A Stamford Bridge Too Far | We Are The Chelsea Boys
Chelsea Jose Mourinho

Will the Lack of Champions League Really Help Chelsea?


Chelsea’s hopes of winning a second Champions League title will have to wait for another season after the club suffered an exit at the last 16 stage of the competition. Paris St Germain managed to beat in the Premier League outfit on away goals after a 3-3 draw on aggregate. The defeat leaves Chelsea with only the league to concentrate upon for the remainder of the season. A six-point advantage along with a game in hand means that the blues are well-placed to lift their first league title in five years. The blues are backed at 1/14 for the title in the latest English Premier League odds from Betfair.

After having had a brilliant summer transfer window by signing the likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea were seen as strong favourites for the Champions League this season. Only the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were ranked as having a better shot at the title. This status was not altered heavily even when PSG were revealed as their opponents for yet another Champions League knockout stage. The immense experience in the Champions League for both the players and manager Jose Mourinho was probably a factor.

However, it was an undeniable fact that Chelsea were struggling in the second half of the campaign. A feature of the first half of the campaign was the smooth and flowing game, but it is nowhere to be seen in the last couple of months. One can probably say that the blues have never really recovered from the shock 5-3 defeat against Tottenham on New Year’s Day.

It was not a surprise as Chelsea were knocked out by PSG on away goals. The blues hadn’t played their best over the two legs and the club needed to move on quickly from this disappointment. It is clear that the best team won and this greatly allows the Chelsea players to move on to other objectives in the campaign. After having recently secured the League Cup title by beating Tottenham, the blues may feel a reduced amount of pressure after a season without silverware last time around.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was one of the scorers against PSG. One the club’s most consistent players over the last three years, the Belgian international has taken his season’s tally to 16 goals after a wonderful long-range effort against Hull City last weekend. Fabregas and Costa may have dominated the headlines at times this season, but Hazard has been the true force with his amazing consistency. The wizard is yet to win the Champions League with Chelsea after having joined the club just after their success in the competition. Yet, he has been able to hide the disappointment of missing out on this ultimate prize once again.

Hazard says that the exit from the European competition may actually help the blues in concentrating on the league title. It is a well-known fact that owner Roman Abramovich craves success in Europe, but it should not take anything away from the bread-and-butter of winning the league. For all Chelsea’s dominance in terms of winning trophies over the last decade, they have managed only three Premier League titles. Two of them came under Jose Mourinho in his first spell, while Carlo Ancelotti won the other.

Amazingly, Chelsea have not been title winners since the 2009-10 season, as the success has been shared between the two Manchester clubs – United and City – during this period. The cup is on the verge of a return to London and having one game per week will certainly help Chelsea in this regard.

Much has been spoken about how the lack of a winter break affects the players in the English league. Hazard accepted this fact and says that the blues would have found it extremely hard to cope with the demands of playing in Europe and fighting for the league title at the same time. Jose Mourinho’s reluctance to rotate may be questioned at times, but the Portuguese does not have a large squad at his disposal.

Currently on the international break, Hazard will be hoping to inspire his team once again when they take on Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on April 4. The blues are the only undefeated team at home this season, but three of their last four matches at the Bridge have ended as a 1-1 draw. Chelsea simply cannot afford to drop more points at home, as they still have matches against bigger and better opposition like United and Arsenal. Betfair expects another home draw at odds of 9/2, but Chelsea are also backed to get three points against Stoke at odds of 1/4.

The Champions League exit may seem as a boon right now, but only time will tell if Chelsea can utilise it.


Chelsea Back To Their Best Against Liverpool

Chelsea Jose Mourinho

When the English Premier League season started, the play of Chelsea resembled a gladiator that had just been unleashed in the arena. No team seemed to be able to get around the Blues and their dominant style of play. While success has become more of a standard to Mourinho, one team found their weakness and managed to steal a win at the formidable Stamford Bridge. None other than London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. From then on, Chelsea have looked as fragile as any other team in the league. Even though they have kept up with their winning ways, they seemed shaky and other teams have recognised this by believing that they can take points from the league leaders. However, Chelsea’s strength and strong tactics that they started out with was seen once more when they faced Liverpool in the Capital One Cup tie.

Team selection played its part

Chelsea’s line up did not change much and Liverpool’s pretty much stayed the same with both teams’ striking force being headed by Diego Costa and Raheem Sterling for Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. After the whistle, both teams seemed to have the same strategy, which was to score early, win the ball and attack. The first five minutes were filled with frantic efforts by both sides to find the net but none of the teams could capitalise. The same pace rushed through the first half with an impressive 121 tackles recorded throughout the game.

Who played it best?

While Liverpool may have been more pleasing on the eye, Chelsea were more aggressive in their approach. As the game wore on, one thing that was notable was the positioning of Filipe Luis. With Liverpool lacking advanced wingers and Gerrard’s pace leaving his feet, the Brazilian had an easier time pushing them back and winning headers more frequently. In no time at all Chelsea had tamed The Reds and had the game in their control.

Another notable Chelsea performance was that of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. While Liverpool had some pretty impressive chances from Coutinho and Moreno in particular, Courtois was once again at the top of his game denying them time and time again. Once the pace had died down, Chelsea took over possession, but they could not take advantage of it. Courtois was still left to produce some impressive saves and thankfully the best of Chelsea was yet to come.

In the second half, Mignolet had to step up as Chelsea tuned it up a notch. Mignolet found himself needing to pull important saves out of the bag and also scuffle for quite a number of tackles, as the Chelsea attack seemed to have found its footing. In the last minutes of normal time, Chelsea pushed The Reds much harder but Liverpool were able to hang on by a thread to see the game through to extra time.

Once extra time started, it wasn’t long until the moment that Chelsea had sought for came calling. Ivanovic broke away from Glen Johnson to notch home a powerful header and from there they managed the clock pretty efficiently, much to the frustration of Liverpool. Chelsea displayed both tactical and strategic skill and it is safe to say that if this performance is anything to go by, then the teams in the EPL are in for quite a challenge, if they plan on rooting Chelsea out of their current position sitting at the top of the table.

Of course there was one sour note that Chelsea will have to watch if they’re to keep hold of their grip of the BPL. Diego Costa has now been charged by the FA following a vicious stamp on both Skrtel and Can. With Costa looking at a three game ban if found guilty by the FA, Chelsea’s best play may be almost over. Lux Bet have been paying close attention to the form of Chelsea as the market for Premier League champions is blown wide open.


Chelsea Jose Mourinho

Chelsea vs Leicester City: Team News, Possible Lineups, Match Facts, Preview & Prediction

Chelsea face another newly promoted team within a week, this time at Stamford Bridge in what happens to be a rather tricky yet smooth beginning to their fixtures.

Chelsea showed some early hiccups against Burnley as they conceded the first goal. But thereon, inspired by an exceptional display of playmaking by new signing Cesc Fàbregas, Chelsea strolled past Burnley eventually winning the match 1-3.

This game is going to be considerably tougher as Leicester have a better squad than Burnley and they also had a good opening match against Everton where they came twice from behind to earn a good point from the match. Leicester would offer more resistance and have more experience of playing against top opposition.

Team News:

For hosts Chelsea, Brazilian midfielder Ramires is back from his last season’s extended suspension. The energetic midfielder is likely to bolster the squad, but would mostly be on the bench. Drogba played a few minutes the other day meaning he is fit enough to play a part in the match. There are no more absentees.

As for the team selection, manager Mourinho would like to use last time’s aggressive attack minded team to break Leicester. He may look to give Filipe Luís a debut, but even Cesar Azpilicueta is fully capable of starting ahead like he did in the previous match.

As for Leicester, they would have to cope with the absence of midfielder Danny Drinkwater. Dean Hammond is likely to partner Andy King in central midfield. Mathew Upson remains out of this match with a foot injury while Marc Albrighton and James Vardy are doubtful due to fitness worries.

Manager Nigel Pearson would most likely go ahead with the Nugent-Olloa partnership up front with Chris Wood on the bench. Thus Leicester are going to field a 4-4-2 against a 4-2-3-1 of Chelsea.

Key Tactics:

Chelsea showed against Burnley that they now have the ability to break down oppositions which sit too deep looking for a counter. Fabregas in the pivot with Matic gives the team the technical and physical dominance in central midfield, which is being seen after a long time in Chelsea. With a blend of possession and direct football, Chelsea are set to dictate the tempo of the match.

Leicester on the other hand won’t be having much possession. Their way of playing should be simple and aggressive if they want to ruffle Chelsea’s feathers even slightly. We saw how vulnerable Chelsea are initially when they conceded againsy Burnley. Leicester must make sure that they don’t give Fabregas, Hazard and Costa much space at all.

Key Players:

Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Andy King, Leonardo Ulloa and Schmeichel (Leicester)

Predicted Team Line ups:

Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luís, Matic, Fàbregas, Hazard, Oscar, Schürrle, Costa.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Mahrez, Knockaert, Hammond, King, Nugent, Ulloa.


According to Paddy Power, a 3-0 win for Chelsea is very much on the cards.

The Blues look formidable and composed to mount a serious challenge for the title this year and a win against such a lower ranked side is absolutely essential.

Could Chelsea Create The World’s Best Midfield Duo?

Perhaps the most important element of any team that has ever played a competitive football match, is the midfield. They run everything and literally dictate the game. They will help out the defence when needs be, but also contribute heavily in attack. I know there is no way of definitively which position is most crucial to a team, because it varies depending on the situation. However, without a good midfield your defence becomes weaker and there is no link between the attackers and the rest of the team which which will have repercussions in attack.

Chelsea already have good options in midfield with Nemanja Matic, Ramires, Marco van Ginkel and now Cesc Fabregas. But, as with everything in life, it can be improved upon. The Blues think that the man that will provide that improvement is Luiz Gustavo of Wolfsburg.

The Express are reporting that Arsenal and Manchester United are also part of the race to sign the Brazilian star. However, a price-tag of £26 million may put off some clubs.

In my opinion, Gustavo is worth that amount when you take in to consideration a number of different factors. The Wolfsburg star has shone for Brazil in the World Cup with a couple of assured displays in the centre of the park.

This has resulted in them conceding just one goal so far. He’s a midfield general and will do everything in his power to make sure his side gain the upper hand as early as possible. His athleticism and energy allow him to cover his territory for the full 90 minutes in any game. Gustavo has a keen eye for a pass, but is also quick to stop any attack the opposition try and mount.

I think that Matic and Gustavo can create a midfield so strong, that it could be considered one of the best in the world at some point in the future. It’s a partnership that has everything a manager can dream of. It’s also a midfield that every attacker and defender can wish for. This duo will also have plenty of time to grow and develop as Gustavo is 26 and Matic is 25. The partnership could last for six or seven seasons.

£26 million seems like a bargain now

How Are The Chelsea Boys Doing In Brazil?

With every participating country now having played at least one game at the World Cup, it’s time to have a little look at some Chelsea players that have been playing. Have they all been living up to expectations and playing the way that they do for the Blues?

The hosts, Brazil, are the home of Chelsea stars Ramires and Oscar. Ramires didn’t start in the first game against Croatia, but did feature in the first XI against Mexico in a right wing role which is a lot different to what he is used to. He proved ineffective in that game and didn’t really cause too much threat to the Mexican defence. Oscar started both games and was man of the match against Croatia, scoring once and showing some real pieces of skill from the right wing. According to Opta statistics, he successfully took on players 7/11 times. This was a big difference compared to the Mexico game when he only managed one successful take on in a 0-0 draw.

Eden Hazard had a productive first game against Algeria claiming an assist and successfully taking on players five times. He did not have any shots though and that is unlike him. Romelu Lukaku was fairly ineffective, not managing a shot throughout the entire game. But, he did show glimpses of his strength against defenders.

Gary Cahill was the only Chelsea player that started for England against Italy and made one successful tackle, one interception and 2 successful clearances. He did have one aerial duel but did not come out on top in that one.

These were just a few players that have taken the stage in Brazil and the more games they play, the more they should be able to cope with the environment and that will aid their performance.

Chelsea Could (And Should) Snap Up German Duo!

With so many stars in action in Brazil, it’s obvious that at least a few will show what they can really do. This is met with the eager eyes of domestic clubs around the world who are readying bids as we speak. A number of managers have actually gone to Brazil to commentate on the action.

Arsene Wenger has travelled with French TV and Roberto Martinez has linked up ESPN. These managers have become more quotable than the ones that have stayed at home because they obviously have their opinions on players and they can’t hide that when analysing performances.

Jose Mourinho will be watching the games very closely and will create a list of players that he likes so the Chelsea scouts can compile a detailed dossier on them. One would assume that as Mourinho is Portuguese, he’d make a special effort to watch them. However, his country wasn’t the aspect of the game that really caught his eye, as the Daily Star are reporting that he’s lining up moves for Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira.

While the Blues have plenty of options in midfield, added to by the arrival of Cesc Fabregas, it’s never a bad move to increase the depth even further. This ensures that all bases are covered in the event of an injury crisis. By lining up Kroos and Khedira, Jose is looking for players with versatility. They can cover anyone in the midfield and efficiently.

Khedira has spent a majority of this season out with an injury after becoming a crucial member of the squad under Jose’s reign at Real Madrid. The Chelsea boss knows all about Sami and what his strengths are as a midfielder. He knows the best system for him and the best team mates to accompany that. The German is incredibly talented and has talents in most key areas of the game. Tackling is his strong point, but good energy and creativity also feature heavily.

Toni Kroos is much the same as Khedira as they are both creative and good defensively, however, the Bayern Munich star is famed for his passing attributes. You’ll often see him dictate play in the centre of the pitch and record some astounding statistics in the process. He’ll often exceed 90% passing accuracy, even with a ridiculous amount of passes under his belt. The way he can switch play and deliver that incisive through ball is also applauded by experts around the globe.

Has Chelsea Misfit Suffered From Harsh Treatment?

On transfer deadline day, in January 2011, Chelsea broke the bank and paid £50 million for the services of Fernando Torres from Liverpool. He had three and a half prolific years with Liverpool scoring 66 goals in 102 Premier League games and so the amount Chelsea paid looked justifiable. Whilst at Chelsea he has only scored 20 in 110 games and this has caused a lot of criticism from Chelsea fans, but is that fair?

Torres is obviously a player lacking in confidence and the only way that he will be able to get that back is by scoring goals. If Chelsea fans really want their team to succeed, it might be an idea to get off of Torres’ back. When he was bought in 2011 that must’ve put him under an enormous amount of pressure compared to a striker that signs for a lower fee. This is because they feel they have to justify the fee paid for them, which is right, but Torres is a human being like everyone else and so it’s only natural that he felt the pressure. He has still been working hard for the team and I think that he is a very important player.

With plenty of names being rumoured to be joining Chelsea next season it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Torres will remain there and he did not help himself after missing an open goal for Spain against Holland in the World Cup. Caughtoffside claim that Atletico Madrid are planning to sign the misfit and this could potentially be part of a swap deal with Diego Costa going the other way.

If Torres does leave in the summer he will no doubt look back at his time with Chelsea and wish it could have gone better. Now at the age of 30 he is starting to lose his pace and athleticism and that could turn potential buyers off. But, if he can get back to scoring like he used to then he will be a great buy for whoever gets him.

Should Chelsea Bid For Bundesliga Star?

While all the media focus surrounds the World Cup at the moment, there is some behind-the-scenes movement for a few clubs. They are using the lack of coverage of other stories to their advantage and getting deals done and cheaply. Especially those not at the World Cup as they obviously don’t have that distraction which could keep them from signing a contract. If you wait too long and their stock rises, during the biggest football competition of all time, then other clubs will swoop in and claim him before your very eyes.

Well that’s exactly what Bayer Leverkusen are attempting to take advantage of as the Express claim that Hakan Calhanoglu only has eyes for them. The Hamburg star enjoyed a fantastic season in the Bundesliga after a successful loan spell at Karlsruher. However, Leverkusen aren’t the only teams interested in the services of the Turkish international as Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal could also make late moves for him. But, it seems as though the German side are the closest to signing him.

Is a bid for Calhanoglu actually necessary on Chelsea’s part though? One of the advantages of signing Hakan is that he is one of the best young players in the Bundesliga, but is incredibly advanced for his age. At just 20-years-old, he has strengths that far exceed his age band. For example, intelligence in the final third is something he boasts. With 11 goals and 5 assists in all competitions, he’s certainly providing the direct threat also.

However, a disadvantage of signing the Hamburg attacking midfielder, is the fact that the Blues are very well stocked in that position of the pitch with Oscar, Willian and now Cesc Fabregas able to play there. Calhanoglu can’t compete with that trio so it would be unfair for Jose Mourinho to turn his head with a lucrative offer and then not get played much. Hakan won’t be cheap either as he has 4 years left on his current contract and, due to his age, Hamburg will want to be well compensated.