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Football

David Luiz might have invented a whole new ‘skill’ with this dive against Burnley

It is no doubt that football is a game; or more so, a language that speaks to millions of people around the world. In a game filled with breath-taking goals, exquisite passes, bone-crunching tackles, and spectacular saves, there is one particular occurrence on the football pitch that leaves the fans mesmerized more than ever – skills.

Watching a player execute a skill to perfection is something that sends the fans crazy. It brings out cheers, humiliates an opponent and puts a spring in the step of the player executing it and the team benefitting from it.

With regard to skills, there’s one country that the footballing world turns to when talking about panache – Brazil. The Selecao for years have brought the world to its feet when it comes to entertainment. It’s almost characteristic of Brazilian blood to have an affinity to exude style. To entertain. Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Marcelo, Neymar, Bernard and countless more. All are entertainers.

One entertainer that has come to the fore now is Chelsea’s David Luiz. Known for his flamboyant curly hair and adept at knuckleball free-kicks, Luiz is also infamous for his antics on the pitch.

The Brazilian is in the spotlight now for his latest ‘skill’ against Burnley. During their 2-2 draw against the Clarets, David Luiz appeared to have carried the ball into a cul de sac. With three Burnley players closing in to feed off of Luiz’s imminent error, the Brazilian dropped to the ground to the surprise of the Burnley players.

https://twitter.com/CurtLfcGriff/status/1120410862395719687

It looked like a dive and he appeared to handle the ball while on the floor, but before the referee could take any action, Luiz picked himself off the ground and carried on playing, as if nothing happened. This was met with loud cheers by the Chelsea faithful, at what looked like a ‘skill’ that got Luiz out of trouble.

But what this also did, was spark debate on whether he should’ve been penalized for his dive. Given the delicate situation regarding dives and the strict action to be taken against it, do you think David Luiz dived or was it just quick thinking from the Brazilian?

 

 

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Blog Football

Luka Jovic transfer speculation to gather steam after Maurizio Sarri is all praise for the Serbian

Luka Jovic is one of the hottest strikers in the world right now. Spearheading Eintracht Frankfurt’s attack with the likes of Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic, the Serbian has really taken the Bundesliga by storm this season. Valued at about 50 million pounds in today’s market, the free-scoring Serb seems to be a viable option for clubs looking to bolster their attack for the upcoming season.

Catching the eye of big clubs this season for his consistent performances and goal-scoring heroics, Jovic really stamped his authority after becoming the youngest player in the Bundesliga to score 5 goals in a game, as Frankfurt destroyed Dusseldorf 7-1.

Clubs sharpened their senses in a bid to lure Jovic away from Frankfurt. The primary candidates at the time were Barcelona and Bayern Munich; but now Real Madrid also seem interested. The latest addition to that list appears to be Chelsea.

With the quarter-final second legs coming to a close and Chelsea, Frankfurt, Valencia and Arsenal progressing, one of the semi-finals will see Chelsea face Frankfurt. And given Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri’s comments on the young Serb, there’s a good chance that the speculation will be much more stronger than before. Sarri mentioned in his post match presser that he considers Jovic a “wonderful striker”.

Jovic’s father has made it clear that he wants his son to be a regular starter (highly unlikely at Barca or Bayern), and given Chelsea’s striker situation with Higuain, Giroud, Morata and Batshuayi failing to make a mark, Jovic to the Blues seems like a match made in heaven.

There is one huge problem for Chelsea though. Chelsea have been hit with a two window transfer ban, which doesn’t help with the desire to sign Jovic. With no outcome yet on Chelsea’s appeal to the ban, things are on a knife-edge. If indeed the ban is lifted and the board back Chelsea’s potential bid for player admired by Sarri, it would certainly be a joy to have Jovic in England!

Jovic has scored 25 goals and assisted 7 times in all competitions this season, which is remarkable for a 21 year-old. If the stars do align for Chelsea, we could be looking at something special on the Blue side of London.

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Blog

Fabregas calls Jorginho Sarri’s ‘son’ in Monaco presser

When Chelsea fans got to know that Maurizio Sarri would manage the club from the start of the 18-19 season, they were hopeful of their fortunes changing, performances improving, new players arriving and titles coming in.

When a new manager comes in, he brings in new ideas, a new style of play and new mentality. In his mind, he has a picture of how he wants to run things. Some players adapt to this idea, while some fall prey. No better example can be provided of this situation at Chelsea, than the curious case of Cesc Fabregas.

Bought in 2014 to aid Chelsea’s desire to be crowned champions of England, Cesc brought a creative threat to Chelsea. Finding key passes nobody would dare to fashion, Fabregas was the main man in midfield commanding Chelsea’s title charge, also chipping in with goals and assists. There’s no doubt he was the mastermind on the pitch in that title-winning season.

Since then, Conte took over from Mourinho and Hiddink, and brought in a new ideology. Fabregas rose to the challenge, providing key performances that saw the Blues succeed as champions in 16-17. And while he has still been relatively influential to Chelsea with time and age catching up, the arrival of Sarri was the final nail in the coffin for Cesc.

With Sarri coming in and revolutionising Chelsea, with “Sarri-ball” taking the league by storm, Cesc fell prey. The signing of Jorginho was proof of Sarri’s intentions, with the midfielder vital in Sarri’s style of play.

This meant Cesc fell out of favor, resigned to the bench and sometimes, even out of the squad. He made the move to Monaco in January, in search of more game-time.

In a recent press conference, Fabregas reflected on his time in London, explaining the situation he was in. Fabregas said he could’ve signed on at Chelsea, but couldn’t, citing that Jorginho is like a ‘son’ to Sarri, and that spelt trouble for the Spaniard with Jorginho missing just one league game under Sarri.

 

With Jorginho leading the passes made in the league this season, playing the centerpiece in Sarri’s footballing model, the move to Monaco was a good one for Cesc, with him getting game time and helping Monaco progress from the mess they were in. How good has Fabregas been in the Premier League, and was Sarri wrong in letting Cesc go?

 

 

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Blog

Callum Hudson-Odoi channels inner Neymar with a filthy chapeu during 2-0 West Ham win

England’s golden generation is here and they are already making a name for themselves. Players like Jaden Sancho, Phil Foden, and Callum Hudson Odoi are making a lot of noise and it is not going unheard.

Chelsea faced West Ham in the premier league on the 8th of April. They beat West Ham two-nil thanks to a magical performance from Eden Hazard who scored both of the goals, the first one being a contender for the goal of the season. Chelsea have leapfrogged Spurs and Arsenal into 3rd having played one game more than their counterparts.

Hazard stole the show with his sparkling performance, but a young Englishman also showcased why he is so highly rated and why he is being linked with a move away to Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

Callum Hudson-Odoi got his first start under Sarri in the premier league and he made it count by producing an outrageous skill where he beat two West Ham Players. Have a look :

It seemed as if CHO channeled his inner Neymar, he took the ball away from a racing Felipe Anderson with a deft touch and then flicked the ball over Snodgrass’s head. He then calmly passed the ball back to the defence. It was a moment of pure class from the youngster who showed why exactly he is rated so highly.

Hudson-Odoi has scored 4 goals (all in Europa League) and has provided one assist so far, but after scintillating displays like these he can only hope for more starts under Sarri and Chelsea fans can only hope that he stays or else Bayern Munich or Manchester United will surely snatch a talented young footballer like him.

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Blog

Man City ace includes Tottenham and Chelsea men to make his ‘perfect player’ for BT Sport

Does the perfect player exist? To answer that question, we need to define a perfect player. And doing that is probably the hardest task there is because, with all the unique talent that exists in the footballing world, it is almost impossible to define perfection. Tricky situation, isn’t it?

The definition of perfection is opinionated, so it only makes sense to idealize a player that is an amalgam of certain qualities; qualities that are distinctive of other players that one finds appealing.

This is exactly what BT Sport did when they asked Manchester City’s creative midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (KDB) to create his version of a perfect player.

KDB was asked to create the perfect player – and what he served up was special!

The feature is up on YouTube where BT Sport asked KDB to create the perfect player. The player was required to have six specific attributes of a “perfect player”, and De Bryune had to create his perfect player by selecting those attribute from currently active footballers.

The attributes were leadership, vision, mentality, football brain, acceleration and work rate. The Belgian chose his compatriot and club captain Vincent Kompany for his leadership qualities, showering praise on him as he went about creating the perfect player. Sergio Ramos and City teammate Leroy Sane were his choices for mentality and acceleration respectively.

De Bruyne did not shy away from choosing himself for the football brain attribute, and in all fairness to him, we can’t really disagree with that, can we?

The midfield wizard is renowned for his technique and quality on the ball, pinpoint passing accuracy, the weight of pass, and extraordinary understanding of the game.

It was his choice for vision and work rate that caught the eye as he opted for the underrated Christian Eriksen’s vision and the omnipresent N’Golo Kante’s work rate.

Spoken of in high regard for his vision as well, KDB showed a touch of class by praising Eriksen as the Dane made the cut for the perfect player’s vision attribute. It was a gesture of great respect shown by De Bruyne in appreciating another’s talent over one’s own in the same department.

KDB also showed the utmost respect and adoration for Kante as he chose the Frenchman’s work rate over that of fellow club mates, past and present. It was a sign of true professionalism.

And while perfection is something that can be chased but never attained, De Bruyne’s choice of player qualities to create the “perfect” player are pretty darn good, for a player who’s not too bad himself. How good is Kevin De Bruyne and more importantly, how vital is he to City’s aspirations?

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Blog

Was Eden Hazard v West Ham the best individual performance of the league this season?

Undoubtedly Chelsea’s star man, Eden Hazard is nothing short of a world class player. Producing match-winning performances comes as second nature to the Belgian. And his latest performance against West Ham shows us why the Chelsea faithful want him to stay at Stamford Bridge amidst rumors of a summer transfer to Real Madrid.

Hazard scored both goals in a 2-0 home win against fellow Londoners West Ham, as they moved up to third in the league. Hazard’s first goal was a thing of beauty indeed.

As he picked up the ball in midfield, Hazard wove his way past the West Ham midfield and defense line, slaloming past challenges and taking on as many as five Hammers’ players before stroking the ball past Fabianski to give the Blues the lead. It was a goal that was dubbed a “classic” Hazard goal, leaving fans and admirers speechless.

The goal was so good that it brought the  power slide celebration out of “retirement”, as Hazard had previously mentioned not resorting to that celebration due to burns and bruises caused by sliding on the turf. The Belgian bagged his second goal late on, taking his tally to 16 league goals for the season.

With the brace, Hazard has now scored more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo in the Premier league, with both players having played seven seasons in the top flight. Hazard’s second was his 85th in the league, one more than Ronaldo.

https://twitter.com/ChelseaFCinUSA/status/1115355473820176384

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said in an interview after the match that his number 10 played a “wonderful match”, while also stating that the Belgian’s recent performances have been top notch.

While names like Van Dijk and Sterling are constantly mentioned when talking about top-class and consistent performances in the league this season, one could argue that Hazard too is one among them, terrorizing defenses constantly, scoring crucial and spectacular goals, bagging loads of assists and churning out stellar performances.

If it is anything to go by, Hazards stats in the West Ham game are proof of his quality and reputation. Some believe that Hazard’s performance was the best and most well-rounded one this league campaign. The stats speak for themselves.

https://twitter.com/statsfootbal/status/1115356311569539072

Directly involved in 28 of Chelsea’s 57 league goals this season, it is no doubt that he is a manager’s dream and a defender’s nightmare. Of all the Belgian’s to have graced the Premier League, is Eden Hazard the best of the lot?

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Blog

Sergio Ramos following Eden Hazard has lit up the transfer speculation surrounding the Belgian

Back when Eden Hazard was lighting things up at Lille, he was a much sought after talent. Ever since his arrival at Chelsea in 2012, he has continued to excite and deliver; earning an outstanding reputation for himself.

The pacey left winger who can also operate as an attacking midfielder or a false 9, is one of the most creative players in the league. In a season laden with 26 goal contributions in the top flight, 14 of them being goals, it’s easy to see why Hazard is still a player whose signature is pursued persistently.

With the Chelsea number 10 approaching the peak of his career, the transfer saga surrounding the Belgian superstar is picking up speed.

While only a handful of clubs can afford the huge price-tag that comes with Hazard, there seems to be only one club in contention to sign him – Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants have been linked with the Chelsea man for quite a while now, with only rumors floating around. But the speculation appears to have gone into overdrive, with Sky Sports reporting today that the Spanish giants are ‘increasingly confident’ of signing the Belgian.

The propaganda from Real Madrid seems to have well & truly begun as it appears that Sergio Ramos has recently started following Eden Hazard on Twitter.

With speculation floating around strongly suggesting that Hazard will be in Madrid white next season, the emergence of Ramos’ activity looks to have added fuel to the fire.

https://twitter.com/Yousouphjnr/status/1114912698993709056

And while this could just be bad timing and a coincidence, it must be noted that nothing is confirmed until it actually is confirmed. And for the numerous Blues’ fans who idolize their star player, the fact that it is just transfer speculation is their only solace.

With Zinedine Zidane at the helm (again) for Los Blancos, Hazard has an opportunity to learn from and play under the tutelage of his footballing hero. Will he make the move to Madrid in the summer?

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Blog

(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?