This is easily the worst period in Chelsea’s history since Roman Abramovich took over the club back in 2003

The 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park was Chelsea’s 7th loss of the season in the Premier League. This was their chance to go above Manchester United and Arsenal on the table, having had one game in hand on both the teams. Even though there are 8 more matches to be played chances of finishing in the top 4 seem bleak. Chelsea has become a team that can keep the ball but cannot do much with it. The system has now become boring and fans demand results.

Back in 2015, in Mourinho’s last tenure fans were angry and shocked looking at how the team was performing. In 2017 the fans were just disappointed and were confused as to how the defending champions were performing so badly. But now losses don’t seem to surprise the fans at all. They just want to get past this poor season and hope for a fresh start. There are multiple reasons which make this season the most forgettable one for the fans.

  • Absence of Abramovich in London

Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and it didn’t take time for him to make a massive impact on both, the club and the league.  He flushed in money helping Chelsea to buy world class players. He is also to be credited for the decisions he took while hiring managers such as Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, and Antonio Conte. Under his ownership the club has won 5 league titles, 5 FA cup titles, 2 community shields, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League. He has always pressed his managers to perform well and when they failed to give results, he has not thought twice before replacing them.

But his current visa issues have caused a massive reduction in his involvement with the club. A regular face in every match, Abramovich is forced out of his own fortress. He’s had to put a hold on the new stadium as well. Chelsea surely is missing his authoritative figure.

  • Directors lack genuine football pedigree 

Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum, the directors at Chelsea, have been with Abramovich since 2003. Both used to work for him before he took over the club. Granovskaia, one of the strongest women in football, is responsible for the Nike sponsorship deal. Even though they have been in the club for a long time, there’s no secret that both of them have no connection with football whatsoever. They are Chelsea’s key transfer negotiators and have often been criticized by the managers for not buying players they had asked for. They may know what’s best for business, but fail to understand what’s best for the club’s performance.

  • Predictable nature of Sarri Ball

Maurizio Sarri did wonders in his time at Napoli. He replaced fellow Italian manager Antonio Conte in the summer of 2018. Sarri completely changed the style of play and brought an effective change in the system, going unbeaten for 12 games in the league. But the other teams cracked down his tactics. Sarri has since looked out of his depth. We see the same old routine and the same substitutions have irritated the fans. Sarri has been quite rigid and has time and again blamed the players rather than changing the system. Blocking Jorginho seems like the only thing oppositions need to do in order to defeat Chelsea.

  • The absence of a leader in the dressing room 

Nobody in the dressing room seems to have taken up the responsibility for the team’s poor run in the Premier League. Cesar Azpillicueta took over the armband from Cahil after Sarri’s arrival. The Spaniard has never looked like he has been in control of things. He is not vocal enough and lacks the traits of a good leader. Gary Cahill has sidelined himself after being denied a regular start in the league and might soon leave the club as well. Chelsea needs someone to lead from the front, motivate the team and push them when they are down. A positive change in the leadership role is certainly required.

  • Madrid-bound star player

Eden Hazard looks like he is in the form of his life. Despite the team’s poor performance, Hazard has managed to shine and with 13 goals and 11 assists is arguably the best player in the Premier League this season.

He also has been open about his dream to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid, and with Zidane, back in charge, the dream is likely to be fulfilled this summer.

 

  • Wasted Youth

Chelsea has always been criticized for not giving proper opportunities to their academy players. This season has been no different. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruban Loftus Cheek and Ethan Ampadu are just a few names of many who have impressed the masses but have not been given enough game time. Bayern has come knocking on the door for Hudson-Odoi multiple times, but Sarri still doesn’t get the clue. The 18-year-old made it through to the English national team despite having played little domestic football. Chelsea already regrets losing the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Mohamed Salah due to less play time given. It won’t be long enough before they regret not playing their current young stars as well.

 

 

American soccer expert answers Ronaldo v Messi GOAT question

I have so many questions. If pizzas are round in shape, why do they come in a square box? Why aren’t toasters called ‘tanning breads’? Who is the greatest football player in the world at the moment?

We may not realize it, but we are a fortunate lot. For we are living in a time when arguably the most gifted football player of all time and the most efficient footballing machine coexist today.

Future generations will one day ask their parents about the greatest sportsperson of all time. A ton of answers will crop up. But I think we can all agree that the list will hold the names the two people who have set the footballing world on fire for the last couple of decades.

The question, however, still persists. Who is the Greatest Of All Time? Is it the man, the myth, the legend – Cristiano Ronaldo? Or is it the man who was born with a ball at his feet, the footballing magician – Lionel Messi?

Sid Seixero, an American soccer expert thinks he has the answer.

Watch it here –

Sid Seixeiro has chosen a clear side in the GOAT debate, a question that has gone unanswered ever since Messi and Ronaldo have been vying for the award most prestigious, the Ballon d’Or.

While Messi and Ronaldo have both been plundering goals for their respective clubs all over Europe, fans have always been divided over who gets to be seated on the throne of the GOAT.

Ronaldo is the clear winner, says Seixeiro. In the video, Seixeiro goes on to state that Ronaldo has performed at arguably the same, if not a higher level than Messi while playing with teammates like Carrick and Fletcher. Messi, meanwhile, could count on the services of one of the silkiest central midfield duo of all time – Xavi and Iniesta.

Ballon d’Ors will come and go. Generations of players will come and go. But the GOAT debate will rage on. While Ronaldo will continue to conquer on the international stage and “prove” himself with clubs all over Europe, Messi will continue to do what he does best. Mesmerize.

Unless and until toasters are rechristened as tanning breads, the question of the GOAT will remain unanswered.

Women’s game between Atletico and Barcelona breaks record with a whopping 60,739 attendance

Atletico Madrid and Barcelona created history on Sunday by setting a new record for the highest attendance for a women’s football match at the club level.

A crowd of 60,739 football fans turned up at the Wanda Metropolitano to witness the top-of-the-table clash between the two Spanish giants.

The fixture has been piquing the interest of fans for some time now and the demand for tickets eventually forced Atletico to shift venues from the club’s training ground to accommodate all the supporters.

Goals from England international Toni Duggan sealed the tie 2-0 after Asisat Oshoala gave the visitors the lead in the first half.

The hosts came into the game with a 6 point lead at the top of the table but the Catalan club has now closed the gap at the summit of the division to just 3 points to set up an exciting end to the season.

The fixture marks another significant milestone for women’s football after the Copa del Rey clash between Atletico and Athletico Bilbao enticed more than 40,000 supporters in January.

While the 1999 world cup World Cup final between the United States and China remains the most attended fixture in women’s football, the recent upsurges in attendance in Spain is definitely an encouraging sight for the beautiful game.

The milestone has been celebrated by fans and players alike with goal scorer Duggan tweeting her happiness at having found the net in front of the record attendance.

The footballing world has been talking about the feat on various social media platforms and fans of the beautiful game will be surely hoping for similar attendances on a regular basis in the near future.

Victor Lindelof showing his Portuguese roots with a foul-mouthed rant towards the Wolves players

Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup following a demoralising 2-1 defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers here at the Molineux stadium.

Both the Wolves forward managed to get their names on the scoresheet before Marcus Rashford pulled one back in the dying moments.

After a very frustrating first half, both teams came out all guns blazing in an attempt to break the deadlock.

And it was home side who managed to get their noses in the front through Raul Jimenez thanks to some silly defending.

Jimenez’s striking partner Diogo Jota soon managed to double the lead, this time thanks to a howler by Luke Shaw.

Things started to get heated soon after as the away side started pressing desperately for an equaliser.

But Wolves did manage to break free on a number of occasions and during one such occasion, Victor Lindelof came in hard on Diogo Jota.

The match referee Martin Atkinson took no time to give 24-year old Swedish international marching orders by showing him a straight red card.

However, the VAR came to the rescue of the young defender and overruled the red card decision to convert it into a yellow.

And while both the teams were waiting for the VAR to make the decision, Lindelof seemed to be engaged in a rather heated face-off with the Wolves bench.

The defender appeared to be hurling foul content towards the Wolves bench in Portuguese which according to some major news agencies, means ” Go f**k yourself, son of a b***h.

Have a look at the footage here.

The Swedish international spent three seasons in Portugal during his tenure at Benfica and may have chosen the language over English to target the Wolves bench dominated by a number of Portuguese players.

There are no words from the FA on whether they are going to initiate disciplinary actions against Lindelof but if they do and the allegations turn out to be true, the Swedish international may end up serving some very stern punishments.

Liverpool fans set Twitter ablaze after talkSPORT journo claims club “lucky” in the Champions League.

It’s the 25th of May 2005. Istanbul is about to stand witness to one of the craziest roller coaster rides in the history of European football. By the end of the first half, Liverpool find themselves 3-0 down. They thought it was all over. But it wasn’t. If there’s one thing Liverpool are known for, it’s hope.

Courtesy of a man of the match performance by Liverpool’s Man Friday, Steven Gerrard, Liverpool clawed their way back into the game. A fifth European title, which seemed like a distant possibility in the first half now seems anything but.

The match went into extra time, then penalties. Liverpool and AC Milan had both won their last European cups after winning penalty shoot-outs. It’s anyone’s game now. But as Andriy Shevchenko squares up to Jerzy Dudek, there is a sparkle in the eyes of the Polish keeper. Shevchenko shoots straight down the middle, Dudek dives down to his right. Everything stops. Time slows down. Shevchenko thinks he’s won it. But Dudek saves with his left hand. Liverpool have now won their fifth European Cup.

The match will forever be referred to as the “Miracle of Istanbul”. Was it really a miracle, though? Adrian Durham certainly seems to think so –

“Liverpool are always, always lucky”, he says. “In Istanbul, it was all about pure luck”, he says. He even goes so far as to say that Liverpool were riding their luck against European giants Bayern Munich in the previous round this year.

The moment he said this, there were tongues of fire emanating from the eyes of every Liverpool fan on the planet. In his two minute rant, Durham went on to say that Liverpool were “lucky” in last year’s run up to the Champions League final and were once again lucky to draw Porto in the quarter-finals.

Liverpool fans are not known for shying away from critics. Twitter was abuzz with criticism against the talkSPORT journo, with Liverpool fans labeling the rant as “disrespectful” towards both clubs, especially Porto.

One thing is for certain. Adrian Durham will forever have to tread lightly in the city of Liverpool. But maybe Lady Luck will come around and save him. After all, Liverpool are known to have a string of luck, don’t they, Mr. Durham?

 

(Video) Look how much it means for the Slavia Prague players to play against Chelsea

The UEFA Europa league draws came out this Friday right after the Champions League fixtures were announced.  Former Feyenoord player and a UEFA cup winner Pierre van Hooijdonk picked out the following draw:

[Source: The Guardian]

Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti will return to London with his Napoli side to face Arsenal. Villarreal will face fellow league rivals Valencia. The other two fixtures involve teams facing each other for the first time ever. Benfica’s loanee Luka Jovic will face his own team as Frankfurt face Benfica. Meanwhile, former Chelsea player Miroslav Stoch will now play in the Stamford Bridge wearing Slavia Praha colours.

Sarri’s Chelsea despite performing poorly in the Premier League has performed extremely well in the European competition having won 9, drawn 1 and lost none. They defeated their round of 32 and round of 16 opponents Malmo FF and Dynamo Kyiv effortlessly. The 5-0 victory in Kiev showed the world how good they can play. Olivier Giroud scored a perfect hattrick and the Frenchman has now netted 9 goals in Europa itself.  The tournament has also given Callum Hudson-Odoi a fair chance to show the world how good he is. Even without their star player Eden Hazard, Chelsea is a dangerous side to play against in Europa.

Slavia Praha meanwhile sits at the top of the table in the Czech first league.  The last time Slavia visited London was in 2007 against Arsenal, where they faced their biggest Europa league defeat of 7-0.

But this season Slavia has displayed a strong performance and have beaten the most successful team in the competition, Sevilla, who have won the competition 5 times. Slavia came back from behind to win the game in extra time.

The last time they progressed to the quarter-finals of Europa League back in the 2015-16 season, they faced Villareal and lost. This is the farthest any Czech club has made it in the competition.

They might be the best in their own domestic league, but they are yet to prove themselves in Europe. And what better way to show their grit than to give the former UEFA Champions League winners a tough fight.

Chelsea is a big European team, ranking 17th in UEFA team rankings. Their squad is filled with individual superstars like Eden Hazard, Willian and Higuain, and world cup winners Kante, Giroud and Pedro.

Playing against such a star-studded line up is not a part of daily routine for teams like Slavia. It is a golden opportunity for them, to display their skills against Europe’s finest.  So no wonder when the players found out they would be going head to head with the Blues, this is how they reacted:

The Blues though boast a brilliant track record, having won 3 and drawn 3, and are unbeaten against Czech opponents. They would certainly want to maintain this record against Prague as well. The odds are definitely in favour of Chelsea. But this has been a season of inconsistent performances for Sarri.

Chelsea were unbeaten in the League for the first  12 gameweeks as well, but have performed poorly since then. Looking at their current form nothing can be said for sure.

It will be an exciting contest, seeing how Prague will prepare for this. They surely will give their 100%, but would their best be good enough to beat Chelsea?

Man United assistant manager commits a ‘Phelany’ after Liverpool’s win against Bayern Munich

Four English teams in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. What a time to be English! Liverpool’s victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena coupled with Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s wins in the Europa League has ensured that for the first time since 1971 six English sides have progressed into the next round of European competition.

Bayern Munich are nothing less than European royalty and Liverpool’s victory over the Germans have caught the eye of one particular Red Devil. It seems that United’s assistant manager Mike Phelan has had his pick of the lot.

Now, before United fans pelt their desktops with stones, let me tell you this. These are Mike Phelan’s words, not mine.

Have a look –

Via Twitter/@Mike_Phelan_1

While it may seem that Liverpool have gone off the boil in recent weeks, those fears have been put to rest, courtesy of a moment of magic at the Allianz Arena from Liverpool’s main man, Sadio Mane. The Senegalese, who is in the form of his life now has 10 goals in his last ten.

Liverpool fans will be hoping that Mike Phelan does them a favor when table-toppers Manchester City visit Old Trafford in gameweek 35. Of late, United fans have been caught in between somewhat of a rock and a hard place, with the 1st place in the PL frequently exchanging hands between bitter rivals Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s Citizens.

Man United, meanwhile, have their own worries. The arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the interim boss has breathed new life into Pogba and co, with United sitting within shouting distance of a Champions League spot, two points behind the Gunners. The Red Devils do have Chelsea breathing down their neck, and with United yet to face Man City and Chelsea at home, it may seem like United’s baby-faced assassin has his work cut out for him.

Liverpool, who trail leaders City by a solitary point can only sit and hope that the Red Devils huff and puff and blow down City’s house.

A dog joined in on the celebrations with the Leeds United fans during Reading win

Leeds United took another step towards the automatic qualification spots for the Premier League next season as they swept a lacklustre Reading side 3-0 here at Madejski Stadium.

Mateusz Klich opener followed by a brace from Spaniard Pablo Hernandez was more than enough for the Whites to claim a comfortable victory.

Leeds were firm favourites against the relegation-threatened Reading side and their intentions were clear right from the kick-off.

It took them only 14 minutes as Mateusz Klich finished it off from inside the penalty box after some slick play down the right flank.

And before the home side could react, Leeds took advantage of some sloppy passing and created a shooting opportunity for Pablo Hernandez who tucked it into the bottom corner.

The Spaniard struck again on the 43rd minute to wrap the game up for his side, this time with a screamer from outside the box giving Reading keeper Emiliano Martinez absolutely no chance.

With this brace, Hernandez now has 10 goals in the Championship this year and if you consider his 11 assists too, the midfielder is surely proving himself to be one of the most prominent stars in this years’ competition.

It was the White’s fourth win in the last five games and the fans are absolutely delighted.

Besides the performance on the field, there’s another aspect of the game that is winning the hearts of many Leeds fans.

In a viral video, Rita, a guide dog can be seen to join the celebration with the away supporters after the referee blew the full-time whistle.

Have a look at the brilliant footage here –

Rita and her owner are all-weather supporters of the Whites and many fans have reported spotting the pair in each and every game the club plays.

With only nine games to go, Leeds are closer to the Premier League than ever and this kind of support and dedication from their fans will only inspire their players even more.

 

 

(Video) BT Sport provides stunning angle of Sadio Mane’s ridiculous first goal v Bayern Munich

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk exhibited pure class as the Reds thrashed Bayern Munich 3-1 at their own backyard to progress to the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League.

The teams played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield last month and the Bavarians were expected to come out all guns blazing at their home turf.

They did start the game well but a resilient Liverpool defence did extremely well to keep the initial waves of pressure at bay.

As the game progressed Liverpool slowly started to get back into the game but both the teams seemed to lack ideas and creativity in the final third.

But it was Liverpool who looked better and better with every passing second and started to control the game.

And they were the ones who struck first as Sadio Mane displayed unearthly technique and skill to put his side in the lead.

The Senegalese international latched on to a searching long ball from Virgil Van Dijk and brought it under control with a heavenly touch.

He still had a lot to do to get the ball into the back of the net and he did so with utmost calmness.

With a perfect turn, the Senegalese beat both Manuel Neuer and Rafinha before chipping it into the far corner.

Not only the chip was on target but it also had the perfect weight to leave Bayern defenders Niklas Sule and Mats Hummels mere spectators.

Have a look at this moment of brilliance courtesy of BT Sport here –

 
 
 
Mane was again on the target on the 84th minute when he headed a brilliant lobbed ball from Salah home to wrap up a memorable night for the five-time European Champions.

With Liverpool’s qualification, it is for the first time in the last ten years when four British clubs have managed to qualify for the quarter-finals stage and if they keep on performing like this, the glorious days of English football may not be far away.

Fortune cookies, Drake and Dalai Lama – Liverpool’s title bid is getting all the help it needs

Liverpool Fans Are Seducing Lady Luck Like There’s No Tomorrow

28 may seem like a random number to you. A number of little to no significance. In the red half of the city of Liverpool, however, the number has a certain gravity associated with it.

28 is the number of years Liverpool fans have had to wait for the title of Premier League champions. The number may well go up to 29 come May 12th. But if there is one thing that Liverpool fans are known for, it is their ability to cling on to hope like dear life itself. “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart. And you will never walk alone”, they sing each night at Anfield; a song which gains an automatic bass boost during European nights.

With 8 games to go, Liverpool sit a point behind leaders Man City. But Liverpool fans are well versed with the concept of fine margins, having lost out on the title in 2013-14. This season, however, Liverpool fans are leaving nothing to luck.

  • Exhibit A – Blessings of the Dalai Lama

A Liverpool fan from Thailand carried his Liverpool scarf while seeking the blessings of the Dalai Lama. That’s one way of seeking divine intervention.

Via Time.com
  • Exhibit B – Confucius says, “Paint the Premier League red”

Call it a coincidence, or call it sheer luck. But one Liverpool fan’s fortune cookie read, and I quote, “Your sports team will be very successful this year”. With Liverpool contesting on two fronts, aiming for both, domestic and European glory, the Merseysiders could use all the luck the Reds can muster.

Via Reddit
  • Exhibit C – The cursed hotline bling

You wouldn’t associate bad luck with an artist as accomplished as Drake. However, in sports scenarios that definitely seems to be the case. Conor McGregor’s loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov was preceded by a visit from the one and only Champagne Papi. Liverpool’s 2013-14 slip up was preceded by the meet up between Daniel Sturridge and the one and only Drake. Recently, Drake was spotted with City’s Argentinian hitman, Sergio Aguero. If the stars are to be believed, Liverpool fans will be salivating.

City have scored the most goals this season, while Liverpool have conceded the least goals this season. What happens when an unstoppable force and an immovable object wrestle for the PL title? Guess we’ll find out during gameweek 38. Stay tuned, folks.