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20 minutes ago, Magic Lamps said:

palace are useless. already on the beach.

Let's face it - some teams are already on the beach, like Wolves and Crystal Palace. Could probably throw in Villa and Southampton too, both have been in freefall for months.

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Bums like Ieanacho scoring for fun and Werner is out here missing sitters nearly every game. 😑😑😑

This dude looked like Bambi on ice since he left City. A total bust. And now, just like Lingard since joining West Ham, the guy has been a match winner over and over seemingly.

Whatever. I stopped caring too much about Leicester for a couple of match weeks now. All about holding off WH, Liverpool, and Spuds for us now.

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

cc @Tomo

Will be interesting to see what  possession based manager would do with that squad, the midfield is utter poverty in that context.

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17 minutes ago, Tomo said:

Will be interesting to see what  possession based manager would do with that squad, the midfield is utter poverty in that context.

Think Lo Celso and Ndombele if you get them fit and playing every week its a good base to go from for a more expansive minded manager. Ndombele showed plenty flashes first half of the season. Their defence would be the biggest issue tbf. RB and CBs not good enough. The LB is the only one who you’d want to keep. 

Derailing post a bit but I am personally quite surprised how poorly Lo Celso has done as he was a classy wee player at Real Betis in that team that were playing great stuff under Setien. Similarly to Bielsa’s Bilbao team that season they put United out of the EL, Betis were of a similar mould, looked a real good team. He looked a really good technician, athletic, could take the ball under pressure, scored goals and got assists. Play deeper, box to box or as a 10. 

Re ten Hag: I do wonder if ten Hag can replicate his success outside of Holland though, they haven’t had the same success as they did in 2018-2019 season. He’s undoubtedly a good manager and their list isn’t exactly going to be huge for candidates who are of a certain calibre because theirs not many managers out there looking for work. Also looks like Sarri is likely to go to Roma to replace Paulo Fonseca so thats maybe another name off their list of potential targets alongside Nagelsmann. I reckon they’ll go for Hasenhuttl in all honesty, who probably isnt going to take them any higher than top 4/top 6 and would need time.

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3 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:


The Viera, Bergkamp and Henry name drops are a publicity stunt to get fans behind the purchase and accelerate the hysteria to put pressure on Kronke. Yea they will probably have a steak in the club but they don't have the financial backing to buy a large part of the club. 

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The Telegraph

Wednesday April 28 2021

Matt Law's Chelsea briefing

Matt Law

Chelsea gave up on players too soon in the past — they won't make that mistake again

By Matt Law,
Football News Correspondent

When Timo Werner missed his big chance against Real Madrid on Tuesday night, the reactions of his Chelsea team-mates were audible to those inside the Spanish club’s temporary Valdebebas home.

“Next one, Timo” and “Keep going” were among the shouts of encouragement, not picked up by television, to a player whose team-mates are desperate for his luck to turn.

Even those players who Werner has been keeping out of the side, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi, have been offering words of encouragement as the German revealed himself after his Premier League goal against West Ham United, when he also missed a golden opportunity.

“It’s great to be back on the scoresheet,” said Werner last Saturday. “Callum [Hudson-Odoi] said to me I’ll score today, and 30 seconds later Tammy [Abraham] came to me and said I’d score today. They told me to point to them when I score.”

Abraham would have more reason than most to be bitter about Werner’s continued selection ahead of him, given the £47.5million signing still remains a goal behind him in this season’s scoring charts and the England international has not started a game since February 20.

And yet it is credit to both players’ attitudes that Abraham, like the rest of the Chelsea squad and coaching staff, remains supportive of Werner who has made himself a popular figure with his hard work and refusal to hide - on or off the pitch.

Unlike two of Chelsea's most recent big-money striker flops, Fernando Torres and Alvaro Morata, Werner’s approach is to front up to his problems. You do not see him avoiding the six-yard box or television microphones as the two Spaniards used to.

Didier Drogba finished his first season in English football with 10 Premier League goals and six assists. It would be a stretch to currently argue that Werner could reach the Ivorian’s level but his six top-flight goals and six assists do not compare unfavourably and the fact he has been involved in 20 goals in all competitions points to why Tuchel keeps picking him.

When Werner was replaced in Madrid with 24 minutes remaining, it was not Abraham or Chelsea’s top scorer in the Champions League, Olivier Giroud, who replaced him but Kai Havertz, who Tuchel has been playing in the false nine role.

There was little to take from what was largely an anonymous appearance as a substitute from Havertz on Tuesday night and, yet, as in the case of Werner, the feeling remains that the quietly-spoken German international will eventually come good.

While his best position remains a puzzle, anybody who witnessed the first-half performance of Havertz against Crystal Palace earlier this month will have seen why Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich took a personal interest in his £62m transfer from Bayer Leverkusen.

Other than scoring with a lovely finish, Havertz almost produced a replica of Paul Gascoigne’s famous goal against Scotland and the talent is so obviously there for Tuchel and Chelsea to unlock.

Former head coach Frank Lampard was not ordered to sign Havertz or told he must play him, but Abramovich’s attraction to the player undoubtedly contributed to the fact Chelsea were willing to spend so heavily on him at a time when most clubs across Europe were cutting back their spending.

Havertz is regarded as a generational talent, but he is still just 21-years-old and Chelsea will be mindful of the fact that they gave up on the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku far too soon.

Moving clubs and country is not straightforward at the best of times, but the complications and difficulties have been intensified during the pandemic and it should not be forgotten that Havertz earlier this season contracted a nasty case of coronavirus.

While other players have been able to shake off a mild bout of Covid relatively quickly and easily, Havertz was laid low for some time and had to effectively start his season again from scratch.

There is an irony to the fact that, while some fans are losing patience with Werner and Havertz, most would support the club spending in the region of £80m to re-sign Lukaku or £100m to bring back midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham United this summer.

But even if Lukaku, Erling Haaland or another striker arrives, as revealed by Telegraph Sport, it is likely to be Abraham and Giroud who depart - rather than Werner or Havertz.

There is certainly an argument that Tuchel has treated Abraham harshly and Chelsea could regret allowing him to leave, even for around £40m, but it would be just as knee-jerk to give up on Werner or Havertz after a difficult first season.

Got a question on Chelsea? Get in touch on Twitter @Matt_Law_DT or by emailing [email protected]


The week at Chelsea


On the way out? Chelsea ready to offload Tammy Abraham for £40m as club plot overhaul of forward options


Analysis: Mason Mount proves he belongs at football's highest level against Real Madrid


Comment: Mending Timo Werner’s wayward radar may be a task too much even for Thomas Tuchel


Successor? Christian Pulisic delivers star turn to show he could yet fill Eden Hazard's shoes

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The Fiver

Luxuriant Kajagoogoo wigs and proportionate levels of outrage


Looks still don’t get much bigger.
camera.png Looks still don’t get much bigger. Photograph: BBC/Redferns

Rob Smyth


Manchester City really have gone rogue in this season’s Big Cup. First they spoiled thousands of virtual schadenfreude parties across the country by getting through the Round of Manchester City. And now it looks like they are going to get through the Round of Manchester United as well! Their neighbours may be stuck at the semi-final stage, more of which later, but City’s 2-1 win in Paris makes them strong favourites to reach their first ever Big Cup final … ever!

It was a great night for Josep Guardiola, as the Uefa graphics team insist on calling him. His team recovered from a nervous first half to produce a superb performance; then, after the game, he appeared to win a bet with his coaching staff, who insisted he couldn’t repeatedly shoehorn the word “shy” into his post-match interviews. “We conceded a goal and in general we were shy,” honked Guardiola of City’s first-half performance, though he could reasonably have used another word that begins with the letters S and H. “We could not express ourselves. Everyone played safe and did not have the personality to go through and play. That is why we were so shy.” Guardiola was keen to point out that the tie is not over and that, if City are twice shy, they could be once bitten in the return leg. “It is simple: if we play shy and not who we are, PSG have the quality to win 2-0. [We have to] understand how to handle this and be ourselves, don’t be shy,” he concluded, symbolically draping a luxuriant Kajagoogoo wig atop his bald pate.


Chelsea’s excellent draw in Madrid means there is still a chance of all four English clubs making the final, like they did in 2019. For that to happen, Manchester United and Arsenal need to get through the Round of Manchester United in Big Vase. Both play their first legs later on Thursday. Arsenal’s match at Villarreal, managed by their beloved ex-manager Unai Emery, brings back memories of the 2006 Big Cup semi-final between the sides. One moment stands out: Jens Lehmann’s penalty save from Juan Román Riquelme, which involved some of the niftiest multi-camera direction ever seen in elite sport.

United play their first leg at home to Roma, who are upset at Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s behaviour. The Fiver understands that Solskjær turned up to his pre-match press conference wearing a Lazio shirt, and spent the next half an hour demonstratively French-kissing the badge while offering nuggets such as “Totti? Notti more like! I mean look at the state of his big-game record”. At least we assume that’s what happened, as it would be proportionate with the level of outrage among some Roma fans. United have lost all four semis under Solskjær. If they lose a fifth, they get to keep the entire concept of the semi-final.


Join Rob Smyth from 8pm BST for hot Big Vase MBM coverage of Manchester United 2-1 Roma, while Barry Glendenning will be on hand for Villarreal 1-1 Arsenal.


“I don’t even know what my players were doing. I don’t know whether it was intentional or not or whether they want to destroy my career … it’s up to them. To let me down in such a manner, I leave everything to God” – Accra Great Olympics coach Annor Walker launches an internal investigation following their 4-1 defeat at Cape Coast Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs in the Ghanaian Premier League.


Here’s the latest Football Weekly Extra podcast, on Big Cup and fan power.

Power, as ever, to the people.
camera.png Power, as ever, to the people. Photograph: James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images


“Re: tales of referee misadventures (Fiver letters passim). I was reffing a senior boys game and almost from the kick-off an obnoxious, weedy, weaselly fellow started loudly voicing his opinion of my judgement, almost constantly. He was standing next to the coach, so the next time I was in the area I had a quick ‘can you keep your fellows in check, please?’ to the coach, who just shrugged. As I stood in the centre circle during half-time, the weasel came up to me and said: ‘I’m not part of the team, I’m a member of the public and I can say what I want and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ To which I replied, out of anyone else’s hearing” ‘How about when the game is over, I’ll take my ref’s shirt off (becoming a member of the public) and come and have a full and frank, fist-based discussion’. I didn’t hear a peep from him in the rest of the game and although I’m sure I wouldn’t have followed through, it did the job. Just writing it down feels as good as it did then” – Allan Clark.

“As someone whose day job is as an international election observer, I’m very glad that democracy is now contributing to your Stop Football campaign” – Alex Folkes.

Send your letters to [email protected]. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Alex Folkes.


Big Website in the UK is to join the boycott of social media disgraces this weekend as part of a campaign against racism and discrimination online.

East Fife are facing potential SPFL punishment for failing to fulfil Tuesday’s League One fixture at Clyde, after one of the hosts’ players tested positive for Covid-19.

Spurs are sniffing around Ajax’s Erik Ten Hag.

Danny Ings could be a doubt for Euro Not 2020, with hamstring-twang threatening to rule him out for the rest of Southampton’s season.

Jesse Marsch, the former New York Red Bulls coach, will leave Red Bull Salzburg and take over at RB Leipzig next season. “Jesse knows the club, the city, but most of all the philosophy of the team and the playing style,” fizzed Leipzig suit Oliver Mintzlaff.

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has apologised for not conducting his media interviews in English. “One of my big deficits in English football is not to be able to communicate in the language that everybody speaks,” he tooted through an interpreter.

And Nigel Pearson is back in the full-time game, agreeing a three-year deal as Bristol City boss.


Wednesday night was no Big Cup Parisienne walkover for Manchester City, writes Barney Ronay, but Pep Guardiola found the way.

Jonathan Wilson embraces hip, young, gunslinging culture when he declares PSG have the personality of Violet Elizabeth Bott.

Get yer Big Vase team news, tactics and form guides here.

Here we go.
camera.png Here we go. Composite: Getty, Action Images

Not many people talk about Gerard Moreno, Villarreal’s star man and Spain’s most in-form player. But Sid Lowe does and gets his chat on with the man himself.

Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta are not just Arsenal managers past and present, they are on good terms too, as Nick Ames finds.

A timely reminder of this Emery interview from Sid.

And Ed Aarons hears from Shaygan Banisaeid, who is working with Fulham’s foundation after learning English in Iran by watching Match of the Day. There you go, Marcelo.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!


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Premier League clubs have been told to prepare for up to 500 away fans for the last two rounds of matches this season. 10,000 fans will be allowed in total. -

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Could someone remind Southampton, they are nice enough, pretty enough, and good enough to beat Leicester today? They could use all the affirmation as they can get.

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Oh look another fucking gift from the pathetic Saints. Red card in minute 10 for those fuckers.

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27 minutes ago, DDA said:

Southampton are such a dead team. 

Just do us a solid here, even a draw is good for us. Though he is decent I never understood why a few of us more than wanted their manager to be at Chels

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Meh to whatever Leicester do..drop points fantastic..more worried about teams behind us.. and about us having moments. That we could do without!

Annoying we could be comfy but instead a few silly games and bamm. Dragged in it

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