Podcast: Harvey Vale screamer & Carabao Cup Final Preview!

Exclusive Academy Transfer Updates w/Scott Trotter! The Chelsea Spot Podcast

  1. Exclusive Academy Transfer Updates w/Scott Trotter!
  2. Mount shines against Bournemouth & Enzo Fernandez to the Blues?!

In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Danny (Writer – @danny_new_) to discuss the FA Youth Cup 3-2 victory against Blackpool in the Quarter Finals, where Harvey Vale scored an absolute screamer and the likes of Lewis Hall and Charlie Webster impressed. The boys also looked ahead to this Sunday’s final in the Carabao Cup against Liverpool and expressed their nervy feeling…

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Looking back nine years ago – Chelsea’s first Champions League Trophy

A trophy that few have won, yet many wish to attain is the Champions League trophy. Players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Robert Lewandowski have played in this tournament, however, several clubs have yet to hoist it for the first time.

For each club that has achieved this great triumph, there was a long and difficult path to win the Champions League. One such club is Chelsea FC. Prior to Roman Abramovic’s purchase of the club back in June 2003, Chelsea managed to win trophies such as the FA Cup, Football League Cup and UEFA Winners Cup, though they weren’t successful in winning Champions League.

A new journey began when Abramovic officially became the new owner of Chelsea Football Club. It gave the team a new identity, philosophy and path moving forward. More importantly, it gave fans hope, that not only that they could compete against the bigger teams in the Champions League, but that Chelsea could finally contend to win this prestigious tournament.

During the Abramovich era, Chelsea has managed to have plenty of success come their way. He’s instilled a winning mentality which has brought triumph to this club. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Blue, where players such as Andriy Shevchenko, Adrian Mutu and Juan Sebastián Verón, failed to meet expectations. However, the likes of of Didier Drogba, Eden Hazard and Claude Makélélé have been able to leave their mark and help this club become successful.

In May 2008, nearly five years since Abramovic purchased the club, Chelsea were in a situation that no one had imagined in their history. The club, managed by Avraham Grant, had made it to finals of Champions League, which was to be played in Moscow at Luzhniki Stadium after they defeated Liverpool 4-3 on aggregates in the semi-finals. An English club was standing in their path as their bitter rivals, Manchester United, had advanced to the finals after their win against Barcelona.

Heartbreak.

Unfortunately, the match ended 1-1 after extra time and Chelsea lost 6-5 in a shoutout.

Four years later in May 2012, the club found themselves in a similar position. They were, once again, in the midst of trying to win their first Champions League trophy. This time their opponent was the German powerhouse club, Bayern Munich. Unlike their meeting against Manchester United, their match against Munich needed guts, determination and the will to never give up.

Chelsea was managed by Roberto Di Matteo and had players such as Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Ashley Cole. They were a part of the team when they lost in 2008 and were hoping to not follow the same path.  With the score 0-0 and nearly tens minutes remaining, Chelsea conceded the first goal as Thomas Müller scored at the 83rd minute to give Munich the first lead of the match. Chelsea seemed destined to follow a similar path.

Five minutes later, with Chelsea fans nervous and frantic for that needed goal, they redeemed themselves. Drogba rose to the challenge, as he had done on multiple occasions throughout his career with the club. The striker scored one of the biggest goals in his career, as he found the back of the net at the 88th minute to tie the game at 1-1.

The match headed into extra time, which didn’t solve anything for either side and they needed penalty kicks to decide their fate. With their backs against the wall and Munich leading 3-1 in the shootout, the improbable happened for Chelsea. The Blues changed the script, as they won 4-3 in penalties and won their first Champions League trophy.

King.

The wait was over and fans were out of their seats cheering in a frenzy as Chelsea also became the first and only club from London to win Champions League.

Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer, Lampard, will always look back on this moment.

In a UEFA Q&A, Lampard said, “I had lots of ups and downs. We tried and fought to get to [Champions League] finals, we lost one, and then the culmination of that, to win at Munich, and to win in the circumstances we did – as underdogs in their home stadium. The ride we’d had to get there was crazy; it was the stuff of movies.”

“When anyone asks me about my career, I cannot help but have that as the moment that jumps out at me; that’s what the Champions League is.

“If I’d have finished my career without that on my CV, I would have certainly felt incomplete, and I think this club would be incomplete.

“To win the Champions League as Chelsea, the first London club to do so, is something we’re all proud of.”

The long wait for a Champions League trophy ended and there were celebrations all over London. For certain players such as Lampard, Drogba, Cole and Petr Čech, the feelings were much greater as they developed a relationship with the club. More importantly, they had a connection with the fans after being with the club for several years.

Now we look back to eight years ago and relish the moment which became a reality for all Chelsea fans, the night when Chelsea hoisted the Champions League trophy. For the players, it will be a game that they will never forget as their comeback and the events which occurred throughout the match, will go down as one of the best in the history of football.

Time to win the trophy.

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

How Chelsea’s Hot Run of Form Is All Because of Edouard Mendy

Chelsea’s season began on a positive note – a 3-1 win against Brighton away. The 1 goal conceded was dismissed mostly as a blip as snakebitten Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was lazily beaten from range by Brighton’s Belgian forward Leandro Trossard. Understat.com gave Trossard’s strike a 0.02 xG. This means that this attempt at goal is expected to score 1 in every 50 tries. Well, at least if the defense plays like they did we’ll be ok, right? Wrong.

Six days later, we had another Kepa “blip” against reigning Premier League champions Liverpool. On the stroke of halftime, Kepa brazenly rushed out of goal to try and meet Sadio Mane forty yards out. While Andreas Christensen was nearby, and mistakenly allowed Mane to get through, Christensen was not confident in Kepa’s chances of stopping Mane and he was subsequently hauled down for a professional last man foul – and a red card. While Chelsea were down 1-0 after a Mane header, they were still within striking range in the game. That all changed within 4 minutes of Mane’s first goal when Kepa gave him a second by playing the ball right to him inside the box. With the team forced to play down an attacker and Jorginho failing to convert a penalty, Chelsea’s comeback hopes were effectively over at 2-0 as the penalty was the only true chance mustered for the entire second half.

Following this was another disastrous effort against West Brom which saw us fortunate to earn a draw thanks to a furious second half comeback. After just two Edouard Mendy appearances, one of which resulted in a penalty loss to Jose Mourinho’s Spurs, the team found themselves on the opposite side of the comeback fence versus Southampton where a brilliant Werner display was wasted in the last minute of the match due to a cumulative combination of dodgy defending and another meme-worthy Kepa effort at trying to clear a weak back pass.

The Southampton match could’ve been Kepa’s last appearance in a Blues shirt, with Mendy healthy and having already corralled 6 clean sheets in just 7 matches. 2 of the last 3 have been UEFA Champions League 3+ goal batterings of Stade Rennais and FC Krasnodar respectively. The talent has always been there so why the sudden drastic increase in form? Ask any Chelsea fan who’s been able to catch our last few matches, and they’ll promptly tell you the team looks more assertive, creative, mature and confident.

This is a direct result of Mendy’s introduction into the team and the Senegalese’s exceptional form in his starts. The attack and midfield feel more relaxed about crafting attacks and less stressed about feeling pressured to score before they get scored on. Another byproduct of this is the defense being able to be more assertive and confident without having to worry about being punished if they put a foot wrong. Usually the group would be worried about conceding a goal as soon as opposition worked their way into a shot opportunity. Furthermore, the attack and midfield won’t have to force passes and shots as often without having to play from behind or fear for having to play from behind imminently.

Where do we go from here?

Next up, Chelsea have Newcastle and Sheffield, with Sheffield coming at the weekend. These are another two games that Chelsea shouldn’t feel pressured in but will have their work cut out for them to break down staunch defensive tactics from opposing managers. Mendy and the defense will have to keep on their toes to stand up the counter attacks of these two teams. With roughly two months until the opening of the winter transfer window, it would behoove Frank Lampard (and maybe Petr Cech, unless he wants to play?) to begin scouting for backup goalkeepers as their first transfer move of 2021.

Willy Caballero is actually older than Petr Cech, while Kepa should do an Alvaro Morata and get binned off somewhere to find his form and confidence elsewhere before he becomes totally useless and Chelsea are stuck with a mammoth wage bill to pay, like Arsenal and disgruntled #10 Mesut Ozil. That is for the future however, and for right now, Chelsea are in safe, huge hands thanks to Edouard Mendy.

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.

Podcast: Chelsea 5-3 Liverpool Match Review and Wolves Preview!

What a game…

In our twenty third episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho), Ameya (@LampardsLegacy) & Paree (@ACParee) discuss the entertaining game against Liverpool which unfortunately ended in a loss due to a few individual mistakes, as well as looking ahead towards the final game of the Premier League season against Wolves, where one point will be enough to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

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Podcast: Chelsea 3-1 Man U Review & Liverpool Preview!

What a victory!

In our twenty first episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho), Danny (@danny_new_) & Paree (@ACParee) discuss the incredible 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup Semi-Final, and also look forward to Wednesday’s game against Liverpool which could secure us a Champions League spot for next season.

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Chelsea fight off late surge from Crystal Palace: 3 take-aways from the match

Chelsea Player Ratings Vs Crystal Palace: Mount Shines With 8 ...
Image Source: Getty Images

Chelsea held on for a 3-2 win against Crystal Palace as Olivier Giroud, Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham each scored for the Blues. The Eagles applied the pressure late in the game but it was not enough to help them come back to win. Wilfred Zaha and Christian Benteke each scored in their loss.

The win moved Chelsea a step further towards a top four finish in the Premier League as they try to solidify a spot into Champions League next season.

A close match between the two London clubs and a good three points for Chelsea’s but what else can we take away from the game?

Jorginho Finally Makes His Appearance On The Pitch

Chelsea looked set to win the match when Abraham scored at the 71st minute. His goal increased their lead to 3-1 and looked as if they were going to easily cruise to a victory. A minute later, Benteke scored a goal for Palace and the game had a turn of events. The Eagles started to apply pressure and Chelsea struggled to advance the ball out of their back end.

Frank Lampard elected to bring Jorginho off the bench in the 80th minute. It was the first time the midfielder had playing time since March 3rd against Liverpool in the FA Cup and he reminded many people why he’s vital to this club. The Italian was assertive, calm and composed as he shifted the tempo of the game into Chelsea’s favour.

Image source: 90Min

He showed good awareness and provided a tactical intelligence which limited Palace from having possession. The midfielder positioned himself into areas where his teammates were able to make outlet passes. The game seemed destined for a draw but Jorginho provided a different element which helped weather the storm.

Jorginho has a good read for the game and his efforts were well warranted. He could we have earned himself a starting berth In Chelsea’s tough trip to Sheffield this weekend, depending on the fitness of N’Golo Kanté.

Should Chelsea Consider Re-signing Willian?

Back in June, Willian signed a short-term contract that will see him play with Chelsea for the remainder of the season. The ongoing rumours about Willian’s future with Chelsea haven’t died down and continues to be a main topic in the transfer rumour mill. Should Chelsea consider keeping the Brazilian beyond this season?

Willian has been one of the most productive players since the Premier League restarted. The winger has contributed to seven goals in the last five matches (including FA Cup) and has been one of the most consistent players for Chelsea. In the win against Palace, Willian finished with two assists, five key passes, two shots on target and was fouled once.

In Chelsea’s first goal, he made a great run down the right side and beat Gary Cahill. He then delivered a pass to Giroud in the six yard box which the striker converted.

Later in the match, he set-up their second goal and showed great awareness. He made a clean pass towards Christian Pulisic who made his run towards the box and sent a polarizing shot towards the back of the goal. Throughout the match, Willian showed great character as he kept running and didn’t stop until the final whistle.

Willian has been a key element to Chelsea’s success and is one if the main reasons why Chelsea are currently sitting in third place. His recent performances show what he’s able to deliver on the pitch and the club should consider keeping him on their squad.

The winger has earned praise from Lampard and has been one of his most dependable players since the restart;

“Willian was extremely influential and he and Christian [Pulisic] are a big threat for us”

Frank Lampard after the victory over Palace

“The impact Willian is having in all the games at the moment, with his speed and how he travels with the ball, and his quality, we all see it every game. he has been brilliant for us.”

Christian Pulisic Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down

Pulisic had a slow start to the season and found himself in and out of the lineup. He was frustrated with the lack of playing time, yet he knew the transition to the Premier League wasn’t going to be easy. Pulsic’s name wasn’t on the scoresheet until October 26, 2019, when he scored a hat trick versus Burnley. It was an overwhelming start to the season but the American was starting to come around under Lampard.

In January, Pulisic had a set back as he picked up a serious injury that sidelined him for the long-term. In the midst of playing good football, it was a big a blow to Chelsea. The season came to an abrupt stop in March due to Covid-19 and this allowed time for Pulisic to recover and rejoin his teammates

Image Source: AS English

Since the restart of the campaign, he has taken his game to another level where he has been more clinical and fearless. He has finished his chances in the final third which was evident in the goal he scored off Willian’s pass. In the past five matches, he has scored three goals and has looked more tenacious with the ball.

He has been one of Lampard’s most reliable players and has shown no signs of easing up. He has been an integral part of their recent success and is showing why Chelsea acquired him last season.

“Christian is hugely important”

Frank Lampard

“He has great talent, we know that. At the start he came here in difficult conditions in terms of him not really having had a break, but he started to play really well and now he has moved his game to another level, not just in how he is going to by people but there is real-end product”

“You look at the top attacking players in the world and they score goals and make assists regularly that win games and at the moment he is doing that, so I am delighted with him.”

There’s our three takeaways from the victory over Palace, let us know what you thought of the match!

Written by Jerry Mancini.

Podcast: Lampard masterclass, Liverpool Champions & Leicester Preview!

Lampard Masterclass, Liverpool Champions & Leicester Preview!

In our thirteenth episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Dan (Host – @danbarkzr), Orlando (@0rland1nho) and The Chelsea Spot writer Mash (@mashgreaves) discuss Lampard’s masterclass over Manchester City which handed over the Premier League title to Liverpool, as well as looking ahead at Sunday’s FA Cup game against Leicester City.

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