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Lampard Insists He Will Stick To His Principles

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has insisted that he will stick to his principles amidst the club’s current poor form. The Blues are currently winless in their last three games, having lost two of those against Arsenal and Manchester City respectively.

In the two defeats, Lampard’s lack of strategy and man-management appeared to manifest itself.  Lampard’s lack of prior managerial experience appears to be showing. It is important to remember that he lacked experience at the highest level prior to taking up the Chelsea job.

Prior to being appointed Blues manager, Lampard’s also previous managerial experience came when he led Championship club Derby County.

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Lampard is under pressure

Lampard was given massive funding to invest on strengthening the squad last summer. He spent heavily in order to bring in Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. The German duo, in particular, appears to have struggled to so far adapt to life in England.

So far, the Blues have not shown signs of significant improvement from last season. Should they fail to attain a top-four finish this season, it is unlikely that Lampard will remain at the helm of the team beyond this summer, especially considering how harsh the club has been with managers before.

“I’m not stupid, I know that we need to get results. We want to get results. Do I change things? Sometimes, a little bit. I tweak things. You have to search, but you also have to stick to your principles.” said Lampard as reported by Sky Sports. 

Lampard can still pick things up

It is still a bit too premature to make a fair judgement that Lampard is not the right man to lead the West London club. After all, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was on the verge of being sacked by Manchester United a couple of times before managing to string together a good run of results. Lampard needs to do the same.

Forget Mendy, Chelsea Must Eye Italian Keeper

After watching Kepa Arrizabalaga make error after error, Chelsea eventually realized that they had to make a change in goal, bringing in Edouard Mendy from Rennes last summer.

Mendy arrived at Stamford Bridge at the prime of his powers, at 28-years-old and following an impressive Ligue 1 season. The Senegal international initially showed some strong signs in England, however, some of his recent mistakes have led to concerns about whether he will truly ever be a world-class keeper.

The Blues need a world-class keeper between the sticks if they want to challenge for major silverware, they simply cannot have an ordinary keeper in the position.

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Donnarumma is now an elite keeper 

It’s safe to say that Donnarumma is now one of the best goalkeepers in world football. It’s hard to believe that the keeper dubbed the “modern-day Buffon” has already amassed nearly 200 appearances in the Serie A. He is still just 21-years-old and most players his age are still working their way into first-team football.

With keepers now playing well into their 40’s, especially Italian’s, Donnarumma could potentially have more than 19-years left in the tank. Gianluigi Buffon is still going strong for Juventus at 42 and if Donnarumma is to follow the example of the former long-time Italy first-choice keeper, he will play for another two decades.

Mendy seems like a decent enough goalkeeper to play in the Premier League. But is he good enough to help Chelsea win major trophies? Thus far, the signs have not been promising but time will tell.

Every side needs a top goalkeeper. Manchester City have that in Ederson, Liverpool have it in Alisson and Bayern Munich have it in Manuel Neuer.

During their heyday, Chelsea had that in Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois and since the departure of the latter to Real Madrid in 2018, they have been unable to win the Premier League.

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Craig Burley Believes Grealish Would Have Suited Chelsea

Former Chelsea star Craig Burley believes that Aston Villa ace Jack Grealish would have suited the Blues. Grealish played an instrumental role in terms of helping Villa to avoid relegation last season.

His form has been a totally different story this season. Villa are faring much better than they did last season and Grealish has established himself as one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League and a world class talent.

Dean Smith’s side are sixth in the standings with a game in hand over log leaders Liverpool. They managed to claim a memorable 7-2 win over defending champions Liverpool earlier this season with Grealish having been a star in that game.

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Grealish is on another level

As much as Grealish is a boyhood fan of Villa, he is now 25-years-old and will have to leave Villa Park soon if he wants to take his career to the next level and play in the Champions League.  There is no doubt that the vultures will come circling for his signature at the end of this season.

One of Grealish’s strengths is that he is capable of being deployed on the wings as well as in midfield. He may have been a good addition to Frank Lampard’s first-team.

Burley believes that he would have been a good acquisition amidst the struggles of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner in establishing themselves at Stamford Bridge.

“I wouldn’t have been against signing Jack Grealish. He’s been superb again, a fantastic season.” he said as reported by The Sun. 

“Timo Werner is a different kettle of fish because Jack Grealish is a midfielder who can do a bit of everything. Werner is an attacker, and in essence so is Havertz – although he can play a little deeper.

“Grealish would have given them more options than Havertz.”

Report: German Could Replace Lampard If Things Don’t Improve

After a strong start to the season, Chelsea’s performances have begun to wane. There is no doubt that this will frustrate Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, a person who is known to be harsh when it comes to judging managers.

The Blues have lost three out of their last four Premier League games. There is no doubt that Lampard has a talented side at his disposal and anything other than a top-four finish in the league this season will simply not be acceptable.  Lampard was also given plenty of funds to invest last summer on bringing in new players so he certainly cannot be one to complain about not receiving sufficient backing from the board.

Should things fail to pick up under Lampard, the Blues could potentially move for Thomas Tuchel, as reported by The Daily Mail. 

Thomas Tuchel is available 

Tuchel was made available last week after PSG opted to sack him. The 47-year-old is vastly experienced as he has previously managed the likes of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund in addition to PSG. In his time with PSG, he managed to win two Ligue 1 titles and also led the club to the final of the Champions League last season where they lost to Bayern Munich.

It was the best performance by PSG in the Champions League in the modern era.

The report added that Tuchel would love to have the opportunity to work with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. The trio have all been struggling to play well this season. The latter two in particular who arrived last summer were expected to be major hits in the Premier League.

However, they have so far failed to bring their past Bundesliga form to England. Tuchel could help to get the best out of them, given his intimate knowledge of German football.

 

Jamie Carragher Issues Warning To Chelsea Keeper Mendy

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has issued a warning to Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy following his recent errors against Leeds United and Everton.

The Senegal international joined the Blues in the summer and has since dispatched Kepa Arrizabalaga as the club’s first-choice keeper. Kepa had been struggling to live up to expectations following his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2018 and made several costly errors.

Whilst the 28-year-old Mendy had a promising start to life at Chelsea, he himself made costly errors against Leeds United and Everton recently. The Blues ultimately lost the game to the Toffees which led to their early season strong momentum being lost.

“He came in and made a massive difference, but I think any keeper coming in would’ve made a massive difference,” said Carragher as reported by The Daily Star. 

“I think he’s made a really good start, there’s no doubt he’s made a few mistakes of late, but all eyes will be on him now a lot more.”

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Mendy will have to up his game

The goalkeeping position at Chelsea is a high-profile one. The last three long-term first-choice keepers at the club- Thibaut Courtois, Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini are considered to be greats. Kepa became the first keeper of the club in the modern era to not manage to hold onto the first-choice keeping position on a long-term basis.

The 28-year-old Mendy is a late bloomer and was not really known to many people prior to his arrival at Chelsea. After starting his career with French lower league club Cherbourg in 2011, he started making a name for himself in France with Reims and more recently Rennes whom he left to join the Blues earlier this year.

Whilst making errors every now and then is pretty much expected of any player, Mendy will be aware that he will not be able to do this regularly if he wants to make the Chelsea first-choice keeping position his own.

 

Chelsea Players Whose Contracts Expire Next Summer

Every year players come and go from football clubs. The following are players from the club whose contracts are due to expire at the end of the 2020/21 season as per Transfermarkt.

Olivier Giroud 

Giroud has made no secret of his desire to play for France at the rescheduled European Championships this summer. He arrived at the club in January 2018 as an emergency transfer when the Blues were struggling to find a consistent player to lead their line and amidst the struggles of Alvaro Morata at the time.

Giroud has done his bit for the Blues. With Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham in Frank Lampard’s squad, it is unlikely that he will be staying at the club beyond this summer, this time for real.

It remains to be seen whether Giroud also wants to play in the 2022 World Cup. If so, his next destination may be another club from Europe’s top five leagues.

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Willy Caballero

The Argentine joined the club during the summer of 2017 on a free transfer and his duty was to act as a cover option. The 39-year-old has done a professional job whenever called upon and has gone on to make 11 Premier League appearances in his time at Stamford Bridge so far.

Caballero may opt to continue his career elsewhere but his position will be better served going to a younger keeper who can challenge Edouard Mendy for the first-choice goalkeeping position.

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Thiago Silva

From all the players on this list, Silva is the most likely to remain at the club next season. After joining the Blues this summer, he agreed to sign a one year contract with the club, with a clause to possibly extend his stay at the Bridge by a further year.

Silva has so far been a hit in England. It will not be surprising if Lampard wants to keep him for a further year.

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Report: Chelsea Is Keen On Young Sensation

Chelsea are interested in signing Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland, according to a report by 90min

The Norwegian has established himself as arguably the biggest breakout star of 2020. Following some dynamic goalscoring for Red Bull Salzburg, he earned a move to German giants Dortmund in January 2020.

Not many expected Haaland to continue his phenomenal scoring rate in the Bundesliga. After all, he is only 20-years-old and there is a gulf in class between the league of Austria as compared to Germany.

He has done just that and currently as a record of 23 Bundesliga goals from just 23 games.

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Haaland is a future star in the making

Despite still being in the infancy of his career, it is evident that Haaland has intelligence and maturity beyond his age. Most players who are his age are still undergoing a development and learning curve. On the other hand, he can already strut his stuff against the best in the game.

There is no doubt that Dortmund’s good reputation regarding working with young talent played a role in Haaland’s decision to join the club. So far his decision to join Dortmund seems to have been the right one. However, it is unlikely that Haaland will stay at Dortmund for the long-term. Whilst they are a good club, they are unable to compete with the financial might of the top Premier League and La Liga clubs in addition to arch-rivals Bayern Munich.

Will Haaland suit Chelsea

Chelsea currently have Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud on their books. Whilst Giroud is not expected to stick around with the club for the long-term, Werner and Abraham are aiming to do so.

Werner has so far struggled to live up to expectations. If this continues, Chelsea should consider making a move for him.

If Werner and Abraham start scoring on a regular basis, it may be better for Chelsea to invest in bolstering other areas of the team.

 

Chelsea Will Have To Be Patient With Havertz And Werner

The German duo of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner joined Chelsea last summer from Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig respectively. The duo developed into quality players in the Bundesliga and were among the most feared players in the German top-flight prior to their arrivals at Stamford Bridge.

The combined fee for the duo was £117 million and so naturally there was much excitement around their arrivals and fans expected them to be matchwinners.

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It is still too early to give an honest assessment of Havertz and Werner 

It is still too early to give an honest and true assessment of the players. They have certainly not made an immediate impact like Bruno Fernandes did at Manchester United after joining the Red Devils from Sporting Lisbon in January. However, they have shown glimpses of quality.

Werner has now not found the back of the net in his last nine games and Havertz in his last 12. Werner appears to play his best football when he is utilized as a lone striker and not when he is to the right or left of the front three. With Tammy Abraham now finding form and Olivier Giroud remaining his reliable usual self, one can hope that this can help to bring out the best in his game again.

Havertz appears to be lacking an end product. His natural football intelligence can be seen. Perhaps all that he needs is some time. Some players do tend to take longer to adapt than others. He is also still just 21 and whilst he has vast professional experience, it is important to realize that most other players his age are still fringe players at their respective clubs.

Chelsea may not win the league this season. Winning it will be a bonus but this season should be about getting the team to gel and achieving consistency- something which has lacked over the past three years. There will be no excuses not to challenge for the league next season.

Lampard Not Too Concerned About Timo Werner’s Struggles To Find Goals

Chelsea have had bad luck in terms of finding quality and reliable strikers in recent years. Whilst Diego Costa did score some memorable goals for the club, he did not respect and ended his time at Stamford Bridge on a bitter note.

Alvaro Morata came in and failed to live up to expectations. This was what prompted the club to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal in January 2018. Giroud has surpassed expectations. He was never expected to be a match winner but has turned out to be that.

The Blues roped in Timo Werner from RB Leipzig ahead of this season. Werner developed into one of the most feared German forwards during his time in the Bundesliga and there was hope that he could finally be the long-term successor to Chelsea club legend Didier Drogba.

Granted, Werner is only 24-years-old and this is the first time he is playing in England. English football is vastly different to German football in terms of the style of play and it may take him time to adapt to his new surroundings.

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Werner has been struggling for goals recently 

However, he has thus far managed just four goals for the Blues from 14 Premier League games and he has failed to find the back of the net in his last nine games. This has not been a total blow to Blues manager Frank Lampard as Giroud has been scoring goals whilst Tammy Abraham also struck a double in the club’s 3-0 win over West Ham last weekend.

Lampard has said that he is not too concerned about Werner’s struggles.

“Yes, I am not worried on that front. Every striker will want to be scoring goals and that’s what they ultimately get judged on. That’s why Timo was a great acquisition for us because of the level of goals that he has scored for us over the last few years,” the 42-year-old said as per Football.London. 

“So, again, I will say it is a player in a new league who needs time to settle. That’s not the whole story with Timo, he is getting into positions regularly, scaring them and giving them a problem. At the moment, it is not quite going for him but that moment will change if he keeps working hard and we will see goals from Timo Werner for sure.”

Defender Admits He Is Unhappy With Playing Situation At Chelsea

Antonio Rudiger has admitted that he is unhappy with his lack of regular game time for Chelsea this season.  The German appears to have dropped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge this season as he has thus far made only one Premier League appearance to date.

It has been a dramatic fall from grace for the 27-year-old. He became a key component of the Blues first-team when he arrived at the club in 2017 and even played in 19 out of the last 22 league games in the last campaign.

Frank Lampard seems to be opting for the defensive combination of Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva this season. Rudiger’s chances of breaking into the first-team anytime soon appear to be slim. His chances of gaining selection to the German national team for the rescheduled European Championships will thus also be very slim.

In spite of his situation, Rudiger also added that he will opt to stay and fight for a place in the first-team rather than seek a transfer away from the club this January.

“I can’t be satisfied with my situation, but the fight has been accepted,” he said as reported by The Daily Mail.

“What will happen in January is a long way off. I’m completely relaxed.”

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Rudiger’s chances of regular football are not good at all

Despite having a very talented side, Chelsea are far from a finished product and their recent league losses against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton proved that. However, the defence has been one of the team’s better characteristics and it is the attack which is misfiring.

Rudiger has played four Champions League games this season which seems to indicate that Frank Lampard still does see a role for him in the team. With Silva unlikely to stay at the team beyond two years, Rudiger could win regular first-team action if he continues to work hard and impress when called upon.

Report: Declan Rice Is Keen To Return To Chelsea

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano believes that Chelsea could make a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in the January transfer window, as per The Mirror. 

The Blues have been long linked with the 21-year-old who has established himself as one of the most highly-rated young defensive midfielders in European football. Rice is so highly rated at West Ham that he is entrusted with the captaincy duties when Mark Noble is absent.

Since bursting onto the West Ham first-team scene in 2015, Rice has gone on to make more than 100 Premier League appearances and has since also worked his way into the England team. He will be of high probability to gain selection to the England squad which will compete at the rescheduled European Championships.

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Rice will have a strong connection to Chelsea

Rice is a fan favourite at the London Stadium and should think carefully about his next move. He is virtually assured of regular game time at West Ham as well as having a key leadership role within the side. He will need to make a move at some point to take his career to the next level but does not need to rush it.

He will feel connected to Chelsea as he is a product of the Blues youth development system and was released by the club in 2014, a year after he turned professional. Chelsea’s loss ended up being West Ham’s gain, though it is likely that Rice had dreams of playing for the Blues first-team as a youngster.

Frank Lampard is believed to be a keen admirer of Rice and is also an admirer of young talent. Rice could be a good addition at Stamford Bridge, particularly under the management of Lampard. Chelsea must act fast though as a player like Rice is likely to attract interest from a number of clubs.

Report: Olivier Giroud Refused To Leave Chelsea

Laurent Koscielny reportedly failed to convince Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud to leave the club last summer.

“Yes, it’s true. I tried. Olive didn’t come and I totally respect his choice. He still feels capable of playing at the highest level, in a club that plays the Champions League,” Koscielny told France Football.

“He wants to continue to play for the France national team in the Euros and maybe even go to the 2022 World Cup.

“If he still feels capable of doing it, letting him enjoy it as much as possible.

“A career is short. (…) I gave him all the arguments as to why I’m at Bordeaux, and he completely understood. He still wants to win and stay at the highest level.”

The veteran striker was expected by many to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of last season after Timo Werner agreed to join the club. Giroud served as a second-choice striker for the majority of last season to Tammy Abraham and it was expected that Werner’s arrival would relegate him to third choice.

Koscienly who now plays for and captains Ligue 1 club Bordeaux was keen to reunite with Giroud with whom he was previously team-mates at Arsenal for several years.

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Giroud’s career has been a case of continuous perseverance

While he is not the most naturally gifted striker around, Giroud makes up for his lack of natural ability to willpower and professionalism. Karim Benzema is a far more gifted striker than him, let it was Giroud who lead the line for France in the 2018 World Cup. A big reason for this is because of his professional etiquette and because of how he influences those around him.

While Giroud did not score a single goal in France’s World Cup-winning campaign, he helped to bring the best out of his attacking partners and played a crucial role in the triumph in his own right.

Giroud has continued to shine for Chelsea this season amidst early season struggles of Werner and Abraham. There is no doubt that the young duo can learn a lot from their experienced team-mate who now has almost a decade of Premier League experience.

John Terry Reveals Why He Did Not Join Manchester United as a Player

John Terry is widely regarded as being one of the greatest players ever to don the jersey of Chelsea. He spent 19 years on the roster of the Blues first team as a player and went on to win virtually everything that there was to win in English football during that time.

Not only did Terry establish himself as arguably the best English defender of the past generation but he also established himself as one of the best English leaders of the past generation, which has been proved off the pitch with his assistant coaching at Aston Villa. The West Midlands side are now 40/1 to be relegated in the football betting odds when you refer a friend with bet365, a testament to the 40-year-old’s impact at Villa Park.

“I had the option between Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United and to be fair all of them went above and beyond. The moment I walked into Chelsea, it just felt right. I know that’s going to sound really bizarre.

“Again, my dad never wanted me to sign for Chelsea. Actually, on the pitch of me signing my schoolboy form at the club, my dad refused to go on the pitch with me. I’m in the tunnel, the players are coming off the pitch and I’m waiting in the tunnel, Glenn Hoddle goes past and my dad’s going, ‘You’re not signing for this football club, we should sign for Manchester United’.

“I just knew and loved Chelsea from the moment I walked in and never looked back, I still love the club and look out for every result now. It’s great to see Lamps and Jody in there now doing their thing, excellent.”

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Terry was a West Ham player as a youth

What is surprising is that Terry was actually a West Ham player as a youth between 1991-1995 before moving to West London to join Chelsea.

In addition to all his achievements at club level, Terry also went on to make 76 appearances for England, scoring six goals between 2003-2012. He failed to help the England national team win a major trophy despite playing alongside the likes of Michael Owen, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand. To date, the England team has not won a major piece of silverware since 1966 when they won the World Cup on home soil.

Terry spent the final season of his time with Chelsea as a squad rotation player and he subsequently left the club upon the expiration of his contract during the summer of 2017. After leaving Chelsea, he surprisingly linked up with Aston Villa, who were then managed by Steve Bruce. After one season as a player for the Villains, he opted to hang up his boots and take up the assistant manager’s job to Dean Smith.

It remains to be seen what will happen to Terry in the future but he is destined to manage at the highest level at some point. It will be fitting for him to one day return to Stamford Bridge in a coaching/managerial role.

Report: Out Of Favour Chelsea Player Is Attracting Offers

Ligue 1 club Nice are keen on signing Fikayo Tomori on loan from Chelsea in January, according to The Sun.

The youngster was a fringe player for the Blues last season as he went on to make 15 Premier League appearances. However, he appears to have fallen down the pecking order this season following the arrival of Thiago Silva and given that Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen appear to be above him in the pecking order.

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Tomori has a lot of potential 

Even though his current situation is not ideal, it is well known that Tomori is a highly rated talent. He was handed his England debut by Gareth Southgate for a Euro 2020 qualification match against Kosovo in November 2019. The report added that Chelsea is not keen to sell Tomori but will send him on loan in order to gain more experience at the highest level.

A loan move could be beneficial to Tomori’s career growth. It will help him to get better as a player as well as to gain more confidence.

Whilst Brexit has made it complicated for English youngsters to secure moves to other European leagues, the process won’t be complicated for Tomori as he has an English national team cap and Premier League experience.

The report further added that there are clubs in the Premier League who are interested in signing Tomori, though the Blues will prefer not to loan the player out to a domestic club.

A loan move could be beneficial for Chelsea, as it could allow Tomori to continue growing as a player. Realistically Silva is only likely to play for the club for one or two seasons, given that he is in his late 30s. Tomori could be a ready made replacement for the Brazil international when he leaves the club.

Lampard Comments On Chelsea’s Champions League Last 16 Opponents

Chelsea have been drawn to play against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League. This will present a big challenge for Frank Lampard’s side. Diego Simeone’s side are in good form and with Barcelona and Real Madrid not at their best this season, they a top contender to claim the La Liga title this season.

“I think most people will say it’s the toughest draw we could’ve had when you go on current form.” said Lampard (h/t: The Mirror). 

“We’re going to have to try to beat these sort of teams if we want to win the Champions League.”

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Chelsea are a top side now

After a few years of underachievement, the signs look like Chelsea are becoming a quality side again. The talented youngsters which were brought to the club prior to the start of this season look to be gelling in well.  The Blues were clinical in their Champions League Group E clashes as they topped their group without losing a single game.

Simeone’s side impressively knocked out Liverpool from Europe’s elite club competition last season. They also have one of the strongest defences in the world and have only conceded four goals from their last 11 games.

Atletico will go into the tie as favourites

Due to the fact that they have a more experienced side, Simeone’s side will probably go into the tie as the slight favourites. Chelsea though can take heart from the fact that they have proven that they have what it takes to compete in Spain.

In their Champions League group matches, they did not lose to Sevilla and even beat last season’s Europa League winners 4-0 in Spain. The Blues also got the edge over Atletico in the 2017/18 Champions League group stage and prevented them from advancing to the last 16 in that season.

They beat them away and managed to earn a draw at home.

 

Chelsea Star Kai Havertz Raves About Billy Gilmour

Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz has revealed that he has been impressed by team-mate Billy Gilmour.

“We all know that Billy is a very talented player with a lot of qualities,” Kai Havertz told Chelsea’s official site.

“He is still very young like me, but in the Champions League he played very good, and we are all very happy with him. He has a big future ahead of him.

“We know we created a lot of chances but we have to score the goals, but we didn’t do that. We have to practice for that of course.”

After missing the first two months of the season following knee surgery in the summer, Gilmour made his first start of the season last week in his side’s 1-1 Champions League draw against Krasnodar.

The Scotland U21 international is one of the most highly-rated young prospects within the Blues first-team. He was introduced to the first-team picture last season and made 11 appearances in all competitions.  His advanced skills for his age have led to him being dubbed “the Scottish Messi” and he has been playing for the Scotland U-21 team since he was just 17-years-old.

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Gilmour will be aiming to become a first-team regular

Gilmour has attracted praise for his composure on the ball and drawn comparisons to Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.  After getting his first start of the season, Gilmour’s target will now be to go on and become a first-team regular in the side this season.

As a manager, Frank Lampard has never shied away from giving youth regular playing time. It will now be up to Gilmour to prove himself in training and impress the boss.

Gilmour does not face an easy task, especially as the Blues spent £220 million on bolstering their squad last summer. If he does not become a first-team regular by the end of this season, he should seriously consider a loan spell in order to gain more experience at the highest level.

Lampard Urged To Be Selfish In January Transfer Market

Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has urged Frank Lampard to retain the services of Olivier Giroud beyond the January transfer window. The Frenchman has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in order to gain more regular playing time.

Giroud wants to play in the European Championships

It is no secret that the 34-year-old Giroud wants to be part of the French squad that will contest the rescheduled European Championships. To do that, he will need to be playing regularly. With Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham already in the Blues first-team, it is not certain that he will play regularly even though his recent form has been good.

Giroud scored all four of Chelsea’s goals in their thrashing of Sevilla in the Champions League last week. He followed that up by scoring the equalizing goal in the 3-1 victory over London rivals Leeds United last weekend.

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Chelsea could contest the Premier League title

The Premier League title race looks set to be one of the most thrilling in recent seasons. Chelsea’s recent form and the depth of their squad suggests that they could be title contenders this season. Hasselbaink believes that Giroud’s form and leadership could be invaluable in terms of determining whether the Blues win the title this season.

“I don’t think they can afford to let Giroud go,” Hasselbaink said to Premier League Productions. “Even if he’s not number one. Coming off the bench and making something different.

“I know that he is going to want to leave but I think Frank has to be very selfish there and say no.

“Maybe he can call [Didier] Deschamps and have that conversation with Deschamps saying, ‘Okay, what does he need to do to be in your team? How much does he need to play?’ and have that conversation with Giroud, ‘Okay, you’re going to play this amount of matches for sure so you can go to the European Championship’.

Report: Chelsea Are Considering RB Leipzig Player As Understudy To Ben Chilwell

Chelsea are considering a move for RB Leipzig left-back Matthew Bondswell as an understudy to Ben Chilwell, according to The Mirror. 

The Englishman joined Leipzig as a youth product from Nottingham Forest in 2018. He has yet to make a Bundesliga appearance for Leipzig and is currently on loan with FC Dordrecht.

The fact that Leipzig have not yet handed caps to Bondswell at senior level could indicate that he is not in their first-team plans. Though Bondswell does not have much senior experience, he has been capped at various youth age group levels by England from U-15 to U-18.

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Bondswell could be a good investment for the future

Since arriving at Stamford Bridge from Leicester City last summer, Chilwell has made the left-back position his own and been an overwhelming success.

Frank Lampard is still able to call upon Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso, though it looks like the more experienced duo are now surplus to requirements at the club. Both players have also been linked with January moves away from the West London giants.

Lampard looks like he is keen to build his side around young talent and so a move for Bondswell could be a good long-term investment.

As the player is not yet highly experienced and not known to a broader audience, he is unlikely to command a hefty fee. One of Bondswell’s strengths is that he is able to operate as either a centre-back or a left-back. Last season, he also stepped into the Leipzig’s Under-19 team despite his tender age.

It will be interesting to see what the Blues do with Bondswell should they secure his signature. The logical thing to do would be to send him out on loan, ideally to an English club in order to acquire more experience. However, the Blues are unpredictable under Lampard and so it won’t be surprising if he is integrated into the first-team.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Issues Warning To Tammy Abraham

Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has warned striker Tammy Abraham that he will need to step up this season. The Englishman scored 18 goals for the club last season. Questions were asked of him prior to the start of last season due to his lack of Premier League experience at that point. However, he did prove his doubters wrong.

Abraham’s form led to an England call-up. Whilst he has not yet established himself as a world-class player, he did prove that he has the ability to reach that level.

The 23-year-old has so far scored five goals from 15 games for the Blues this season and three have come in the Premier League.

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Why Abraham faces a tough predicament right now?

As things stand, Abraham is the Blues second choice striker, ahead of Olivier Giroud but behind Timo Werner. Werner joined the club from RB Leipzig last summer and could be set to remain the club’s first-choice striker for the long-term. The German has already proven himself to be a world-class player and will be expected to help lead the club to major international trophies.

With Chelsea set to only use one striker for the majority of their games, Abraham could be limited to a substitute or second-choice role for the long term and that is not something that would be ideal for his career growth, especially at this point in time.

He will have to be playing on a regular basis if he wants to win selection for the England national team, especially as he is competing against the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harry Kane, and Danny Ings.

“For me, Abraham has to do better,” former Chelsea striker Hasselbaink told Sky Sports (H/T:Football London)

“James can’t do any better for him, he’s put that ball in the right space. Put your head against it, it doesn’t matter who you are, these are brilliant crosses.

“For a striker, this is what you want, at this moment. These are the moments that are counting for Abraham, where he needs to step up.

“James can’t do any better for him, he’s put that ball in the right space. Put your head against it, it doesn’t matter who you are, these are brilliant crosses.

“For a striker, this is what you want, at this moment. These are the moments that are counting for Abraham, where he needs to step up.

“Why is he going to the floor? Stand up, you’ve already done the most difficult thing. Stay on your feet and tap it in. It’s 1-0, it’s always going to be a 1-0 game.

“He’s had three chances where he has to make it his own. He has to improve in those moments.”

Frank Lampard Issues Backing To Hudson-Odoi

Frank Lampard has advised Callum Hudson-Odoi to remain patient in his aims to become a first-team regular for the club.

The 20-year-old has been in excellent form recently. He has so far scored three goals from 11 games in all competitions for the club this season. He opened the scoring for Lampard’s charges in their 2-1 Champions League  group stage victory over French club Rennes earlier this week. The result ensured that the Blues advance to the last 16 of the Champions League this season.

“I am seeing constant improvements from him; I knew he’d had a couple of good performances for the England Under-21s last week,” Lampard told Chelsea’s website.

“I know he wants more minutes, but I have competition in that area.

“If he isn’t getting minutes in a period it doesn’t mean he is out of favour with me. He certainly isn’t. He is still a developing player, to a degree.

“The bit of quality he shows with the first two touches before he got his shot away was top class; I know he can do that.

“There are loads of great things about Callum, and I know there are things he can improve in his game. He knows that.

“He is a big player for Chelsea, he has a big future with us. His all-round game was fantastic, and he got his goal too.”

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Hudson-Odoi will be hungry for an England recall

Hudson-Odoi has not played for England since the start of 2020. With the rescheduled European Championships set to take place next summer, he will be keen to impress for Chelsea between now and the end of the season.

However, he will face intense competition for a place in Lampard’s starting xi. Lampard looks set to build the core of his side around young talent, and the Blues had one of their best transfer windows’ in recent memory last summer.

Hudson-Odoi has been with the Blues since he was youth player. He was introduced into the first-team in 2017 and has shown plenty of promise. Interestingly, he has never been sent on loan and this proves just how highly the Blues hierarchy view him.

Most players are sent on loan early on in their careers in order to mature and gain more experience at the highest level. However, he has been strongly linked with a move to German giants Bayern Munich in recent years, and the Bavarian giants are even believed to have had a bid rejected for the Englishman last summer.

Patrice Evra Backs Chelsea Linked Player To Leave Current Club

Manchester United legend Patrice Evra has backed Declan Rice to leave West Ham in the near future.

The 21-year-old who can play as either a centre-back or defensive midfielder has established himself as one of the top young talents in the Premier League. Since bring integrated into the Hammers first-team in 2015, he has gone on to make 105 Premier League appearances for the club.

Rice is a first-team regular for the Hammers and even wears the captain’s armband in the absence of veteran Mark Noble. With Noble past his prime, Rice is likely to captain the East Londoners for many games this season.

Rice has also established himself as a regular for the England national team. Since making his debut for the Three Lions against the Czech Republic in March 2019, he has gone on to make 13 appearances for Gareth Southgate’s side.

“Moyes has given him the captaincy, so for me, it symbols the future of West Ham. It’s not easy to put Mark Noble on the bench,” said Evra on Sky Sports (H/T: The Express). 

“They know they are going to lose him, because many big clubs are interested in Declan, but right now, he’s the man of West Ham. I’m not surprised.

“I knew this player would never allow his head to get bigger because he’s so focused and so humble, and you can see him smiling – he’s happy, what a joy.

“I’m very pleased for him.”

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Chelsea and Rice could be a good match 

Let’s face it, it is highly unlikely that Rice will remain with West Ham for the long-term. He needs to take his career to the next level and join a side which can challenge for major silverware. Whilst the Hammers are a decent side, they are unlikely to challenge for honours anytime soon.

Rice is believed to be best friends with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount. As a development player, he also spent eight years with the Blues before being released in 2014 and subsequently joining West Ham in the same year.

It is probable that Rice’s childhood ambition was to play for the Chelsea first-team at Stamford Bridge. He will be able to achieve that under Frank Lampard who is building the core of his side around young talent.

Chelsea Should Let Olivier Giroud Leave In January

It is safe to say that Olivier Giroud is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge. The striker has become the Blues third-choice striker since the arrival of Timo Werner at the club last summer.

The third choice striker usually does not feature much for the club. It would be better if the Blues had a young striker occupying the third choice striker role, someone who would be able to feed off the knowledge of Tammy Abraham and Werner whilst providing them with stuff competition.

He memorably finished as the leading goal scorer in the 2018/19 Europa League as he banged in 11 goals to guide the Blues to the trophy. The trophy was a welcome relief for the club after they had struggled that season.

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Giroud has done his fair share for the club

The Frenchman surprisingly joined the club in January 2018 from Arsenal. He joined at a time when Alvaro Morata was struggling to score goals for the club. Most people would not have expected Giroud to remain at the club for the almost three years.

He ended up being a good servant to the club since then. The transfer ban which the Blues were slapped with last season meant that the club had to keep Giroud for longer than they would have anticipated.

The 2018 World Cup winner still has international ambitions and wants to play in the rescheduled European Championships next year. It is safe to say that Giroud will probably not make the France Euro squad if he does not play regularly.

The criteria for gaining selection to Les Bleus is incredibly difficult. The French will go into the European Championships as one of the favourites.

Giroud could still have a lot to contribute to the French squad even though he is now 34-years-old. His skills and experience mean that young players can learn a lot from him.

 

Olivier Giroud’s Agent Lashes Out At Frank Lampard

Michael Manuello, the agent of Olivier Giroud has claimed that his client has been unfairly treated by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard.

The Frenchman is currently the third choice striker at Stamford Bridge- behind Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner who joined the club from RB Leipzig in the summer.

Giroud’s lack of regular game time could negatively affect his chances of gaining selection to the France team which will contest the rescheduled European Championships next year.

“With Olivier Giroud and without the signings, Chelsea were on 18 points from nine matches. These 18 points were gathered when Olivier started seven times. Chelsea scored 18 goals,” Manuello told Foot Mercato (H/T: The Standard). 

“Since the beginning of the season, Chelsea have played eight matches, scored 22 goals and taken 15 points. So if they win their next match, they will equal what Olivier did last year.

“It is not the same to play with (Hakim)  Ziyech, Havertz, Werner than playing without them. So we need to look at this relatively.

“But at the same time you’d be blind not to see that Frank Lampard has decided to put Tammy Abraham ahead of him. It is not frankly fair when you look at what Olivier did at the end of the season. But he has the right, it is his choice.”

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Giroud was in impressive form towards the end of last season

The veteran was in impressive form after the lockdown. He scored seven goals from 12 games after the COVID-19 lockdown and usurped Abraham in the club’s pecking order for some time. He ended last season as Lampard’s first-choice striker.

Giroud has little chance of regular game-time for the Blues

Lampard appears to be trying to build his side around young talent. Now 34-years-old and well past his prime, it looks unlikely that Giroud will be able to move up the pecking order again. Werner’s form has also been strong since his arrival at the club which makes it more unlikely.

Regardless of this, it is safe to say that Giroud’s contributions to the team since his arrival at the club in January 2018 has been positive. Nobody would have expected him to last almost three years with the club, especially as he arrived when he was already well over 30.

Former Chelsea Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic: Kepa Can Bounce Back

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has backed Kepa Arrizabalaga to return to form and “prove everyone wrong”.

The Spaniard joined the Blues during the summer of 2018 for a fee of £71 million from La Liga club Athletic Bilbao. There were naturally heavy expectations on Kepa, especially as he was replacing Thibaut Courtois who was joining Real Madrid around the same time.

“I don’t think it’s gone to plan for everyone,” Begovic said to TalkSport.

“These situations are never straightforward. If you spend a big transfer fee it doesn’t mean everything is going to work out; there are a lot of factors into making a move work and making an impact at a club.

“Mendy has come in and done really, really well, I think he’s really solidified that position. He’s been impressive, he’s been a joy to watch to be honest and he’s someone I really enjoy watching.

“But can Kepa still prove everybody wrong? Possibly. I think Kepa is a really good goalkeeper, he played really well in Spain before his move to Chelsea and it’s obviously been a bit of a tricky time for him.

“He’s got really good quality and I’m sure he’ll be a huge success, whether it’s at Chelsea or somewhere else.

“When you have that equality it’s only going to be matter of time before things turn around for him again in a positive way.”

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Kepa was never convincing in goal for Chelsea

Kepa has never been convincing in goal for the Blues. He has certainly never shown signs of emulating the heroics of his predecessors- Courtois and Petr Cech. He made several high-profile errors in his time as Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper. This prompted Frank Lampard to recruit Senegalese keeper Edouard Mendy. Mendy has since taken over as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper following his arrival. His performances have attracted praise from fans and pundits alike.

After sustaining a shoulder injury last month, Kepa has not even featured on the bench for Chelsea in recent games. His current situation has raised questions about his future with the Blues. The 26-year-old may want to leave the club in order to find first-team football elsewhere.

He was also tipped to potentially dislodge David de Gea as the first-choice goalkeeper of the Spanish national team. Kepa cannot afford to play second fiddle to Mendy at Stamford Bridge if he has hopes of usurping De Gea in the Spanish national team pecking order.

 

Report: Barcelona Are Keen On Antonio Rudiger

Barcelona are keen on luring Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger, according to Sport.  Though he was a key player for the club over recent years, Rudiger seems to have slipped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge following the arrival of Thiago Silva at the club.

As things stand, Blues manager Frank Lampard appears to prefer Kurt Zouma, Silva, Andreas Christensen, and Fikayo Tomori over Rudiger. He has made just one start for the club so far this season. As he is now 27-years-old, it is difficult to see him making a return to Lampard’s first-team plans on a regular basis.

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Could Barcelona provide a home for Rudiger?

Rudiger will need to play regular football if he wants to get regularly called up by the German national team. If he carries on not playing regularly, he will probably not be selected for the German team which will contest the European Championships next year.

Barcelona is a club in the rebuilding phase. If Rudiger goes to the Camp Nou, he could stand a good chance of regular first-team football. The Blaugrana are hotly tipped to enter the race to sign former academy product Eric Garcia from Manchester City.

Should a deal for the youngster not materialize in January, Rudiger could be brought in to add stability to the unpredictable backline of the Blaugrana.

The report also touted Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi, Federico Fazio and German Pezzella as potential short-term defensive options for Barcelona.

It is safe to say that Rudiger will be the best option for Barcelona from the aforementioned options. In addition to being vastly experienced, he is also a proven player in Italy, Germany, and England. He is at the prime of his career and could even establish himself as a first-team regular for an elite club in Europe’s top five leagues if he adapts well into the setup.