Chelsea

Stamford Bridge, the grave yard for strikers?

Torres, Sturridge and Werner? What do these names have in common? Football fans, these are some of the strikers who have joined West London club Chelsea and unfortunately for them have failed. All three are very talented strikers, but it begs the question why have these three struggled whilst playing for The Blues?

I have a theory, and with Daniel Sturridge and Timo Werner my theory and beliefs are supported. Former Liverpool forward Sturridge was played out of position as is Werner currently. In the case of Germany forward Werner, he has played some games down the middle, but he needs a consistent run up top.

The same could have been said with Sturridge. Former Man City academy starlet Daniel Sturridge did impress whilst on loan with Bolton and playing for Liverpool.

The former England striker in his time at Anfield, was part of the legendary strike force that was labelled SAS, which came with in a whisker of winning the league title in the 2013 Premier League season.

This theory that I have although maybe supported with Werner and Sturridge, can’t be said with Fernando Torres. World cup winning Torres, before he made his then British transfer record £50 million to West London, was one of the most feared strikers on the planet. Sadly for El Nino, injuries ended up curtailing a career that had promised so much.

Those injuries, dented the confidence of the Spaniard and what promised to be a good transfer never worked out that way. Torres was able to resurrect his career of sorts at boyhood club Atletico Madrid, but sadly he was never the same.

With Werner, he is of course still in West London and he has time to break what seems to be a curse that strikers have when they go there. Frank please, play him where he needs to be up top!

Didier Drogba in recent times has been in my humble opinion, the sole striker who has succeeded at Chelsea.

The fact that Frank Lampard ( a midfielder and a world class one at that) is the clubs all-time leading scorer, maybe proves my point?

But maybe the role of the striker isn’t like what it used to be?

Kezman, Crespo and Shevchenko are other players I thought of (who have struggled at Stamford Bridge) as I write this. Am I on to something here? Does my argument have substance to it? Let me know in the comments.

Crawley stun Leeds in shock of the round in FA Cup

League two side Crawley, produced one of the biggest shocks in recent FA Cup history, with an emphatic 3-0 against Leeds.

The Lillywhites who are in mid-table in the Premier League, were fielding a weaker side. Having said that, the Yorkshire side did include Rodrigo, Kalvin Phillips and Ezgjan Alioski in their side.

So they did have some of their first team squad at their disposal. What would have been alarming for the visitors, is that the League Two underdogs Crawley could have scored even more.

There was no such look for Morecambe, the Lancashire side were well beaten by Premier League side Chelsea 4-0.

Goals from Tino Werner (His first since November), amongst others helped The Blues through in this one.

Former winners Manchester City capped off a good week, with a convincing 3-0 win over Birmingham.

City’s rivals Tottenham, who were facing Non-League Marine, ended up winning 5-0 in a match that could have been difficult for Spurs.

Marine, did well to get this far and were rewarded with a glamour tie with North London side Tottenham.

In a show of respect by Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese boss did field a starting line up that has 402 international caps between them.

The beauty of the cup, is still alive and going going strong. We will bring you the FA Cup fourth and fifth round draw, which takes place on Monday 19:00.

Tottenham, are through to final after Brentford win

Tottenham Hotspur booked their place in the final of the Carabao Cup after a 2-0 win over Brentford. The West London side, did beat Premier League side Newcastle 1-0 in the last round to get here.

With that in mind, it was evident that The Bees would be no pushover in this game. Brentford have had to rebuild after the sales of Said Benrahma and star forward Ollie Watkins.

To their credit after an arguably slow start, are competing within the higher reaches of the Championship again.

Key to this, has been Ivan Toney, the 26-year old former Newcastle and Peterborough striker has scored and impressive 16 goals this term.

The homeside Tottenham, knew that if they were to progress in this one, they will need to keep Toney quite and star forwards Harry Kane and Son Heung Min will need to perform.

Perform they did. Despite Brentford having, bright moments in this game, Spurs through goals by Mohammed Sissoko and Son, are through to the final, at the expense of the visitors Brentford, who were in their first competitive semi-final in their history.

A red card for Brentford’s Josh Da Silva, effectively ended any chance that the visitors had in progressing to the final.

For Tottenham, this is their chance to get their hands in silver for the first time since 2008, when they won this competition by beating Chelsea 2-1 that day.

Despite losing this semi-final, Brentford exit this tournament, with their heads held high.

They have clearly shown by their performances this year in the Championship and Carabao Cup, they are a very capable team and are a match for any one.

Come May, they will be back in the promotion race for sure.

This Tottenham team, have gone some way to show that they’re now ready to move to the next level. Jose’s back, Manchester City or Manchester United … you’re next are you ready?

Lampard for the sack?

After compiling a previous piece on Leeds United and why they will get relegated (it proved spicy shall I say), in what I will now call the unpopular opinion series. I am back with another thought provoking blog.

In today’s installment, I want to talk about the current situation at Chelsea, and to be more precise, the future of their manager Frank Lampard.

He got Derby to the play off final, in his first season in charge, he beat Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds in the two-leg playoff semi-final I hear you say. As impressive as that was, the former Chelsea player did have a couple of players on loan from the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Fikoyo Tomori, and Mason Mount the players of course, the latter is now a first team regular in fact. I am just trying to emphasise, that The Rams had one of the best sides in the division, and arguably should have got promoted.

Yes, it was a narrow 1-0 loss they suffered in the final to Villa, but for Chelsea to come calling off the back of that season is a tad maybe kind? This is the same Chelsea who sacked The Special One, not once but twice! This is the same Chelsea who chose to pay a world record fee (£13.5 million) to bring former Porto manager Andre-Villas Boas to Chelsea .

That was a success wasn’t it? (110% sarcasm in my voice as you can tell). The Portuguese barely lasted a season, and was given the axe after a first leg loss to Napoli. On an interim caretaker basis former Blues midfielder Roberto Di Matteo, won the Champions League and FA Cup, only to be unceremoniously sacked the season after.

I am just trying to point out, that Chelsea have hired a lot of managers and fired them too, so why is Frank Lampard not under the same scrutiny? He has been given over £200 million to spend, he has got a fantasy football team at his disposal, so how are they losing?

How can a team of this quality lose to Everton, Wolves, Arsenal, Manchester City in such a short space of time? There’s world class talent at his disposal. It is a crazy season, so one can’t get too hung up about the league table and where they are in it as there’s not much seperate the teams in the standings.

Chelsea are eighth and an apparently poor Manchester United team is joint top with the brilliant Liverpool.

Now, my personal opinion is that Frank Lampard should be given time to turn this around. If results don’t improve, then it’s hard to argue a case for preferential treatment for the former Derby County manager.

Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea; crisis what crisis?

Arsenal ended their seven game winless run in style with a 3-1 win over London rivals Chelsea.

The Gunners, who came into this game, in the bottom half of the table, move up a place a to 14th, with an important victory which was set up by two goals in the first half from the misfiring Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka.

A Bukayo Saka goal, effectively put the game to bed, with a three goal lead. Chelsea were able to get back into the game with a goal through striker Tammy Abraham, to potentially nervy finale, but this turned out not to be.

A weak Jorginho penalty was saved by German keeper Bernd Leno, which would have added an unfair reflection to the score line. For Arsenal, they will be hoping that this win, will give the renewed belief in their quest to finish towards the Europa League qualification places.

As for Chelsea, this defeat their third of recent times (Everton, Wolves, and now Arsenal) is a potential worrying sign, especially since their over £200 million outlay on playing talent over the summer. Arsenal, who have dominated the football headlines all season for all the wrong reasons, due to their precarious position, displayed the biggest gesture of support of under-fire Mikel Arteta.

With the news now emerging that German Thomas Tuchel is available after his sacking from French champions PSG, any more high profile defeats for the Spaniard Arteta, could have signalled the end of his reign in North London.

The Spaniard, however lives to fight another day.

Timo Werner; an Asian Love Story

Chelsea have signed Germany forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig in a deal that could total £102.5 million over five years. The Blues, managed to beat Premier League leaders Liverpool to the former Stuttgart strikers signature.

The whole process of the German players signing has an element of an Asian wedding to it, I will explain.

So for the Asian readers amongst you, you’re all too aware of the process of an Asian marriage and the whole process of getting married.

In non-Asian tradition stereo typically, it’s boy sees girl, they date for a certain amount of time he ponders when and where to propose and when she says yes, they all live happily after, the end.

Now with an Asian marriage, it’s parents meet parents they talk and try and thrash out a deal like they’re in a G20 summit and after intense detailed and at times top secret talks, “a deal” ( of marriage) is agreed.

In those talks and negotiations, gifts between the two families and the price of the wedding and the cost of the hall is discussed.

There have been instances after initially looking set for marriage, the discussions end due to disagreements about the costs of the wedding and the gifts that certain family members get during the wedding.

I liken the Timo Werner transfer to Chelsea , to that of an Asian marriage.

Before Chelsea came in for the German, Liverpool were said to strongly be looking to sign Werner. In terms of the Asian scenario of this story, Liverpool are the groom (ready to agree the money side to get their bride for marriage).

Timo Werner and RB Leipzig are the bride and the bride’s family. The 24-year old Werner after looking to get married into the Liverpool household, saw the marriage break off due to money.

Liverpool’s family (the management/hierarchy) didn’t want to pay too much of a dowry and in all honesty wanted to treat Werner as only the fourth best daughter in-law behind Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

The “groom’s family” (Liverpool hierarchy) didn’t fancy paying the excessive wedding costs (£102.5 million in total after five years).

Heart broken both Timo and RB Leipzig wanted their special wedding and felt the right suitor will pay whatever the cost to give them that special day.

But most importantly Timo wanted be made to feel like the number one “daughter in-law”.

With Timo Werner looking an attractive proposition, a new suitor came into the picture and they were Chelsea.

Chelsea too had their heart broken after Dries Mertens refused to leave long term partner Napoli. Both Werner and West Londoners Chelsea were looking for the dream match.

When Chelsea’s father Roman Abramovich came in with a “dowry” that both bride and bride’s family couldn’t say no to, thus became the start of a marriage between Timo Werner and Chelsea .

After The Blues’ recent record of signing strikers, they will hope that German Werner succeeds where Sturridge, Torres and Morata failed.

In Asian weddings especially if the marriage doesn’t work, the divorce always gets a bit messy and no one wants a messy divorce do they?

Chelsea Vs Bradford City Fourth Round FA Cup Match Report

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson masterminded yet another Premier League scalp, this time it was Premier League leaders Chelsea in one of the greatest shocks of FA Cup history.

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson masterminded yet another Premier League scalp, this time it was Premier League leaders Chelsea who lost 4-2 to at Stamford Bridge in one of the greatest shocks of FA Cup history.

Bradford City produced one of the all time shocks of the FA Cup as they dumped out Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after being 2-0 down.

Chelsea who were looking for glory domestically and in Europe, rested several of their normal first team squad- but on paper you still would have backed the Blues to win this one.

The West Londoners had Petr Cech in goal and also gave only a second start Andreas Christensson who was playing at right back, Diego Costa who I talked up before the game, was left out all together. Chelsea did though however have Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard on the bench, maybe the Blues had one eye on this weeks second leg semi final against Liverpool.

As for the visitors Bradford they were at full strength, well they fielded the best team they had available. Billy Clarke who has been a key player for The Bantams this year, returned to the squad after a six game lay off- but the 27 year old started on the bench for this one.

At the start of this game there was 49 places separating the two sides – but it was Bradford who arguably had the better of the opening exchanges against their Premier League counterparts. Bradford centre back Andrew Davies forced Chelsea keeper Petr Cech into a fine save.

Bradford who many were expecting to offer their main threat from set pieces, conceded from a set piece themselves. Chelsea midfielder Oscar delivered the corner which centre back Gary Cahill converted to give the Premier League side the lead.

The League One side at this point might have been fearing the worst against their Premier League hosts. It deed indeed get worse for Bradford, Mohammed Salah, a player who benefited from Jose Mouriniho’s decision to rotate his squad. The former Basel player who is expected to leave Chelsea, provided the ball for Ramires to convert to make the score 2-0 and put the game out of Bradford’s reach – or so we thought.

Bantams striker John Stead scored a couple minutes after Chelsea’s second goal with a powerful strike from the edge of the box which left Chelsea keeper Petr Cech with no chance. A great time for Bradford to score, the League One visitors were only one goal behind at the break.

Buoyed by grabbing a late first half goal, it was Bradford who started the second half the better. The visitors despite being two leagues lower than their hosts, were not overawed – and were asking questions of the league leaders.

Sensing that the League One side were getting more confident, Blues boss Mourinho looked to some of his big guns in an attempt to regain control of the match. Mohammed Salah was replaced by Brazilian Willian as Jose Mourinho was looking to kill this game off as a contest.

An injury to Jon Obi Mikel forced the Chelsea boss to bring on Cesc Fabregas as well. With the introduction of the former Barcelona midfielder, many would have seen such a substitution as a plus, due to Fabregas’ brilliant passing ability and calming influence – which was definitely needed.

Ironically Bradford grabbed an equaliser, and were daring to dream of an FA Cup replay. Former Chelsea player Filipe Morais who left Chelsea as a teenager, grabbed the equaliser with a right footed shot in to to the bottom right hand corner.

The former Porto manager Mourinho probably couldn’t believe what was unfolding out on the pitch in front of him. Bradford were starting to defend deeper were ushered forward by their manager Phil Parkinson. Eden Hazard came on for The Blues as they tried to avoid an FA Cup replay, which is the last thing you want to see as Bradford player. With pace to burn and with plenty of ‘trickery’ Chelsea were hoping Hazard could be the man to save them from FA Cup embarrassment.

Bradford who hadn’t made any substitutions, at this point would have been understandably tired. The West Yorkshire side battled hard and were well worthy of the replay for their sheer endeavour alone. The Bantams made their first substitution 10 minutes from the end, the change inadvertently paid dividends as Bradford went in front!

Jon Stead who scored the first goal, this time turned provider for Andy Halliday who smashed an unstoppable effort into to the top right corner to send the 6,000 Bradford fans behind Petr Cech’s goal into raptures!

The League One side, who would have been content with an FA Cup replay before the start of the game, were on the brink of a famous FA Cup – and another ‘giant killing’ . Chelsea from not wanting a replay, were now desperately searching for the equaliser which would have saw this game go to a replay at Valley Parade.

As Chelsea were pushing forward, they left themselves open to the counter attack – and that’s what duly happened. Mark Yeates who came on as a sub, placed his effort into the bottom right corner to kill of this FA Cup tie once and for all with a fourth.

This defeat was only the second at home for Jose Mourinho, an impressive feat for Bradford City. It’s onwards and upwards from here on in for the mighty Bantams! Who will no doubt fear no one in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Chelsea Vs Bradford Match Preview

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson takes his Bradford side to Premeir League Leaders Chelsea, in what should be a finically rewarding game for the Bantams.

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson takes his Bradford side to Premier League Leaders Chelsea, in what should be a financially rewarding game for the Bantams.

Bradford resume their quest for another cup final day – but this time the challenge can’t be much tougher for the Bantams. The League One side who will be in FA Cup fourth round action this Saturday, will take on Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues do post a good record in this tournament of late. The West London side will be hoping to add to their four FA Cup trophies in the last eight seasons – but the visit of Bradford will provide a tougher test than people may think.

The West Yorkshire side have been in good form of late in League One as they went 10 games unbeaten in League One. Bradford’s results in their last few games however have been disappointing – and they have lost two of their last three games. Despite those two defeats Bradford are in a respectable fifth position – but are sweating over their play off place with those defeats, which has allowed rival teams to close the gap.

The game against Chelsea could prove a welcome distraction however. The Bantams who enjoyed a memorable League Cup campaign in 2013 where they reached the final, will most definitely have their work cut out in this game.

The Blues who will be at home for this fourth round tie, will be expected to win – which sometimes can be an added pressure with in itself. Chelsea who have arguably the best side in the Premier League, are five points clear of their nearest rivals Manchester City. The West London club did lose some points over the Christmas period – but have bounced back superbly as the Blues look for glory on all fronts at home and in Europe.

If you were to analyse this game on the outside, one would most definitely say that this game will end in a Chelsea win -but strange things happen in the FA Cup, that’s what makes the cup so great! Watford although 3-0 losers, did compete bravely with Chelsea in round three.

Manchester United have been held at then Conference side Exeter at Old Trafford in the past so the outcome of this fourth round tie between Chelsea and Bradford isn’t a forgone conclusion. Let’s not forget Bradford do have previous in beating Premier League sides as Aston Villa and more notably Arsenal have succumbed to Bradford City in the League Cup. So you can’t really say anytime is safe from a ‘giant killing’ isn’t that right Manchester United fans?

This match is different though right? I mean Jose ‘the special one’ Mourinho is the manager of Chelsea let’s not forget – but that in itself doesn’t guarantee success surely. It’s 11 men Vs 10 and Eden Hazard (just joking Chelsea fans) so surely it’s an equal playing field, both teams chase a round ball and aim to put that ball in the goal more than the other.

If it only it was that simple. Chelsea many feel (yours truly included), have an abundance of talent at their disposal. The Blues boast of attacking talent such as Willian, Oscar, Fabregas and some bloke called Costa isn’t that bad either – and I am not talking about the fella who run owns coffee chain here.

The 26 year old Diego Costa who was signed from Ateltico Madrid this summer has been nothing short of sensational. The former Ateltico striker has scored 17 goals this year, that was more than Samuel Etoo, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba scored in the entire season- enough said.

Bradford on the other hand might not have the super stars, like their premier league counterparts – but they don’t lack in team spirit. The Bantams showed already in this years FA Cup that they can compete against higher competition after impressively sweeping Millwall aside 4-0 in the last round.

The Bantams as we know can boast that they have beaten premier league opposition in the past, Arsenal and Aston Villa fans won’t need reminding of that . As for Chelsea however, I think that they will not be the next premier league scalp for Bradford I am afraid.

This is Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea we’re talking about. The Portuguese manager always knows how to tactically out think an opponent it seems. This Chelsea side as much as they have been praised for their brilliant football, can play with ‘their sleeves rolled up’ and get ‘stuck in’ I feel they will have to on Saturday.

If I was a betting man I would go for a 2-0 Chelsea win with Oscar scoring in the 25th minute and Costa doubling the lead in the 83rd minute. That’s not an invitation to go to William Hill by the way. If Bradford do lose like many expect them to, it would be far from a tragedy. FA Cup produces good ‘pay days’ for the so called smaller clubs – and Bradford will benefit from that no doubt.

More money would hopefully mean more playing talent, which would help Bradford to get to the next level, no Bradford fan wouldn’t want that.