Bad for Blues: Antonio Conte reveals how long he’ll stay at Chelsea

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte & Chelsea

After winning the Premier League in his first season in England, Chelsea rewarded manager Antonio Conte with a new contract.

However, rather than extending his stay in west London, Conte simply got a pay rise.

It’s believed that Conte is now the highest paid manager in Chelsea’s history. The Italian is reportedly on  £9.6m a year, but his contract only stretches until 2019.

Will Conte commit to a longer stay at Stamford Bridge?

According to the Italian’s latest quotes, that’s highly unlikely.

What a win! 🙌 #CFC #Chelsea

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‘I miss Italy’

Chelsea recorded a brilliant result on Saturday winning 4-0 at Stoke. Alvaro Morata headlined with a hat-trick.

Following the game, Conte has given an interview to Radio Anch’io Sport, and the Chelsea boss has discussed his Premier League future.

As reported by Football Italia, Conte has little intention of staying at Chelsea too long:

I have a longing for Italy, that’s beyond any doubt.

It’s not in my head to stay abroad for too long. It’s good to have beautiful experiences, but I intend to go back to Italy one day.

China? No, absolutely not. Bundesliga? It’s always difficult to predict the future. Let’s just say that a Coach is a temporary worker.

It depends on the results, but there’s desire on my part to try to do the best I can, finishing one project and then finding the right one to continue. I miss Italy, that’s a fact.

Still, this experience is helping me so much. I’d also like to become a sporting director in the future.

Are we better than the English? There are practically no English managers in the Premier League.

There are so many parts of the world here, but everyone here is good, prepared and among the best in the world.

Also see: Chelsea & Man United battle for ‘N’Golo Kante’s little brother’.

Chelsea fans fume at MOTD for omitting a horror foul v Stoke.

Antonio Conte provides update on Thibaut Courtois’ head injury

Antonio Conte

Chelsea romped to victory, dismantling Stoke City 0-4 at the Bet 365 Stadium this afternoon, however, putting a slight dampener on things was a concern for Thibaut Courtois who suffered a head injury.

In his press conference, manager Antonio Conte has provided us with an update on his Belgium goalkeeper.

Stoke City 0-4 Chelsea

The Blues produced a barnstorming performance to let both Manchester clubs know they are not alone in the race for the title.

During a week in which one Spanish striker departed Chelsea Football Club, another scored a hat-trick in a thoroughly impressive victory.

Alvaro Morata continued his brilliant start to life in the Premier League as he guided Chelsea to three points.

The 24-year-old has now scored six goals in five appearances, making him the league’s joint highest goalscorer.

Thibaut Courtois injury

The Belgian went down injured in the 65th minute after taking a knock to his head.

Chelsea’s number 13 came out to collect a cross and collided with substitute Gary Cahill.

Courtois, however, remained on the field and carried on playing for the remainder of the match.

Ok for Champions League?

Speaking after the game manager Antonio Conte commented on Thibaut Courtois’ injury.

The Italian coach confirmed that a club’s doctor informed him that he was “ok”.

Much to the relief of Chelsea fans, Conte also confirmed he will be ready for Wednesday’s Champions League game against Atlético Madrid.

Conte said:

“I spoke to the doctor before the final substitution and I asked if he was okay, his answer was that he was.

Now the player is okay and is ready to play in the Champions League.”

Chelsea now face Atlético Madrid on Wednesday in the first ever European game at Madrid’s new Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

 

Alvaro Morata is ‘the kind of guy you want your daughter to marry’

Alvaro Morata

The nice guy

Antonio Conte really likes Alvaro Morata. In fact, he’d welcome him into the family. That’s not a mafia joke; we’re not always about lame cultural stereotype gags. The Italian boss would literally welcome Morata to his family.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s match away to Stoke City, Conte described Alvaro Morata as the type of guy you would want your daughter to marry. That’s a description that paints a picture of Morata’s character. Nice and trustworthy.

He said: “He’s a really good guy. It means if you have a daughter you’d be open to having this type of person with your daughter, to marry your daughter. A really good guy, a polite person. I know Alvaro well, he’s a really good guy, a good person, and a good signing for Chelsea because Alvaro is only 24 years old.

“I like him because he’s a complete player and also he has a lot of room to improve in every situation, tactical, physical, technical aspect. He’s very committed, his behaviour is always fantastic.

“He is a very polite player — I like this — and also I like that he’s a good finisher, he feels the goal in every moment, and always understands which is the best position in the box to receive the ball.”

The bad boy

One man who we can’t imagine Conte wanting his daughter to marry is Diego Costa. The Brazil-born Spain international is the polar opposite of his international teammate. He’s rough, tough and nasty on the pitch.

Chelsea didn’t want him anymore but Costa will be welcomed with open arms back at Atletico Madrid. Los Rojiblancos agreed on a deal to re-sign their former player this week, ending a long exile for Costa in Brazil.

Costa won’t be able to play for Atletico until January due to their transfer ban.

Antonio Conte speaks about team selection ahead of Stoke clash

Eden Hazard debuts the Nike Mercurial Vapor Flyknit Ultra 2/2

Back to fitness

Chelsea face Stoke City this weekend, and it’s not an away trip that most sides ever want to make.

However, for Chelsea there is one big boost – the fact Eden Hazard is back and fit for the game after playing small cameo roles and featuring heavily in their League Cup win as well.

Hazard has been missed this season, and as the player most people acknowledge as Chelsea’s best, it is easy to see why Antonio Conte is so glad to have him back.

The Express report Conte said: “I am pleased for Eden, because in the last game he played he played very well,” Conte said.

“He played with a good intensity.

“Now his injury is overcome and now we have to play three games.

“There is the possibility now to try to pick him for these games.”

“The most important thing is to go game by game.

“Tomorrow it will be a really tough game and we have to be prepared for the physical and tactical aspect and be disciplined.

“I am pleased for the commitment of my players.

“Sometimes it can happen a red card.”

Three points needed

Chelsea know they will have to beat Stoke and make sure they don’t slip up like Arsenal and Manchester United did against Mark Hughes’ side – and need three points on the board.

After their up and down start to the season, the team are starting to click, but Conte will know losing another game isn’t acceptable – and that players like Eden Hazard will be key for him.

Not only that, but more red cards and suspensions will not help the side either – and that’s another thing that needs to be stopped.

Antonio Conte claims one player will feature more after cup heroics

Playing more

Antonio Conte seems to have finally been won over by forward Michy Batshuayi, who up until the last couple of games was more famous for his antics and hilarity on social media than he was for his goal tally.

Now, after impressing in both the Carabo Cup and the Champions League, Conte thinks that it is time for the Batman to shine, and that he worked hard last season and during pre-season to put himself in this position – and now needs to be rewarded for it.

The Express report Conte said: “Last season he didn’t play a lot.

“After one year I think he has worked very hard last season to be able to face this league and work with Chelsea. He will have the right chance.

“We must know to play four competitions is not easy.

“Then sometimes when you ask if the players are happy if they don’t play?

“You have to find the right balance to give the right opportunity and balance in every competition, when this happens the most important thing is the answer from the players must be positive.

“It is normal in the first round to have the rotation. It is not easy and you have to give an opportunity to some players to play.

“Every competition is important, I don’t think one team thinks it is better to lose one game.

“We want to win and go through in this competition. It is normal sometimes you pay something in this competition when you have big rotation.”

 

Hazard back

Another player who is back for Chelsea is Eden Hazard, who after being injured over the summer is slowly working his way back to 100% and has been used in bit parts by the Chelsea boss.

Now, with a host of vital games coming up in the domestic league and in the Champions League, where Chelsea have a tough group, Conte will need to use his squad and get the best out of all his players – and make sure his star man is fit and firing as well.

Revealed: Here’s who the dirtiest teams in the Premier League are

Jose Mourinho & Pep Guardiola laughing

Dirty

Chelsea and Manchester United are the dirtiest teams in the Premier League this season according to a chart that lists the amount of fouls each team give away.

Jose Mourinho’s men are sitting top of the table in the Premier League, along with Manchester City – who fall far down the list in terms of their fouls.

Chelsea are the defending Champions and have seen an indifferent start to the campaign – and a bunch of red cards to boot, so it’s little shock they lead the way in terms of free kicks and set plays conceded.

Here’s the full list, found in the Mirror. 

 

 

Red cards

Chelsea have seen a huge amount of red cards already this season compared to last term, but manager Antonio Conte thinks that is down to luck and nothing else.

He was full of excuses after David Luiz’s red card against Arsenal, and said:

I don’t know. Do you think we are becoming bad? For sure, it’s strange, no? A strange situation. Look, I was a player and I think this can happen, this type of period, if you are not so lucky and receive red cards. But we have to try to improve in all situations.

“We work to improve tactical and physical situations. In the end, we’ll try to pay more attention in the future. I hope, also, to be more lucky with the refereeing decisions. For us, and also for the opponents. Sometimes the opponents deserve a red card but, instead, they carry on playing with 11 men. So you also have to be more lucky in the future.

Diego Costa sends message to Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

Not bitter

Former Chelsea player Diego Costa has spoken about his exit from Chelsea, and claimed that despite the huge amount of chaos surrounding it, he is in no way bitter towards the club.

He also made it clear just how much he loves the fans, and made it obvious that while manager Antonio Conte did not handle his exit in the best way, he has no issues with him and thinks that everything is fine.

The saga of the summer finally ended when Costa agreed terms and Chelsea agreed a fee with Atletico Madrid, and the player is now able to train with the side, yet cannot play for them until he is officially registered in January, when of course their ban ends.

He said to Splash News: “There’s nothing of the sort there, I’m not upset with anybody.

“I have no bitterness towards anyone. Everything is cool.”

“Everybody knows how much I love the fans.”

 

Big move

It’s the move Costa has wanted for some time – arguably since he came to England, but it seems that not everyone is totally convinced with his replacement just yet.

Morata has done well so far at Chelsea, but Phil Neville thinks that he is still taking time to settle in, and opposition managers would rather be facing Costa than Morata.

The Express report he said: “I would rather have Costa than Morata in my team at this moment in time, to be honest with you.

“I think he is better suited to the English game – Morata has great potential, but if you were an opposition manager, you would rather be facing Morata than Costa.”

Chelsea fans react to a huge win in the Carabo Cup and a very special goal

Big win

Chelsea managed to record a huge win in the Carabo Cup, and while their fans were proud of the fact the club were though to the next round, the majority of people were talking about one player.

Sadly for Michy Batshuayi, despite scoring a hat-trick, it was not him, as the majority of fans loved the performance from Charly Musonda, who netted on his first start for the club and showed just how much it meant with his celebration.

While most people focus on the kids Chelsea loan out, and the ones who don’t make it at the club, it’s nice for the fans to see the ones who get a chance, and defender Andreas Christensen has also featured a fair bit for the club this season, and managed to once again shine in the cup.

Now, with David Luiz suspended, the starlet will get another chance to impress, and it could well be the coming of age for a couple of their young players this season, especially with manager Antonio Conte making it clear he wants more in terms of strength and depth in the squad.

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Eden Hazard opens door to sensational Ligue 1 return

Eden Hazard debuts the Nike Mercurial Vapor Flyknit Ultra 2/2

Return

Chelsea star Eden Hazard is just coming back to full fitness, and it seems that he’s been speaking about his future.

The player claimed that Ligue 1 is on the rise, and while he’s not looking to leave Chelsea at the minute, should he depart in the future, a move back to Ligue 1 is not out of the question for him.

He spoke with SFR Sport, and said: “There are some big clubs, and it was an attractive league even when I played in it six years ago.

“Big stars want to play in Ligue 1, and that is a good thing.  But if I am to return it will be to play for Lille – they are my club.

“I still have a career to carve out, with a number of seasons ahead of me. 

“I am at Chelsea for the time being, and I don’t know where my career will take me in the future, but if I do go back to France it will be to play for Lille.”

 

Chelsea plans, Real Madrid and PSG

Something Chelsea fans will be happy about is the fact Hazard has spoken about how he wants to stay at the west London club for the next couple of years at least and try to win everything he can.

There’s no denying Hazard thinks he is one of the very best in the world and should be in contention for all the top awards to boot, meaning if Chelsea fail to get into the Champions League again or go on a long decline, he would look to leave, but under Antonio Conte that’s not looking like it could happen – for now at least.

Hazard appears to have ruled out a move to PSG, but one superpower who have been linked heavily with him on more than one occasion is Real Madrid, who he has expressed an interest in playing for.

Chelsea outcast Diego Costa handed massive blow

Diego Costa scores vs Southampton

No move

Chelsea outcast Diego Costa has been stuck in limbo all summer, and has been told by Antonio Conte not to return to the club.

Now, after a summer move to Atletico Madrid failed to come off, due to a fee failing to be negotiated between the Blues and the La Liga side, he’s currently stuck for at least another few months, and has been told by one man that he needs to sort the situation out for his own future – and return to training, whoever it is with.

Sort it out

Costa has now been told by his international manager that he needs to sort out his situation, and will not be selected for Spain if this carries on.

It’s hard to blame Lopetegui there, with Costa someone who is now thought to be a way from match fitness, having also put on a serious amount of weight according to reports, while he’s been in exile in Brazil.

 

Big competition

Even if Costa does get his move to Atletico Madrid and comes back to match fitness, the is no guarantee that he will be able to get into the Spain squad, with his Chelsea replacement Alvaro Morata someone who would be a strong contender to lead the line.

Spain have a wealth of options in terms of their squad, and have even turned to David Villa and brought the player out of retirement.

Costa is fully aware that if he wants to get into the squad come Russia 2018, he needs to make sure he’s match fit and playing every week for his club, something that is currently not happening at the minute and will not happen at Chelsea.  

Jose Mourinho called ‘rude’ and ‘wrong’ about Antonio Conte comments

Not right

Jose Mourinho has been lambasted over his comments about Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, after claiming that the Chelsea boss managed a negative side.

Mourinho has taken a swipe at his former club, and managed to offend former Chelsea player Graham Le Saux as well, who came to the defence of Conte.

“Jose Mourinho was a little rude about Chelsea after last weekend’s matches, criticising Conte’s side for defensive football,” Le Saux told Betfair.

“But that’s typical Mourinho, up to his usual mischief.

“Chelsea are not a negative side – the goals for column tells you that! 

“Whether you think Chelsea play a back three or five it’s irrelevant really. 

“They’re a five when they need to be and a three when they need to be.

“And we have seen how destructive wingbacks Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses can be when they go forward. 

“What I like about Chelsea is that even when they are under pressure they always offer a threat on the counter. 

“They’re great athletes and can get from back to front in no time at all.”

 

Top of the table

Chelsea may have won the league last season, but it’s the Manchester clubs who are sitting top of the pile at the minute, with Manchester City and United only having dropped two points all season and both looking brilliant up top.

Chelsea did have Arsenal to play this weekend, and it seemed that the club once again struggled to beat the Gunners, who took their first point from Stamford Bridge since 2011.

The Blues have now failed to beat Arsenal in their last three meetings, losing the FA Cup final, the Community Shield and now drawing in the Premier League, a result that will have pleased Jose Mourinho in terms of the points gap his Man United side have over Chelsea.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte responds to claims that his side have a disciplinary problem

Antonio Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has this evening claimed that the Blues ‘need more luck’ with referees, after David Luiz was sent off versus Arsenal.

Clash

The two sides went head-to-head in a hard-fought London derby earlier today, eventually ending all square as the capital rivals cancelled each other out.

Though no goals were scored, there were plenty of flashpoints to be discussed post-game, with Blues defender David Luiz at the heart of the analysis.

The key talking point came in the 87th minute, when Luiz was given his marching orders for a high, studs-showing tackle on Gunners wing-back Sead Kolasinac.

Worrying trend

The wily Brazilian’s red card stood as Chelsea’s 3rd in the Premier League and 4th in total already this season, after both Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill were sent off versus Burnley on the opening day of the season, and Pedro was dismissed during the Community Shield versus Arsenal.

Blues manager Antonio Conte was questioned on his side’s recent ill-discipline post-match today, and revealed his thoughts that the Premier League champions need more luck with referees moving forward.

‘I don’t know. Do you think we are becoming bad? For sure, it’s strange, no? A strange situation. Look, I was a player and I think this can happen, this type of period, if you are not so lucky and receive red cards. But we have to try to improve in all situations.’

‘We work to improve tactical and physical situations. In the end, we’ll try to pay more attention in the future. I hope, also, to be more lucky with the refereeing decisions. For us, and also for the opponents. Sometimes the opponents deserve a red card but, instead, they carry on playing with 11 men. So you also have to be more lucky in the future.’

Antonio Valencia nets long-range stunner for Manchester United vs Everton (Video)

Barton & Lineker defend Chelsea’s David Luiz for his Arsenal red card

Chelsea fans react to David Luiz being sent off after a dangerous tackle

David Luiz

Red card

Antonio Conte was furious when David Luiz saw red for a poor tackle on Arsenal player Sead Kolasinac, but it seemed the player actually had little to complain about.

Some people may even argue the player was lucky to stay on the field initially, with a tackle many called like Sadio Mane’s red card only being judged to be a yellow card.

However, after his second poor tackle, the player saw red and Chelsea once again had to finish the game with ten men.

It was also the first time the club had drawn a home Premier League game and failed to score in one at home under Antonio Conte. Not to mention the third sending off this season in the league – with zero Premier League red cards for the club last year en route to their title win.

Twitter was lit after the sending off, with many thinking Luiz deserved it.

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Alvaro Morata explains how he annoyed Cesar Azpilicueta last summer

Alvaro Morata

House hunting

Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata has spoken about how close he came to a move last summer – and said that one player had even started house hunting for him.

In a lighthearted story, he said that Cesar Azpilicueta had begun to look for somewhere for him to live, and was annoyed when a move failed to happen and he stayed in Madrid.

However, this summer he obviously did move, and hailed Azpi as the player who sorted out everything for him.

He spoke to the Daily Mail, and said: “Last summer it was close.

“Cesar Azpilicueta was a bit annoyed because he had already started house-hunting for me.

“We’d even got estate agents on board. This time Cesar has sorted everything.

“When I spoke to Conte last summer, I said ‘If I’m going to leave Real Madrid, it will only be for Chelsea’.

“I remember I was with my wife after hearing him out and I said ‘Chelsea are going to win the league this season.’ And that’s exactly what happened. Now we need to repeat it.”

Key man

Morata is of course a key man for Chelsea, and has taken on the goalscoring mantle, with Diego Costa AWOL and Eden Hazard being injured for the early games and only just being brought back into the side now in order to give him the best chance in terms of the rest of the season.

There’s no denying there are also those Real fans who think the player should have been kept, and their early season struggles without Morata and Ronaldo, with the latter being suspended, may well prove them right.

At one point it did look like Morata was on his way to Manchester United, but from the forward’s own comments it seems he only ever wanted to leave for Chelsea and to work with Antonio Conte.

Huge Chelsea blow as midfielder ruled out with calf injury

Out until October

Chelsea’s newest signing Danny Drinkwater will miss out on the action until after the next international break at least, with the player picking up a calf injury.

The news was revealed by Antonio Conte, who lamented the loss of the payer and claimed that he will need time to recover, leaving Chelsea short in the middle of the park.

Drinkwater was bought in to provide Conte with other options, so it’s understandable that the manager is frustrated.

Conte’s words were reported by the Express, with the manager saying: “He had a muscular problem in his calf. I think it’s very difficult to see him before the international break. He needs time to recover.

“It’s a pity because he was starting to work and to improve his physical condition.

“Now we have to move all these situations. And in two, three weeks, four weeks, I don’t know.”

 

Hazard boost

There is at least a boost for Chelsea in terms of Eden Hazard, with Conte coy yet positive on the player’s possible start come the vital Premier League game against Arsenal on the weekend.

He said: “About Eden for sure he is improving. To have this type of patience with him is paying off. He is very close to being totally fit, we have to continue in this way.

“I have to make the best decision for the team, for the players. He is improving a lot and is very close to being 10o per cent fit.”

A fully fit Hazard makes Chelsea a very different prospect indeed, and the player can certainly be the difference between a draw and a win – not to mention something that causes opponents a huge headache in terms of tactics and possibly even freeing up other Chelsea attackers while Hazard is man marked.

Chelsea defender issues stern warning ahead of Arsenal test

Antonio Conte

Away form

Young Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen has claimed the club are looking forward to their huge clash with Arsenal, and that they will relish the chance to play one of their title rivals.

The Blues haven’t come off well on the last couple of occasions they’ve played the Gunners, and it seems they are wary this time out as well, with the young defender claiming the away form Arsenal are struggling with isn’t a massive issue for them, and that they will be on their guard, and taking nothing for granted in their quest for three points.

Speaking with talkSPORT, he said: “We are looking forward to that, it’s come quickly.

“This month, we don’t have too much time off. 

We have to work hard in the training ground and I think everyone is looking forward to the week coming.”

He was asked about their away form, and said: “You can’t look at that.

“You just look at the players they have and the team they have got. We know how difficult it’s going to be.”

 

Three points

Maximum points from the game is certainly something both sides will want, and after Arsenal dropped points on the road and Chelsea saw three points lost on the opening day, neither side will want to fall any further behind.

The Manchester clubs have been the majority of people’s favourites for the title since the summer, and with issues at both Chelsea and Arsenal in terms of transfers, it’s easy to see why.

However, Chelsea are only getting stronger – according to Cesc Fabregas at least – and the club want to retain their title.

To do that, they will need to navigate their way through far more games than last season, and will be glad that star man Eden Hazard is coming back into the side, after making cameo appearances from the bench for the last couple of games.

Chelsea boss brutal when asked about thoughts on Wenger and Arsenal

Antonio Conte

Doesn’t care

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has offered little sympathy when it comes to their opponents for this weekend and London rivals, Arsenal. 

Conte claimed that Wenger doesn’t have his sympathy, the Europa League shouldn’t be an issue for the club and they should be fighting for the title, given they kept the majority of their top players this summer.

The Express report Conte said: “I don’t care nothing about Arsenal’s situation, I care about Chelsea’s.

“When we talk about it we are unlucky.

“They will solve their problems, we will solve ours.

“They are a big rival, if you see their squad they have a lot of top players.

“I don’t understand why they can’t fight for the title, they lost only one player but kept all the rest.

“They have many top players.

“I have watched the game Wenger rotated a lot of players and were rested for the game against us, it is not an advantage.

“Arsenal is one of the six top teams in England and I think they have a really good squad to fight for something important. The title, for sure.

“This is a massive game when you play against Arsenal.

“The same against City, United, Liverpool, Spurs. There are six top teams and when you play it is a massive game. We have to fight and play against a rival.”

Massive three points

The three points on offer this weekend will be huge in terms of a psychological blow to the losers, and with Chelsea especially looking to win the title, beating one of your rivals is always the optimum situation.

Conte will also want to win given he lost the FA Cup final and the Community Shield to the Gunners and Wenger – and will know that Chelsea are only ever one step and one loss away from the media and the fans reading a huge amount into a situation and creating a crisis where there usually is not one.

Jamie Carragher explains why Arsenal won’t win the Premier League

Arsene Wenger wins the FA Cup. Again!

Weak at the back

Jamie Carragher has claimed Arsenal won’t win the league due to their long standing issues in defence.

He thinks that Arsene Wenger should’ve purchased a top centre back in the summer – and failed to do so, meaning the Gunners will once again fail to win any trophies of note this season.

“Arsenal haven’t improved at the back since last season,” he told the London Evening Standard.

“If you want to be successful, you have to have a strong defensive unit. But that’s what has let Arsenal down. 

“Arsenal conceded 44 goals last season and that is far too many. 

“You must aim to concede less than a goal a game, then that gives you a chance to challenge for the title. 

“Just look at the last three champions: Chelsea last season (33 goals against), Leicester (36) and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2015 (32).

“This is why I was very surprised Arsenal didn’t bring another centre-back in, especially as they are going to play three at the back a lot more. 

“Arsenal and Chelsea wanted to sign Van Dijk and the £60-£70million fee talked about was an awful lot and shows there is a dearth of centre-backs. If you want a player of that quality, you have to pay it. If you don’t, maybe you don’t achieve the targets you have set for the club. 

“Southampton didn’t sell Van Dijk, but Chelsea still went and brought in Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen [back from loan] and added to what they had.”

 

Liverpool have the same issues

Ironically, Carragher’s former team Liverpool also have the same issues, with their defensive line-up also shocking and looking like it will cost them in key games.

That’s already been the case in Europe and the Premier League last season, and they were another side who chased after van Dijk for the majority of the summer – with no success.

Pundit predicts Chelsea will beat Arsenal because of one key thing

Arsene Wenger's shoes

Too strong

Gus Poyet has come out and backed his former club Chelsea when they take on Arsenal this weekend, and claimed that while the Blues are as strong as ever, the same issues plague Arsenal.

That’s been clear to see from their start to the season, and it seems that while when the players are on top form, they will win well, there are the same problems that have haunted them for years under Arsene Wenger.

He was speaking with taslkSPORT and said: “I agree (Chelsea will win), of course after Chelsea with Burley, it’s difficult to arrive at this situation. 

“But overall Chelsea sit stronger. Arsenal have too many issues, too many problems. The fans aren’t happy.

“Everything is coming to a point where it’s difficult for the team to perform.

“It’s a great time for Chelsea to play Arsenal and prove themselves are capable of winning the Premier League.”

 

Europa League issues

Of course, much has been made of teams trying to challenge for the Premier League when they also have the Europa League to deal with, and it seems that while Arsene Wenger does not think it will be an issue for his side, the majority of other people aren’t so sure.

Arsenal may have beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup final and in the season’s curtain raiser, but it will be the Blues who are the most confident going into the game – especially after their own huge win in Europe this week.

Chelsea will welcome back Eden Hazard, who fans will hope to see start the game after coming on in the last couple as he completes his return from injury, and Arsenal saw Alexis Sanchez score a brilliant goal in the Europa League and will hope for more of the same from him while they can still get it.

Eden Hazard sends a message to Antonio Conte ahead of Chelsea-Arsenal

Eden Hazard debuts the Nike Mercurial Vapor Flyknit Ultra 2/2

Beware Arsenal: Eden Hazard is fit and firing

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been very cautious with ensuring Eden Hazard is fit and ready this season.

And it looks like the Belgian wizard has sent a message to Conte ahead of Sunday’s huge Premier League game between Chelsea and Arsenal.

Hazard broke his ankle in the early stages of the summer and spent the whole off season recuperating.

Eden Hazard comes on for Chelsea in successive games…

There were fears that Hazard would miss a large chunk of the 2017/2018 season but he has generally been eased back so far.

After playing for Chelsea Under-23s and Belgium, Hazard has been introduced in Premier League and Champions League games this past week.

A 12-minute cameo at Leicester was followed by a 32-minute run out against Qarabag in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Will Eden Hazard start for Chelsea v Arsenal?

After the substitute appearances for Chelsea and performances for Belgium, it always looked like Hazard would start for Chelsea against Arsenal.

On Thursday night, Hazard sent another message to Antonio Conte over his fitness, by uploading a skills video to Instagram.

This features Hazard in glorious form in Chelsea training.

Will Arsenal be able to stop Eden Hazard this season?

The Belgian superstar tagged the video: “Having fun, a few skills for you to enjoy!!”

Judging by the clip, Arsenal will do well to get anywhere near Hazard on Sunday.

Eden Hazard scored one of the best goals of his career against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last season.

Chelsea will be looking for revenge after losing to Arsenal in both the FA Cup final and Community Shield.

Arsenal have lost their last five Premier League games at Chelsea.

Eden Hazard skills video on Instagram

Having fun, a few skills for you to enjoy!! #cfc

A post shared by Eden Hazard (@hazardeden_10) on

Related: Eden Hazard reveals brilliant nickname for Chelsea teammate Cesc Fabregas.

Eden Hazard reveals his favourite Chelsea goal & plans for 2017/2018.

Revealed: The Premier League side Ferdinand is tipping for Champions League glory

They can go far

Rio Ferdinand has tipped Chelsea as the team who could go furthest in the Champions League this season. as he thinks that while the Manchester sides look strong in terms of their attacking prowess, their defences both leave a lot to be desired.

Man United conceded two against Stoke on the weekend, and even let Basel have chances – something that would have punished them against other sides.

He was speaking after the first round of fixtures in the competition while on BT Sport, and said: “They are a very well balanced team.

“The manager works hard and from what you hear from within the camp, he drills them daily on tactics and they have an understanding of each other as individuals and as a team.

“In that sense, they are our best hope, as an English team.

“With the other teams, you can see deficiencies. Man United, defensively, could come unstuck against the top teams. Man City, the same.

“Attacking, they’re both fantastic, but Chelsea are very well-rounded.”

 

Behind other sides

It’s clear that the English sides are some way behind other sides – especially the Spanish duo who are of course deadly, and even when you consider Bayern Munich and Juventus, you would struggle to see the majority of the English sides in the competition being considered favourites.

Real Madrid have dominated the Champions League in the last few seasons, and no English side has won it since Chelsea managed to win at the Allianz Arena back in 2012 – and that was considered a huge shock as well.

This season, with five English sides in the competition and the majority of those getting favourable draws in the group stages, the odds may well be in their favour in terms of the initial rounds of the knockout stages at least.

Cesc Fabregas issues ominous warning to Chelsea’s rivals

Just getting started

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has claimed Chelsea are only getting better as they look to get back to top form.

There have been some questions about the Blues this season, but it seems that the club are settling in to life as defending Champions of England – and favourites in their Champions League group as well after what looked at times to be a difficult summer for Antonio Conte, the board and some of the players.

Cesc was speaking after Chelsea’s 6-0 win, and the Mirror report he said: “Personally I played very well, and the team as well collectively are back to, I wouldn’t say our best, but we are getting there. Slowly, slowly, hopefully we can be back on top form.

“We have been waiting for a long time to be back playing Champions League, and finally it arrived.

“It was a good performance, a good result. You never know if goals could count at the end of the group stage so we just keep going.”

Defending champions

Chelsea are aiming to defend their title in the Premier League, although this season it already looks like they’re set to face much tougher competition than they did last season, with both Manchester United and Manchester City looking ominous in their opening games, and the Premier League once again showing any side is capable of beating any other on their day.

Not only that, but Conte will want to take Chelsea at least into the knockout stages of the Champions League, and knows that the opening day win may prove huge in what is a tough group for the Blues.

Champions League success has always been a priority at Chelsea, and the club will want to prove they can mix it with the best in the world – especially after a season away from the competition last time out.

Arsene Wenger speaks about Europa League issues ahead of Chelsea clash

Arsene Wenger's shoes

Not an issue

Arsene Wenger has been speaking about Arsenal’s game against Chelsea just after their Europa League fixture – and claims it will be no issue for the club, who are used to having European fixtures to deal with when it comes to managing their Premier League obligations to boot.

The game against Chelsea is one of the most vital for Arsenal over the course of a season, and three points would mark a huge coup for the club and Wenger, who is once again under pressure from the media and fans, despite signing a new deal in the summer.

The Express report Wenger said: “It is a good opportunity to show we can cope.

“[Last season] we played on Wednesday night in Barcelona and against Everton on Saturday morning.

“It is a preconceived idea, football is down to how you perform on the day. Three days is plenty of time to recover.”

Alexis and Ozil

Arsenal are still waiting for the decisions of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who are of course out of contract this summer, and it seems that the duo could well leave the club.

It looks like a certainty that Alexis will depart, but Ozil’s future is less clear, with the player thought to be willing to stay given no offers of note have come through for him.

Staying could well mean a payrise – and that’s not something the majority of fans feel he is worth after recent performances.

Chelsea in good form

Chelsea are heading into the game on the back of a huge win in their Champions League campaign, and after making up for a disappointing opening game in the Premier League as well.

Their transfer business also picked up on deadline day, and after seeing Alvaro Morata fire in the goals, the club have not missed Diego Costa this season either, with the player thought to be closing in on his dream move back to Atletico Madrid.

The FA threaten fans with lifetime bans for new Alvaro Morata chant

Antonio Conte

Anti-Semitic chant

Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Leicester on Saturday was somewhat marred by a section of traveling Blues fans.

A small group of the away supporters sang a song for summer signing Alvaro Morata, with anti-Semitic undertones.

The lyrics sang were “Alvaro, oh, Alvaro, oh. He came from Real Madrid, he hates the  ****ing Yids”, referencing the club’s rivalry with Tottenham  Hotspur.

To their credit, Chelsea were quick to condemn the chant, releasing a statement shortly after the match.

At his pre-match press conference, ahead of their Champions League opener against FK Qarabag, manager Antonio Conte echoed the club’s sentiment, labeling the chant as “unacceptable”.

Potential lifetime bans

Morata himself has urged supporters to not sing the song, appealing to his fans on his Instagram page.

On Monday, the Football Association threatened supporters with lifetime bans for the song.

The FA has asked to be told if anyone sees another fan singing it.

Chelsea are officially backing the FA’s stance and will help enforce a lifetime ban if any supporters are caught sining it.

In addition to the club’s official statement, the club’s head of communications had this to say on Monday:

“Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discrimination abhorrent and the language that was used in that song the other night we find totally unacceptable.

“People that use this kind of language against others always try to argue a grey area. There is no grey area. That language used was anti-Semitic.”

Man United boss Jose Mourinho aims dig at former club Chelsea

Defensive

Jose Mourinho can’t seem to help himself but take digs at his former side Chelsea, and did it again this weekend after his side dropped points and lost their lead at the top of the table, after being early pace setters.

Mourinho was speaking after the weekend’s results and said: “We know that if you look in a pragmatic way, you see the last winners of the Premier League, the last winners of the Premier League, they did not play attacking football. They played defensive football and counter-attack football.

“So according to the results, that is the way to win the Premier League.

“We try to play according to the qualities of our players. We try to play positive, we try to play good, but we try to win.

“If one day to win we have to play defensive football, we have to do it. And if we go to Stoke and Stoke in some moments of the match, they put us under pressure and they are dominant, we have to be humble and we have to be pragmatic and we have to face the reality.

“If you ask me, are we going to go there and play with seven at the back, like some teams do, five plus two? No, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to try and play well and score goals.

“But if our opponent is better than us and dominant, we are humble enough to transform our way of playing to play for a result.”

Title rivals

There’s no denying the fact Chelsea and Man United will be title rivals this season – with Manchester City also eyeing the big prize, and one of the reasons Antonio Conte was so keen on new summer signings was the fact he saw his rivals buy and strengthen – and was worried his team would be left behind.

Mourinho may have wanted four players this summer, but the three he got in – not to mention the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make a huge difference to the side, and it’s clear already how much Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku are doing in terms of winning points.

Chelsea forward Morata reveals what he said to Real Madrid before leaving

Alvaro Morata

Backfire

Alvaro Morata reportedly warned Real Madrid they would regret selling him to Chelsea during the summer according to Don Balon, via the Express. 

The forward had already returned to Real Madrid once after a spell at Juventus, and told the La Liga winners he would not come back again – and that he would be missed by them – something that looks like being the case.

However, their loss is Chelsea’s gain, with the Spaniard settling into life at the club quickly, and certainly filling the hole left by Atletico Madrid bound Diego Costa.

Bad start

Real Madrid have dropped four points in their last two games, and that’s certainly not what the fans want or were expecting, and it seems that Zidane could well be regretting allowing Morata to leave.

With Ronaldo out, the club are relying on Asensio – and with Gareth Bale showing he’s still hit and miss – not to mention injury prone, Karim Benzema could do with some back up, especially in the form of a player as good and as lethal in front of goal as Morata.

Chelsea firing again

Chelsea are certainly on firing form again, and look like the side who won the Premier League title last season.

They also face a Champions League return and will want to show they are serious contenders, with the only time they’ve won it being in 2012 – something Antonio Conte will want to change during his spell at the club – if he lasts long enough.

Morata spoke after Chelsea’s latest win, and said: It was a very important win.

“Against teams like Leicester it’s always very difficult and we suffered in the last minutes having been 2-0 up, but that’s the Premier League.

“I’m feeling good but we are not in first place, which is the most important thing, so we must keep working.”

Chelsea boss Conte demands more of one thing from his team

Antonio Conte

More goals

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is a perfectionist – and it seems the manager will not rest until he thinks his team is perfect.

He claimed after their win over Leicester that while he was happy for the team and new forward Alvaro Morata, the fact that the club needed to score more goals was something that played heavily on his mind.

He noted that the player is improving and that he was pleased to see that – and Chelsea were in total control for the majority of the game.

Conte was speaking after the game, and the Express claim he said: “It is a good day for the team and a good day for Alvaro.

“It is always important for the striker to score.

“But for me it is very important to see that he is improving and he is more involved in our idea of football and for me that is the most important thing.

“Then if he scores, I am very happy and I am pleased for the player.

“We played very well, we were in total control and could have scored more goals. 

“After the penalty it changed the situation. They tried to push but despite this we had chances to improve the score. 

“It is a good result and a good performance.”

Title challengers

Chelsea will no doubt be there or there abouts when it comes to the title winners at the end of the season, and Conte has made it very clear he wants to see the club do far better this season than the last time they had a title to defend.

There was some concern over the lack of transfer activity this summer, but after a busy deadline day for the Blues – not to mention the fact that Chelsea will have plans for the winter transfer deadline, they look in a far better shape than many may have thought post Burnley.

Chelsea star Pedro expresses delight with one key thing this season

Pedro v Everton

Great progression

Chelsea winger Pedro has claimed he’s happy with the start of the season – and that the club are only improving.

After seeing their detractors come front and centre following their opening game, the Blues have now stabilised and look more like the side who stormed to the title last season in Antonio Conte’s debut season in charge of the club.

The Express report he was speaking after their win over Leicester, and said: “It’s one more win for us, a very important three points and we are continuing in the right way.

‘The team are playing very well.

“Every game in the Premier League is difficult, Leicester are very good on the counter attack and in transitions, with players like Vardy and Mahrez, so it was very important for us to win.

“They were two very good goals, Morata scored the first from a good Azpi cross, and N’Golo’s was a nice shot from outside the box. We are moving up the table which is very good for us.”

Injuries

Pedro has of course seen his own start to the season slightly affected due to his facial injury, but joined Chelsea’s masked XI on his return. 

The Blues may have seen their opening game go wrong, but since then, there’s no doubt they are looking better with each passing game and are certainly up there when it comes to the title favourites.

Champions League

After a season out of the Champions League, Chelsea fans will be looking forward to seeing their side back in Europe’s Premier competition, and Antonio Conte will be targeting a place in the knockout stages as well.;

Chelsea may not have the easiest group, but it’s still one they will hope to win, and try and set themselves up with a favourable draw in the next round to boot.

Chelsea star Diego Costa gives clearest indication yet Atletico move is on

Family in Madrid

Chelsea player Diego Costa has moved his family to Madrid ahead of what is finally thought to be a move to Atletico Madrid – or at least an agreement between Chelsea and the La Liga side.

Costa had wanted to move during the prior transfer window, yet a fee could not be agreed between the clubs, and now it seems the player has agreed terms with the club and a deal of £175,000 per week – and Chelsea are closer to agreeing a fee with Diego Simeone’s side – according to the Express. 

Not wanted

Costa has made it clear he’s unwilling to return to the club after a text from manager Antonio Conte telling him he was no longer wanted, and despite the board asking him to come back, he’s been in Brazil since then – even poking fun at the club on social media, and also giving interviews to the media about the situation.

While Antonio Conte has claimed the situation is laughable and the club know what Costa is doing, the sooner it’s resolved, the better for everyone involved.

Costa is thought to be some months away from match fitness, and needs time before he can play at the top level – so it may not be such an issue that Atletico Madrid cannot play him until January due to their ban when it comes to registering players.

Morata

One thing Chelsea do have going for them is the form of Diego Costa’s replacement – Morata has been sensational and shown that he is more than able to cope with life in the Premier League – and has scored crucial goals for the Blues.

With the Champions League coming up, it seems that Morata will have even more chances to prove how good he is – and leave the memory of Diego Costa behind.

Leicester 1 – Chelsea 2: Drinkwater’s return & Conte’s slip up (Tunnel Cam Video)

Leicester 1 – Chelsea 2

Chelsea are now third in the Premier League.

That’s a fine recovery from the reigning EPL champs after they lost their opening game of the season at home to Burnley.

Since that shock result, Chelsea have won three matches on the spin.

They’ve beaten Spurs away, Everton at home, and on Saturday the Blues beat Leicester 2-1 at the King Power Stadium.

Alvaro Morata opened for the Blues, before former Leicester star N’Golo Kante doubled the visitors’ lead.

A Jamie Vardy penalty halved the deficit, but the Foxes couldn’t find a late equaliser.

Drinkwater’s return & Conte’s slip up

Leicester have posted tunnel cam footage from Saturday’s match on their official YouTube channel.

On transfer deadline day, Danny Drinkwater left the Foxes to join Chelsea.

Drinkwater was left on the bench for the match on Saturday, but the occasion allowed the England midfielder to meet up with his old team mates.

In a classy move before the game, Drinkwater made sure to shake hands with all his former Leicester buddies plus members of staff.

Another interesting moment came after the full time whistle.

When Antonio Conte walked into the tunnel, the Italian boss almost slipped on the floor in his nice dress shoes.

Fortunately for Conte, he caught himself just before he something truly comical played out.

Also see: Good for Chelsea: Arsene Wenger confirms bad news to Arsenal Fan TV (Video).