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Chelsea FC: The Four Stages

Since I started supporting Chelsea when I was four, I have witnessed different movements in the Chelsea squad; almost like generations changing.

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Since I started supporting Chelsea when I was four, I have witnessed different movements in the Chelsea squad; almost like generations changing. It is undoubtedly obvious that the Stamford Bridge outlet has grown as a club over nearly two decades and this boils down to their shuffling and reformation which I call it ‘the four stages’.                                                                                                                                                                               
The first stage is the late 90’s; to be precise 1997-2001. The crowds would gather at Stamford Bridge and cheer the Chelsea squad, a team consisting of players like: Gianfranco Zola and Gustavo Poyet providing attacking flair with Tore Andre Flo as the super sub, with the midfield trio of Roberto Di Matteo, Dennis Wise, Didier Deschamps. Then there was the defensive stars of Dan Petrescu, Celestine Babayaro, Frank Lebouef, Graham Le Saux, Albert Ferrer and the rock Marcel Desailly. This was all under the influence of player-manager Italian star Gianluca Vialli.                                                                                                  
During this era, the Blues finished an average position of fifth in the Premier League, which guaranteed them a place in the Uefa Cup. During this four year stage, Chelsea collected a lot of silverware which included the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Super Cup and two FA Cups, including a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough thanks to a very early Roberto Di Matteo goal – a game that lives long in my memory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
The next stage is a three-year period from 2001-04 after the millennium when the club was managed by Italian Claudio Ranieri. He had some excellent players as his disposal such as forwards Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mikael Forssell, then in midfield Jesper Gronkjaer, Emmanuel Petit and Mario Stanic with William Gallas and Mario Melchiot at the back with Carlo Cudicini in goal. Although they didn’t win any honours, a Russian billionaire named Roman Abramovich saw promise and bought the club in 2003; a time when Chelsea had an average league finish of third.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
The third stage (2004-07) is arguably their most successful, under the influence of former FC Porto manager Jose Mourinho. With his introduction be brought his former players Ricardo Carvalho and Renato Paulo Ferreira with him, plus had star players Arjen Robben, Hernan Crespo and Claude Makelele as well as Njitap Geremi, Mateja Kezman, Juan Sebastian Veron, Adrian Mutu and the ever improving Joe Cole. Under Mourinho’s fantastic management, Chelsea won their first Premier League title in 50 years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
This honour was then repeated a season after, along with winning the FA Cup and two Carling Cups which included a memorable 3-2 win over Liverpool with Mateja ‘flop’ Kezman grabbing the winner.
Chelsea was deemed the best team in England, with an average finish of first for three years.                                                                                                    
The final stage is from 2007 to the present, Chelsea have struggled for consistency, and their progression has been affected by various managers coming and going. The likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Guus Hiddink have both covered the number one job in London. As well as various managerial changes famous faces of Michael Ballack, Anderson Deco and a certain record signing Andriy Shevchenko, who was once Europe’s best striker have all played for the Blues and now moved on.                                                                                                        
    
However, at the moment, another Champions League winning in charge at the Bridge, it is  former AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti. He is has a host of stars which includes Frank Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Fernando Torres. After winning their first ever double (Premier League and FA Cup) double last season meant Chelsea have finished an average of second in the last four seasons.
So what next for the Blues?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Their number one priority is to win the UEFA Champions League and the managerial appointments are arguably made to do that. Moving forward, will the club build the side around record signing of £50m rated Fernando Torres, or will more star players leave to make way for others?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Aaron Aquilina
Prem-de-la-Prem (www.premdelaprem.wordpress.com)

 

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Chelsea summer signing Hakim Ziyech to miss Ajax’s Europa League clash against Getafe

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Hakim Ziyech to miss Ajax’s Europa League clash against Getafe

According to a report by Football.london, Hakim Ziyech will miss Ajax’s Europa League round of 32 second leg clash against La Liga outfit Getafe.

The playmaker, who will officially join Chelsea in the summer for a fee of £33.4m, was fine after the first leg against Getafe but things went wrong after that, as per Erik ten Haag (h/t Football.london).

As a result, the Dutch heavyweights have chosen not to put additional stress on Ziyech by making him play. However, his absence could cost them dearly since they need to overturn a 2-0 deficit.

The report adds that Ziyech only recently returned from a spell on the treatment table. The decision to provide him with rest and not risk his fitness does come as good news for us.

Signing a player like Ziyech is arguably one of the smartest transfer deals we’ve completed in recent times. And keeping him away from getting injured would be key to ensuring we are able to extract his best.

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Kudos to Ajax for choosing not to risk their star player despite the fact that this is a huge game for them.

Let’s hope they are able to win and progress further but as far as Chelsea are concerned, we need our squad in tip-top condition ahead of the new season.

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A View From The Bridge

Chelsea to offer Kepa + £25m for world-class La Liga star

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Kepa Arrizabalaga

Chelsea could offer Kepa Arrizabalaga plus cash for Jan Oblak

Chelsea are open to including Kepa Arrizabalaga in a player plus cash deal to try to sign Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak, according to Spanish talk show El Chiringuito de Jugones (h/t Metro).

The Blues made Kepa the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when they signed him for £71.6million in 2018 to replace the outgoing Thibaut Courtois.

The Spanish international has failed to live up to expectations and was recently dropped by Frank Lampard in favour of Willy Caballero.

The Blues boss feels Kepa isn’t at the level expected of a team chasing the top four and is keen on bringing in a replacement. The report goes on to say that Chelsea has identified Oblak as the top target.

Jan Oblak is widely considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world today

Chelsea have proposed a swap deal that would see Kepa move to Atletico, in addition to a £25million transfer fee. The swap should help preserve the player’s worth as the Chelsea board were fearful that Lampard’s treatment of the player would diminish his value.

Atletico, however, are not keen on selling their prized keeper and will ask for a significantly higher sum of cash to even consider selling him.

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The 27-year-old joined the Spanish giants from Benfica in 2014. He has since gone on to make 242 appearances for Atletico and has kept an impressive 133 clean sheets. (h/t Transfermarkt)

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Chelsea new boy opens up about choosing Stamford Bridge as his next destination

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Hakim Ziyech opens up on decision behind joining Chelsea

According to a report by Chelsea’s official website, Hakim Ziyech has expressed his delight and reasoning behind choosing to join Chelsea. The Blues have agreed on terms with the Ajax man and he will officially join us in the upcoming summer window.

Ziyech has been one of Ajax’s best players by a mile over the last few seasons. In the ongoing term, he has contributed with 6 goals and 12 assists already.

Speaking to Ajax TV (h/t Chelseafc.com), Ziyech said:

“It [Chelsea] is a big club in a big competition. I like the style of play, they play really attacking football, and that is something that fits me and that is one of the biggest reasons I chose, therefore.”

When asked about Frank Lampard’s role in orchestrating the transfer, Ziyech admitted that he played a key part.

“We had a lot of contact in the last couple of weeks and he gave me a good feeling and that was also big to do with the decision,” he explained.

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Signing Ziyech is easily one of the best transfers we’ve pulled off in recent times and one cannot wait to watch him in action. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to life in England after an impressive spell with Ajax.

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Klopp’s Liverpool fill to break this key Chelsea record set during Mourinho spell

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Liverpool fail to break this key Premier League record set by Chelsea

According to a report by Football.london, Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool side have failed to break an important record set by Chelsea in Jose Mourinho’s first season at Stamford Bridge.

The Reds have been simply unstoppable since winning the Champions League last season. They’ve won the Club World Cup and are on course to winning the Premier League title as well after a fierce 3-2 win against West Ham United.

As a result, they’ve broken numerous records along the way but there is one Chelsea record they are yet to beat.

During Mourinho’s debut season, his defensive tactics were the talk of the town. And that season, we conceded just 15 goals in 38 games (h/t Football.london). That is indeed a high standard to match since Liverpool have already conceded 17 in 27 games.

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While we are 35 points behind the Reds, it is great to learn that we still hold an important record. Our chances of a top-four finish look pretty bright and perhaps next season, we break some of Liverpool’s records!

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