Posts Tagged ‘ Chelsea ’

Rubin Kazan vs Chelsea Europa League Preview: Visitors looking to protect two-goal aggregate lead in Moscow

Torres headed goal

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

RUBIN KAZAN

Ryzhikov
Kaleshin, Navas, Sharonov, Ansaldi
Orbaiz, Natcho,
Kasaev, Eremenko, Karadeniz
 
Rondon
CHELSEA

Cech
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Ake
Lampard, Mikel,
Moses, Oscar
, Hazard
Torres

Vladimir Dyadyun will compete for a place up front with Salomon Rondon for the hosts, who have no injury concerns to speak of.

Cesar Navas, Ivan Marcano and Roman Sharonov will fight for two places in the centre of defence, while Oleg Kuzmin may replace Gokdeniz Karadeniz on the right-hand side of midfield.

Chelsea face a potential dilemma at left-back, with the injured Ashley Cole’s (hamstring) usual deputy Ryan Bertrand (virus) unfit to travel. Nathan Ake is the club’s only other natural left-back, while Paulo Ferreira could fill in from his preferred right-back position.

Gary Cahill is still a couple of weeks away from returning after undergoing minor arthroscopic surgery to shave the meniscus on the knee he damaged in last month’s win against West Ham.

With Demba Ba cup-tied, Fernando Torres will continue up front, having scored twice in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

David Luiz, Ramires and Juan Mata are likely to be rested after playing three games in less than a week, so John Terry, Frank Lampard and Victor Moses should come into the starting line-up.

  • Chelsea have won all five of their previous games against Russian sides, conceding just twice in the process.
  • The Blues beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 on their last visit to the Luzhniki Stadium, in the 2010-11 Champions League group stage.
  • John Terry  will make his 100th European appearance if he plays in Moscow.
  • Rubin‘s only previous home game against English opponents resulted in a 1-0 win over Tottenham in last season’s Europa League.
  • However, the Russians’ only three defeats in their last 22 European ‘home’ games have come when hosting their matches in Moscow, as opposed to their Tsentralnyi Stadion in Kazan.
  • Having already eliminated Europa League winners Atletico Madrid in the round of 32, Rubin could complete an unlikely double of knocking out the holders of both of last season’s European trophies if they overcome Champions League holders Chelsea.
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Chelsea vs Sunderland EPL Preview: Di Canio’s Black Cats reign begins at Stamford Bridge

Terry and Hazard

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

CHELSEA
Chelsea FC
Cech
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Bertrand
Ramires, Mikel
Hazard, Oscar, Mata
Ba

SUNDERLAND
Sunderland
Mignolet
Gardner, O’Shea, Bramble, Rose
Johnson, N’Diaye, Larsson, McClean
Sessegnon
Graham

Blues boss Rafael Benitez is poised to make a host of changes from the starting XI which beat Rubin Kazan 3-1 in the Europa League on Thursday. Defensive duo Gary Cahill (knee) and Ashley Cole (hamstring) both remain sidelined.

John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazard and Oscar could all be recalled, while Demba Ba may replace Fernando Torres up front, despite the Spaniard scoring against the Russian side. Long-term injury absentee Oriol Romeu (knee) remains out injured.

As for the Black Cats, Paulo Di Canio will be without influential duo Lee Cattermole (knee) and Steven Fletcher (ankle) for the remainder of the season. Sebastian Larsson is likely to be handed a starting berth.

  • Chelsea have the joint-second best goalscoring record in the Premier League this season alongside Liverpool and Arsenal with 59 goals each. Only Manchester United (70) have netted more.
  • Blues playmaker Juan Mata , is the club’s leading scorer in all competitions so far this season with 18 goals. gue matches – a 2-2 draw against Fulham and a 1-1 draw against Norwich.
  • Paolo Di Canio was named 2012’s LMA League Two Manager of the Year during his spell in charge of Swindon Town.
  • Chelsea won the earlier meeting in the season between the two sides 3-1. A brace from Fernando Torres and a goal from Mata put them into a three-goal lead, before Adam Johnson scored.
  • Black Cats midfielder Craig Gardner has received the joint-most yellow cards in the league so far this season alongside Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Aston Villa’s Matthew Lowton. All three players have been booked nine times.

Upfront, Connor Wickham is pushing Danny Graham for a starting spot. However, defensive pair Wes Brown (knee) and Carlos Cuellar (ankle) are both still unavailable.

Chelsea vs Rubin Kazan 1st Leg Europa League Preview: Blues remain in the hunt for a cup double

Terry and Hazard

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

CHELSEA
Porto
Cech
Azpilicueta, Terry, Luiz, Bertrand
Mikel, Ramires
Oscar, Mata, Moses
Torres
RUBIN KAZAN

Ryzhikov
Navas, Kuzmin, Kaleshin, Ansaldi 
Sharonov, Orbaiz, Eremenko, Karadeniz
Natkho,
Dyadyun

Rafa Benitez is set to make a number of changes to the side which knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup on Monday.

Defender Ashley Cole (hamstring) was forced off in the first half of that match and will be out for at least two weeks, so Ryan Bertrand is set to replace him again. Gary Cahill (knee) is a doubt so John Terry is likely to return in defence alongside Luiz.

Fernando Torres should return in attack with Demba Ba cup-tied in the Europa League. The attacking trio of Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard could be rotated.

Rubin Kazan boss Kurban Berdyev has a full squad to choose from. The Russian is likely to recall Bribas Natkho back to the starting line-up after the Israel international impressed for his nation last week.

  • The sides are meeting for the first time in Uefa club competition.
  • Chelsea have won all four of their previous games against Russian sides, conceding just one goal.
  • The Blues are unbeaten in 11 European games at Stamford Bridge
  • Chelsea could become the first side to win Uefa’s two top club competitions in reverse order in successive seasons.
  • Making their debut in the quarter-finals of a European tournament, Rubin Kazan are visiting London for a second time, having lost 1-0 at Tottenham in the 2011-12 Europa League group stage.
  • Jose Rondon  is the second highest scorer left in the competition with five goals since the start of the group stage.
  • Rafa Benitez and Andre Villas-Boas are the only coaches left in the competition who have won the trophy previously.
  • Rubin have not lost in five European away games this season.
  • Rubin winger Gokhan Tore was at Chelsea (2009–11). He helped the club’s reserve team to win the English title, but never made a senior competitive appearance.

Chelsea vs Manchester United FA Cup Replay Preview: Manchester City await winners of quarter-final replay

Ramries, Oscar and Mata

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

CHELSEA

Cech
Azpilicueta, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Mikel
Oscar, Mata, Hazard
Ba

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra
Cleverley, Giggs
Welbeck, Rooney, Nani
Chicharito

Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Ramires and Demba Ba should all return to Rafa Benitez’s starting line-up after missing Chelsea’s league defeat at Southampton on Saturday.

The Chelsea boss could make around six changes to his side ahead of a run of five games in the next 13 days.

Gary Cahill (knee) is a doubt so John Terry is likely to continue in defence alongside Luiz. With Ba cup-tied for the Blues in the Europa League, the Senegalese should be handed a start on Monday. Mata should return to the side after missing the match at St Mary’s with illness.

Sir Alex Ferguson is also likely to make several changes to his side after rotating the team in the weekend win at Sunderland.

Phil Jones could return to the side at right-back after Rafael (groin) was forced off at the weekend. Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs are also likely to feature after sitting out Saturday’s match.

In attack, Danny Welbeck and Chicharito will hope for a starting berth with Nani also ready to come in. Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Robin van Persie should drop to the bench.

  • Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has won the FA Cup more times than any other player, lifting the famous trophy an astonishing seven times.
  • Juan Mata recently became the first Premier League player to score 10 goals and provide 10 assists.
  • Manchester United striker Chicharito  enjoys playing against Chelsea, the Mexican striker has struck in five of his last seven games against the Blues in all competitions.
  • No player in the top flight has hit the woodwork more than Van Persie this season. The Dutchman has been denied by a post or the crossbar seven times.
  • Left-back Patrice Evra has played more minutes (2,430) than any other United player in the league this season.
  • Eighteen goals have been scored in the three meetings between the sides this season.

Why Chelsea Must Sell Torres in the Summer

Fernando Torres on the ground

 

Chelsea are apparently ready to listen to offers for Fernando Torres and will look to get whatever they can for the beleaguered striker. Due to his abysmal form since joining the Blues, it is likely that any offers will be significantly less than the £50 million that Roman Abramovich paid to secure his services in 2011.

With Financial Fair Play coming into effect, Chelsea cannot afford to have any dead weight in their wage bill. With the last figures available showing that the Blues spent an eye-watering £191 million on wages in 2010-11 and recording an overall loss of £49 million, they will need to be far less frivolous with their expenditures.

Financial Fair Play requires clubs to at least break even annually and to have any losses covered by their owner. With gate receipts at Stamford Bridge stuck at a capacity of 42,000 with no sign of expansion in the near future, the club needs to cut costs elsewhere to comply with the regulations.

Fernando Torres’ wages are rumoured to be around £175,000 a week. With players such as Eden Hazard, John Terry and Frank Lampard receiving similarly astronomical sums, it makes no sense to continue paying a player whose performances have been consistently below par.

Torres has scored seven Premier League goals and contributed eight assists so far this season. By contrast, Juan Mata has 10 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League whilst receiving a significantly smaller salary than his compatriot.

“El Nino’s” struggles show no sign of ending while he remains in West London, and it would be best for both parties if this whole saga were filed under “lessons learned and never to be repeated.”

Football Gossip : Javier Hernandez, Mario Gotze, Hulk

Juventus Target Javier Hernandez as Backup Plan?

Javier HernandezJuventus have identified Manchester United’s Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez as a backup transfer option if they cannot sign Liverpool’s Luis Suarez this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

Hernandez, 24, joined United from Chivas in 2010 and has scored eight goals in 15 Premier League appearances (six starts) this season. He has also been linked with Atletico Madrid.

Juventus are reportedly searching for a strike partner for 28-year-old Spaniard Fernando Llorente, who is set to join Juve from Athletic Bilbao on a free transfer this summer.

 

Mario Gotze Attracted to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United

Mario GotzeBorussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze says he is attracted to clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United (Sport1 via ESPN FC).

Gotze, a 20-year-old full German international, has scored eight goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances this season. He debuted in BVB’s first team as a 17-year-old in 2009.

Gotze said:

I’d like to leave my options open. Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United are attractive. In other leagues, you could develop further—but I’m not thinking that far ahead right now. I am happy at Dortmund and delighted about the way things are going. I would not have extended my contract (until 2016) otherwise.

 

Hulk Wants out of Zenit St. Petersburg? Chelsea Still Interested?

HulkBrazil international forward Hulk has grown tired of life in Russia and wants to leave Zenit St. Petersburg less than a year after joining the club, according to Metro.

Hulk, 26, joined Zenit from Porto last summer for a reported £40 million. Reports from Russia claim he has requested a summer transfer away from the club.

Chelsea reportedly had two bids for Hulk turned down last year and are thought to be interested again.

“My future? I love the Premier League,” Hulk said. “The Premier League is a great competition with great clubs. If I have time, I watch the matches on television.”

 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan Wants to Leave Shakhtar Donetsk?

Henrikh MkhitaryanHenrikh Mkhitaryan says he will try to leave Shakhtar Donetsk this summer, according to the Daily Mirror.

Mkhitaryan, a 24-year-old Armenian attacking midfielder, has impressed with Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League the last two seasons. Chelsea and Manchester City are thought to be interested in signing him.

“For every player, to play for the strongest clubs in the world is a dream, and the main goal,” Mkhitaryan is quoted as saying. “I will do everything possible to move this summer to a different team.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Chelsea’s Spanish Maestro Deserves to Be Named Player of the Year

Juan Mata

 

We’ve already had the awards season for the entertainment industry with the Oscars and Golden Globes dominating column inches across the world’s media in the beginning stages of 2013.Now, as the football season draws to a close, the real awards business kicks in with the best players lauded for their endeavors.

In England, the two main awards are for PFA Player of the Year, voted for by players up and down the country, and Footballer of the Year, voted for by members of the Football Writers Association. Last season saw Robin van Persie win both, and while the Dutch ace is among the front-runners this term, he’s going to lose out to Chelsea’s Juan Mata, isn’t he?

Not so according to bookmakers who have van Persie and Gareth Bale as the favourites . But what of Mata? The Spanish ace has enjoyed another sensational season in West London, but he seems to have been overlooked once more. Chelsea have enjoyed a sudden upturn in form of late that leaves them with a realistic opportunity to lift both the FA Cup and Europa League, while also finishing in the Premier League’s top four. Considering the turmoil the Blues have been through—on and off the pitch—that they have anything to play for this late on in the campaign isn’t so much a miracle, but is a surprise nonetheless.

The man they must thank for that is Mata, who has at times throughout 2012-13 has carried this Chelsea team. A quick look at the Spaniard’s stats says that much, with him directly involved in 41 goals for his club (23 assists, 18 goals).

Chelsea have scored 113 in all competitions with Mata on the pitch, meaning the No. 10 has chipped in—in one form or another—with over a third of their goals.

It’s a phenomenal statistic—one that outlines his importance to what Chelsea are trying to achieve. Given the aforementioned troubles the club has endured, it’s all the more impressive.

This is not to say van Persie and Bale are not fine players—they are—but while the duo have impressed for Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, they have done so in a settled team and there’s no question the advantage that can bring.

Whereas van Persie has been slotted into a United outfit that caters to his vast ability, Mata has had to contend with managerial changes and the introduction of new personnel.

And whereas his form has remained consistent throughout the season, it’s only the past month or so that Bale has really come into his own, with just shy of half his goals this term, for instance, coming since the last weekend in January.

Comparing the stats of van Persie and the Welshman to Mata further adds to the notion of his superiority this term: Van Persie has 25 goals with eight assists, while Bale currently has 21 and eight, also.

There are times stats alone can allow for misjudgement, but in Mata’s case it reinforces what a remarkable player he is. Not only has he won Chelsea vital points and matches this term with his goals, he has also provided his teammates with the ammunition. To quote a much-used cliche in football, that’s “worth its weight in gold.”

Sure, this is not stat crunching at Moneyball levels, but it does highlight an important aspect of the value Mata has continued to bring to Chelsea. Players have won awards for far less.

The Spaniard is a player of grace, a man who oozes quality that has far outreached that of his peers in England this season. Mata deserves to be honored, but will he?