Chelsea star Marcos Alonso has admitted that he felt his side were always going to struggle after their Premier League heroics last season.
The international break is finally over for another couple of months and the Chelsea players will be returning to Cobham with Tottenham Hotspur taking their focus on Sunday, a side that have not been able to beat the Blues at Stamford Bridge in 28 years.
Many at Chelsea have not been happy with how the season has gone so far: although the club is still competing for the FA Cup, they face an uphill challenge of trying to secure the fourth spot in the Premier League and the opportunity to play Champions League football.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel has reportedly held meetings with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia about succeeding Antonio Conte as Blues manager.
Just because the transfer window isn’t currently open, it doesn’t mean that deals aren’t being agreed daily throughout the season. Many clubs prefer to operate outside of the designated windows as it’s easier to keep signings quiet. There is one deal that looks as good as done that will see Crewe Alexandra forward George Nunn move to Chelsea for a fee believed to be around £300,000.
The departure of John Terry has allowed Andreas Christensen the chance to get first-team football at Chelsea, however, it appears the former Blue is still on hand for the 21-year-old’s concerns with his form.
With Europe’s big leagues taking breaks in line with international football taking place, there is time for negotiations at club level. That is exactly what’s happened this week as Antonio Conte has reportedly held talks with Paris Saint-Germain, who are thought to be looking to replace Unai Emery after another unsuccessful UEFA Champions League campaign.
While Chelsea have had a tumultuous season, the club will be buoyed by the news that star player N’Golo Kante has publicly committed to staying at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future.
Former Venezuelan footballer turned pundit Alejandro Moreno believes that AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will not end up moving to Chelsea at the end of the season.
Chelsea’s Belgian international goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has played down speculation that he will be leaving the Blues this summer – but has refused to pledge his long-term future to the club.
Chelsea could be lining up a shock move for Welsh international midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has entered the final year of his contract with Arsenal, according to reports.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has opened up on why the Blues have been underwhelming in their defence of the Premier League title this season.
Lionel Messi finally ended his goal drought against Chelsea in the first and second legs of Barcelona’s last-16 tie with the Blues. After a 1-1 draw in the first-leg, Antonio Conte’s side travelled to the Camp Nou in hope of a historic night but they were beaten 3-0 and Barca’s pint-sized magician was a class above the rest.
Chelsea could look to sign Kwadwo Asamoah on a free transfer from Juventus at the end of the season, according to reports.
It would not be an exaggeration to call Willian Chelsea’s saviour at the moment.
The Brazilian winger, 29, has this uncanny ability to assume the mantle of Chelsea’s hero at the most opportune of times. It happened in 2015 as Chelsea attempted that lamentable defence of their Premier League title under Jose Mourinho. It was one of the most forgettable seasons in Chelsea’s history but Willian’s efforts helped to lend it some dignity.
The Blues’ title defence this time around is not nearly as bad but it has still been seriously wanting. Willian once again seems the player most ready to step up to the plate by delivering one inspiring performance after another. His goal against crystal palace was his fifth in as many games, bringing in season tally for Chelsea to 13. Only Eden Hazard has scored more this season, and Willian has never been more prolific since arriving at Stamford Bridge.
His stunning form has meant that a player who so often in the past had to settle for a place on the bench is now virtually undroppable.
Antonio Conte: Willian playing ‘fantastic’
The Chelsea boss may have preferred Pedro to Willian for most of the season so far but he was singing the number 22’s praises after the win over crystal palace.
“You can see that if a player stays in great form I’m the first to pick him in the starting XI,” Conte told his press conference. “Willian is playing in a fantastic way, but I want to underline, not only with the ball, also without the ball.
“He’s working very hard and he’s helping the team without the ball. He’s showing great maturity at this point of his career. In my heart I hope to see him at this level, to continue this performance. He’s playing very well with the ball, without the ball.
“It’s important to have balance within the game, because when we lose our balance it’s very difficult.”
This means that Willian is almost assured of his starting berth against Barcelona on Wednesday. If the speedster continues where you left off in the first leg of the tie, the likes of Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti will certainly have something to think about at Camp Nou.
Chelsea’s number 22 could easily have had a hat trick in that game had the posts not been so kind to Barcelona (and suspiciously thicker).
Ahead of the game, the player himself has spoken of his joy in having secured his spot in Conte’s Starting XI. He told Chelsea FC’s magazine on Tuesday:
“I think you have to enjoy yourself on the pitch. To play football, you have to be happy. I have to enjoy this moment now. When you start to play more games, or when you play every match, you have confidence and things are good for you, then you can keep smiling.”
If William graces the Camp Nou pitch on Wednesday, as indeed he appears likely to, every Chelsea fan will have a reason to be optimistic.
Featured image: Twitter
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has always been a darling character at each of the clubs he has played for, but two of them face off against each other on Wednesday.
Having played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the match, Chelsea travel to Spain with the hope of overcoming one of the best teams in Europe in order to advance the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Fabregas started the Stamford Bridge leg and is likely to be involved again with Chelsea desperate for goals at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The midfield maestro was signed as a prodigious teenager by Arsenal before returning to Barcelona, from whose youth academy he had initially been spawned. There, he spent a memorable three years with the likes of Leo Messi and Gerard Pique, forging strong friendships with both of them. The Chelsea man is especially close to Messi and their spouses enjoy the same kind of affection.
Fabregas: ‘Can’t say if I will celebrate’
While he has no qualms against taking to the notoriously wide Camp Nou pitch against his pals, what Fabregas is unsure of is how he will react if he’s lucky enough the score one past his former side.
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it at all. I’ve only scored two goals this season and it’s been a while since my last goal,” he told Marca on Monday.
“There are feelings at such a moment that you can’t predict, I can’t definitively say I won’t celebrate, but it’s unlikely I would.”
The only thing that 30-year-old World Cup winner is sure of is that he will not be stepping his foot off the gas despite his special relationship with Wednesday’s opponents.
Asked about the prospect of facing his former team he said: “I did it with Arsenal and now with Chelsea, I’ve felt pretty good on both occasions. It doesn’t bother me to play against my previous club or old friends, it motivates me.”
Out to make Messi ‘uncomfortable’
The extent of his friendship with Messi includes vacationing together in the exotic Spanish island of Formentera as recently as last summer.
Nonetheless, Fabregas is hellbent on denying the five-time Ballon d’Or winner any space when they square off on Wednesday.
“If I am lucky enough to play, it’s true that we are positioned in nearby areas of the pitch, stopping him will be difficult but I will try to do everything possible so that he feels uncomfortable and can’t put together a perfect performance,” he added.
“I see him as a rival who wants to win, and I want the same thing. We are in different teams and each player wants what is best for their own club. Obviously, you always have respect for each other.”
Fabregas played 151 times for Barcelona between 2011 and 2014, scoring 42 times.
Featured image: Twitter
As it does every year, the transfer rumour mill has continued to spin despite the summer window staying closed until June 9. With rumours flying about, one that Chelsea fans can finally take some excitement from is one involving Ousmane Dembele, who is open to a move to Stamford Bridge amidst talk of a Barcelona exit.
French football sensation Kylian Mbappe has revealed that he played one game for Chelsea as a youth and had a “great” time in England.
Chelsea favourite Ramires has told of his desire to come back to Stamford Bridge and play for the club again before he retires, which would have caused plenty of excitement around the Blues’ faithful.
Antonio Conte will no doubt be feeling the pressure at Chelsea after a more than miserable campaign this season, with the Blues looking unlikely to even qualify for the Champions League tournament next year at this present moment.
David Luiz’s season is starting to begin to look even more miserable, with the news coming out that the Brazilian defender is set to spend even more time on the injury table. It is believed he will be heading to Barcelona to see a knee specialist in a bid to save his chances of playing again during this campaign, according to reports.
Antonio Conte is having to endure a lot of criticism and pressure following Chelsea’s recent poor performances but he is not prepared to take it lying down.
Sunday proved yet another frustrating night match for Chelsea fans as they saw their team fail to put up a fight in their 1-0 loss to Manchester City. The lack of work rate from the players was one of the major criticisms of the Blues’ performance but their star man has chosen something else to pick out after the weak showing.
Antonio Conte has admitted that Chelsea must admire the style of football that is being played by the “unstoppable” Manchester City this season.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is a wanted man, just not in the criminal sense.