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Best Three Nigerian Players To Have Played For Chelsea

Throughout the years, Chelsea has had its fair share of Nigerian players, some of which such as Ross Barkley, Fikayo Tomori, and Tammy Abraham have Nigerian heritage but are thorough Englishmen.

This list will only include players who opted to commit their international careers to Nigeria.

3. Victor Moses

After some impressive displays in the Premier League for Wigan Athletic, Moses earned a move to Chelsea in the summer of 2012. His time at Chelsea has been an interesting one. Moses initially struggled to earn regular game time at Stamford Bridge, spending time on loan with the likes of Liverpool, Stoke City, and West Ham.

He was roped back into the fold by Antonio Conte and was a first-team regular for the club in the 2016/17 season as it won the Premier League title.

Moses remained a first-team regular in the 2017/18 season but fell down the pecking order again. Still contracted to the Blues, he is currently on loan with Spartak Moscow.

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2.  Celestine Babayaro

The 27-times capped former Nigerian international is another interesting character. He joined the Blues in 1997 from Anderlecht before it became a major force and remained on its books until 2005 and after the Roman Abramovich revolution.

Babayaro made 132 Premier League appearances for the Blues, helping it to win the FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

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1. John Obi Mikel

He perhaps was never appreciated the way that he should have been but Obi Mikel has to go down as a Chelsea legend. He spent nine years at the club, something not many players are able to do due to the extremely competitive environment which exists at Stamford Bridge.

At 34-years-old, Mikel is still active in football, playing for Stoke City in the Championship. It remains to be seen whether he can help the Potters return to the Premier League.

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USA Coach Berhalter Hails Pulisic Progress

USA national team coach Greg Berhalter believes that Christian Pulisic is proving himself at Chelsea, following his successful comeback from injury. The 22-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge from Borussia Dortmund in January 2019. He was immediately loaned back to the Germany club before joining the Blues permanently at the start of last season.

The American was on the shortlist for Premier League Young Player of the Year last term, and when using an 888sport Promo Code, he’s 12/1 to go one better and scoop the title this season amidst some exceptional performances.

“When Christian was moving from Dortmund to Chelsea we knew there was going to be an adaptation period,” said Berhalter to the Chelsea Mike’d Up Podcast

“He had to get used to the English game. It took time, and as he did that he came out performing really well, helping the team and scoring goals and being influential. All these things we projected him being able to do took an understandable time period.”

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Pulisic’s form has been encouraging at times

After a slow start to life in England, Pulisic began to find form and was largely strong in terms of his performances during his first season before an injury curtailed his progress. The highlight of Pulisic’s time at Chelsea so far was the hat trick which he scored against Burnley in October 2019. The triple made him only the second American to score a hat trick in Premier League history, with the other being former Fulham attacker Clint Dempsey. Pulisic went on to strike six goals for the club before his injury on New Years Day 2020.

There are heavy expectations on Pulisic

Despite being just 22, Pulisic is already widely regarded as being one of the greatest American football players in history and he is expected to usurp Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey in terms of European success. He initially established himself as one of the most highly-rated young prospects in European football during his time with Dortmund but started to be over-shadowed at the Bundesliga club following the arrival of Jadon Sancho in Germany during the summer of 2018. Pulisic’s transfer to Chelsea came at the right time as the emergence of Sancho cut his playing time at Chelsea.

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The American will be expected to become a key player for both Chelsea as well as the United States in the future. He has already made 34 appearances for the United States team and boasts 14 goals.

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.

 

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