Opinion

English Premier League

NBC Sports had it right, now it’s wrong

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Christian Sandler sees some problems with NBC's "Premier League Pass"

Five points worth noting from the defeat at West Ham - Chelsea's title challenge is officially over.

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Defeat to West Ham on Saturday afternoon has put an end to Chelsea's title challenge this year. Here are five key points that are worth noting from the game.

1. Rotation.

For the life of me I cannot understand why Antonio Conte never rotated the Chelsea team for the game.

Why is the MLS season so long?

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The MLS season is just too long, writes Christian Sandler

Chelsea will not win the Premier League this season.

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Chelsea will not win the Premier League this season after witnessing poor performances in some of the big games against our rivals this season.

However, Saturday evening's second half display against Liverpool, in addition to the disappointing performances against Manchester City and Arsenal reaffirms my view that as much as I would love for it to happen, Chelsea will not win the Premier League this season if they continue to play like that against our top four rivals.

Chelsea legend on Chelsea's form so far this season - What’s happening now is normal.

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This weekend we welcome back Premier League football after yet another international break and a Chelsea legend has had his say on where Chelsea find themselves in the Premier League at the moment.

After a good win against Manchester United in our last Premier League game, our third victory in the league in a row, we head to West Brom this Saturday afternoon looking to close the gap on the pacesetters Manchester City and to try and overhaul the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham.

I needed to play and in Chelsea I have got what I wanted - Alvaro Morata.

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Alvaro Morata has scored seven goals in ten Premier League appearances so far and heading back to Spain to play for the national team against Costa Rica, Morata has spoken of the decision to leave Real Madrid.

When Chelsea signed Alvaro Morata for a fee of around £58m in the summer there were plenty of raised eyebrows.

Ex-Pro on Chelsea: They were strong and powerful last season – they’re not now.

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After Chelsea's 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday, one ex-pro - a Champions League winner, has already made a claim that Chelsea are shadow of the side that won the Premier League last season.

We all knew it was going to happen after Saturday's defeat to Crystal Palace, we knew the negative press we would receive with everyone having knives out to attack us.

Injury-hit Chelsea have a season defining few weeks ahead

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With the international break happily sidelined for another month, the collective focus of the football world has turned back to the club game.

Much of this focus, of course, will be honed in on Chelsea, whose manager Antonio Conte has been the subject of speculation that he might be tempted by the chance to reverse the Italian national side's ailing fortunes, following another underwhelming week for the Azzurri.

Chelsea Defender: I believe this is one of the best places to play football in the world.

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Davide Zappacosta has spoken of faith from Antonio Conte and a firm belief that his style is suited to one of the best places to play football in the world.

Having signed for the club on transfer deadline day, scoring that impressive goal (come cross) against Qarabag FK in the Champions League, I have to be honest, I thought that Davide Zappacosta would have been much more involved than he has to this point with Atletico Madrid away last week being one of those games.

Chelsea's start to the season

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Last season's emphatic title win feels like a million miles away now as we enter September and the tough run up to Christmas at Stamford Bridge. Despite the hiccup at Burnley which saw a full strength squad beaten 3-2 on the first day of the season, the rest of August and early September's games have been business as usual for the Blues.

Chelsea

It's time for Chelsea and Antonio Conte to Drinkwater..

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As Chelsea prepare for a run of games every three to four days for the next two to three weeks, it's time for Danny Drinkwater to step in and make the position in our midfield his own.
Danny Drinkwater's start to life at Chelsea hasn't been the best through no fault of his own at all.

Cesc Fabregas - Is he now an invincible at Chelsea when played in the right position?

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Cesc Fabregas was voted a Man of the Match for his performance against Manchester United last Sunday in what I personally believe to be his best ever game in a Chelsea shirt.

Against Manchester United on Sunday, Cesc Fabregas was deployed as a number ten playing alongside Eden Hazard with the security of N'Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko playing behind him.

The Chelsea Defence: This is the reason I believe we are struggling at the back this season.

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Chelsea's biggest problem at the moment is the amount of goals we are conceding. It's our Achilles heel at the moment and this is the reason I believe we are struggling.

Chelsea lack the vocal influence in our back-line which is the reason why we are conceding goals and numerous chances at the moment.

Can January Changes Restore Title Challenge at Chelsea?

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Whatever the Chelsea fans think of Michy Batshuayi, it's clear manager Antonio Conte doesn't trust him enough to deputise for Alvaro Morata. If Morata faces another spell on the sidelines, what will happen? Will Conte swallow his pride and try Batshuayi again? Or will we see another variation of the strikerless system that hasn't really worked for the Blues so far?

Musonda

Charly Musonda's new deal - It's great that he has committed to the club but still a long way off.

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Charly Musonda signed a new four-and-a-half year extension to his current contract taking him to 2022 and it's great news. Despite the new deal, he still has some way to go to break into the Chelsea first team on a regular basis.

We have to admit we thought the worst over his outburst on social media earlier in the season giving an indication that he was becoming frustrated at Chelsea with his lack of first team opportunities.

Charly Musonda rant on Instagram will not change anything at Chelsea for him just yet.

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Charly Musonda took to Instagram to vent his frustrations recently and has posted a message of frustration which is seemingly aimed at Antonio Conte.


A post shared by Charly Musonda Junior (@musonda) on Oct 9, 2017 at 1:44pm PDT

His post has caught the attention of Chelsea & Belgium fans around the world but most importantly also by the British media who have jumped on the opportunity to have yet another pop at Antonio Conte and at Chelsea.

The Manager

Antonio Conte: I'd like to start every game with the best players but this is not possible.

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Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Swansea at Stamford Bridge tonight, Antonio Conte has a clear message for his players heading into the busy festive period.

Between now and January 3rd, Antonio Conte and his Chelsea squad face ELEVEN games with an average of a game every three days.

Antonio Conte's message to Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard - Go and play with freedom.

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In recent weeks and against Atletico Madrid, with Antonio Conte's switch to a three-man midfield, he has given Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard exactly what they wanted - freedom.

The boss, in my opinion, never received ALL of the plaudits that he should have last season for winning the Premier League and that's because of our lack of involvement in Europe.

Antonio Conte speculation starts again and is a disgrace..

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Having had to deal with a number of reports that Antonio Conte's position at Chelsea was under threat a few weeks ago for the Manager to speak out, I'm afraid to say that for some reason it's starting again and is a disgrace.

It's becoming a real joke to be honest and there will be little doubt than in his pre-match press conference this Friday ahead of our trip to West Brom, Antonio Conte will take issue with that idiot Karveh Solakol from SkySports who will no doubt refer to these ridiculous reports for the second time in less than a month.

Emenalo quits Chelsea - Victory for Antonio Conte and finally a change in the right direction moving forward.

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Michael Emenalo has resigned from his role as Chelsea's Technical Director with immediate effect. In my view this another victory at Chelsea for Antonio Conte.

Sitting at home watching the victory over Manchester United again the other night with he subsequent post-match comments made by Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville it really hit home the poor and unfavourable opinion people have of the hierarchy of our club.

First Diego Costa, now David Luiz - Antonio Conte wins yet another battle at the Bridge.

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David Luiz was dropped from the first team squad to face Manchester United yesterday and faces a battle to get back in favour with Antonio Conte.

It's a shame really that plenty of the focus post-match has been about Luiz and a reported bust-up rather than the excellent performance that won us the game 1-0.

Antonio Conte: “I think if you are good enough to play with a great team, you play”

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With the likes of Charly Musonda, Ethan Ampadu , Jake Clarke-Salter and Dujon Sterling all being involved the other night, Antonio Conte has re-iterated his message to our youngsters.

With Chelsea's involvement in the Champions League this season, it was always going to be a game that the manager used to rotate his players.

Ex-players

Roman Abramovich's defiant response to Didier Drogba revealed.

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Since taking Chelsea over in 2003, Roman Abramovich has hired an incredible ten managers in fourteen seasons and has sacked nearly all of them.

There is a general opinion from the outside that the Chelsea job has become a poisoned chalice knowing what has happened to many of the managers that have been employed by Roman Abramovich since he become owner of this club back in 2003.

Chelsea star reveals midfielders desire to leave Chelsea and move to Manchester United.

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Antonio Conte and his Chelsea team welcome Jose Mourinho and Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon with the attention ahead of this game on just one player - Nemanja Matic.

I have said it before on here and I will say it again, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with all the focus being on Matic and the fact that people believe if he was still at Chelsea, we would not have the same problems that we do now.

Midfielder reveals the reason that he had to leave Chelsea.

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Oscar has been speaking of the decision to leave Chelsea back in January and has revealed that he has the opportunity to return to Chelsea once his contract in China expires.

The 26-year-old Brazilian raised plenty of eyebrows when he signed for Shanghai SIPG for a whopping £52m and a contract that is reported to be £400,000 per week.

Ray Wilkins talks Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and David Luiz.

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It was our privilege at AskFans recently to get to interview a true legend – ex-Chelsea, Manchester United and England superstar Ray 'Butch' Wilkins. For our younger viewers, Ray was the 'hod carrier with benefits' in the successful 1980s Manchester United side alongside the more dynamic Bryan Robson, and he enjoyed a superb youthful career at Chelsea too.

Tiemoue Bakayoko - Beginning to show signs that Chelsea were right to sell Nemanja Matic.

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With his recovery from knee surgery in the summer, Tiemoue Bakayoko is showing signs with his performances for Chelsea so far that Antonio Conte was right to sell Nemanja Matic to Manchester United.

As we know there has been plenty of coverage of Matic's surprising move with plenty of opinion in the written press added to the football Pundits we watch and respect that state it was a mistake for Chelsea to sell him.

England

Chelsea midfielders decision to turn down England was right despite the negativity from the press.

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Danny Drinkwater had turned down the opportunity to join up with the England squad for the recent game against Germany last Friday and Brazil tomorrow because he did not feel ready.

I have to say I am baffled by the negative press that has followed this story in recent days in addition to ridiculous statements being made by the likes of Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer.

The BIG Question: Which Five-Man England Central Midfield Would You Take To 2018 World Cup?

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England's concerning lack of depth in central midfield has been thrust into the spotlight after injuries to Jordan Henderson, Harry Winks and Fabian Delph saw Jack Cork called into the squad for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil.

Should you not be instantly familiar, Cork has been a steady presence for Burnley so far this season while contributing no goals and one assist in 11 appearances.

England Under-17s Win World Cup In Sparkling Style, Danny Murphy Still Finds Something To Moan About

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England Under-17s won a World Cup recently by coming from two goals down to whup Spain 5-2 in the final, but you might've known that good old Danny Murphy would still be able to sap all the joy and ebullience out of everything.

An ex-England international himself, Murphy was thoroughly disheartened to see the Under-17 squad decide to reverse their shirts while collecting their winners' medals, thus obscuring the Three Lions crest.

Videos

Chelsea midfielder response to comparisons: I'm not here to do what Matic did.

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Tiemoue Bakayoko has spoken out on comparisons being made with Nemanja Matic and has re-iterated that he is someone who should be judged on what he has come to Chelsea to do.

I have to be honest, I am getting a little tired of the ridiculous comments on social media from so-called Chelsea fans who have only been supporting the club since we became successful.

Diego Costa: Forget the negativity - It's time to pay tribute for what he did for us on the pitch.

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On Thursday, Chelsea finally announced that a deal had been agreed for the transfer of Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid. Despite all the negativity that has surrounded his situation over the summer and beyond, it's now time to pay tribute to the man that came here and took the Premier League by storm.

Michy Batshuayi

A blow for Antonio Conte as this Chelsea star ruled out of Crystal Palace on Saturday.

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Alvaro Morata will not have enough time to recover from his grade two hamstring strain suffered nine days ago at Manchester City to face Crystal Palace this weekend.

What a start Alvaro Morata has made at Chelsea since his arrival in the summer. He has received plenty of plaudits for his goals, assists and performances and rightly so.

Alvaro Morata out for six weeks - Will Antonio Conte show faith in Michy Batshuayi?

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After his excellent start at Chelsea, Alvaro Morata's progress has come to a shuddering halt with news that he has a grade two tear in his hamstring and will out for six weeks. It's now make or break for Michy Batshuayi.

There were plenty of raised eyebrows around Stamford Bridge on Saturday night as Alvaro Morata was replaced by Willian in the first half of our defeat against Manchester City.

The Rest

Eden Hazard takes aim at fellow midfielder in surprising dig at Antonio Conte's tactics.

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Eden Hazard speaking after the Liverpool game on Saturday has aimed a dig at Antonio Conte for what he believes to be negative tactics that played a huge part in our 1-1 draw.

For those regular readers of my Blog, you would be well aware that I was pissed off, fed up and frustrated on Saturday night at the final whistle against Liverpool.

The State of the Union

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The US is not going to the World Cup. As a sportswriter, anybody with half a brain can vomit out a finger-pointing op-ed in, like, fifteen minutes. But can they do so in style?

And with a key flow chart that makes sense of things?

I've turned my sports writing towards reported journalism, in case you missed it.

The case against soccer-specific stadiums

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Chris Gibbons argues that the Union are in the entertainment, not soccer, business – and that calls for a versatile stadium.

Chelsea players have held back Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

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That's the ridiculous claims being made by the England boss Gareth Southgate. This all comes after he made his international debut against Germany.

Let's start with some perspective here. It was just one game and you have to wonder if everyone was fit and available if RLC would have had the opportunity in the first place.

Reports: Phil Neville And Ryan Giggs Wish To Be Considered For Everton Managerial Vacancy Despite Not Really Being Managers

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Phil Neville is reportedly interested in stepping into the vacant managerial vortex at Everton, following Ronald Koeman's departure on Monday.

We suspect Neville is interested in the same way Pies would like to discover an envelope stuffed with folding money on our doormat every morning, but let's press on.

Diego Costa: 100 days without playing - issued warning and final HUGE offer submitted by Atletico.

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Today the 20th September marks 100 days since Diego Costa played an official football match for Spain against Macedonia in a World cup qualifier in June.
The continued stand-off is nothing but an embarrassment to all of us and an ongoing issue that does not seem to be going away for the next three months.