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  1. Chelsea v Newcastle

    Chelsea vs Newcastle PRE-MATCH DISCUSSION AND LIVE CHAT 2015/16 Premier League Match 26 13th February, Saturday, 2016 Stamford Bridge 17:30 Kick Off (UK time)
  2. Both teams had disappointing starts to their season and the three points here have huge importance. West Bromwich started the season with a loss against Manchester City and then drew Watford. The Baggies still haven’t scored a goal this season and need to improve their attacking play if they want to win something from this match. Chelsea had a terrible start to the season, drawing against Swansea on the opening day and losing heavily to Manchester City in the last round. Jose Mourinho decided to splash the cash on Abdul Rahman Baba and Pedro in order to straighten the squad. Other title rivals won their games and now Chelsea have been put in an unfavorable position from the early start. Match Facts • WBA won three and drew one from their last four home fixtures against Chelsea • Tony Pulis has won two league games against Jose Mourinho (no one has ever managed to win three in the Premier League) • West Brom haven’t scored in the Premier League in this campaign • Saido Berahino scored 85% of his goals last season at the Hawthorns Chelsea will be very motivated to catch up with other title contenders and despite the fact that WBA can provide a tough challenge, a win for the Blues looks imminent.The Baggies aren't in good form and are having some trouble in front of the opposition goal, so we at sportsbettingsitez.co.uk don't think they have what it takes to take something from this fixture. We are one of the best sports betting websites out there and if you're interested in online gambling, make sure to check out our top bookmaker reviews. Team News Ben Foster will definitely miss out while Serge Gnabry isn’t fit to start yet. New signing Salomon Rondon came from the bench in the last match against Watford and will probably start here, replacing Ricky Lambert. Jose Mourinho doesn’t have any major injury problems with Oscar being the only doubt. Thibaut Courtois returns from his suspension and probably will replace Asmir Begovic in goal, even though that the Bosnian did very well against City. New signing Rahman Baba and Pedro have already trained with the team, but it’s unknown whether the Chelsea manager will start them on Sunday. Possible Line-Ups WBA: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Lescott, Brunt, Gardner, Morrison, Jacob, Fletcher, Berahino, Rondon Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Baba, Matic, Ramires, Willian, Fabregas, Hazard, Costa Prediction West Bromwich Albion have strengthened their squad with the addition of striker Salomon Rondon who made his debut against Watford coming off the bench. Now he is likely to start against Chelsea and the Venezuelan international is keen to make an instant impact in the Premier League. With the support from Saido Berahino, Chelsea’s unstable defenders need to be on their toes to avoid the same result from last season. WBA haven’t been impressive when going forward this season and couldn’t even make a shot on target against Watford. Chelsea didn’t start the season the way they planned and manager Jose Mourinho decided to splash the cash on two new signings. Many of the players know that their place in the team is now at stake and will try to up their performances in the next games. Branislav Ivanovic may be benched for this one if Rahman Baba is ready to start while Pedro will probably be left on the bench. Still, we never know what surprises Jose has in his mind and everything is possible. West Brom attacked mostly through the right flank, so the Blues will need to be aware of the danger that can come from that area. The Baggies’ midfield is very narrow because their wingers like to cut inside to allow more space for the full-backs to go forward. Chelsea are likely to dominate possession with the hosts sitting deep and waiting to pounce on the counter. The Blues rarely lose two times in a row and the three points are vital for Jose Mourinho. Despite WBA and Tony Pulis being a bogey team for him, I think that the Portuguese manager can motivate his players to win all the points from this fixture. Bet365(read full review) are offering excellent odds of 4/7 for a Chelsea win so if you’re interested in betting, make sure to check out their website for the best odds out there. Diego Costa hasn't scored in a long time and the odds of 15/4 for first goalscorer in the game look very tempting.
  3. Both teams had disappointing starts to their season and the three points here have huge importance. West Bromwich started the season with a loss against Manchester City and then drew Watford. The Baggies still haven’t scored a goal this season and need to improve their attacking play if they want to win something from this match. Chelsea had a terrible start to the season, drawing against Swansea on the opening day and losing heavily to Manchester City in the last round. Jose Mourinho decided to splash the cash on Abdul Rahman Baba and Pedro in order to straighten the squad. Other title rivals won their games and now Chelsea have been put in an unfavorable position from the early start. Match Facts • WBA won three and drew one from their last four home fixtures against Chelsea • Tony Pulis has won two league games against Jose Mourinho (no one has ever managed to win three in the Premier League) • West Brom haven’t scored in the Premier League in this campaign • Saido Berahino scored 85% of his goals last season at the Hawthorns Chelsea will be very motivated to catch up with other title contenders and despite the fact that WBA can provide a tough challenge, a win for the Blues looks imminent.The Baggies aren't in good form and are having some trouble in front of the opposition goal, so we at sportsbettingsitez.co.uk don't think they have what it takes to take something from this fixture. We are one of the best sports betting websites out there and if you're interested in online gambling, make sure to check out our top bookmaker reviews. Team News Ben Foster will definitely miss out while Serge Gnabry isn’t fit to start yet. New signing Salomon Rondon came from the bench in the last match against Watford and will probably start here, replacing Ricky Lambert. Jose Mourinho doesn’t have any major injury problems with Oscar being the only doubt. Thibaut Courtois returns from his suspension and probably will replace Asmir Begovic in goal, even though that the Bosnian did very well against City. New signing Rahman Baba and Pedro have already trained with the team, but it’s unknown whether the Chelsea manager will start them on Sunday. Possible Line-Ups WBA: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Lescott, Brunt, Gardner, Morrison, Jacob, Fletcher, Berahino, Rondon Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Baba, Matic, Ramires, Willian, Fabregas, Hazard, Costa Prediction West Bromwich Albion have strengthened their squad with the addition of striker Salomon Rondon who made his debut against Watford coming off the bench. Now he is likely to start against Chelsea and the Venezuelan international is keen to make an instant impact in the Premier League. With the support from Saido Berahino, Chelsea’s unstable defenders need to be on their toes to avoid the same result from last season. WBA haven’t been impressive when going forward this season and couldn’t even make a shot on target against Watford. Chelsea didn’t start the season the way they planned and manager Jose Mourinho decided to splash the cash on two new signings. Many of the players know that their place in the team is now at stake and will try to up their performances in the next games. Branislav Ivanovic may be benched for this one if Rahman Baba is ready to start while Pedro will probably be left on the bench. Still, we never know what surprises Jose has in his mind and everything is possible. West Brom attacked mostly through the right flank, so the Blues will need to be aware of the danger that can come from that area. The Baggies’ midfield is very narrow because their wingers like to cut inside to allow more space for the full-backs to go forward. Chelsea are likely to dominate possession with the hosts sitting deep and waiting to pounce on the counter. The Blues rarely lose two times in a row and the three points are vital for Jose Mourinho. Despite WBA and Tony Pulis being a bogey team for him, I think that the Portuguese manager can motivate his players to win all the points from this fixture. Bet365(read full review) are offering excellent odds of 4/7 for a Chelsea win so if you’re interested in betting, make sure to check out their website for the best odds out there. Diego Costa hasn't scored in a long time and the odds of 15/4 for first goalscorer in the game look very tempting. Click here to view the article
  4. Our last christmas trip

    My first time using movie maker and the result is in front of you. Myself and xPetrCechx took a plane from Tel aviv Israel to London England. all that way for one thing, to watch and support Chelsea. It has been an unforgettable trip (second year in a row that we are doing this) and we can't wait for the next time. Hope you'll enjoy the video and would love to hear your comments
  5. Opta powered fantasy football game www.oulala.com have taken a detailed look at the biggest match of the season so far. In a Nutshell... This could be the first day of the title race... or possibly the last... Overview In September, Chelsea visited the Etihad at the top of the table and 5 points clear of their nearest challengers - Manchester City, the game ended 1-1. The leaders missed the chance to extend their advantage while City failed to make up much needed ground on their rivals. Four months on and the situation repeats itself. Chelsea are again 5 points ahead despite being caught by City over Christmas who then let the gap appear again. This time the West London club welcome City to Stamford Bridge. After having to endure extra-time in Tuesday night's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool, the Chelsea players will have the distinct disadvantage of a shorter rest period. However, Jose Mourinho has previously spoken of his love for a more demanding schedule, the facts are that the fatigue will surely take it's toll on his players in the latter stages of the game. Manchester City winger Jesús Navas feels that the clash is a must-win game for his side in the pursuit of retaining their Premier League title. He said "We need to go there with maximum attitude. It would be something very big to win the title two years in a row. But we need three points against Chelsea to close the gap". With both sides dumped out of the FA Cup last weekend, at home, and by lower league opposition, the game will tell us a lot about which side has the guile and strength in bouncing back fighting in the return of the Premier League after its two week break. An intriguing clash awaits us... Team News Branislav Ivanovic (foot), Felipe Luís (calf) and Cesc Fàbregas (hamstring) all picked up minor injuries against Liverpool on Tuesday night. Diego Costa face a three match suspension after being charged for violent conduct in the same game. Frank Lampard suffered a hip injury in Abu Dhabi but is expected to recover in time for his return to Stamford Bridge. Key Men Nemanja Matić: 'The Giant' is arguably his side's most important player. Chelsea have lost only once in 32 games this season when he has featured. His job on Saturday will be to offer his team-mates safety, security and reliability against the inevitable wave of City counter-attacks, especially in the second half. David Silva: Thierry Henry recently called him 'the best Manchester City player'. The Spanish magician's ability to both create and score goals makes him City's most indispensable player in the eyes of the ex-Arsenal striker. Silva is arguably the most likely player to unlock the resolute Chelsea defence. The Managers Mourinho v Pellegrini has been it's own little soap opera since the Portuguese replaced the Chilean at Real Madrid in 2010 with the pair exchanging little snipes towards each other ever since. The rivalry between the two will be as much about getting one up on the other in theier personal battle as it will be the three important points for their clubs. There's no love lost here. Stat Attack Chelsea have scored the most league goals from set pieces of any team (11)Man City have scored the most league goals from counter attacks (5)Man City have had the most shots per game in the Premier Leaque (17.4)Chelsea have had the most shots on target per game (6.2)Man City have enjoyed the most possession in the Premier League (60%)Man City have the best pass accuracy in the Premier League (85.2%)TalkChelsea Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Man City
  6. Opta powered fantasy football game www.oulala.com have taken a detailed look at the biggest match of the season so far. In a Nutshell... This could be the first day of the title race... or possibly the last... Overview In September, Chelsea visited the Etihad at the top of the table and 5 points clear of their nearest challengers - Manchester City, the game ended 1-1. The leaders missed the chance to extend their advantage while City failed to make up much needed ground on their rivals. Four months on and the situation repeats itself. Chelsea are again 5 points ahead despite being caught by City over Christmas who then let the gap appear again. This time the West London club welcome City to Stamford Bridge. After having to endure extra-time in Tuesday night's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool, the Chelsea players will have the distinct disadvantage of a shorter rest period. However, Jose Mourinho has previously spoken of his love for a more demanding schedule, the facts are that the fatigue will surely take it's toll on his players in the latter stages of the game. Manchester City winger Jesús Navas feels that the clash is a must-win game for his side in the pursuit of retaining their Premier League title. He said "We need to go there with maximum attitude. It would be something very big to win the title two years in a row. But we need three points against Chelsea to close the gap". With both sides dumped out of the FA Cup last weekend, at home, and by lower league opposition, the game will tell us a lot about which side has the guile and strength in bouncing back fighting in the return of the Premier League after its two week break. An intriguing clash awaits us... Team News Branislav Ivanovic (foot), Felipe Luís (calf) and Cesc Fàbregas (hamstring) all picked up minor injuries against Liverpool on Tuesday night. Diego Costa face a three match suspension after being charged for violent conduct in the same game. Frank Lampard suffered a hip injury in Abu Dhabi but is expected to recover in time for his return to Stamford Bridge. Key Men Nemanja Matić: 'The Giant' is arguably his side's most important player. Chelsea have lost only once in 32 games this season when he has featured. His job on Saturday will be to offer his team-mates safety, security and reliability against the inevitable wave of City counter-attacks, especially in the second half. David Silva: Thierry Henry recently called him 'the best Manchester City player'. The Spanish magician's ability to both create and score goals makes him City's most indispensable player in the eyes of the ex-Arsenal striker. Silva is arguably the most likely player to unlock the resolute Chelsea defence. The Managers Mourinho v Pellegrini has been it's own little soap opera since the Portuguese replaced the Chilean at Real Madrid in 2010 with the pair exchanging little snipes towards each other ever since. The rivalry between the two will be as much about getting one up on the other in theier personal battle as it will be the three important points for their clubs. There's no love lost here. Stat Attack Chelsea have scored the most league goals from set pieces of any team (11)Man City have scored the most league goals from counter attacks (5)Man City have had the most shots per game in the Premier Leaque (17.4)Chelsea have had the most shots on target per game (6.2)Man City have enjoyed the most possession in the Premier League (60%)Man City have the best pass accuracy in the Premier League (85.2%)TalkChelsea Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Man City Click here to view the article
  7. I wonder, when will they start to play Russian anthem in the beginning of matches? Look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URC9xS9ePBg Please only don't start saying the standard "do not feed the trolls and blablabla", this argument is not valid. I just think that some Russian media info is worth translating and brought to the wider British audience.
  8. Not for the first time, Chelsea have been undone by a Cisse brace and not for the first time, Jose Mourinho has faced a very tough match at St. James, in fact, the Portuguese has never managed to get a league win there. And that "tradition" was unfortunately to continue today in a frustrating roller-coaster of match from the blue perspective. A match that ended Chelsea's unbeaten run despite a late attempt at comeback and a Drogba consolation goal. Chelsea started the match on top and played some brilliant football in the opening 30 minutes but poor finishing and bad decision making in the final third kept the scores level. Looking back, that was probably where the match was lost. Newcastle came back strong in the last 15 minutes of the half and had their only dominant period of the match taking advantage of some lapses of concentration and defensive errors from our side. Though, they too failed to capitalize on their superiority and only managed to work Thibaut once. But Jose's men came out strong and lively at the start of the second half. Hazard very much at the center of all the danger. But in very typical fashion, a minute after Mikel missed a great chance from a FK, Newcastle score in the 57th minute from a cross that Cahill tried to clear but missed. Almost needless to say that the Scorer was Cisse. Jose directly brought on the subs that we were all calling for against Sunderland. Andre Schurrle first came on and made a really positive impact with his runs, then Droba and Luis after Newcastle parked a double-decker in front of their goal. But once again, seconds after Eden had hit the post, Newcastle break and double their lead from an mistake in midfield. Again, Cisse the scorer and Sissoko with his customary assist against us. Just as the point were looking all but lost, Ryan Taylor was sent off for a second yellow and Didier Drogba pulled one back for Chelsea with 7 minutes to go. Another Cesc assist, of course. The Blues piled the pressure on the 10 Newcastle players inside the box, but debutant and Newcastle's third goal keeper, Jak Alnwik, kept making save after save. Finally, despite the six added minutes (which Newcastle wasted about 4 of taking a single goal kick), Chelsea ran out of time and a smiling Jose Mourinho left the stadium which has defied him once again. Despite the result, boys mostly put on an excellent performance and fought very bravely to get back two goals down. But in the end things just didn't fall for us today which you often at tough away grounds like Newcastle's. But hey, look on the bright side: at least now, all the bloody reporters will shut up about the unbeaten run! Newcastle (4-3-3): Elliot (Alnwick 46'); Janmaat, Taylor (sent off), Colocini, Dummet; Tiote, Collback, Sissoko; Cabella (Cisse 53'), Ayoze, Ameobi(Williamson 83'). Chelsea (4-3-3): Courtois; Iva, Cahill, JT, Azpi (Luis 67'); Cesc, Mikel, Oscar (Schurrle 61'); Willian (Drogba 67'), Costa, Hazard. Goals: Cisse (57' & 79'); Drogba (83').
  9. Not for the first time, Chelsea have been undone by a Cisse brace and not for the first time, Jose Mourinho has faced a very tough match at St. James, in fact, the Portuguese has never managed to get a league win there. And that "tradition" was unfortunately to continue today in a frustrating roller-coaster of match from the blue perspective. A match that ended Chelsea's unbeaten run despite a late attempt at comeback and a Drogba consolation goal. Chelsea started the match on top and played some brilliant football in the opening 30 minutes but poor finishing and bad decision making in the final third kept the scores level. Looking back, that was probably where the match was lost. Newcastle came back strong in the last 15 minutes of the half and had their only dominant period of the match taking advantage of some lapses of concentration and defensive errors from our side. Though, they too failed to capitalize on their superiority and only managed to work Thibaut once. But Jose's men came out strong and lively at the start of the second half. Hazard very much at the center of all the danger. But in very typical fashion, a minute after Mikel missed a great chance from a FK, Newcastle score in the 57th minute from a cross that Cahill tried to clear but missed. Almost needless to say that the Scorer was Cisse. Jose directly brought on the subs that we were all calling for against Sunderland. Andre Schurrle first came on and made a really positive impact with his runs, then Droba and Luis after Newcastle parked a double-decker in front of their goal. But once again, seconds after Eden had hit the post, Newcastle break and double their lead from an mistake in midfield. Again, Cisse the scorer and Sissoko with his customary assist against us. Just as the point were looking all but lost, Ryan Taylor was sent off for a second yellow and Didier Drogba pulled one back for Chelsea with 7 minutes to go. Another Cesc assist, of course. The Blues piled the pressure on the 10 Newcastle players inside the box, but debutant and Newcastle's third goal keeper, Jak Alnwik, kept making save after save. Finally, despite the six added minutes (which Newcastle wasted about 4 of taking a single goal kick), Chelsea ran out of time and a smiling Jose Mourinho left the stadium which has defied him once again. Despite the result, boys mostly put on an excellent performance and fought very bravely to get back two goals down. But in the end things just didn't fall for us today which you often at tough away grounds like Newcastle's. But hey, look on the bright side: at least now, all the bloody reporters will shut up about the unbeaten run! Newcastle (4-3-3): Elliot (Alnwick 46'); Janmaat, Taylor (sent off), Colocini, Dummet; Tiote, Collback, Sissoko; Cabella (Cisse 53'), Ayoze, Ameobi(Williamson 83'). Chelsea (4-3-3): Courtois; Iva, Cahill, JT, Azpi (Luis 67'); Cesc, Mikel, Oscar (Schurrle 61'); Willian (Drogba 67'), Costa, Hazard. Goals: Cisse (57' & 79'); Drogba (83'). Click here to view article.
  10. Stats Back Blues to Beat Spurs

    On Wednesday at 19:45 UK time, Chelsea will host Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in what is expected to be a thrilling London Derby. If history and stats are anything to go by, then the Blues are firm favourites to emerge victorious from the clash. Chelsea come into the match comfortably on top of the EPL table and still undefeated in all competitions despite a minor blip in the form of a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light in their last match. And while the draw itself might not be a worry for Jose Mourinho and his men, the performance itself did raise a few red flags among the Chelsea fans, especially that it was the first time that the team has failed to score this season. In sharp contrast, Tottenham have generally suffered this season sitting in seventh place, 13 points behind the best team in London and the league, having already lost 5 of the opening 13 matches this season; but despite all that they go into the derby in good spirits after an important win and excellent performance against their direct Europa League rivals, Everton. But last result/performance aside, Spurs fans would struggle to find a positive indicator going into this match. Historically, they have really suffered against Chelsea in recent years, especially at the Bridge where their last win was by a Gary Lineker goal back in 1990! In fact, since that game, Tottenham have only managed to beat Chelsea 5 times in 57 meetings (all 5 coming at Three Points White Heart Lane, obviously). History aside, statistics also clearly show Chelsea's superiority at the moment in practically all aspects on the field: As far as team news go, Jose Mourinho has confirmed in his press conference that only Nathan Ake will be out of the match with his long-term hamstring injury, while Diego Costa will be suspended for the match after picking up his fifth yellow this season against Sunderland. On the other hand, Spurs' Kyle Walker will also miss the match through injury, while a few other players, including Adebayor, Townsend and Capoue. face a late fitness test. -Chelsea failed to score in the league for the first time this season on Saturday, drawing 0-0 at Sunderland. -The Blues have conceded the fewest amount of goals at home this season (3). -Tottenham have the third best away record in the league, winning three and drawing two matches out of their six away games so far. -In their last five fixtures against Tottenham, Chelsea have scored 16 goals, averaging over three goals a game. - Chelsea are undefeated this season in all competitions (W15, D5). - Their last league defeat came on 19 April - a 2-1 home reverse against Sunderland. - Chelsea have won 28 of their last 34 home league games (D5, L1). - Jose Mourinho's side have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League home matches. - Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight league games against Spurs. - Tottenham have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games (W3, D2). - They have won three of their last four league games, losing the other. - Spurs and Chelsea have both won the most points from losing positions in the league this season, both nine. -Only Yaya Toure (14) and Steven Gerrard (12) have scored more Premier League goals from midfield in 2014 than Christian Eriksen (11). -Roberto Soldado ended a run of 627 minutes without a league goal against Everton on Sunday. So, in conclusion, can Spurs record their first ever Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday? Most probably not, according to statistics and historical facts.
  11. Stats Back Blues to Beat Spurs

    On Wednesday at 19:45 UK time, Chelsea will host Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in what is expected to be a thrilling London Derby. If history and stats are anything to go by, then the Blues are firm favourites to emerge victorious from the clash. Chelsea come into the match comfortably on top of the EPL table and still undefeated in all competitions despite a minor blip in the form of a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light in their last match. And while the draw itself might not be a worry for Jose Mourinho and his men, the performance itself did raise a few red flags among the Chelsea fans, especially that it was the first time that the team has failed to score this season. In sharp contrast, Tottenham have generally suffered this season sitting in seventh place, 13 points behind the best team in London and the league, having already lost 5 of the opening 13 matches this season; but despite all that they go into the derby in good spirits after an important win and excellent performance against their direct Europa League rivals, Everton. But last result/performance aside, Spurs fans would struggle to find a positive indicator going into this match. Historically, they have really suffered against Chelsea in recent years, especially at the Bridge where their last win was by a Gary Lineker goal back in 1990! In fact, since that game, Tottenham have only managed to beat Chelsea 5 times in 57 meetings (all 5 coming at Three Points White Heart Lane, obviously). History aside, statistics also clearly show Chelsea's superiority at the moment in practically all aspects on the field: As far as team news go, Jose Mourinho has confirmed in his press conference that only Nathan Ake will be out of the match with his long-term hamstring injury, while Diego Costa will be suspended for the match after picking up his fifth yellow this season against Sunderland. On the other hand, Spurs' Kyle Walker will also miss the match through injury, while a few other players, including Adebayor, Townsend and Capoue. face a late fitness test. -Chelsea failed to score in the league for the first time this season on Saturday, drawing 0-0 at Sunderland. -The Blues have conceded the fewest amount of goals at home this season (3). -Tottenham have the third best away record in the league, winning three and drawing two matches out of their six away games so far. -In their last five fixtures against Tottenham, Chelsea have scored 16 goals, averaging over three goals a game. - Chelsea are undefeated this season in all competitions (W15, D5). - Their last league defeat came on 19 April - a 2-1 home reverse against Sunderland. - Chelsea have won 28 of their last 34 home league games (D5, L1). - Jose Mourinho's side have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League home matches. - Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight league games against Spurs. - Tottenham have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games (W3, D2). - They have won three of their last four league games, losing the other. - Spurs and Chelsea have both won the most points from losing positions in the league this season, both nine. -Only Yaya Toure (14) and Steven Gerrard (12) have scored more Premier League goals from midfield in 2014 than Christian Eriksen (11). -Roberto Soldado ended a run of 627 minutes without a league goal against Everton on Sunday. So, in conclusion, can Spurs record their first ever Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday? Most probably not, according to statistics and historical facts. Click here to view the article
  12. Pre-match pub

    Hi all Me and my son (20 yrs) comes from Stockholm to London and The Bridge for the match against QPR this weekend. It's been 8 years since I visited The Bridge. It is my son's first visit. I wonder which pub we should visit before the game. Which is the best pre-match pub? I remember The Black Rose, the last time I was there it was called So Bar. There was a fantastic atmosphere. I've heard that it's pretty quiet in the pubs around today. So, where should I take my son for the best experience? Thanx in advance
  13. Tonight, ‘invincible’ Chelsea host European newbies NK Maribor as part of the Champions League groups stage third round at 19:45 UK time. But if you think that the match will be a walk in the park for the in form Blues, then you’re in for a surprise. About The Match Chelsea started this season’s European campaign with a disappointing draw against Schalke at the Bridge in a match that Mourinho’s men dominated from start to finish but just couldn't kill off. Luckily, the then blues bounced back with a narrow 1-0 win in Portugal against Sporting that put them top of the group. One of the reasons that Chelsea find themselves top of group G is the two major upsets that Maribor have pulled by drawing first against Sporting and then in Germany against Schalke. The draws left the Slovenian team in second place and the rest of the teams in the group in shock. Jose Mourinho was certainly paying attention to Maribor’s results and he knows exactly how tough this match will be: “Maribor's results tell you a lot. Their results away from home have been very impressive. We have full respect for them.” Said the Portuguese manager in his prematch press conference. Jose was also keen to point out, in a different interview on Sunday, that there will be no room for complacency on his team’s part: "I think in this moment people will have thought they (Maribor) would have zero points but they got one point against Sporting and they went to Germany and they got exactly the same result as we got against Schalke, only ours was at Stamford Bridge. So they come to Stamford Bridge for another result. We need the three points. I'm going to play with the strongest possible team, trying to get the points, respecting them.” But how did this fairly unknown entity in the Champions League manage to turn so many heads? Opposition Analysis NK Maribor first caught my attention during their Europa League run last season while I was watching their group stage matches against Josh McEachran’s Wigan and Thorgan Hazard’s Zulte. I was so impressed with their organization that I went on to watch their knock-out stages matches as well. And, looking at their draw against Schalke, they seem to still be the same well-oiled machine they were last season. The Slovenian team does not have a standout individual they rely solely on, in fact, you will most likely not have heard of any of their players. What they do have, however, is great chemistry and discipline. They set-up very well and rarely make collective mistakes. As a team, they are hard to break down. Generally, they play 4-4-2 and use the two strikers to effectively press the opposition back four. In attack, Zahovic has been in great scoring form for them, though he’s not alone the face of their attack. Mostly Maribor rely on counterattacks where they commit a lot of bodies forward to try catch the opposition on the wrong foot. They are by no means a ‘hoofing’ team. They get the ball on the ground and move it forwards purposefully. Despite all that Maribor have showed in the first two CL matches, Jose Mourinho will likely have no choice but to field a weakened team, and not just because of the game at Old Traford in the weekend. Team News Chelsea: Jose announced in his prematch presser that all of Mikel (foot injury), Schurrle (sickness), Ramires (groin injury) and Costa (reoccurring hamstring issue) are ruled out of the match while Drogba “can play but not for 90 minutes”. Moreover, Azpilicueta’s domestic 3 match ban means that he will most likely start in the CL to keep Luis fresh. With all that in mind, the team basically picks itself: Possible XI: Courtios; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Cesc, Matic, Oscar; Willian, Remy, Hazard. NK Maribor: In complete contrast, Maribor have zero injuries and suspensions for this match. Their team will likely look like this: Possible XI: Handanovic; Viler, Suler, Rajcevic, Mejac; Bohar, Mertelj, Filipovic, Vrsic; Tavares, Ibraimi Match Facts and Stats - Chelsea and Maribor have never met in a competitive game before. - Maribor won their last game against an English side, 2-1 against Wigan Athletic in the Europa League in December 2013. However, this is their only win over an English team (D1 L4). - The Blues have never met a Slovenian side in Europe before. - Chelsea won their last Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon; the Blues have not won back-to-back games in the Champions League since November 2013 (a run of three games). - Chelsea haven't scored more than once in each of their last four Champions League games. However, they scored in each of their last 20 European games at Stamford Bridge, keeping a clean sheet eight times. - Maribor are unbeaten after the first two games of this Champions League campaign – this is the first time they avoided defeat in consecutive games in this competition. - It was also the first time they found the net in two consecutive Champions League games. -Maribor's last defeat in a European game came last February against Sevilla in the Europa League. Since then, they've put together five draws and three wins (incl. qualifiers). -Only Galatasaray (56) and Bayer Leverkusen (61) have made more tackles than Chelsea (54) in this season's Champions League. Match Odds* Chelsea 1/7 Draw 15/2 Maribor 18/1 *According to SkyBet Match Coverage Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels: United Kingdom: ITV United States: Fox Soccer Middle East: BeIN Sports For additional regions, you can check out the TV schedule for the match here. There should be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game. Or, if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action.
  14. Tonight, ‘invincible’ Chelsea host European newbies NK Maribor as part of the Champions League groups stage third round at 19:45 UK time. But if you think that the match will be a walk in the park for the in form Blues, then you’re in for a surprise. About The Match Chelsea started this season’s European campaign with a disappointing draw against Schalke at the Bridge in a match that Mourinho’s men dominated from start to finish but just couldn't kill off. Luckily, the then blues bounced back with a narrow 1-0 win in Portugal against Sporting that put them top of the group. One of the reasons that Chelsea find themselves top of group G is the two major upsets that Maribor have pulled by drawing first against Sporting and then in Germany against Schalke. The draws left the Slovenian team in second place and the rest of the teams in the group in shock. Jose Mourinho was certainly paying attention to Maribor’s results and he knows exactly how tough this match will be: “Maribor's results tell you a lot. Their results away from home have been very impressive. We have full respect for them.” Said the Portuguese manager in his prematch press conference. Jose was also keen to point out, in a different interview on Sunday, that there will be no room for complacency on his team’s part: "I think in this moment people will have thought they (Maribor) would have zero points but they got one point against Sporting and they went to Germany and they got exactly the same result as we got against Schalke, only ours was at Stamford Bridge. So they come to Stamford Bridge for another result. We need the three points. I'm going to play with the strongest possible team, trying to get the points, respecting them.” But how did this fairly unknown entity in the Champions League manage to turn so many heads? Opposition Analysis NK Maribor first caught my attention during their Europa League run last season while I was watching their group stage matches against Josh McEachran’s Wigan and Thorgan Hazard’s Zulte. I was so impressed with their organization that I went on to watch their knock-out stages matches as well. And, looking at their draw against Schalke, they seem to still be the same well-oiled machine they were last season. The Slovenian team does not have a standout individual they rely solely on, in fact, you will most likely not have heard of any of their players. What they do have, however, is great chemistry and discipline. They set-up very well and rarely make collective mistakes. As a team, they are hard to break down. Generally, they play 4-4-2 and use the two strikers to effectively press the opposition back four. In attack, Zahovic has been in great scoring form for them, though he’s not alone the face of their attack. Mostly Maribor rely on counterattacks where they commit a lot of bodies forward to try catch the opposition on the wrong foot. They are by no means a ‘hoofing’ team. They get the ball on the ground and move it forwards purposefully. Despite all that Maribor have showed in the first two CL matches, Jose Mourinho will likely have no choice but to field a weakened team, and not just because of the game at Old Traford in the weekend. Team News Chelsea: Jose announced in his prematch presser that all of Mikel (foot injury), Schurrle (sickness), Ramires (groin injury) and Costa (reoccurring hamstring issue) are ruled out of the match while Drogba “can play but not for 90 minutes”. Moreover, Azpilicueta’s domestic 3 match ban means that he will most likely start in the CL to keep Luis fresh. With all that in mind, the team basically picks itself: Possible XI: Courtios; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Cesc, Matic, Oscar; Willian, Remy, Hazard. NK Maribor: In complete contrast, Maribor have zero injuries and suspensions for this match. Their team will likely look like this: Possible XI: Handanovic; Viler, Suler, Rajcevic, Mejac; Bohar, Mertelj, Filipovic, Vrsic; Tavares, Ibraimi Match Facts and Stats - Chelsea and Maribor have never met in a competitive game before. - Maribor won their last game against an English side, 2-1 against Wigan Athletic in the Europa League in December 2013. However, this is their only win over an English team (D1 L4). - The Blues have never met a Slovenian side in Europe before. - Chelsea won their last Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon; the Blues have not won back-to-back games in the Champions League since November 2013 (a run of three games). - Chelsea haven't scored more than once in each of their last four Champions League games. However, they scored in each of their last 20 European games at Stamford Bridge, keeping a clean sheet eight times. - Maribor are unbeaten after the first two games of this Champions League campaign – this is the first time they avoided defeat in consecutive games in this competition. - It was also the first time they found the net in two consecutive Champions League games. -Maribor's last defeat in a European game came last February against Sevilla in the Europa League. Since then, they've put together five draws and three wins (incl. qualifiers). -Only Galatasaray (56) and Bayer Leverkusen (61) have made more tackles than Chelsea (54) in this season's Champions League. Match Odds* Chelsea 1/7 Draw 15/2 Maribor 18/1 *According to SkyBet Match Coverage Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels: United Kingdom: ITV United States: Fox Soccer Middle East: BeIN Sports For additional regions, you can check out the TV schedule for the match here. There should be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game. Or, if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action. Click here to view article.
  15. After reaching the Champions League semi-final last season, Chelsea will be hopeful to going a step or two further this time around. But long before that, they will be hopeful of kicking off the blue campaign to conquer Europe in emphatic style when they host familiar European opponents, Schalke, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, September 17th, at 19:45 UK time. “No Champions League draw is an easy one” goes the saying, but Jose Mourinho will certainly be pretty content by Chelsea’s group stage draw this season. He will especially be delighted by the low number of miles the team will have to fly. But aside from the short flying times, we have also managed to avoid the “bigger” teams such as Dortmund, Juventus, PSG…etc. And to add to the Blues’ kind European fortunes, the first match against Schalke, our biggest threat in the group, could not have come at a better for the men from West London. Chelsea have had a quite explosive start to the season which put them at the top of the PL table. They remain the only team in the league with a 100% win record, scoring 15 goals in the opening 4 matches. New signings, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, in particular have impressed (and broken records along the way). On the other hand, three matches into the season, the German side are already in mini-crisis. Despite drawing with Bayern Munich, away losses against Hannover and Monchengladbach leaves manager, Jen Keller, under a fair bit of pressure. To be fair to Keller, Schalke have been missing 7 players, including some key men, in their slow start to the season. A very similar situation to the one they were in when they played Chelsea in the Champions’ League group stages last season. Head to head Schalke are a pretty familiar side for Chelsea and Jose Mourinho. The two sides have been drawn in the same Champions league group on three occasions in recent years. After 2007, the two teams most recently met in last season’s group stages where Chelsea managed to run out 3-0 winners both home and away. In fact, in the 4 previous meetings between the two sides, the German side has only ever managed to avoid defeat once in a 0-0 draw at Schalke’s Veltins Arena back in November 2007. If history is anything to go by, Schalke are in for a tough night at the bridge. But history aside, do the Germans have a leg to stand on based on their current state and form? Opposition Analysis As eluded to above, Schalke’s form has been far from impressive at the start of this season. They have only managed a single point in the Bundes Liga so far and currently sit in 16th, a relegation play off place. Surprisingly, their only point so far was earned against champions, Bayern Munich. But further inspection into their weaknesses this season, explains that occurrence. In their own half, Schalke are usually very organized defensively. They defend very well with two banks of four and leave little space and passing options. Their problem however, lies in their defensive transition. On Saturday, I watched Schalke getting well beaten by Gladbach 4-1. They dominated possession, but every time they lost the ball, they were in trouble. The midfielders too slow to transition into defense. Their incredibly high line is questionable, to say the least. The two CBs were very rarely on the same line. And they were not helped by the fact that both fullbacks push very high up the pitch with every attack. In offense, Schalke try execute everything with a lot of pace. Their passing is quick and sharp, and they rely on runs from Sydney Sam, Boateng, and the now fit Draxler, down the wing or diagonally. Their chance conversion is rather poor, though. At the weekend they struggled quite a lot to create much with little space to run into in the final third. Against Bayern, however, they always defended deep and relied on the counter attack. They managed to prevent Guardiola’s side from creating much, and their pace players took full advantage of the space behind Bayern’s defense. And I expect that that is how they will attempt to play against us, instead of trying to dominate the ball. This means that the match will be tougher than what you’d expect at first glance, especially if you consider the key players that will be back for Schalke tomorrow. Team news Jen Keller will be delighted to welcome back all of Julian Draxler, Max Meyer and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for the match, while all of Jefferson Farfan, Sead Kolasinac, Benedikt Höwedes, Leon Goretzka, Jan Kirchhoff and Fabian Giefer remain unavailable. Joel Matip faces a late fitness test. If he is not passed fit, Schalke will have a real problem at CB. They’re already having to play 19 year old Ayhan there. On the other hand, Chelsea have a full squad available. Even Didier Drogba who missed the match against Swansea with a foot injury, is expected to be ready for this one. Though, chances are, even if fit, he likely won’t make the Chelsea bench. Facts and stats -Schalke have never managed to score against Chelsea in 4 previous meetings. They conceded 8 goals. - Schalke's only win in England in the CL came against Arsenal in the 2012-13 group stages. - This will be Chelsea's 12th consecutive participation in the Champions League. They were the winners the last time the final were to take place in Germany. - Schalke are playing in the CL for the 7th time in their history. Their best result was reaching the semifinals in 2010/11 - Chelsea have kept 7 clean sheets in their last 11 champions league matches. - Schalke have only won 1 of their last 6 CL matches (D1 L4). - Diego Costa who has scored 7 goals in his first 4 matches with Chelsea, has 8 goals in his 9 career Cl appearances. - Didier Drogba is the top scoring African in the CL. He's also Chelsea's highest scoring player in the competition. Match Odds (from Sky Bet): Chelsea win - 30/100 Draw - 4/1 Schalke win - 9/1 Match Coverage: Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels: United Kingdom: Sky Sport United States: Fox Soccer Middle East: BeIN Sports For additional regions, you can check out the TV schedule for the match here. There should be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game. Or, if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action.
  16. After reaching the Champions League semi-final last season, Chelsea will be hopeful to going a step or two further this time around. But long before that, they will be hopeful of kicking off the blue campaign to conquer Europe in emphatic style when they host familiar European opponents, Schalke, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, September 17th, at 19:45 UK time. “No Champions League draw is an easy one” goes the saying, but Jose Mourinho will certainly be pretty content by Chelsea’s group stage draw this season. He will especially be delighted by the low number of miles the team will have to fly. But aside from the short flying times, we have also managed to avoid the “bigger” teams such as Dortmund, Juventus, PSG…etc. And to add to the Blues’ kind European fortunes, the first match against Schalke, our biggest threat in the group, could not have come at a better for the men from West London. Chelsea have had a quite explosive start to the season which put them at the top of the PL table. They remain the only team in the league with a 100% win record, scoring 15 goals in the opening 4 matches. New signings, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, in particular have impressed (and broken records along the way). On the other hand, three matches into the season, the German side are already in mini-crisis. Despite drawing with Bayern Munich, away losses against Hannover and Monchengladbach leaves manager, Jen Keller, under a fair bit of pressure. To be fair to Keller, Schalke have been missing 7 players, including some key men, in their slow start to the season. A very similar situation to the one they were in when they played Chelsea in the Champions’ League group stages last season. Head to head Schalke are a pretty familiar side for Chelsea and Jose Mourinho. The two sides have been drawn in the same Champions league group on three occasions in recent years. After 2007, the two teams most recently met in last season’s group stages where Chelsea managed to run out 3-0 winners both home and away. In fact, in the 4 previous meetings between the two sides, the German side has only ever managed to avoid defeat once in a 0-0 draw at Schalke’s Veltins Arena back in November 2007. If history is anything to go by, Schalke are in for a tough night at the bridge. But history aside, do the Germans have a leg to stand on based on their current state and form? Opposition Analysis As eluded to above, Schalke’s form has been far from impressive at the start of this season. They have only managed a single point in the Bundes Liga so far and currently sit in 16th, a relegation play off place. Surprisingly, their only point so far was earned against champions, Bayern Munich. But further inspection into their weaknesses this season, explains that occurrence. In their own half, Schalke are usually very organized defensively. They defend very well with two banks of four and leave little space and passing options. Their problem however, lies in their defensive transition. On Saturday, I watched Schalke getting well beaten by Gladbach 4-1. They dominated possession, but every time they lost the ball, they were in trouble. The midfielders too slow to transition into defense. Their incredibly high line is questionable, to say the least. The two CBs were very rarely on the same line. And they were not helped by the fact that both fullbacks push very high up the pitch with every attack. In offense, Schalke try execute everything with a lot of pace. Their passing is quick and sharp, and they rely on runs from Sydney Sam, Boateng, and the now fit Draxler, down the wing or diagonally. Their chance conversion is rather poor, though. At the weekend they struggled quite a lot to create much with little space to run into in the final third. Against Bayern, however, they always defended deep and relied on the counter attack. They managed to prevent Guardiola’s side from creating much, and their pace players took full advantage of the space behind Bayern’s defense. And I expect that that is how they will attempt to play against us, instead of trying to dominate the ball. This means that the match will be tougher than what you’d expect at first glance, especially if you consider the key players that will be back for Schalke tomorrow. Team news Jen Keller will be delighted to welcome back all of Julian Draxler, Max Meyer and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for the match, while all of Jefferson Farfan, Sead Kolasinac, Benedikt Höwedes, Leon Goretzka, Jan Kirchhoff and Fabian Giefer remain unavailable. Joel Matip faces a late fitness test. If he is not passed fit, Schalke will have a real problem at CB. They’re already having to play 19 year old Ayhan there. On the other hand, Chelsea have a full squad available. Even Didier Drogba who missed the match against Swansea with a foot injury, is expected to be ready for this one. Though, chances are, even if fit, he likely won’t make the Chelsea bench. Facts and stats -Schalke have never managed to score against Chelsea in 4 previous meetings. They conceded 8 goals. - Schalke's only win in England in the CL came against Arsenal in the 2012-13 group stages. - This will be Chelsea's 12th consecutive participation in the Champions League. They were the winners the last time the final were to take place in Germany. - Schalke are playing in the CL for the 7th time in their history. Their best result was reaching the semifinals in 2010/11 - Chelsea have kept 7 clean sheets in their last 11 champions league matches. - Schalke have only won 1 of their last 6 CL matches (D1 L4). - Diego Costa who has scored 7 goals in his first 4 matches with Chelsea, has 8 goals in his 9 career Cl appearances. - Didier Drogba is the top scoring African in the CL. He's also Chelsea's highest scoring player in the competition. Match Odds (from Sky Bet): Chelsea win - 30/100 Draw - 4/1 Schalke win - 9/1 Match Coverage: Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels: United Kingdom: Sky Sport United States: Fox Soccer Middle East: BeIN Sports For additional regions, you can check out the TV schedule for the match here. There should be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game. Or, if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action. Click here to view the article
  17. Stamford Bridge hosted today an unlikely clash at the top of the Premiere league table from which Chelsea eventually emerged 4-2 winners despite an early scare. Chelsea and Swansea came into this match as the only two remaining teams with a 100% win record in the EPL this season, and Jose Mourinho's side was handed a big boost before kick off after August player of the month, Diego Costa, was passed fit to start; a piece of news that would have a big impact on the final score. Both sides started the match brightly, but soon the gaps in the Chelsea midfield started to show. After Routledge fluffed an early Swansea chance, a mistake in midfield put our back four on the wrong foot, and the retreating John Terry accidentally put the low cross past Thibaut Courtois and into his own net to give the Swans the lead after 10 minutes. After a sluggish ten minutes or so after the goal, Chelsea started finding their game and tempo much better, spurred on by the unstoppable Eden Hazard. The boys kept getting closer with each chance until finally, Diego Costa managed to get on the end of a Fabregas corner and head it into the net right at the stroke of HT. Costa's goal proved game changing as all the momentum was now Mourinho's men who started the second half on the front foot. After a series of missed chances, it was Costa again who gave Chelsea the lead in the match. A brilliant combination of one touch passes down the left flank between Hazard, Fabregas and Azpilicueta, and Costa was there to tap it in. Cesc again with the assist. A more relaxed Chelsea side continued to create chances, and ten minutes later, Costa completed his hat-trick after showing brilliant striker instinct and movement to pounce on an under-hit Ramires shot. The game was then perfectly set up for a debut goal for our new French striker, Loic Remy, and that is exactly what happened. Ten minutes before the final whistle, Hazard beat half of the Swansea defense by his own, Oscar provided the assist and Remy curled a shot beautifully into the bottom corner to round off the 3 points. A few minutes later, Jonjo Shelvey took advantage of a sleeping Chelsea defense to pull one back for the Swans, but it was too late. Chelsea had already ensured that their perfect start to the season continues and cemented their place at the top of the EPL table. Individually, Diego Costa's hat-trick made it 7 goals in 4 matches for the striker and made him the first player to score in each of his first 4 matches for Chelsea since 1928. The player of the month continues with his red hot form, while the manager of the month curse claims yet another victim in Garry Monk. Moreover, Cesc Fabregas increases his tally to 6 assists in the opening 4 matches, more than any Chelsea player managed in the entirety of last season, save Fernando Torres (7). The new signings have already made all the difference at Chelsea. Hopefully, we can take the momentum from this flying start into the Champions League as well. Bring on Schalke!
  18. Stamford Bridge hosted today an unlikely clash at the top of the Premiere league table from which Chelsea eventually emerged 4-2 winners despite an early scare. Chelsea and Swansea came into this match as the only two remaining teams with a 100% win record in the EPL this season, and Jose Mourinho's side was handed a big boost before kick off after August player of the month, Diego Costa, was passed fit to start; a piece of news that would have a big impact on the final score. Both sides started the match brightly, but soon the gaps in the Chelsea midfield started to show. After Routledge fluffed an early Swansea chance, a mistake in midfield put our back four on the wrong foot, and the retreating John Terry accidentally put the low cross past Thibaut Courtois and into his own net to give the Swans the lead after 10 minutes. After a sluggish ten minutes or so after the goal, Chelsea started finding their game and tempo much better, spurred on by the unstoppable Eden Hazard. The boys kept getting closer with each chance until finally, Diego Costa managed to get on the end of a Fabregas corner and head it into the net right at the stroke of HT. Costa's goal proved game changing as all the momentum was now Mourinho's men who started the second half on the front foot. After a series of missed chances, it was Costa again who gave Chelsea the lead in the match. A brilliant combination of one touch passes down the left flank between Hazard, Fabregas and Azpilicueta, and Costa was there to tap it in. Cesc again with the assist. A more relaxed Chelsea side continued to create chances, and ten minutes later, Costa completed his hat-trick after showing brilliant striker instinct and movement to pounce on an under-hit Ramires shot. The game was then perfectly set up for a debut goal for our new French striker, Loic Remy, and that is exactly what happened. Ten minutes before the final whistle, Hazard beat half of the Swansea defense by his own, Oscar provided the assist and Remy curled a shot beautifully into the bottom corner to round off the 3 points. A few minutes later, Jonjo Shelvey took advantage of a sleeping Chelsea defense to pull one back for the Swans, but it was too late. Chelsea had already ensured that their perfect start to the season continues and cemented their place at the top of the EPL table. Individually, Diego Costa's hat-trick made it 7 goals in 4 matches for the striker and made him the first player to score in each of his first 4 matches for Chelsea since 1928. The player of the month continues with his red hot form, while the manager of the month curse claims yet another victim in Garry Monk. Moreover, Cesc Fabregas increases his tally to 6 assists in the opening 4 matches, more than any Chelsea player managed in the entirety of last season, save Fernando Torres (7). The new signings have already made all the difference at Chelsea. Hopefully, we can take the momentum from this flying start into the Champions League as well. Bring on Schalke!
  19. It was a quite ridiculous match! From the very first minute till the last. In a game that averaged a goal every 10 minutes, Chelsea eventually ran out 6-3 winner, but boy did we have to work for it! Chelsea came today to what has been the "bogey ground" for them in the past few year, with the knowledge that our direct rivals, Manchester City, had lost at home to Stoke City. And the motivation to capitalize on that result was obvious from the first whistle. It took Diego Costa just 36 seconds to take advantage of a Fabregas through ball to open the scoring. The third quickest EPL goal in Chelsea's history. If we needed an indication of how frantic this match is going to be, we surely had one. But the explosive start to the match did not end there. Two minutes later, Ivanovic found the net for the Blues again after a Ramires pass. Replay showed that Brainislav was marginally offside. Unfortunately, that was not the only mistake the linesman will make. Minutes later, Tim Howard caught the ball clearly outside the box, after Azpilicueta tried to put Hazard through on goal. Linesman again made the wrong call before mistakenly giving an offside on Costa and then Distin in the second half. But this was one match that could not be ruined by refereeing mistakes. After Ivanovic's goal, Everton responded quite brilliantly and put a lot of pressure on our back line while Chelsea looked very dangerous on the break. But it was not until the last seconds of the first 45 minutes that Mirallas managed to pull one back for the home team with a marvelous header, after Chelsea were caught out on the left hand side. Mirallas' header brought Everton right back into the game and put an end to a very exciting first half; a half that would look pretty ordinary and boring compared to the crazy second 45 minutes of the match. The second half started with Everton well on top and creating a few chances in the first ten minutes. Then it was Chelsea's turn to force the issue. Howard had to make 3 big save in the space of a couple of minutes, including a 1vs1 with Diego Costa. But it was not until the 67th minute that the flood gates opened. Eden Hazard, who had been pretty quite in attack, took advantage of lapse in concentration for Seamus Coleman. He dribble past him with great pace into the box, and fired in a cross that ricocheted off Coleman and into the back of the Everton net. But Chelsea's relief was only momentary. Straight from the kick off, Matic was caught napping, creating a gap in our defense. A gap which Naismith exploited, slotting in Everton's second of the match, and throwing the game wide open again. Five minutes later, Nemaja Matic received the ball on the edge of the box, took his time to sort his feet out, picked his spot and fired in a beautiful strike to the bottom corner to give Chelsea a 2-goal cushion again. But yet again, Everton would not go away. Less than two minutes afterwards, Eto'o brings the Toffees back into the game with a header from a FK. And if the fainthearted had not suffered enough already, Chelsea scored again, almost from the kick off, through Ramires, after a quick give and go with Matic at the edge of the box. Ramires' goal was Chelsea's 5th of the night but also the fifth goal in the match in a crazy spell of under ten minutes! Everton almost did it again through Baines, but this time Courtois made an excellent save onto the post to prevent more Chelsea hear-attacks. The final ten minutes were set up to be a thriller of their own. Everton attacked in numbers, but Jose Mourinho packed up the shop by bringing on Luis, Drogba and Mikel. And as if we needed anymore sure signs of the insanity of this game, it was Mikel who ran at great pace to intercept the ball in Everton's half before providing a brilliant back-heel assist. Costa who opened the scoring in the first minute, was there at the end of Mikel's pass in the last one to close it and finally kill off a truly insane match of football. It was one of those matches that reminded us why we all love football so much, why we all love Chelsea so much, and why the Premiere League is the most watched league in the world. And while it may have caused a few cardiac arrests around the world, this, now classic, match is the icing on the cake of what has certainly been a memorable weekend for the Stanford Bridge faithful.
  20. It was a quite ridiculous match! From the very first minute till the last. In a game that averaged a goal every 10 minutes, Chelsea eventually ran out 6-3 winner, but boy did we have to work for it! Chelsea came today to what has been the "bogey ground" for them in the past few year, with the knowledge that our direct rivals, Manchester City, had lost at home to Stoke City. And the motivation to capitalize on that result was obvious from the first whistle. It took Diego Costa just 36 seconds to take advantage of a Fabregas through ball to open the scoring. The third quickest EPL goal in Chelsea's history. If we needed an indication of how frantic this match is going to be, we surely had one. But the explosive start to the match did not end there. Two minutes later, Ivanovic found the net for the Blues again after a Ramires pass. Replay showed that Brainislav was marginally offside. Unfortunately, that was not the only mistake the linesman will make. Minutes later, Tim Howard caught the ball clearly outside the box, after Azpilicueta tried to put Hazard through on goal. Linesman again made the wrong call before mistakenly giving an offside on Costa and then Distin in the second half. But this was one match that could not be ruined by refereeing mistakes. After Ivanovic's goal, Everton responded quite brilliantly and put a lot of pressure on our back line while Chelsea looked very dangerous on the break. But it was not until the last seconds of the first 45 minutes that Mirallas managed to pull one back for the home team with a marvelous header, after Chelsea were caught out on the left hand side. Mirallas' header brought Everton right back into the game and put an end to a very exciting first half; a half that would look pretty ordinary and boring compared to the crazy second 45 minutes of the match. The second half started with Everton well on top and creating a few chances in the first ten minutes. Then it was Chelsea's turn to force the issue. Howard had to make 3 big save in the space of a couple of minutes, including a 1vs1 with Diego Costa. But it was not until the 67th minute that the flood gates opened. Eden Hazard, who had been pretty quite in attack, took advantage of lapse in concentration for Seamus Coleman. He dribble past him with great pace into the box, and fired in a cross that ricocheted off Coleman and into the back of the Everton net. But Chelsea's relief was only momentary. Straight from the kick off, Matic was caught napping, creating a gap in our defense. A gap which Naismith exploited, slotting in Everton's second of the match, and throwing the game wide open again. Five minutes later, Nemaja Matic received the ball on the edge of the box, took his time to sort his feet out, picked his spot and fired in a beautiful strike to the bottom corner to give Chelsea a 2-goal cushion again. But yet again, Everton would not go away. Less than two minutes afterwards, Eto'o brings the Toffees back into the game with a header from a FK. And if the fainthearted had not suffered enough already, Chelsea scored again, almost from the kick off, through Ramires, after a quick give and go with Matic at the edge of the box. Ramires' goal was Chelsea's 5th of the night but also the fifth goal in the match in a crazy spell of under ten minutes! Everton almost did it again through Baines, but this time Courtois made an excellent save onto the post to prevent more Chelsea hear-attacks. The final ten minutes were set up to be a thriller of their own. Everton attacked in numbers, but Jose Mourinho packed up the shop by bringing on Luis, Drogba and Mikel. And as if we needed anymore sure signs of the insanity of this game, it was Mikel who ran at great pace to intercept the ball in Everton's half before providing a brilliant back-heel assist. Costa who opened the scoring in the first minute, was there at the end of Mikel's pass in the last one to close it and finally kill off a truly insane match of football. It was one of those matches that reminded us why we all love football so much, why we all love Chelsea so much, and why the Premiere League is the most watched league in the world. And while it may have caused a few cardiac arrests around the world, this, now classic, match is the icing on the cake of what has certainly been a memorable weekend for the Stanford Bridge faithful. Click here to view the article
  21. Man City - Match Preview

    Venue Just 12 days after the Blues snapped City’s 13-match winning streak at home, putting an end to all the myths about the Ettihad Stadium, Mourinho’s men take on the citizens at their home ground again at 17:15 GMT on Saturday February 15th as part of the FA Cup fifth round. The Match Chelsea head to the Ettihad looking for their third win over the team that has been labeled as the best in the country this season. So can Jose Mourinho mastermind another victory for the Blues? This time, the stakes are arguably even higher, with some calling the clash an early final in the FA cup. That may be an exaggeration, but both teams will certainly fancy their chances in the cup if they can come out on top in this clash especially if you consider the fact that one of Liverpool or Arsenal will be knocked out this round. City come into the match the much fresher side after their mid-week match against Sunderland was cancelled due to the bad weather conditions, but they will have the CL clash against Barcelona, no less, three days later in the back of their minds. Chelsea, on the other hand, despite looking a bit tired in the mid-week game, will not play again for a whole week and will certainly hold nothing back in terms of team selection or substitutions. Both teams are coming off the back of a disappointing draw. Chelsea conceded a late equalizer at Hawthorns while City were held to a goal-less draw at Norwich. A win on Saturday can go a long way in terms of team spirit and confidence and both team will be hoping to carry some kind of momentum into their next game. Opposition Analysis City have been known to play great attacking football this season, especially at home, that has earned them much praise from neutrals and the media. Pelligrini’s variation of the 4-4-2, or at least that is what it is on paper, is incredibly flexible and adaptive and flexible due to the movement of the City players, especially Silva and one of the strikers. It relies a lot on the dynamism of the two central midfielders and the organization of Kompany at the back. Defensively, they press well and with physicality, but can leave spaces behind them that can be exploited on the counter as was evident in the game last Monday. For more in depth tactical analysis about City’s system check out the scouting report by @hjperdeath, . In the game in the league, Jose made some tactical decisions that proved vital in deciding the game. Mourinho opted for the dynamism of Luiz and Matic in central midfield with Willian in the number ten position to double up on Toure when he gets the ball. We played with 6 players behind the ball at most times with the movement and pace of our front four doing all the damage; Ramires was also played on the right wing to counter Kolarov’s runs. It will be very interesting to see if Jose goes for the same tactics tomorrow and what Pelligrini does to counter them. Team News Pelligrini confirmed in his press conference on Friday that they top scorer, Sergio Aguero, is still out injured along with Fernandinho in midfield and Nastasic in defense. The Chilean might also choose to rest a few players ahead of the CL match against Barcelona. So overall, we are likely to see a depleted Man City side tomorrow. As for Chelsea, aside from the long-term injury of Marco van Ginkel, John Terry is still not fit for this match while Garry Cahill is a major doubt after picking up a calf injury against WBA. Jose Mourinho has also hinted at making changes from the side that played City in the league. I’ll leave the expected lineups to you… Facts and Stats - Chelsea have lost 4 of the last 5 visits to the Ettihad. - Despite scoring more goals than any team in the country, Man City have failed to score in their last two matches. - Chelsea are the only team to stop the Citizens from scoring at the Ettihad this season. - Anichibe's goal at the Hawthorns was the first goal Chelsea have conceded in over 700 minutes of football in all competitions. - Alvaro Negredo has scored 16 goals in his last 14 competitive appearances at the Etihad Stadium. - It is incredibly difficult to find stats and facts for an FA cup match. (Yes, that is a fact about this match!) Match Odds* City win 6/5 Draw 12/5 Chelsea win 21/10 *From SkyBet Coverage This match will be live on: UK: ITV US: Fox Sport Middle east: BeIN sports France: beIN sports Belgium: Sporting 1 You can check where the match will be broadcast in your country here. Or you can follow the match feed on the TalkChelsea Twitter account.
  22. Manchester City - Match Preview

    Venue: Chelsea face Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City on Monday, February 3rd, 20:00 at the Etihad Stadium. The Match: This game (round 24) pits two heavyweight Premier League sides against each other; the best attacking team against the best defensive team in the league. City have not lost a single point at home this season in the PL, scoring 42 goals (at home alone) on the way. They are sitting 2nd in the table, 2 points off top. A win could see them regain the top spot. Chelsea are currently 3rd in the league, conceding only 20 goals so far, and a win could see them draw level on points with City. City have won their last 5 PL games; defeating Tottenham, Cardiff, Swansea, Newcastle and Crystal Palace, whilst Chelsea have won 4 out of their last 5, defeating Liverpool, Southampton, Hull, Manchester United and drawing to West Ham. Pellegrini has only defeated Mourinho once in seven which came during their time in Spain, whilst Mourinho has defeated Pellegrini 5 times. Chelsea face Man City for the 149th time in all competitions, The Blues have won 62 (41.89%), drawn 37 (25.00%) and lost 49 (33.11%) of the previous 148 matches.[1]. Chelsea are the only team this season out the top 7 to have defeated Manchester City, which occurred at home earlier in the season - but that was our first win in 6 games in all competitions against Man City. Opposition Analysis (excellently provided by @hjperdeath)[2] Manchester City welcome Joses Chelsea to the Etihad, in what seems to be a game that could tilt the title towards the club that grabs all the three points. The noisy residents of Manchester banged 5 past Hugo Lloris and Tottenham, while Chelsea struggled to convert their chances into goals against medieval football. For all the hype surrounding Citys blistering form in front of goal, what should Chelsea expect? City while transitioning into attack, hold nothing back. Taking the term all guns blazing to another level. Freedom is given to a lot of players, and responsibilities, not always equally shared. The center-backs push up and Kompany orchestrates and organizes the structure. On paper it is a 4-4-2, but it looks far from it when City are in full flow. Fernandinho and Toure are the so called central midfielders. Fernandinho prefers to defend, while Toure prefers to attack. Silva and [enter name of your choice except Navas] are the wide midfielders, who function as interiores . However when City need a bit of width due to their full-back unable to do because of the oppositions strategy, Navas gives them an edge. He hugs the touchline and drags players out wide for small pockets of space to open up. City when using an interiores function a bit different as said before. Both the full-backs are to get themselves forward, with the full-back who is not directly taking part in the attack, holding himself back and being level with the last man in midfield. To explain that easier, if the ball is being played on the left, the right-back will hold himself a little back and be level with the defensive midfielder to make sure counter-attacks lose their efficiency. A screen grab from the Arsenal game. Zabaleta has positioned himself well to either receive the ball or retreat quickly in case the ball is lost. Another area to look at is the vital three man engine. The engine that keeps the team fluid and running at all times. Silva drops in the middle, and works with Toure and Fernandinho. They try to make each other available through their movement, which is exceptionally clever. One man always defends, and we all know who that is. By doing so, they also negate the problem of having no man behind the two strikers as seen on paper. To an extent its largely seen as a 4-1-3-2 . If Chelsea are to win itll be vital to shut that area down, that is the bottom line. Block passing lanes, be physical and make sure that at least one of the three is never in the game for 90 minutes. That increases our chances of getting a favourable outcome to 40% . Now if those three form the engine, one of the two strikers is the fuel. Aguero and Negredo was a blossoming partnership, with Aguero acting as the front-man and Negredo often dropping deep to collect the ball and link up play. This also helps negate another problem. City on paper would be heavily outnumbered in the attacking third when the midfield joins in. With a striker dropping deep, it could essentially change a 2v3 scenario to a 3v3 . Dzeko and Jovetic have also been used, and in that partnership, the best part is that both of them can drop deep naturally to facilitate the play. All their strikers are exceptionally good at drifting to wide areas. Versatility is key in their play. Now I dont have much to say about their defensive transition but, there seems to be this kind of idea that City are going to be really easy on the counter, and that isnt the truth. It was quite easy at the start, with Pellegrini having quite a few problems in defining a philosophy that could make ball retention easier. City also have their fair share of players tracking back, notably on the side Silva starts in, as it tends to be more open. From one of the strikers, to atleast two of the midfielders, they dont hesitate to pull themselves back and recover possession. On a tactical perspective, Monday to a football fan is going to be what cocaine is to a drug addict. Players To Watch (City): Yaya Toure & Fernandinho: The best central midfield partnership have been integral to Manchester City's attacking impetus this season. Both players are well rounded, have great technique and can dominate matches from the middle. Yaya Toure, the more offensive of the two, has the ability to break from midfield at any given time and produce great finesse in the final third, whilst Fernandinho, who isn't bad offensively either, sits deep and launches most attacks for Man City. Here are some goals from the two players: Team News[3]: James Milner could return for Manchester City, but the big blow is the hamstring injury suffered by Aguero against Tottenham mid-week which sees him out for a month. Javi Garcia (muscle) and Samir Nasri (knee) are the other players missing out for City. Chelsea have no new injury concerns for the big match, but Torres (knee) and long-term absentee Van Ginkel (knee) are set to miss out. Possible starting line ups: Potential Chelsea XI: Cech Ivanovic Cahill Terry Azpilicueta Ramires Matic Willian Oscar Hazard Eto'o Potential City XI: Hart Zabaleta Kompany Demichelis Clichy Navas Toure Fernandinho Silva Dzeko Negredo Match Facts[4]: Manchester City have won 19 and lost just one of their last 21 Barclays Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium, including winning the last 11 in a row. Chelsea have kept three clean sheets in a row away from home in the Barclays Premier League. Man City have won their last 10 home matches Chelsea have lost their last four Premier League visits to the Etihad, but no team has won more games away at Man City in Premier League history than the west Londoners (10). Man City have had both teams scoring in their last five matches against top-six teams. Manchester City are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games played on a Monday (W5 D1), but their last PL defeat on a Monday came against Chelsea (1-2 in Dec 2011). Five of Chelseas last eight Premier League games on a Monday have ended in a draw, with three of these ending goalless. Chelsea have been level at half-time in their last five away matches against Man City. Alvaro Negredo has scored 16 goals in his last 13 competitive appearances at the Etihad Stadium. Chelsea had 39 shots against West Ham in midweek (incl. blocked shots); the most by any team who failed to score in the PL since 2003/04. Man City have won their last eight Premier League games in a row, longer than any run secured in the title winning season of 2011-12 (most was seven). Chelsea have won their last four home matches against top-half teams. Chelsea have won only two of their last eight Premier League games in February (L4 D2). Man City have scored first in their last five matches. Edin Dzeko will attempt to score in four successive Premier League appearances within the same season for the first time. Betting Odds: City WIN 17/20 Draw: 23/10 Chelsea WIN 7/2 TV: Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels: United Kingdom: Sky Sports 1 HD United States: SiriusXM FC, NBC Sports Live Extra, NBCSN, Mun2, TalkSport Radio India: Star Sports HD 2 India, Star Sports 4 India Africa: SuperSport 3 If your country/continent is not listed above then you can check out the TV Schedule for the match here. There should also be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game or if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action. [1] http://www.thechels.co.uk/4712-statistical-preview-chelsea-vs-man-city-2014-02-01/ [2] http://eplindex.com/48949/manchester-city-chelsea-preview.html [3] http://eplindex.com/48949/manchester-city-chelsea-preview.html [4] http://www.fourfourtwo.com/statszone/8-2013/matches/695136/pre-match
  23. Hull City - Match Preview

    Venue Chelsea travel to the KC Stadium for the 12:45 UK time early kick off on Saturday, January 11th 2014 to face Steve Bruce’s Hull City Tigers. The Match Nominated by everyone to go down at the start of the season, Hull have well and truly exceeded everyone’s expectations this season. Steve Bruce will be very to see his team sitting comfortably in mid-table at 10th and 6 points off the relegation zone 20 games into the season. This achievement is largely due their form in the KC stadium. The Tigers are at a staggering 5th place in the home table with 5 wins and only 2 losses in 10 games and their fans can thank their in-form keeper and back four for this incredible form. They have conceded the joint least number of goals at home (6). Bruce will definitely be relying on this home form and Chelsea’s average away form to get something from the match on Saturday. Chelsea, on the other hand, will be looking to continue on their best form of the season so far. An excellent Christmas period saw the Blues secure some important wins and stay within two points of the leaders Arsenal with 4 wins in the last 5 matches. Spurred on by the performances of their Belgian star, Eden Hazard, Jose Mourinho’s team have managed to be back on track for a title challenge after the usual November slump. Head-To-Head Chelsea came up against Hull 5 previous times in the EPL winning three of them and drawing the other two. As for the managers, Jose Mourinho has faced Steve Bruce on 6 occasions before Saturday, five of which were when Bruce was the manager of Birmingham City. The Portuguese has the obvious advantage in this match-up, winning 4 of the matches and drawing the other two. Last Meeting The two sides last met in the opening match of the season at the Bridge when first-half goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard were enough to ensure that Jose Mourinho’s welcome back party was on. Chelsea played some of their best football during that first 45 mins and should have ended the half with a couple of goals more after missing many chances the most notable of which was a Frank Lampard penalty miss. It is worth noting, though, that Hull were able to contain Chelsea in the second half and prevent them from creating any meaningful chances after manager Steve Bruce introduced Livermore and Huddlestone. Key Men Apart from the solid defense, Tom Huddlestone has been the stand out man in Steve Bruce’s Hull this season. Leading the team with the most tackles, successful passes, key passes and shots, the ex-Spurs man has relished the freedom of his box-to-box role under Bruce. But I’m sure Jose has a plan for him which probably includes being man-marked by Oscar. Scottish keeper, Allan McGregor, has also been in terrific form for the Tigers, coming up with terrific saves at important times much to the pleasure of Steve Bruce who went as far as saying that if Allan was English, he would be going to the world cup. Team News Chelsea will be without the services of Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic for this match; both of whom were ruled out till the end of the month. They join the long-term injured Marco van Ginkel and most likely, maybe, probably not, the mystical Ryan Betrand unless he has already been sold but the club did not announce it. Hull, on the other hand will be missing all of Fryatt, Brady, Dudgeon and Aluko for this match; the last one probably being the biggest miss for Bruce. Expected Lineups Probably for the first time in quite some time, the Chelsea team practically picks itself with the absence of Iva and Frank and the form of Oscar, Willian and Hazard. So unless Jose decides to go with 4-3-3 or rest a player or two like Mikel who just yesterday returned from Nigeria, it’s very likely that we see something like: Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpi, Cahill, JT, Cole; Rami, Mikel; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Torres. Bruce is likely to continue with the 3-5-2 that seems to suite his Tigers the best with El Mohammady and Figueroa bombing up and down the flanks: Hull (3-5-2): McGregor; Chester, Bruce, Davies; El Mohammady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Figueroa; Sagbo, Graham. Facts and Stats -Hull have won 5 of their 10 home matches this season and their points tally at home of 18 points is a better return than Man United and Spurs. -Despite winning 2 of their last 3 home games against top-six opponents, Hull have lost 8 of 11 in total since 2008/09. -No side has conceded fewer home goals than Hull this term (6). -Chelsea haven’t beaten a promoted side away from home in the last two seasons (W0 D3 L3). -The Blues points return of 43 is their highest at this stage since they last won the league in 2009/10. -Hull City last defeated Chelsea back in October 1988. The Blues have been unbeaten in the 9 matches between the two sides since. -Torres scored his third and final Hat-Trick for Liverpool against Hull City in 2009. -If he plays, this will be Fernando’s 200th EPL appearance. -Steve Bruce has won just one of his 18 matches against Chelsea in the EPL, losing 12 of them. -Petr Cech has kept 149 clean sheets in the EPL. Match Odds According to SkyBet: Hull 11/2 Draw 3/1 Chelsea 4/7 TV Coverage This match will be live on BT Sport in the UK, NBC Sports in the US, Canal+ Sport in France, and BeIN Sports in the Middle East. You can check where the game will be broadcasted in your country here or you can follow the game via our min-by-min Twitter match feed.
  24. Swansea - Match Preview

    Venue Chelsea host Swansea at the Bridge on Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26th in the 18th round of the EPL. The Match Despite not being able to replicate some of the performances of last season especially against the big boys in the league, Swansea have still managed to maintain their mid-table position away from the drop zone like they have done since their promotion to the EPL two and a half seasons ago. But with just one win in their last five and Chelsea and City in their next three fixtures, Michael Laudrup will know that his team will inevitable join the relegation battle unless they pick up some points soon. That is why it would not be a surprise if the Swans had their minds on their game against Villa two days later rather than the tough game at the Bridge. Chelsea, on the other hand, cannot afford to drop points with how tight things are at the top. With the top five teams interchanging positions in every round, Chelsea can finish the day anywhere from top of the league to fifth. The Blues will also be fancying their chances at home against this out-of-form Swansea team that is largely weakened by injuries. But Jose Mourinho will also be more worried about the game at the weekend against Liverpool and is likely to take advantage of the great squad depth and rest a few players. Team News Swansea find themselves in serious trouble injury-wise. Their main man, Michu, has been playing through injury and will most likely require surgery. Keeper Michael Vorm is also injured and won’t play along with key player and top scorer Nathan Dyer. Varquez and Monk will also be out for this match leaving the Swansea squad very thin. In contrast, Chelsea have no injury issues apart from the long-term injury to Marco Van Ginkel and the mystery injury to Ryan Bertrand. Expected lineup Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Iva, Luiz, JT, Cole; Ramires, Lamprd; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres. Swansea (4-2-3-1): Termmel; Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies; Shelvey, Canas; Hernanez, De Guzman, Lamah; Bony. Key men: Lord Voldemort (a.k.a. Jonjo Shelvey) has been one of the standout players for the Swans this season, especially in the past few weeks. The ex-Liverpool man has relished his new box-to-box role giving Swansea an extra man in attack often to very good effect. Jonjo has been helped by the reassuring presence of Jose Canas who himself has been vital to the Swans; often the man with the most completed passes and defensive actions on the pitch. De Guzman is the man that makes things tick for Swansea in the final third with the most key passes in the team (23). Facts and Stats - Chelsea have been reduced to 10 men in three of their last 6 meetings with Swansea. - Chelsea took part in the highest scoring EPL match on December 26. A 4-4 draw with Villa in 2007. - Frank Lampard has played more games on December 26 than any other player in the history of the EPL (15). - Gerhard Tremmel has conceded a goal every 40 minutes on average this season in the EPL. - Despite Chelsea’s shaky form they have won seven of their last 10 home fixtures with middle-third clubs, drawing the other 3. - Only Man City have picked up more points at home than Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea (22). - The Portuguese manager is also defending a 68-match unbeaten home run in the Premier League, a record. - Swansea have won just 1 of their last 5 league matches and have lost 8 of their last 10 away encounters with top-six clubs. - They have won only twice in their 13 matches against the Blues in all competitions. Match Odds According to SkyBet, the match odds are: Chelsea 1/3 Draw 4/1 Swansea 17/2 Coverage The game will be live on BBC One in the UK, DirecTV in the US and Al Jazeera +2 in the Middle East and North Africa. You can see where the game is live in your country here.
  25. Swansea - Match Preview

    Venue Chelsea host Swansea at the Bridge on Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26th in the 18th round of the EPL. The Match Despite not being able to replicate some of the performances of last season especially against the big boys in the league, Swansea have still managed to maintain their mid-table position away from the drop zone like they have done since their promotion to the EPL two and a half seasons ago. But with just one win in their last five and Chelsea and City in their next three fixtures, Michael Laudrup will know that his team will inevitable join the relegation battle unless they pick up some points soon. That is why it would not be a surprise if the Swans had their minds on their game against Villa two days later rather than the tough game at the Bridge. Chelsea, on the other hand, cannot afford to drop points with how tight things are at the top. With the top five teams interchanging positions in every round, Chelsea can finish the day anywhere from top of the league to fifth. The Blues will also be fancying their chances at home against this out-of-form Swansea team that is largely weakened by injuries. But Jose Mourinho will also be more worried about the game at the weekend against Liverpool and is likely to take advantage of the great squad depth and rest a few players. Team News Swansea find themselves in serious trouble injury-wise. Their main man, Michu, has been playing through injury and will most likely require surgery. Keeper Michael Vorm is also injured and won’t play along with key player and top scorer Nathan Dyer. Varquez and Monk will also be out for this match leaving the Swansea squad very thin. In contrast, Chelsea have no injury issues apart from the long-term injury to Marco Van Ginkel and the mystery injury to Ryan Bertrand. Expected lineup Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Iva, Luiz, JT, Cole; Ramires, Lamprd; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres. Swansea (4-2-3-1): Termmel; Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies; Shelvey, Canas; Hernanez, De Guzman, Lamah; Bony. Key men: Lord Voldemort (a.k.a. Jonjo Shelvey) has been one of the standout players for the Swans this season, especially in the past few weeks. The ex-Liverpool man has relished his new box-to-box role giving Swansea an extra man in attack often to very good effect. Jonjo has been helped by the reassuring presence of Jose Canas who himself has been vital to the Swans; often the man with the most completed passes and defensive actions on the pitch. De Guzman is the man that makes things tick for Swansea in the final third with the most key passes in the team (23). Facts and Stats - Chelsea have been reduced to 10 men in three of their last 6 meetings with Swansea. - Chelsea took part in the highest scoring EPL match on December 26. A 4-4 draw with Villa in 2007. - Frank Lampard has played more games on December 26 than any other player in the history of the EPL (15). - Gerhard Tremmel has conceded a goal every 40 minutes on average this season in the EPL. - Despite Chelsea’s shaky form they have won seven of their last 10 home fixtures with middle-third clubs, drawing the other 3. - Only Man City have picked up more points at home than Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea (22). - The Portuguese manager is also defending a 68-match unbeaten home run in the Premier League, a record. - Swansea have won just 1 of their last 5 league matches and have lost 8 of their last 10 away encounters with top-six clubs. - They have won only twice in their 13 matches against the Blues in all competitions. Match Odds According to SkyBet, the match odds are: Chelsea 1/3 Draw 4/1 Swansea 17/2 Coverage The game will be live on BBC One in the UK, DirecTV in the US and Al Jazeera +2 in the Middle East and North Africa. You can see where the game is live in your country here. Click here to view the article