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Chelsea vs Newcastle Preview

Carlo Ancelotti will be keen to finish the season with a win, he has already said that Fernando Torres will be recalled to the starting line-up on Sunday

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Chelsea vs Newcastle Preview – Sunday 15th May, 13.30

PREVIEW

Carlo Ancelotti will be keen to finish the season with a win, he has already said that Fernando Torres will be recalled to the starting line-up on Sunday, but Jose Bosingwa will miss out again, having missed last two game due to a knee injury.

For the away side, keeper Steve Harper and skipper Kevin Nolan are both out injured, the latter has just had ankle surgery.

Cheik Tiote is expected not to play as he is one booking away from a three-match ban which will be wiped clear at the end of the season.

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HEAD-TO-HEAD

In 131 league matches meetings, the away side have won 44 times compared to the Blues 52 victories. The Geordies have not won a league game away against the Blues since 22 November 1986, but Newcastle did have a 4-3 win in the Carling Cup third-round tie at Stamford Bridge earlier this season after Shola Ameobi scored an injury-time winner.

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FORM

The Blues have won 31 of 37 league games at Stamford Bridge under Carlo Ancelotti, and will want to finish their home campaign with a win. The defeat to Manchester United last time out ended a run of five consecutive Premier League wins.

The Magpies’ win against Birmingham was their second in nine league games, and have only scored two second-half goals in those nine matches.

 

 

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Which Chelsea stars are favourites to win silverware this summer?

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Ilkay Gundogan says that he is sure Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan will come good for Chelsea. (GETTY Images)

Both the European Championships and the Copa America will kick off at the same time across June and July. It will see an exodus of Premier League players looking to turn out for their international teams in the hope of crowning glory.

Chelsea’s highly sought after stars are some of the most high profile players on the planet. With an action packed set of fixtures this spring in both the Premier League and cup competitions, the best of the Blues will be looking to book their place for their respective international sides. 

But who stands the best chance of lifting silverware this summer among Chelsea’s ranks?

Homegrown hopefuls

Gareth Southgate has named a number of Chelsea players for inclusion in England’s squad for the March international break. Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell and Reece James will all have a part to play in World Cup qualifying fixtures against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

Already capped players left out of the squad include forward men Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who will be casting a watchful eye over the qualifiers as they hope to surge forward in form to make the grade for this summer’s Euro squad. 

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has provided some insight into Abraham’s situation with an injury update on the London-born striker. Both Abraham and Hudson-Odoi as academy graduates have seen increasing pressure from German arrivals Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.

German trio backed by Löw

Despite shaky starts to their Chelsea careers, Germany coach Joachim Löw has continued to place his faith in former Bundesliga stalwarts Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. Alongside Antonio Rüdiger, Löw has named both Chelsea attacking men in his squad for Germany’s March internationals against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia. 

Germany are currently being backed with decently priced odds to go all the way this summer. among others are offering high odds of around 9/1 (10.0) on Germany to win the competition. 

French contingent have upper hand

N’Golo Kante and Oliver Giroud were integral to France’s World Cup 2018 success in Russia almost three years ago. It’s no surprise then that both players have been named by Didier Deschamps for this month’s upcoming international alongside defender Kurt Zouma.

France will kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign against Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bosnia Herzegovina in what they hope will be the beginning of a long, but ultimately successful road to defending their title as world champions.

Success south of the border

It’s not all about the Euros, but with a stellar club and international career behind him Thiago Silva continues to feature prominently for his national side.  If the Rio de Janeiro born defender can stay fit he will certainly be one of the first names on Brazil manager Tite’s squad list.

Taking place across host cities in both Argentina and Colombia, there are still serious doubts as to whether this year’s Copa America tournament, already delayed a year, will go ahead. Alongside hosts Argentina, Brazil remain favourites to retain their title.

It will certainly be an exciting and action-packed summer for the faithful following Chelsea’s players in their respective international sides, but it remains to be seen just who will come out on top.

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Out-of-favour Chelsea star linked with a shock return to former club

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Kepa Arrizabalaga in action for Chelsea. (GETTY Images)

Athletic Bilbao are considering a transfer move for Chelsea flop Kepa Arrizabalaga

A report by Spanish outlet El Gol Digital (h/t Express) mentions that Athletic Bilbao are interested in a deal to re-sign Chelsea goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Blues signed the Spaniard from Athletic in 2018 as Marina Granovskaia finalized a £71m deal, making him the most expensive goalkeeper ever. But things haven’t quite gone to plan.

Once tipped to overtake David de Gea and be a fixture in the Spanish national team’s starting XI, Arrizabalaga has been dismantled by Edouard Mendy as Chelsea’s number 1 choice between the sticks.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has been a let-down at Chelsea since his transfer from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has been a let-down at Chelsea since his transfer from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

And the Stamford Bridge flop was bound to leave last summer with Sevilla and Valencia both keen on a transfer. But the loan plus permanent transfer deal that the Blues desired could not be completed due to the financial impact of Covid-19.

Athletic want their man

Now, his former club are in the market for him, with their new manager, Marcelino, making him one of his three desired signings. The report mentions that the manager has grand plans at San Mames.

And for that, he has demanded Javi Martinez from Bayern Munich, Kepa from Chelsea, and Fernando Llorente from Udinese. The club has limited options in the market as they only sign Basque players.

Athletic Bilbao want to re-sign Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Athletic Bilbao want to re-sign Kepa Arrizabalaga.

However, Chelsea would let go of Kepa if they feel they can recoup a decent amount for the 26-year-old. And it is unclear if the Basque side can meet the £50m valuation of the goalkeeper by Chelsea.

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Nevertheless, getting him off the books is something that Chelsea wants. With no visible place for him in the squad, a transfer away from the Bridge makes sense for all parties.

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Tuchel’s tactics are reaping rewards but can he clinch a trophy?

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Chelsea are 11 games unbeaten under Tuchel

Since taking over on the 26 January Thomas Tuchel has steadied the ship at Stamford Bridge. Following a spate of uncertain and worsening form under former manager Frank Lampard, Tuchel has restored a sense of ease and has failed to lose a match since taking over.

Chelsea have successfully navigated the likes of top four hopefuls Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and reigning champions Liverpool, taking full points from the latter two in their bid to ensure top flight European football returns to the Bridge next season.

A successful season for Tuchel will likely be a minimum ask of a top four place finish in the Premier League, but can he go one better and deliver silverware? Some of the have slashed their odds on Chelsea’s chances of a cup run. Let’s find out why.

Unbeaten streak reaching double figures 

Contrasting Lampard’s reign with that of Tuchel can be summed up easily by looking at how many goals the side have conceded on both sides of the divide. Since Tuchel has taken over the Blues have recorded seven clean sheets in the league and one in Europe away to Atlético Madrid which is no mean feat.

In the same amount of corresponding games dating back to early December, Lampard’s side shipped a total of 12 goals, amounting to five losses. It’s easy to see where Tuchel has tightened up. 

One foot in the quarter finals

Chelsea are still fighting on three fronts, in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League which is not a bad position to be in considering the managerial switches that have been made. The Blues put on an impressive display away to an Atlético Madrid side that is currently leading the line in La Liga. 

The pressure is on Diego Simeone’s side to deliver at Stamford Bridge with a solitary away goal separating the sides courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic efforts in their makeshift tie in Bucharest. 

Given the recent adjustments to Chelsea’s defensive line and a positive run of performances at home, it will be an uphill battle for the Spaniards. Most online bookmakers have Chelsea among the top five favourites at around 15.0 to win this year’s Champions League. It’s a big ask but Tuchel’s tactical capabilities could be the decisive factor to push Chelsea closer to club football’s biggest prize.

Domestic silverware still on the cards

Odds on Chelsea to take home the FA Cup for the third time in a decade are considerably lower. Domestic form has been positive and the cast of elite names in comparison to the Champions League is considerably less star studded. 

Many of Chelsea’s squad will be looking to go one better than they did last year after missing out at the last hurdle to Mikael Arteta’s rejuvenated Arsenal side. Some are even veterans of the 2018 season and will relish a chance to hold the trophy aloft once more.

The likes of seemingly champions elect Manchester City, as well as Manchester United are still in contention for the cup, but Chelsea must first see off a stubborn Sheffield United side with everything left to play for in a bid to book a place in the semi finals. 

Securing top four looking safer

If current form can continue in the same fashion, Chelsea’s trajectory is looking considerably rosier than it did at the turn of the New Year. Positive results against leading sides and top four hopefuls alike have already been chalked up on the board. A sustained run in the league could certainly free up space for a considerable cup run, and potentially leave Tuchel with silverware come the end of his inaugural season. Unthinkable? Hardly not.

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The Chelsea Players Set to Shine at Euro 2020

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Thomas Tuchel celebrates with Tammy Abraham after his goal was enough to put Chelsea through to the 6th round of the FA Cup.

The 2020/21 football season has been unusual, disjointed and unique in so many ways.

The Premier League has played out in front of empty stadiums, leading to a real shift in dynamic across matches. Liverpool, so often buoyed by their great home support, have not been able to repeat their heroics of last season, and at Stamford Bridge, Frank Lampard could not blend those exciting young players with his expensive new signings.

There are signs Thomas Tuchel is working towards that goal, which is not just good news for Blues fans. With Euro 2020 coming up in summer 2021, a host of the top international sides will be keenly eyeing Chelsea’s form, hoping their key players manage to hit a purple patch heading into the competition.

Which countries are most likely to benefit from a strong Chelsea run-in though, and which players might just set the tournament alight? These are our picks.

Germany

Runners up in 2008, and semi-finalists in both 2012 and 2016, Germany will be hoping to finally go one better this year. They last won the tournament on English soil, back in 1996, and with this year’s final scheduled to be played at Wembley, they might fancy a repeat performance.

There are three Chelsea players they might be taking to the finals, with Timo Werner the one they will be hoping to see improve. Goals have been hard to come by this season for the former Leipzig man, but Joachim Low is bereft of top-quality forwards at present.

At the back, Antonio Rudiger is likely to be part of the squad too and he is playing a pivotal role in Chelsea’s future also. Football London reveals he is trying to tempt Austrian defender David Alaba to England, having played a key role in the capture of both Werner and another German, Kai Havertz.

Havertz has not hit form in England yet and needs a strong second half of the season if he is going to force his way into the German squad.

England

For 25 years now, football has been rumoured to be ‘coming home’, and maybe this is the year it finally does. After the World Cup semi-final appearance in 2018, hopes are high that Southgate’s young guns can finally bring home their first major trophy since 1966, with the final scheduled to be played at the home of English football.

Chelsea’s own young guns will play a key role, with Tammy Abraham in fine form domestically. Abraham has formed a strong partnership with Christian Pulisic at Stamford Bridge, one of the best in the Premier League, according to  infographic, and he’ll hope he can do the same with Mason Mount as we head into the Euros.

Mount has been ever-improving at Stamford Bridge and looks to have a long future with both Chelsea and England, and he is sure to add to his 13 caps, and three goals in an England shirt. Ben Chilwell and Reece James are both possibilities for the provisional squad, too.

France

Even with their rich array of attacking talent, France still rely heavily on veteran striker Olivier Giroud, who has 105 caps and 44 international goals. He might not be a starter for Les Bleus but he could be important as a weapon from the bench. Defender Kurt Zouma has seven caps and one goal, he is likely to feature, whilst N’Golo Kante is an almost certain inclusion in their squad. The 29-year-old has 44 caps to his name and was a runner up in 2016, as well as a World Cup winner in 2018.

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