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.

 

 

(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?

(Video) Newcastle United fans loved what Isaac Hayden did after the 2nd goal v Everton

Newcastle United got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a stunning 3-2 comeback win against Everton at St James’s Park last Saturday.

Everton had lost 3 of their 5 matches, with defeats coming against Wolves, Manchester City, and Watford. Toffees though did manage to pull off a potentially title-deciding nil-nil draw against bitter rivals Liverpool.

Everton started strong with an 18th minute Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal. Things really got messy on the pitch in the 29th minute when Jordan Pickford took out Salomon Rondon while trying to punch the ball away. This was a golden chance for the Magpies to level the score. Ritchie hit the penalty low and hard but was brilliantly saved by Pickford. This was the Englishman’s 3rd penalty save of the season.

To make matters worse, Everton doubled their lead the very next minute, courtesy of a Richarlison goal. This meant Newcastle entered half time with a 2 goal deficit. Benitez took out skipper Lascelles and brought in Dummett to enforce an offensive approach in the second half.

20 minutes into the second half they managed to pull one goal when Rondon paired up with Ayoze Perez for a quick one-two. Then on the 81st minute, Perez got a goal for himself as well. Pickford saved Almiron’s initial shot but the ball fell to Perez who put the ball past the goalkeeper.

But Perez’s celebrations were cut short by his fellow teammate Isaac Hayden when he did this:

Hayden called his teammates back to the half line, asking them to concentrate on the game and try bag all the three points.

The fans loved his positive gesture. The 23-year-old English professional has been with the team for 3 seasons now after completing a move from Arsenal in 2016.

In 2013, Arsene Wenger had described Hayden as “a player whose key assets are concentration, intelligence, and strength”. He surely showed all of the above-mentioned traits in the match.

His actions did prove to be fruitful as just two minutes later when Perez scored again. This was the Spaniard’s 6th goal of the campaign.

With two goals and an assist, he did win the man of the match, but Hayden’s gestures won the fans’ hearts. These small actions are a sign of a good leader.

No wonder Benitez is trying his best to keep Isaac at the club after he submitted a transfer request in summer according to Sky Sports.

Display against Dortmund was exactly the kind of masterclass Tottenham fans needed in their life

The last few weeks have been tough for Tottenham fans. An early return for local hero Harry Kane after sustaining a ligament injury against Manchester United back in January did result in a goal but Mauricio Pochettino’s side weren’t able to take full advantage of their talisman’s return and were beaten 2-1 away from home by an in form Burnley side.

The following weeks were no better as they lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge against a struggling Chelsea team, and were lucky to force a 1-1 draw against North London rivals Arsenal thanks to the 91st minute penalty save by captain Hugo Lloris.

Next challenge for Tottenham: playing against the Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in front of the Yellow Wall of Signal Iduna Park in the Champions League.

Dortmund themselves are victims of a poor form having drawn 3, won 1 and lost 1 of their last 5 matches. Even though Tottenham had a 3-0 lead from the first leg in Wembley, the home team were expected to make things tough for the London side.

As expected Dortmund started strong by dominating possession, passing the ball well and pressing high, not giving Tottenham players any time on the ball. With their talisman Marco Reus returning from an injury, having missed the first leg, Dortmund seemed favorites to break the deadlock. But the well disciplined Tottenham defense made it impossible for the German side to get a clear shot at goal.

The 5 man defense retained their shape throughout the game. Vertonghen and Sanchez matched Jadon Sancho’s pace and managed to keep the English youngster quiet for the entire match. The incredible Tottenham defense put in 17 tackles throughout the game with a 70.6% win ratio. A stunning performance.

And few of the attacks that did manage to get past the defensive line, couldn’t beat Hugo Lloris. The French international put in a man of the match performance making 5 crucial saves in the first half itself, bagging his 100th clean sheet for Tottenham.

Harry Kane’s 48th minute goal ensured a quarter final place for the English side and made him Spurs’ top scorer in European competitions. Favre’s men put up an impressive performance, but the young and energetic side were no match for the mature and experienced Tottenham team.

Pochettino’s tactics proved to be on point and gave Dortmund no chance to pull a huge comeback they would have hoped to make. Tottenham truly pulled off a defensive masterclass and gave a performance their fans were dying to see. This game surely has uplifted the team’s morale and has proved that Tottenham are a force to be reckoned with in Europe.