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Sparky to Return?

Following his resignation from Fulham, the odds of Mark Hughes becoming the next Chelsea boss has been slashed to 5s.

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Following his resignation from Fulham, the odds of Mark Hughes becoming the next Chelsea boss has been slashed to 5s.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Within hours of announcement that Sparky had left his post with Fulham, the odds on him being the next boss at Stamford Bridge went from 14s to 5s – putting him second favourite behind Guus Hiddink.                                                                                      
Should he return to the club where he won the FA Cup in his last season and scored 39 goals in 123 games then it is expected he will bring his own backroom staff, which would include ex-Blues Eddie Niedzwiecki and Kevin Hitchcock.                                                                                                                                                                                        
The two players who both played in goal for Chelsea have worked with Hughes since he started managing in the Premier League back in 2004 and Niedzwiecki also assisted him when he was the Welsh boss.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
The Welshman had a good season leading Fulham to eighth in his first season but was thought to be worried about available funds to develop the squad, this followed a break from the game after his stint as Manchester City boss.                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Whilst in charge of City, Hughes had the luxury of a large transfer budget but having been appointed by the old owners his days always looked numbered and despite holding fourth place and awaiting a League Cup semi-final against rivals United he was harshly dismissed.                                                                                                                                    
At Blackburn, Hughes managed to get his team into three consecutive cup semi-finals and made a name for himself buying cheap players, getting the best out of them before selling them.                                                                                                            
There is no doubt that Sparky is good manager, but can he cope with the pressures of the Chelsea job – he is a good people manager but has never managed a team in the Champions League.                                                                                                       
The current situation is that he has a 30-day notice period and cannot speak to any club until next month, so it is a case of wait and see …                                                                                                                                                                               
Scott Balaam
Twitter @theshed11

 

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A View From The Bridge

“Very positive” – Lampard lifts the lid on his relationship with out-of-favour Chelsea star

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Frank Lampard has decided to bring back Antonio Rudiger to the first team fold at Chelsea

Frank Lampard opens up on positive relationship with Antonio Rudiger

According to The Express, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has opened up on his relationship with defender Antonio Rudiger.

The 27-year-old is yet to play a minute for the Blues this season. He has also made the squad just twice, against Brighton and Manchester United. Rudiger was an unused substitute in both matches.

With Thiago Silva now at the club, Chelsea were keen to offload Rudiger. Despite interest from across Europe, he stayed put at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard shares a positive relationship with Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger
Frank Lampard shares a positive relationship with Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger (Getty Images)

With the window closed for some weeks now, Chelsea appear to be ready to welcome the defender back into the fold.

“We have a very positive relationship.”

Lampard insists that there is no friction between the pair and that they have a very positive relationship. The Chelsea boss also hinted that the player could have a role to play in the coming weeks.

The signings of Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell have seen a marked improvement in our defensive organization in recent matches. With a veteran such as Rudiger back in the reckoning, the rearguard can only get stronger.

Chelsea complete Antonio Rudiger Signing
Chelsea signed Rudiger in 2017 from AS Roma

Despite not playing for us this season, Rudiger has enjoyed better success for Germany. He has made five appearances for the national side.

Rudiger had admitted earlier in the season that he was determined to win his spot in the team back. With Lampard opening a door for him, it is now up to the defender to showcase he still has a role to play at the club.

Antonio Rudiger is yet to make a single appearance for Chelsea this season
Antonio Rudiger is yet to make a single appearance for Chelsea this season

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Having signed Thiago Silva, Chelsea have five centre-backs in the squad. It was recently reported that Fikayo Tomori could head out on loan in January.

With the youngster out of the way, Rudiger will find it all the easier to feature more regularly.

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A View From The Bridge

Former PL star reveals Cech was the best goalkeeper in Chelsea training before Mendy arrival

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Petr Cech performing better in Chelsea training than Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero

Speaking to Optus Sports (h/t The Daily Mail), Mark Schwarzer has revealed that Petr Cech is the second-best performing goalkeeper in Chelsea training.

The Blues signed Edouard Mendy for £20million earlier this summer. The 28-year-old was brought in to provide extra competition for Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero. The duo shared the first-choice goalkeeper spot but failed to impress.

“He was performing and training better than the Chelsea keepers.”

Cech was a surprise inclusion in Chelsea’s 25-man Premier League squad. It is worth noting that he is a year younger than Caballero.

Mark Schwarzer has revealed that Petr Cech is the second-best performing goalkeeper in Chelsea training
Petr Cech ourperformed the other goalkeepers in Chelsea training

“From my understanding, he was better than the Chelsea keepers. But this was before Mendy arrived at the club.”

Schwarzer’s revelations are pretty damning to both Kepa and Caballero. The former is the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and the latter is an Argentine international.

If the above point is true, there is no surprise as to why either keeper was unable to hold onto the number one spot at the club.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has named Edouard Mendy ashis number one
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has named Edouard Mendy as his number one (Getty Images)

Thankfully, the arrival of Mendy has put an end to our goalkeeping debate. The Senegalese international is the preferred choice in goal and has so far kept three clean sheets in his first four starts for the club.

Moreover, he appears to be taking tips from Cech in training. This augurs well for us going into the future.

Having spent two years at Chelsea, Schwarzer will be familiar with Cech’s abilities. The fact that the Chelsea legend is still able to do a job makes Schwarzer regret his retirement from the sport.

Kepa has failed to live upto his reputation as the world’s costliest keeper

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It is sobering to think what might have been the case had Chelsea not signed Mendy. We might have even seen Cech take up the gloves at some point.

Thankfully, we now have a dependable keeper in goal and can rest easy.

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A View From The Bridge

“All managers should be judged the same” – Lampard responds to the pressures of being an English gaffer

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard reveals he is judged differently on account of being English

According to The Mirror, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes he is judged differently owing to him being English.

The Blues boss is the lone English manager among the big six of English football. Lampard believes this works against him when it comes to expectations being placed.

“I think when I got this job a lot of people were questioning me getting the job.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes he is judged differently owing to him being English
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes he is judged differently owing to him being English

Lampard began his managerial career at Championship side Derby County. His stint at Pride Park saw him experience first hand how being English brings about its own pressures.

“Being a young English manager with one year at Derby some of that I understood.”

The Blues boss believes people are quick to form opinions whatever be the reason. He has urged for an even playing field and believes all managers should be judged on a common basis.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, I think all managers should be judged the same.”

Lampard led us to the FA Cup final last season
Lampard led us to the FA Cup final last season

To his credit, Lampard has managed expectations well at Stamford Bridge. Facing a transfer ban while also losing your best player was bound to make his first season at the club a tough one.

Lampard made full use of his resources and ensured we finished in the top four. While the loss in the FA Cup final was heartbreaking, it also serves as motivation to do better this season.

Will Roman Abramovich replace Frank Lampard with Massimiliano Allegri
Lampard led us to a top four finish last season

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Lampard is just the second English manager since Sir Bobby Robson to take a Premier League team to consecutive Champions League campaigns.

Winning a trophy this season should make things easier for him. He has so far done well to make optimal use of his resources. Lampard is proud to be the manager of Chelsea and long may it continue.

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A View From The Bridge

“He brings calm” – Chelsea star reveals the impact summer signing has had on the club

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Kurt Zouma opens up on what Thiago Silva has brought to Chelsea

Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva have been at the heart of the Chelsea defence that has seen an upswing in fortunes in recent weeks.

The duo has started together in three of our last four games, and the one game they didn’t, we went on to concede thrice. A clean sheet has been a rarity of sorts for Chelsea under Lampard, but Zouma and Silva have now ensured three on the trot when partnered together.

Speaking to the press in Russia (h/t Football.london), Zouma has opened up on the work behind the scenes that has helped bring about this transformation.

Kurt Zouma opens up on the impact Thiago Silva has had at Chelsea
Kurt Zouma is forming a formidable partnership with Chelsea newboy Thiago Silva

The Frenchman believes all the hard work done in training is paying off now on the field. Chelsea have incorporated Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy to their first choice rearguard.

Given the influx of new players, it was bound to take time for players to gel together. It appears to now be taking shape. Zouma also attributes the improvement in communication as a key factor to success as a group.

At the centre of it all is Silva. The Brazilian veteran was in his heyday one of the best defenders in world football. Having that experience to lead the backline is a great attribute to the club.

“As soon as he came in he was part of the group, already talking to the player. It’s great for us. He brings calm and all of his experience.”

Silva has been impressive for Chelsea
Silva has been a leader at the back for Chelsea

Having turned 36 last month, Silva has made up for his lack of pace with brilliant reading of the game. He showcased at the end of last season that he is still capable of stopping a juggernaut such as Robert Lewandowski despite his advanced age.

Procuring a player of such guile and quality for free is a brilliant piece of business by the club. As things stand, he has not given us a chance to question that decision.

Edouard Mendy too has stepped up when needed ( Image Credits: AFP via Getty Images)

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While Silva has indeed brought a semblance of organization to the backline, other players too have stepped up.

Zouma looks much more confident alongside the Brazilian while Mendy has put the goalkeeping debate to rest. A solid backline is one that works together and Chelsea appear to be closing in on just that.

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