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Everton kick-started their pre-season preparations in emphatic fashion with an invigorating 22-0 win over Austrian fifth division outfit ATV Irdning in Marco Silva’s first game in charge of the Merseyside club. The gulf in class between both sides were pretty evident right from the beginning and the Toffees piled up a whopping 10-0 lead by the end of the first half. Hat-tricks from Cenk Tosun (4), Ademola Lookman (3), Kevin Mirallas (5) and Oumar Niasse (4) were more than enough for Silva’s men to romp home to a stunning win but the fact that they piled on the goals against the amateurs would have certainly taken the glitter away from the result. If this continues for Everton, betsters are likely to get cracking and once they have experienced the thrill of winning a bundle on a big match, there will be little need to convince them to try out an , as they offer some of the best bets in the market.

However, the breath of fresh air surrounding the appointment of Silva is quite positive and his first game in charge couldn’t have taken off on a better note after what has been a turbulent 12 months at Goodison Park. Despite spending about £200m last summer, Everton uncharacteristically struggled under Ronald Koeman and were fighting to stay up in the Premier League before the Dutchman was sacked in October following a 5-2 loss against Arsenal at home.

Silva, who was in charge of Watford at that time, emerged as the prime candidate to take over at Merseyside but the Hornets were reluctant to let go off their manager and Everton shifted their attention to Sam Allardyce, who took over and helped them to a commendable 8th placed finish by the end of the season.

A lot of credit has to go the business Everton mustered in the January transfer window under Allardyce and with the signing of Cenk Tosun arrived goals in abundance that the likes of Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez failed to offer. However, the departure of Ross Barkley and their lack of depth in that particular department was left unaddressed at that time and will surely be Silva’s priority this summer.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Richarlison, two of Watford’s best performers under Silva last season, have been linked with a move to Everton in a bid to try and rekindle the magic the duo showcased under their former manager at his former club. The disappointment that came along with the signings of Davy Klaassen and Gylfi Sigurddson certainly calls for more attention and Idrissa Gueye’s injury last season exploited the Toffees’ lack of depth in the department. Doucoure, who scored 7 goals and registered 3 assists in the Premier League last season, will be the ideal candidate to play alongside Gueye in the heart of Everton’s midfield and the nature of the two players will certainly complement each other well on the pitch.

Gueye will be happy in sitting back and shielding the back-four while Doucoure is expected to see a lot of the ball and also push forward to try and take the game to the opposition. The midfielder, who was also voted as Watford’s player of the season by the fans, will prove to be a wealthy addition to Everton’s ranks considering the fact that it only boasts of a depleted Morgan Schneiderlin as of now.

Richarlison  arrived in England as a relatively unknown quantity and took the Premier League by storm with his performances under Silva, to earn himself the reputation of a tricky and goal-scoring winger who is well and truly capable of operating from a variety of roles. The Brazilian snapped up 5 goals and made 4 assists last season, adding a lot of flair and creativity to the football on offer at Vicarage Road.

Often deployed as an attacking midfielder, Richarlison’s versatile nature has also seen him play on either flanks or even as a striker at times thanks to his electric pace and trickery that can outmatch any defender on his day. Everton had tried to address their problems while going forward by roping in both Tosun and Walcott but the latter is yet to stamp his identity in Merseyside.

Add that to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Kevin Mirallas, the incompetency of Oumar Niasse to nail down a regular first team role and Wayne Rooney’s departure to the MLS, it is quite evident that Silva will certainly have to be on the lookout for a player of Richarlison’s profile to boost Everton’s credentials for the upcoming season.

However, it is believed that Watford will decide to pay hardball with Everton over the signing of two of their most impressive employees and it remains to be seen whether Silva can convince the duo to sign for Everton. Recent developments have suggested that the Toffees are closing in on a deal worth around £50m (inclusive of add-ons) for Richarlison while there hasn’t been any official approach for Doucoure up until this point.

 

 

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A View From The Bridge

Some classy Chelsea fans come together to wish former hero on his special day

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Twitter reacts as former star Hernan Crespo celebrates his 45th birthday

Former Chelsea star Hernan Crespo celebrated his 45th birthday at the weekend.

The Argentine spent five seasons at the club, three of which were spent out on loan. He will make 73 appearances for Chelsea while scoring 25 goals and making four assists. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Twitter reacts to Hernan Crespo's birthday
Hernan Crespo was one of the best strikers in the world in his day

He was a part of the Chelsea side that retained the Premier League title in 2006, the first league title of his career.

Crespo was a complete striker, who possessed good technique, composure, and an eye for goal., He was also a dominant presence in the air. His stoppage-time winner against Wigan Athletic on the opening day of the 2005-06 campaign will live long in the memory of the Blues faithful.

A number of fans took to Twitter to reminisce about the striker’s brilliance on his birthday. We take a look at a few of them below.

Twitter reacts as Hernan Crespo celebrates birthday

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Lampard set to formulate plans to integrate Chelsea new stars into team training

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Frank Lampard is not afraid to play youngsters

Frank Lampard to integrate Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to Chelsea training

According to the Independent, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is keen on integrating Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner into Chelsea training.

The duo is set to move to Stamford Bridge after Chelsea beat off rivals to the highly coveted duo. They will, however, be ineligible to take part in our remaining fixtures this season. The earliest they can don their blue jersey is next season.

As Liverpool and Manchester City have shown over the last two seasons, every point matters in the English Premier League. It is imperative that we ensure that the duo hit the ground running.

Frank Lampard plans to integrate both Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech
Timo Werner is a massive buy for Chelsea (Image Credits: Getty Images)

Bring incorporated into the training sessions will clearly help achieve that goal. With a lot still to be played for, our players will also benefit from going up against these world-class stars.

Ziyech has not played since the Dutch league was cancelled. Ensuring that he is up to speed when it comes to match fitness is of utmost importance.

Lampard said (h/t Independent):

“We will formulate a plan for them that will look slightly different individually.”

“Whether that means mixing with the squad or whether that means some physical work in the shorter term for themselves.”

The Blues wasted no time in securing two of the sought after players in European football. This infusion of fresh blood will give us the edge over our rivals while it will also help us close the gap to the top.

Hakim Ziyech has not played football for a while
Hakim Ziyech is lacking in match fitness

Lampard understands the importance of getting the duo up to speed. He is keen to ensure that fitness and freshness levels for next season are attained.

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By easing the duo into the Chelsea system, we will steal a march on our rivals. By the time next season rolls around, both Werner and Ziyech will already be familiar with the way we play.

The fact that we can get the bedding-in period out of the way should give us a competitive advantage on the pitch.

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Chelsea enter negotiations with 27-year-old South American star amidst PL competition

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Philippe Coutinho

Chelsea open negotiations with Philippe Coutinho

Chelsea have taken the first step in an attempt to sign Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho. According to reports in Spain (h/t Mirror), the Blues have already entered negotiations with the midfielder’s camp over the possibility of a summer transfer.

Coutinho moved to Barcelona in January 2018 from Liverpool. But the 27-year-old has endured a difficult time at Camp Nou. Having failed to make the desired impact, he was shipped off on loan to Bayern Munich last summer.

Philippe Coutinho on Chelsea's radar
Philippe Coutinho on Chelsea’s radar

Bayern Munich have no intention of signing Coutinho on a permanent basis. And Barcelona, too, are keen on offloading him, as they look to generate funds to sign Lautaro Martinez and Neymar in the summer (h/t Mirror).

This has sparked a lot of interest among the Premier League clubs, with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal all interested in signing Coutinho (h/t Mirror).

The report claims that our club has already made the initial move to try and sign the 27-year-old, by opening negotiations with his agent, Kia Joorabchian.

It is believed that Chelsea have a good relationship with Coutinho’s agent, which is likely to give us the edge in the race to sign the Brazilian (h/t Mirror).

Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich

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Our first season under Frank Lampard has been a solid one, considering that there was no investment made over the last two transfer windows. We are currently fourth in the Premier League table.

But for us to take the next step and bridge the gap on the likes of Liverpool, new players need to be brought in.

Coutinho, despite his malaise at Barcelona, remains a quality player with a proven track record in the Premier League. It remains to be seen if we are able to get our hands on the Brazilian though.

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Chelsea should not sack Maurizio Sarri – Opinion

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Chelsea have had a disastrous start to 2019 in the Premier League with just 2 wins in 6 games since the turn of the year. The Blues have failed to score an away goal this year and have had a couple of humiliating away days in the past month. Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is under pressure and the results have to quickly. Chelsea would be making a massive mistake if they let go of the Italian.

Maurizio Sarri took over the reign from compatriot Antonio Conte in the summer and started his Premier League career by going on a 12-game unbeaten streak. His first loss came at the hands of Tottenham at Wembley as they conceded 2 goals in the first 16 minutes of the game.

The game ended 3-1 with Olivier Giroud scoring a consolation goal late in the match. Chelsea’s home form has been great this campaign as they’ve lost just one game in 13, including wins against Arsenal and defending champions Manchester City.

Chelsea players have had to undergo a huge change in their style of play with Sarri’s football being very different from Conte’s. Sarri’s high-pressing game takes a lot out of players and is something that cannot be mastered overnight. The fundamental style of Sarri’s build-up play involves possession of the ball between the centre-backs and the defensive midfielder.

The defensive midfielder, in this case, Jorginho, started the season off brilliantly but has been found out in recent games, especially against Arsenal when he was man-marked by Aaron Ramsey. Jorginho’s poor form continued in the drubbings against Bournemouth and Manchester City where they lost 4-0 and 6-0 respectively.

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Although Chelsea currently sit 5th in the table, they are just a point off 4th-placed Manchester United. The Blues are also one of the favourites to win the Europa League as they take on Malmo this week. Their domestic cup pursuits are also going on as Sarri’s men take on Manchester City again in the final of the EFL Cup. The Blues also face Manchester United in the FA Cup on Monday.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has the history of sacking managers but the Russian needs to give Sarri at least another season before making a call. Sarri, with a good transfer window in the summer, and with time to make the players play to his needs, will make Chelsea title contenders again. With the Blues still in the run for three trophies and Champions League qualification, sacking him would be a terrible decision by the club and will take them a few steps backwards.

Check out all the  to catch the Premier League clubs in action.

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