Authors Posts by Francesca Ceciarini

Francesca Ceciarini

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It has been confirmed today that Newcastle have officially signed Christian Atsu from Chelsea on a four-year deal.

It was announced earlier this month that Rafa Benitez had given the green light for Atsu to be signed, with a £6.2m deal being agreed between Newcastle and Chelsea for his loan move to be made permanent.

Atsu scored 5 goals and assisted 3 in his 32 appearances on loan last season and had often spoken out about his desire to stay with the club.

 

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John Terry and Chelsea were criticised for the way the legendary captain stepped out of the pitch last Sunday in his last game with the Blues shirt at Stamford Bridge, with a guard of honour by all his team-mates.

The episode criticised by some pundits with the BBC’s Garth Crooks saying: “This isn’t Hollywood, this is a Premier League fixture.”

But Terry claimed he doesn’t care about critics and renew his love for the fans:

“I couldn’t care less, I promise you,” the Blues skipper said.

“All I care about is celebrating with my Chelsea fans. Me and them have a wonderful rapport and have done for 22 years.

“Nothing that people write or say can ever get in the way of that.

“If that’s the way I want to go out, that’s the way I go out because I’ve been here 22 years, I’ve won so many trophies – so if I wanted to play one minute and come off, I would have done.

“I wanted to play 26 minutes because the shirt number means a lot to me and the supporters so as long as they are happy – and I was over the moon with the reception – I promise you I could not care less.”

Terry hopes to make his 718th and last appearance for the Blues in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal.

But the former England captain says he will never forget the ovation he received from the Stamford Bridge faithful.

“It was an unbelievable send-off from the supporters to help me to celebrate 22 years at the club.

“I’m very grateful to them, and it was something I will never forget. It was so emotional after the game, I was in bits.”

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During his heartfelt farewell speech at Stamford Bridge Chelsea legend John Terry revealed he won’t retire from played football claiming he will take a decision about his future after a break, so probably in the next month:

“I am going to take a few weeks off now with my family to relax before making a decision [on my future].

“But I want to carry on playing, whether it be for one or two more years.

“And that is the reason I decided to leave the club as I did not want to stand in the way of all the young players.”

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Arsenal lost two key players in Premier League final game against Everton yesterday: Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista.

Both defenders, who started in Gunners’ 3-1 win, could not complete the 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium due to different reasons: Koscielny received a straight red card for his reckless tackle on Enner Valencia in the 14th minute, Gabriel had to be stretchered off with a serious looking injury eight minutes into the second half.

The French defender will miss the FA Cup final for suspension, while the Brazilian one is rated as extremely doubtful, with Arsene Wenger saying his overstretched knee did not look good.

 

Two important men missing for the Wembley clash, that’s why Martin Keown reckons Arsenal have almost lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea:

“He’s [Wenger] almost lost the cup final today because there is a big hole in their defence because Koscielny is a wonderful player and Gabriel is an able deputy”, the Arsenal legend said on the BBC’s Final Score programme.

“Honestly, I really don’t know which way it’s going to go now.

“Arsene Wenger looked very low and very down.

“They only missed out very marginally [on the top four] and I think Arsene Wenger not signing his contract created uncertainty.

“The magic power he had was the warmth he gave to his players, the certainty he gave in everything he did – he took that away and he still hasn’t declared what he’s going to do yet.”

Arsenal have faced Chelsea twice this season, winning one game in September and losing the other one in February.

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Speaking after lifting the Premier League trophy at Stamford Bridge yesterday, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte analysed the season that brought him to the first title in England:

“I dreamed this,” Conte told Sky Sports.

I must be honest, if you ask me, my first day at Chelsea to arrive at the end of the season and to win the league and the final of the FA Cup, it was very difficult for me to imagine this.

“It is right to enjoy this moment with our fans. This moment is very important for Chelsea. We are in a moment when it is right to build something important.

“We lost many fantastic players for Chelsea, for example [Branislav] Ivanovic and [John Obi] Mikel and now John Terry. Players that have written the history of Chelsea.

“Now it is important to create a good foundation and to build something important for the future.”

Then Conte added:

“This league is very tough. It is great to win after the last win with Claudio [Ranieri].

“Claudio did a fantastic job last season. To arrive in my first season and to repeat what Claudio did, I am proud for me and for my family.

“I think it is amazing for me, the players, the club, it is a great achievement. After a very tough season, don’t forget this. But now it is right to enjoy this.”

“This change was very important because we found the right balance and every single player enjoyed this type of situation.

“The key moment for us and then a lot of work. I must be pleased because I found the players who had never played this system and to change totally – a back three is very different to a back four – it was not easy.

“I found fantastic players and great men.”

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Premier League is finished but Chelsea season isn’t: the Blues are running for the double, and they will try to emulate 2009/2010 success next Saturday, when they will face Arsenal in the FA Cup final.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte‘s major concern is to not decrease the focus and the tension in the dressing room, so to have players with the right motivation at Wembley:

“This is the real danger for us, to think that this season is finished,” Conte said after lifting Premier League trophy today.

“To win the title this season becomes great. This season can become fantastic if we are able to win the FA Cup. We must find the right motivation. It’s important for us to celebrate, but then to find the right fire in our soul to be ready to work very hard this week to prepare and to feel in the right way this game,” he told reporters.

“This is a great opportunity to win and to do the double. If you ask me who is the favourite now, I can tell (you) it’s Arsenal. Arsenal now has only this possibility to find a good season after a win in the FA Cup. For this reason we must pay great attention. We must find in ourselves the right motivation, the right anger. The game will be very difficult.

 “After I don’t know how many years Arsenal missed the Champions League. We must have our antenna very high and prepare in the right way. I’m not talking about tactical game, I’m talking about motivation, right fire in ourselves, in our soul, in our heart. If we have this in the same proportion as Arsenal, or more, we have the possibility to do the double. Otherwise we risk a lot.”

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Team News

Chelsea

Antonio Conte revealed the team has got two targets for today’s game: 30 wins in one Premier League season ( it would be the new record) and Thibaut Courtois‘ Golden Glove.

– The Italian tactician didn’t reveal if John Terry will start in the last game of his Chelsea career at Stamford Bridge, but t seems most likely that he will come as a substitute.

– Conte revealed he’s got no injury concerns for this game

 

Sunderland

– The Black Cats, instead, have got at least 11 injured players: Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore, Jan Kirchhoff, Steven Pienaar, George Honeyman, Wahbi Khazri, Jason Denayer, Victor Anichebe, Papy Djilobodji, Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong were all ruled out for the trip to London.

– Sunderland are already relegated and this will be their last Premier League game for at least one year.

 

Predicted Line Ups

CHELSEA - Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Marcos Alonso; Pedro, Hazard, Diego Costa.

SUNDERLAND - Pickford; Jones, O’Shea, Lescott; Manquillo, Cattermole, Oviedo, Larsson, Gibson; Defoe, Borini.

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Eden Hazard warns Chelsea to remain on top to win more titles in the upcoming years.

The Blues won the Premier League title this season and are running for double with FA Cup final set against Arsenal for next Saturday, but last year finished the campaign 10th in the table after being crowned Champions of England the season before:

“That’s football. Sometimes you are on the top,” Hazard explained to BBC.

“Two years ago we won also the league, but last season was difficult for some reasons.

“Sometimes motivation is not on the top, fitness is not on the top, so a lot of things.

“(This season) we started well and we won the league, but next season we will be in trouble if we don’t work hard like we did this season.

“We need to be ready every year in the same level to be on the top.”

Hazard has returned to his best form under Antonio Conte, scoring 15 Premier League goals this campaign, and is determined to finish a fantastic season in style.

“We can’t celebrate a lot because we have the FA Cup final, we have to be ready for that, but after West Brom we did a little party together.

“Even in the dressing room, it was good to see the smile on faces. I think at the end of the season we deserved to win this title.

“It’s not just me, the whole team, all the players they have been fantastic. We won a lot of games.

“We have one more game (against Sunderland on Sunday) and the FA Cup final to play. I hope we can win the double.”

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