Opinion

English Premier League

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.

Pedro Rodriguez - An absolute bargain at £19m and one of the best Chelsea signings made in recent years.

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As more and more money is ploughed into the Premier League with TV and commercial deals leading to the inflated transfer fees paid for mediocre players this past summer - Pedro Rodriguez signing for Chelsea at a cost of £19m has turned out to be an absolute steal.

Having played in arguably the best football team we have ever seen under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and having spent a decade there, it was a surprise to hear that Chelsea were linked with a move for Pedro Rodriguez.

Chelsea defender ready to fight for his position in the team - Could be dropped this afternoon.

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Victor Moses has hailed the signing of Davide Zappacosta on transfer deadline day but has also re-iterated that he is ready for direct competition with him for the start at right wing-back under Antonio Conte.

I posted yesterday morning that I could not see Conte making any changes to the Chelsea team that had beaten Everton two weeks ago; for the trip to face Leicester this afternoon.

Chelsea star: The Premier League is one long marathon, not a sprint of one month or two months.

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We are only two games into the new season and people are already getting carried away with themselves over certain teams opening performances/results. The Premier League is a marathon not a sprint.
We've all waited what seemed like an eternity for the Premier League to be back and literally after only two games, teams are being written off and managers questioned.

The BIG Question: Which Is Your Favourite Goal From 25 Years Of Premier League Football?

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Photo: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC

Pies feel obliged to admit at this juncture that we've never really felt any special admiration for Dennis Bergkamp's goal against Newcastle in 2002: your newly-crowned 'Best Goal in the History of the Premier League'.

It's a nice enough goal, sure the turn is clinical, the touch superb, etc but as far as we're concerned (not very, truth be told) it's not even top-three material when it comes toBergkamp's personal highlight reel.

The Next Nino Torres

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Nothing plagues the sports world like the "next" label. In chess, every talented American player is the next Bobby Fischer. In soccer, Neymar is the "next Pele" and Messi is the "next Maradona." Fans cling to nationalities as predictors of success and prototypical molds.

Which is why EPL clubs continue to sign Spanish strikers.

What are Tottenham’s expectations? If they don’t win the title it’s not a tragedy but for the others it is.

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Antonio Conte has spoken out on comments made by Tottenham's Chairman Daniel Levy who has claimed that this summers transfer spending is unsustainable.

Heading into this summer the TV monies in the game being paid to ALL Premier League clubs as a minimum (£84.

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.

Michy Batshuayi - Surely he has proven himself to Antonio Conte now right?

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Life at the moment for Michy Batshuayi could not be better. He finished the season with a flourish of goals including the goal that won the title and has scored five goals in three pre-season games.

Having read months and months of speculation that Michy Batshuayi was about to either be loaned out or sold this season, I am pleased with the response from the Belgian striker.

Why spend £20-£30m on Fernando Llorente?

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There is continued speculation that Antonio Conte wants to sign a backup striker to Alvaro Morata as he prepares to challenge on four counts this season.

Having made four new signings already this summer, we are reading speculation and report that Antonio Conte has demanded FOUR more players to strengthen his squad ahead of the new season.

Ex-players

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.

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.

There will be no one more important — not only for you, but for everyone — than John Terry.

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Arjen Robben has written his "Letter to my Younger self" over at The Players Tribune and has paid tribute to John Terry. Of all the tributes we have written and read, Arjen Robben's speaks volumes of the most successful Chelsea Captain in our clubs history - Captain, Leader and Legend.

Diego Costa

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.

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.

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.

Have Chelsea found a striker better than Diego Costa in Alvaro Morata?

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After an impressive start to his Chelsea career with three goals and a couple of assists, Alvaro Morata is quickly becoming a Chelsea fans favourite. Have we found ourselves a better alternative to Diego Costa?

We all know the qualities that Diego Costa displayed during the three seasons he spent at Chelsea.

Chelsea striker released on a free transfer.

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After finding himself surplus to requirements, Loic Remy has been released on a free transfer by Chelsea on transfer deadline day and has signed a two-year contract at Las Palmas in La Liga.

Loic Remy has found himself to be a victim of consequence at Stamford Bridge ever since he joined the club for £10m back in the summer of 2014.

Diego Costa: No messing around from Antonio Conte - Case closed.

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Antonio Conte has revealed to the media that a decision was made of the future of Diego Costa back in January as it became clear to the club, to the player and his agent that he was to leave Chelsea.

As with any player and the speculation regarding their future, you always have to wait to hear substance to those reports rather than rely on a barrage of comment and debate that follows for days/weeks afterwards.

Academy

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-Chelsea youngster aims a dig at Chelsea as he prepares for return to Stamford Bridge tonight.

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Michael Mancienne is to return to Stamford Bridge tonight with Nottingham Forest as they take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup and has aimed a dig at the club he left six years ago.

Speaking ahead of tonight's cup tie, Mancienne was asked of his time at Chelsea and what led to him making the decision to leave.

Sometimes young players think they can play easily in the Chelsea first team, but that’s not true.

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Antonio Conte has defended his decision to sell Nathaniel Chalobah, Bertrand Traore and Nathan Ake this summer and has spoken of a lack of patience from youngsters these days.

There has been plenty of debate and comment made this summer over the decision to sell some of our most promising youngsters at the club who have had a taste of Premier League football at Chelsea last season.

Videos

BBC Stalwart John Motson To Retire After 50 Years In The Football Commentary Racket

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The BBC have announced that, after half a century behind the microphone, John Motson is retiring from the commentary game at the end of the current season.

Motson reduced his workload when he stopped doing live broadcasts a season or three ago, and will now commentate on 18 further Premier League matches for Match of the Day before calling it quits with the FA Cup Final coverage next May.

Antonio Conte holds talks with Chelsea midfielder - Promises more game time this season.

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Antonio Conte had called a meeting with Cesc Fabregas at the start of Chelsea's pre-season campaign to re-iterated that he is in his plans for the coming season and that he will start more games.

I have to say it looking back now that the season is over and we have started preparing for the new campaign, Cesc Fabregas was different class both on and off the pitch.

Antonio Conte

How much of an impact can Danny Drinkwater make at Chelsea under Antonio Conte?

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Chelsea finally managed to get the protracted signing of Danny Drinkwater for £35m on transfer deadline day completed. I look at how much of an impact the midfielder can have at Chelsea under Antonio Conte.

Let's be honest from the beginning of this blog post, if we had put a poll of Chelsea fans together at the end of last season asking who they would want to sign this past summer then Danny Drinkwater would have not been a player that many of us would have stated that they wanted.

Get rid of the doom and gloom. It's time for Chelsea fans to focus on the players that are here.

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Despite all the doom and gloom from those so-called Chelsea fans around the world, looking at our squad now heading into the first half of the season with the new signings that we HAVE made, I am pleased that we have added quality this summer.



Last season it's fair to say that once Antonio Conte settled on his 3-4-3 formation the team was pretty much a settled side with only a couple of positions being rotated (Pedro/Willian and Matic/Fabregas) so it's important to look at those that first eleven for the majority of last season compared to our possible first team this season:


Now, let's also focus on the players that are not named in that starting eleven put forward by Goal.

Mesut Ozil

Arsenal: Ian Wright Goes In Two-Footed On Mesut Ozil After Latter Implores Club Legends To ‘Stop Talking And Start Supporting’

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Arsenal legend Ian Wright has bitten back at Mesut Ozil after the latter politely requested that overly critical ex-Gunners should "stop talking and start supporting" the current team in a social media message posted recently.

Marking the fourth anniversary of his arrival at the Emirates, Ozil published a lengthy message on Facebook in which the nimble German forward made reference to the nigh-on constant, one-note criticism he continuously receives from all and sundry all the time.

‘I’d Stick Them All On The Transfer List’ – Gary Neville Delivers Excellent, Venomous Post-Mortem Of Arsenal’s Meek Display Against Liverpool

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There's no two ways about it, Arsenal were at their gossamer-thin worst against Liverpool on Saturday, with Arsene Wenger's expensively-assembled melange of meek and mild succumbing to a 4-0 defeat at Anfield.

Of course, a palid Arsenal performance is nothing but good news for the pundits and co-commentators of the world who, wide-eyed and partially inebriated by their blood-thirst, were gifted yet another chance to clamber over themselves and begin tearing strips of easy meat off the carcass laid so readily before them.

Neymar

Reports: Barcelona To Make Final Take-It-Or-Leave-It Offer Of £138m For Philippe Coutinho, And Liverpool Would Be Bonkers To Reject It…

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Word on the wire today is that Barcelona are cobbling together one final take-it-or-leave-it offer for Philippe Coutinho, reportedly worth £138million with £100million paid upfront.

The colossal bid would constitute Barca's fourth official attempt to coax Liverpool into parting with their man, with the Catalans prepared to walk away from the negotiating table and pursue other targets should their advances be rejected this time.

Outstanding: La Liga Simply Refuse To Accept Payment From PSG To Prevent (Or At Least Stall) Neymar Leaving Barcelona

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Neymar's imminent £198million move from Barcelona to PSG has hit a very minor, minor snag in that La Liga are flat-out refusing to accept the Ligue 1 club's payment.

La Liga are protesting against PSG exploiting what they have called "financial doping" to purloin one of their biggest stars, blocking the payment on the grounds that it violates UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and it just isn't bloody fair.

NEYMAR - Have your say on his world record deal. Is it good business or a joke?

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Paris Saint Germain have sent their lawyers to Madrid and the La Liga offices to pay the £198m release clause to sign Neymar on a five-year contract with over £515,000 per week.

It's the most ridiculous transfer ever, the most ludicrous and a deal that will have an effect on the transfer market like never before.

The Rest

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.

Crystal Palace Almost Lost Their Footing For A Moment There, But Now Everything’s Nice And Predictable Again

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After trying and systematically failing to transform Crystal Palace into a working facsimile of the 1974 Holland side in the space of four matches, Frank de Boer's micro-tenure at Selhurst Park is today officially at an end.

Did he take on too much, too soon in attempting to impress an expansive 3-4-3 formation upon a team long-steeped in the dreary brine of Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock, Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce?

Davide Zappacosta - The exciting alternative to Victor Moses.

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On transfer deadline day, Chelsea signed Davide Zappacosta from Torino for a fee of 28m Euros and his signing gives Antonio Conte and exciting alternative to Victor Moses down our right hand side.

I just want to start by saying that Victor Moses has been a revelation playing under Antonio Conte at right wing-back and I sincerely hope that he continues to do so this season.

Journalist claims that Antonio Conte will be disappointed to not have signed these two players.

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Now that the transfer window has closed until January, respected Guardian journalist Dominic Fifield has spoken of Antonio Conte's disappointment in not having signed Virgil Van Dijk and Romelu Lukaku.

Football is a game of opinions and that's why we take time to catch up on developments regarding the game on a day-to-day basis whether that's on Blogs such as this one, websites, TV coverage and Social Media such as Twitter or Facebook.

Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea: "Now I've Seen Their Team I'm Confident We'll Win This."

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As you can see we learned nothing at all from the FA Cup Final.

Us: It was a predictable Chelsea line up, with Michy replacing Costa. Obviously Matic and Chequebook Pulis have hooked up again like a couple of exes ignoring all the reasons they broke up in the first place, so Cesc started alongside Kante.