CHELSEA v Barcelona: Champions League Preview

 

Date: Tuesday 20th February 2018

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

 

Friday night’s game was a clear improvement in performance for us but getting that into context, it was against Hull City. Tonight, our visitors are Barcelona and whilst we can clutch at whatever historical straws between us we like, the reality is, records are there for the taking from us this season. We’ve won just four from our previous 12 games in all competitions, whilst Barcelona have lost just once all season. They’re also unbeaten in the Champions League so far.

Of course, you’d have to say we’ve given a good account of ourselves going unbeaten against them in our last seven Champions League meetings, notably beating them in the semi-finals in 2012 on our way to winning the trophy. Our record of shutting out Messi is also pretty impressive but with 27 goals in all competitions already this season, you could never write off a hattrick from him to erase everything that’s gone before.

The fact is, Barcelona look a different prospect this time around. When he’s not scoring, Messi has turned provider for Luis Suarez but probably just as worrying is, with seven clean sheets in their last 10 games, they look to have got their defensive act together as well – and given we’ve struggled to break down anyone outside of Hull City and West Brom lately, that doesn’t bode well.
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CHELSEA v Hull: FA Cup Preview

Date: Friday 16th February 2018

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 20:00 GMT

 

Tonight’s FA Cup fifth round tie sees us at home to Hull City and for me, it’s a really hard game to read. After a couple of really shoddy performances, we come into this off the back of a 3-0 win over West Brom – and yes, it was the Baggies and no, we didn’t blow a poor West Brom away but there were undoubted signs of improvement.

So, given the need to gather some momentum, we should probably play the same XI and yet, Conte will be thinking about the upcoming fixtures against Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City. We can’t go into those games knackered but on the other hand, we can’t go into them with a side who aren’t on a roll together competitively. Who’d be a manager? Basically, Conte will be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
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CHELSEA v West Brom: Preview

 

Date: Monday 12th February 2018

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 20:00 GMT

 

 

With everyone above us apart from United winning at the weekend and pushing us out of the top four, tonight’s game at home to West Brom is one of those clichéd ‘must wins’. Of course, that wouldn’t be the case if we hadn’t spent the last couple of weeks playing like a Sunday League side (no offence to Sunday League) but since we seem to have become as allergic to second seasons as Jose Mourinho, it’s a cross we have to bear.

With Antonio Conte’s job seemingly filled on a daily basis now by the press, they’ll no doubt be hoping the curse of the Baggies fixtures returns to haunt us tonight and with just one win in our last 5 games, none of us can be remotely confident that their headlines will be put on hold. These fixtures have so far seen the end of Andres Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo for us and whilst it was the reverse fixture last season that handed us the title, the same fixture this season saw the end of Tony Pulis.

Antonio Conte has insisted this week he has no intention of going anywhere but whether or not he does get to see out his contract sits squarely on the shoulders of our players and tonight will no doubt tell us whether they really do want the same thing.
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Watford v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Monday 5th February, 2018

Venue: Vicarage Road

Kick-off: 20:00 GMT

 

 

 

After a weekend of media crowing over Sanchez and Kane, the Monday night game sees us travel to Watford so that they can crow over Troy Deeney – and after the Bournemouth game, I don’t necessarily say that in jest.

Chelsea were woeful in the last game against Bournemouth, although that’s what happens when you loan out your back up striker on the day of a game – he goes on to score a brace for Dortmund whilst you get the battering decisions like that deserve. Of course we’ve replaced him with Olivier Giroud, which could reasonably be regarded as a good thing, if it wasn’t for Antonio Conte’s concerns that someone at the club forgot to give our new striker his Sea Bands for the car trip over from the Emirates. So, whilst Giroud is likely to start on the bench at best, I suspect Emerson Palmieri won’t even make it that far, with Conte making it known he is coming back from a ‘bad’ injury. Looking on the bright side though, at least our third new signing of the window is fighting fit……..oh.
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CHELSEA v Newcastle: FA Cup Preview

 

Date: Sunday 28th January 2018

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 13.30

 

After going out of the League Cup midweek to Arsenal, today’s early kick-off sees us play host to Newcastle in the fourth round of the FA Cup but whilst most predictions I’ve seen seem to have us as firm favourites to go through, I’m less convinced. Of course, we’ve shown we’re capable of throwing in a decent performance here and there but those have become ever more sporadic. The size of the squad obviously doesn’t help in a season where Conte has more frequent fixtures to contend with than he did in his honeymoon season and the players look worryingly weary at times both in body and spirit. The fact that weariness is also reflected in our once manic manager, worn down by the usual press nonsense and whatever it is he’s up against behind closed doors, does nothing for the confidence of us looking on.

We’ve had a lot of success in the FA Cup over the years and its an important competition for us although whether or not the current crop of players will have the same sense of sentiment is doubtful. We’d also had a good record against Arsenal before this season and that appeared to mean very little to them in the second half Wednesday night. We can only hope there’s some pride left to play for amongst them.
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My Passion for Chelsea

Hi. To introduce myself, I’m Daniel and I’ve followed the original author of this blog for years on Twitter. I’m used to blogging having my own movie blog so I thought why not write about the biggest passion in my life, Chelsea football club.

I wanted to write a piece on why I love Chelsea so much and why it is and will always be, one of the most important things in my life. It all started when I was living with my mum and Dad down in Hayes, Middlesex. Dad had been a lifelong Chelsea fan, as had his Dad. I always loved sitting down with Dad watching Chelsea on tv when we were live on BBC1 or ITV. This was in the days before Sky’s domination of top league football.

One of my earliest childhood memories is watching games on tv with dad. I remember the shouting, the worry, the absolute screams of joy everytime we scored. Then I remember the first time Dad took me and my younger brother to a Chelsea game. If memory serves me correctly, it was Chelsea v Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. I can’t even remember the score I’m ashamed to say but I remember the excitement, the crowd all jumping up together at every attack.
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Brighton & Hove Albion v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Saturday 20th January 2018

Venue: Amex Stadium

Kick-off: 12:30 GMT

 

 

 

 

After a complete farce of a game against Norwich in the FA Cup, today’s early kick-off takes us to Brighton. We’ll be without Alvaro Morata and Pedro after they both saw red midweek, and quite probably Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas who are both nursing dodgy hamstrings. Michy Batshuayi did manage a goal against Norwich although otherwise did little to ask any questions of his manager, so whether he starts today, or Conte goes with Hazard up front remains to be seen.

As for Brighton, they have little to worry about in terms of absentees and they’ve looked to be just about coping in the premier league although they’ve won just 1 of the last 12 league games and failed to score in eight of them. After some of our most abject displays in recent years though, Brighton will fancy their chances of getting something out of this game – and who could blame them?

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CHELSEA v Leicester: Preview

Date: Saturday 13th January 2018

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

 

 

 

Today’s game sees us take on Leicester City at Stamford Bridge and I don’t know about anyone else but I feel about as enthusiastic as our players have looked in their last few games.

Whilst the team of strangers Conte fielded together against Norwich shot him in the foot, our first XI didn’t look that much better against Arsenal Wednesday night in the league cup, so this clearly isn’t about what Conte does or doesn’t do. Like every manager before him, he’s got the press recycling their customary Chelsea stories, a club in no great hurry to support him either publicly or in the market, and a fan base stamping their feet like toddlers offered a sprint round the pound shop instead a daytrip to Toys R Us.

Leicester meanwhile, come into this one a lot livelier after their rest and with Jamie Vardy back from injury.  We can only hope Puel sends Vardy and Mahrez out complete with ball and chain as a precautionary measure in the window. Read more »

Norwich v CHELSEA: FA Cup Preview

 

Date: Saturday 6th January 2018

Venue: Carrow Road

Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

 

 

 

Today’s late game takes us to Carrow Road for an FA cup tie against Norwich. Currently 13th in the Championship table, the Canaries have lacked consistency this season although come into this game unbeaten in their last three. Chelsea meanwhile, are unbeaten in 7 but likely to make a number of changes with a tough 2-2 against Arsenal in the league behind us and another meeting against them coming up Wednesday night in the League Cup.

Carrow Road has been kind to us in the most recent trips there and our last FA Cup meeting with Norwich finished 4-0 as well, so a continuation of that form would do us today.

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CHELSEA v Stoke: Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Saturday 30th December 2017

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

 

Today’s game has a touch of déjà vu about it because its almost a year to the day we last played Stoke at home in the league. This year though, we’re not riding quite as high because we go into this one below both Manchester clubs. And whilst we might be just a point off United after their slip against Burnley, their neighbours are streets ahead of the rest of us.

We do go into this game with six home league wins in a row and 23 points from the last 30 available, but its debatable how motivated players can be without a prize in sight. The Potters meanwhile, come into the game knowing they’ve only managed one point from nine Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge but have taken four points from their Christmas games so far and will likely kick lumps out of us looking for more.

This fixture last year was the usual hard-fought battle but finished 4-2, so I’m hoping for Groundhog Day.

 

 

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