three men (given their work rates I wouldn’t put it past them) then it would open up an exciting world of opportunities for Chelsea’s forwards. Two of Pulisic, Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi would start on the wings with a front two of Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham or perhaps even Kai Havertz, partnering Timo Werner. This set-up could of course prove to be too open and may require two lights-out holding players (Declan Rice return anybody?) to properly function, but given the current system seems to be flawed it might be worth a try for Lampard, with winnable fixtures against the aforementioned Burnley and Wolves, as well as strugglers Sheffield United and Newcastle in the coming weeks.

Lampard may have to lean on Hudson-Odoi in the coming weeks. Photo credit: The Sun

As the Blues limp on, glancing nervously in their rear-view mirrors at Arsenal gaining on them and staring longingly up the table at the likes of Leicester City and Everton, it is obvious that a lot needs to change to kickstart their season. There are a lot of flaws in the team: a huge drop off in pressing, a worrying difficulty to transition between attack and defence (costing the side dearly against counter-attacking sides), as well as a lack of any tangible game plan other than to cross and hope in the final third. One quick fix is to play two natural wingers and select them based on merit, and to reposition Werner to a more natural role as a second striker. Now is a time for Lampard to be bold, with his future very much in doubt. There has been a suggestion of certain players downing tools under the current regime, and so the manager is fortunate that in Hudson-Odoi he has a potential game changer whom he can trust. The odds are stacked against Chelsea’s greatest ever player, but this writer is sure he will come back fighting. The next month is crucial, and with a few tweaks and a bit of luck we could see Chelsea emulate both Manchester clubs in soaring up the table. There is always hope.

Written by Daniel New

Why Erling Haaland could be our #1 transfer target…

Given the current form of the team, it’s no secret that Chelsea are still well invested in the transfer market. It’s worth saying that the team’s transfer business over the past handful of seasons has been far from illustrious, featuring the sales of Mohammed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne and the purchases of the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Kepa Arrizabalaga with the former most recently in headlines for being sent off in a U23s match. Club legends Petr Cech and Frank Lampard seemed to make it a point this time last year to end this trend and get the club some real talent and energy to put on the pitch, and while they have, it just hasn’t quite worked out. Hakim Ziyech has already suffered a handful of injuries, Timo Werner started off red hot and has now frozen into an icicle whilst being played out of position, and Kai Havertz hasn’t really been afforded the opportunity to do much of anything having contracted COVID-19 and also seemingly playing in a new position every time he’s put on the pitch. Needless to say, the club still sorely lacks the star power that departed along with Eden Hazard in his dream Summer 2019 move to Real Madrid. Of course while Hazard hasn’t made much of a difference in Spain during his time there thus far, it’s his impact at Stamford Bridge that is truly missed, having carried the team for his last 3 years with us.

With rumors of Roman Abramovich being dissatisfied with the club’s run of results and a managerial shake-up circling Frank Lampard like sharks in black water it should come as no surprise that Lampard might be frantically looking for reinforcements behind the scenes. Even with the likes of Werner and Havertz struggling for form, they have continued to be played routinely with Lampard reluctant to turn to more familiar faces from last season’s mild success such as Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi. The latter has been in blistering form lately and even Lampard himself admitted that his hand may be forced when it comes to the team sheet later on. Unfortunately, this might only be one piece of the puzzle that’s missing up top for Chelsea.

However, if the board are willing to continue backing Frank Lampard through this tough period we could see another forward don the Blue Shirt for Chelsea FC. Recently rumors have picked up about the club being interested in signing Borussia Dortmund starboy Erling Haaland who once stated he’d have loved to play with Frank Lampard. Haaland provides a similar profile to legendary strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Cantona – a player with excellent shooting technique, ability to read the game, smart movements, nifty and powerful dribbling as well as the ability to get up and head the football. With this transfer rumor though there are a few things that must be taken into consideration. Borussia Dortmund are not the same European powerhouse they were in 2013 when they took on Bayern Munich in the UCL final under Jurgen Klopp, and perhaps they could sell Haaland to fund replacements for aging veterans Axel Witsel and Mats Hummels. Additionally, if they sold Jadon Sancho the club could find themselves writhing in money in an instant. A problem that Chelsea will face however is the dealing with agent Mino Raiola, who represents Haaland. Raiola recently made disparaging remarks about Manchester United star and client Paul Pogba’s situation at the club, something that Marina Granovskaia and Roman Abramovich are sure not to tolerate, especially considering that the club have notoriously avoided dealing with the agent as it is.

The talent of Erling Haaland might become means for an exception, with the Norwegian recently becoming the fastest player to every score 25 goals in Europe’s top five leagues, scoring 25 in 25 games. The signing of Haaland could prove problematic, leaving the club with four strikers by trade as well as a huge hit to Abramovich’s wallet which would surely make Frank Lampard’s thin tightrope even thinner as sacking rumors continue to hang over the club legend. In addition, the board will continue to search for landing spots for the embattled Kepa Arrizabalaga as well as a path that would see West Ham star Declan Rice return to The Bridge with Mason Mount and other close Chelsea contacts. The next weeks will decide an important chapter moving towards the club’s future.

How will Timo Werner fit this season with Chelsea FC?

It has a been tumultuous summer transfer market for Chelsea who have been one of the most active teams to date. One player who had been mentioned regularly prior to joining the Blues was Timo Werner. The German came off a career year who had been consistently mentioned to join Liverpool. Chelsea, who hardly were mentioned caught many people by surprise.

When a player such as Werner is available to be signed, a club who has the necessary funds should do what is possible to obtain their signature and commitment. If they wait too long to make a decision, other teams will grasp at the opportunity to acquire some of the best talent available in the transfer market. 

Over the past couple weeks prior to joining Chelsea, it was widely rumoured that Liverpool was in pole position to sign Werner. The Reds were reluctant to pay his full release clause of nearly €53 million euros and had yet to offer a contract to the forward.  Inter Milan and Juventus were also interested, but Chelsea seem to be willing to pay the full release clause and offer a five-year deal worth 10 million per year in wages. 

The late move by Chelsea caught many people by surprise and has shown that they are committed to signing one of the best up-and-coming players. Before signing Werner, in the past 12 months, Chelsea had only signed Mateo Kovaĉić and Hakim Ziyech. The transfer ban may have been a blessing in disguise as the club acquired a player who will help in many different ways.  Chelsea’s willingness to put pen to paper for the forward has Werner convinced in the project they have setup and Lampard playing a major role in convincing the German in what they plan to do moving forward.

While Liverpool continued to stall in signing Werner, Chelsea was lurking in the dark and wasted no time, pouncing on the opportunity. With the forward now part of the club, Chelsea fans have much to be excited about. What can they expect from the Leipzig forward?

Frank Lampard will be getting a player who should nicely fit his style of play. The Chelsea manager prefers to play direct attacking football, but the Blues have really struggled to finish their chances this season. Chelsea averaged 16.6 shots per game while only scoring 1.7 goals per game. Tammy Abraham has contributed 15 goals, but is the only player on the squad to find the back of the goal more than ten times in the English Premier League.  Willian who no longer is with the squad was second with six goals. The inability to find consistent scoring from other players has been a major issue for Lampard.  

Werner has flourished under manager Julian Nagelsmann, who’s been able to develop the forward’s game this season. Currently playing in a 4-4-2 formation, Werner showed to be very consistent, which is a rare quality to find in young players. The forward has scored many goals this season with his great movement and ability to strike the ball with great power and accuracy. The striker scored 28 goals in the Bundesliga, who was second in the league behind Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. 

In the previous two Bundesliga campaigns, where he played as a wide forward, he averaged 3.6 shots per 90 minutes. In recent seasons he’s managed to get to the net and create opportunities for him and his teammates. This year, playing as a false nine, he’s averaged 3.6 shots per game and has improved his goal-scoring rate, averaging 0.71 goals per 90 minutes.  

Last season, Bayern Munich decided not to make a move for the forward, which has worked out well for the young forward.  Playing another season under Nagelsmann has helped Werner become a more complete player.

“Nagelsmann has said that I won’t be playing as an out-and-out striker for him as much, but more of a false 9,” Werner said.

“It has encouraged me to improve and develop myself, even when we come up against oppositions that sit deep. He’s helped me to make better use of space.”

Werner’s flexibility will provide Lampard positional versatility.  He will allow the Chelsea manager the option to play different formations, including the 4-3-3.  While Lampard has used various formations this season, the 4-3-3 is his preferred option. Werner will be a viable replacement for Pedro and Willian who are no longer with the club, and the forward has shown he can play on either wing, as a striker and as a false nine. 

Lampard’s current options include Abraham as the striker, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson Odoi on either wing and Ziyech who could play as a right winger, a ten, or an eight. New addition, Kai Havertz could be used on the right wing or as an attacking midfielder, yet both players are capable of playing together up front. They have the ability to score and the experience of playing together for the German International squad.

Lampard has an abundance of players that offer positional versatility, which gives the manager many options to choose from. With so many competitions to be played, it never hurts to have more bodies in the line up as injuries do occur throughout the season. 

The scoring should vastly improve the most for Chelsea. Werner’s great movement will create more space for Abraham to work with and should result in more scoring opportunities.  Abraham’s physical strength up front and ability to play behind the defense should allow him room to separate him from the defense and have more chances to score. 

While Werner is not the most physical player, he has shown he can score at a prolific rate. He has scored 78 goals in 127 Bundesliga appearances with Leipzig over the past four campaigns. Goal scoring will no longer be an area of concern for Lampard as with a player of this caliber at his disposal. A new chapter is about to begin in Werner’s life and one which he will most certainly embrace. 

What will Kai Havertz offer to Chelsea and what makes him special

Chelsea finalized their second biggest signing in club history as they reached an agreement with Bayern Leverkusen. Kai Havertz was purchased for 70 million Euros from the German club and will join the Blues. He will have the chance to play alongside Timo Werner who plays with him for International side, Germany.

To be acknowledged and recognized in football takes hard work and dedication with the hopes of making dreams a reality. Throughout the past seasons, Havertz has shown the desire and devotion to work hard, improve his game and consistently perform at the highest level. He now joins a club who is showing the ambition to win multiple trophies as they have been one of the most active teams in the transfer market.

Havertz joins a relatively young squad who has players such as Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham. He becomes the next youngest player to be inserted into this squad and will immensely help manager, Frank Lampard, who has shown the commitment and willingness to play young players. Yet, what will Havertz offer his new club and what makes him so unique?

Havertz started playing at the age of four years old with Alemannia Mariadorf. In 2009, he then signed with Alemannia Aachen and spent one season in the club’s academy. Only spending one season with the second division club, he then signed with Bayer Leverkusen when he was 11 years old.

In the hopes of one day making the first team and playing in the Bundesliga, the midfielder spent seven years in the club’s academy. Additionally, Havertz played for the under 16 and 17 German National side. As the years passed by, the midfielder continued to develop his skills and mindset which developed him into an elite midfielder.

The commitment, hard work and ability to develop his game finally paid off for the German as on October 15, 2016, he found himself coming on to the pitch as a substitute for Charles Aranguiz. The wait was over for the midfielder who at the time was 17 years old and saw his dream become a reality. Since taking that step on to the pitch, the midfielder hasn’t looked back as he’s developed himself into one of the most talked about players in football.   

While Werner, James Rodriquez and Donny van de Beek have incited talks that see them with new clubs this upcoming year, another player who was headlined and generated a lot of attention has been young sensational midfielder, Havertz. In his four seasons with the Leverkusen, the midfielder has made quite the name for himself with his exciting style of play and ability to read the game.

Havertz holds many qualities which have been crucial to his game and allowed him to become a complete midfielder. At a young age, he’s developed skills in his game which many other players have yet to establish.

Starting off as a number ten with Leverkusen, in the role of an attacking midfielder, he has developed into a more versatile player who has shown to succeed in any position in the forward. He can play right midfield, right forward and the false nine. He’s able to assert himself as forward playing deeper but safely.

When Havertz is in the box and near the goal, he’s a very creative player who has good movement. His dribbling skills allow him to get around defenders and he has shown the ability to be decisive and clinical. In addition to scoring timely winning goals, he’s assisted in the build up of many plays which have led to goals for his teammates.

Havertz is a technical player and has the ability to play off either of his feet when in possession of the ball as he’s cemented himself as a two-footed midfielder. He is a threat to the opposition defence with his quick one-touch passes within tight areas. He has good passing and decision making and carries the ball well when playing it to his teammates.

The most important trait which Havertz has developed in his game is the ability to play at a high consistent level and carry the responsibility that has been given to him and take the lead.

The season prior was a career year for Havertz as he scored 17 goals in 34 Bundesliga matches. This season he has followed with another strong campaign as he’s tallied 12 goals in 24 appearances. Additionally, no player has scored more than the 36 goals that Havertz has amassed in the Bundesliga before the age of 21. The midfielder has shown no signs of slowing down as he continues to become one of the best upcoming midfielders in today’s modern game of football.

“You look at his profile, his experience already and the regularity with which he performs at a high level, you can have great confidence that he is the real deal, “recruitment expert David Webb told The Independent.

“He has been consistent and established himself as one of the best young players in the world at Leverkusen, which is also a good sign because he’s had to shoulder a lot of responsibility there and take the lead.

“He’s obviously got a maturity about him, which comes across not just in his performances but in his character.”

Lampard now gets a player who he has coveted for quite a while and should help the Englishman in this upcoming season. From being a versatile player to a complete scorer, he could be slotted into the lineup in various way which will give Lampard plenty of options to consider. He prefers to use a 4-3-3, so, expect Werner and Havertz to play together as they have been able to develop chemistry with German squad. Both have shown the ability to score at a rapid pace and will make it difficult for the other team’s defense.

The midfielder has taken his game to the next level this year and caught the interest of several clubs in different leagues. A player who is as rare as Havertz had top teams such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Liverpool in Leverkusen’s path for his services. It was an unlikely club that continues to catch teams by surprise as Chelsea once again dipped into the transfer market and signed him.

Havertz now has the chance to play for one of the biggest clubs in the English Premier League as his hard work and determination has paid off. At the age of 21, he is already being compared to Mesut Özil and Michael Ballack. He is an exciting young prospect who aims to make his mark with Chelsea.  

Chelsea Interview with Mark Worrall

Jerry Mancini spoke to Mark Worrall, author and publisher for Chelsea FC related books. He has written books such as Chelsea Here Chelsea There, ‘Blue Murder: ‘Chelsea Till I Die’ and Chelsea Football Fanzine.

How would you rate Frank Lampard’s first season with Chelsea? Additionally, why is Lampard struggling to coach defense?

“A very solid 7/10 for Super Frank. [A] victory in the FA Cup Final would have pushed it to 9/10. Achieving [a] top four [position in the English Premier League] in spite of having lost Eden Hazard and not being able to sign new players was commendable.

“Defence issues were there from day one. Frank permed every option available to him as far as centre-back pairings and 3 at the back was concerned without ever achieving consistency. Clearly there is the need for a quality centre-back to be added to the squad and a left-back. Goalkeeper has also been an issue which has led to a crisis of confidence on several occasions. I’d like to believe it’s a personnel issue rather than a coaching issue…. We will find out next season, if the squad is improved in this area.”

Willian left Chelsea after seven seasons to join Arsenal. Did you feel this was the right move by Chelsea and the player? Also, how do you view his time with the Blues?

“I love the bones of Willian. He hates Tottenham of course! Joking aside, every Chelsea manager he played for rated him and there were always offers coming in for him. I think he found it hard to be constantly in Eden Hazard’s shadow, but his contribution and work rate were top notch.

“The move to Arsenal, is proof that at 32 he’s not a spent force. Personally, I don’t like to see Blues players move to rival Premier League clubs, especially London clubs. Was it the right move for Chelsea? I think so. I’m not sure he would have got much in the way of game time next season the way the team looks to be shaping up with new players.”

Chelsea shocked many with the signing of Timo Werner. How do you see the German fitting into Lampard’s plans this upcoming season?

“If [he is] playing through the middle, [Timo] Werner will hopefully be the man to consistently convert the chances that Chelsea create down the flanks. There is flexibility though and he can play left-wing with Tammy [Abraham] as centre forward. Either way, he’s going to be one of the first names on Super Frank’s team-sheet and if he stays injury-free then a 50+ appearances season beckons.”

Which area should Chelsea focus on the most in this transfer market window?

“Goalkeeper needs to be addressed and one centre-back – I actually think left-back is less of an issue for now while Kai Havertz is a luxury signing. It looks like [Roman] Abramovich is motivated to spend, spend, spend and so it’s a question of finding the right players and getting the deals over the line.”

Chelsea have been very active in the transfer market. They have acquired Werner, Hakim Ziyech, and look close to signing Ben Chillwell and Kai Havertz. Which players do you believe will not benefit from all these players joining Chelsea?

“There’s quite a list, but avoiding the obvious ones who will be sold or loaned I do wonder how much game-time the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy and perhaps also [Christian] Pulisic and [Mason] Mount will get over the course of the season.”

Do you think César Azpilicueta is the best captain in Chelsea’s history?

“Short answer, no. César Azpilicueta is a terrific ambassador for the Club and a loyal, dependable and versatile defender… but he is nowhere near John Terry in terms of providing do-or-die leadership on the pitch.”

What has been the downfall to Kepa’s career and do you see the Spaniard in goal next season for Chelsea?

“Kepa’s downfall started with his player-manager escapade at Wembley in the 2019 League Cup Final v Man City. He then allowed personal issues to cloud his game (girlfriend trouble). Having a shaky defence in front of him hasn’t given him confidence and that’s a two-way street. Being dropped for the latter stages of the 2019/20 campaign spoke volumes about how much the manager trusts him – he doesn’t

“Without the benefit of a decent pre-season to see if he can be trusted with a better defence in front of him (assuming new signings) I don’t see how Lampard can re-evaluate him and, on that basis, I can’t see him getting a game. That said, if Chelsea don’t sign another goalkeeper and something happens to Willy Caballero there may be no option other than to play him.”

Lastly, how do you see Chelsea finishing this season and do you think they will progress this upcoming year?

“Progress will largely depend on fixing the defensive problems that plagued Chelsea in 2019/20. Do that, and with exciting new attacking talent already on board and the promise of more to come then the Blues could give Liverpool and Man City a run for their money in the Premier League.

“Realistically, going one better and winning the FA Cup this time around looks like the best option of silverware with the League Cup as a back-up… or why not win both? The new season is all about finding the right formula team wise, do that and we should be seriously challenging for top honours including the Champions League within the next couple of years.”

Interviewing Alex Goldberg – Lampard, The Academy & Hudson-Odoi!

Jerry Mancini spoke to Alex Goldberg, the host of The Byline podcast and co-host on Calcioland, at the end of April during lockdown.

Last summer, we saw Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea FC mutually agree to part ways and terminate Sarri’s contract. The Italian decided to sign with Juventus. In his one season with the club he was quite successful winning the Europa League and finishing fourth in the league. What were your thoughts on Sarri’s one season with Chelsea?

“It was an up and down season for Maurizio Sarri. He was somebody that was appointed to actually change Chelsea and have more of a long-term vision, taking a more defensive style club for all the years they had Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte and to try and make it his own.

“When they started facing some adversity, I think you saw one of the big flaws in Maurizio Sarri that he doesn’t have a Plan B – but he doesn’t choose to have a Plan B, [he] purposely chooses to have a really good Plan A. I think he had a little bit of a rude awakening and you can’t have no adaptability in the Premier League.

“I think he certainly was hit with some cold hard truths there in the middle of the season. Like he should have known, when you don’t do well at Cheslea [FC], you’re going to come under a lot of fire from within the club [and] from the media, but it’s a place that’s very unforgiving towards their managers. So, he realized that quickly, but one huge personality trait that he has and Antonio Conte has is they’re stubborn. They believe in their vision, that’s a good thing and a bad thing.

“Sarri kept the ship upright, got third place [in Premier League] and got the Europa League trophy. [It was] his first ever trophy and he really [left] on terms that most Chelsea managers don’t get to leave on, on good terms. It really doesn’t happen. You either get sacked or you walk away, but under a really toxic term or manner. It was more the perfect storm of why he left.”

Chelsea decided to replace Sarri with club legend Frank Lampard. The 41-year agreed to a three-year deal which will see him with the club until June 2022. Upon arriving, the club had been sanctioned a transfer ban and were unable to purchase players in the summer transfer window. What were your thoughts of Lampard being appointed the new manager of Chelsea? Did you think he was the right person to manage this squad given the circumstances the club was in?

“Chelsea have had a phenomenal academy for a long time. If there’s anything they’ve struggled with, it’s to have stability and have more of a clear direction [and] foundation. They really have won trophies based on being a big club and always having players that have championship pedigree.

“They [have] been such an interesting team with a lot of turmoil and toxicity from year to year and also a team that was always producing this great young talent but choosing to never use them for anything but a business model and just to profit off of those – send them on loan and their careers will probably get stagnated, but we’ll still be able to sell them. We’ll just keep doing this with all the talent we produce and we’re going to make a lot of money off of it.

“It’s about time we see if they could make it at our club [Chelsea] and if we have a transfer ban and we have a manager that also might be leaving us (Maurizio Sarri), well I think it’s time to hire a manager who knows the club, knows how important using these players can be and is willing to use these players.

“By the way, his assistant manager, Jody Morris, managed all these players at the academy level. It was the exact reasoning [why] Chelsea would need to use the youth and finally hire someone like Frank Lampard, who’s resume, managerial-wise was almost incomplete. One year at Derby [County] and you could debate if it was good, okay, or not good but he was the manager to use youth, to know the youth and to know what the club needs.

“The only last reason why I think the club went with it and why I was also really okay with it is how damn good Liverpool and Manchester City are. It also helped because if they felt that the league is wide open, I don’t think they would have done it. I don’t think they would have hired Frank Lampard, they would have hired a more experienced manager.”

If you could pick one, which player do you feel has made the most impact this season from the Chelsea Academy?

“Tammy Abraham or Mason Mount. Tammy Abraham has the stats on his side. [He has] thirteen goals, three assists and really proved that there is no number nine curse and that he could be the starting striker for Chelsea now and, more importantly, in the future – really until the last month or so of the season, where he was injured and just looked kind of overran and fatigued.

“On the flip, Mason Mount [had] six goals, four assists, and played more of an honest midfielder even though he wasn’t going to be the player of the season for Chelsea (I think that was Mateo Kovačić), Mason Mount was asked to do the most this season. [He] Played in the most Premier League games for Chelsea and played in, by far, the most positions. He played as an eight, ten, a left winger, right inside forward, left inside forward and sometimes a shadow striker.

“[He was] the defensive leader out there, not in terms of a centre-back or goalkeeper, but in terms of pressing which is a huge identity to Lampard. He was always the one leading everyone to closing down angles, how to press in a certain way, in a certain style and waving on players like N’Golo Kanté, Kovačić, Willian and Pedro. Those are all players who are known to have really good work rates.

“That’s vastly impressive and really beyond what a 20 and 21-year-old should be asked to do in the Premier League. Obviously, the background that Mason Mount had with Frank Lampard the season before at Derby helped. He really was asked to kind of be more of a senior player while having his first season in the Premier League. At the end of the day, I will say Tammy because goals win you games and he had thirteen goals, no penalties, scored in a variety of ways and scored some big ones.”

Callum Hudson-Odoi last season had a very good year with Chelsea. His season ended with an Achilles injury. This is a serious injury that could really change a player’s career. Now, this year he has returned to the club but hasn’t been nearly the same as he was last year and that’s due to the fact, he’s missed a lot of playing time. The forward has put in mixed performances as he’s shown to play at a high level as well at a level that shows his form is not there yet. Do you feel Callum has been treated unfairly this season and do you expect him to regain the form that he showed last season?

“Yes, I totally expect him to get back to what we thought he would be currently doing. I think people don’t know enough about the Achilles injury. It is such a tough injury, even when you’re back. Look at any sport, players don’t usually feel like themselves and have that out of their head mentally for a year after. the stats are there to prove it.

“I was definitely gutting for him and think yeah, at moments he came back and was actually phenomenal.

“He was also kind of thrown in the fire. He wasn’t thrown back into a team that had a bunch of senior players, like Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and you could kind of ease back in. Once he was fit and ready to go, he was somebody that Frank Lampard needed to play quite a lot.

“He did turn things around to a certain extent in terms of performances right before he pulled up with a hamstring injury.

“He’s just insanely talented, he is 19 [years old] and he is a confident kid. So yeah, you might snowball in your head a little bit with the flack you’re getting for not being [Kylian] Mbappé right away, but he is somebody that [was] thrown back out there and especially with this team whose got such a great spirit. He’s somebody that’s going to exude confidence and really will hit the ground running.

“I have no doubt about it. He’s so young still and now he has plenty of adversity. The sooner you experience adversity, the really more well prepared you’ll be for a bad game in the future and more likely it doesn’t not turn into a long slump.

“I think he’s in the right situation, on the right team to feel confident, feel backed and be able to go express himself. Still, he’s going to be a key player for Lampard. It’s a young squad, Willian and Pedro are most certainly leaving [and they have left now] and so really its there for the taking for him.”

A big thank you to Alex Goldberg for the interview. Make sure to check his podcast out ‘The Byline’ and his social media platforms. Feel free to check out The Chelsea Spot too for more interviews, including one with ex Chelsea legend Pat Nevin!

Interview by Jerry.