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CFC

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Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles has been targete by Chelsea, according to reports in the Nottingham Post.

The Blues are said to be lining up a stunning £18m move to land the 22-year-old to Stamford Bridge when the transfer market window reopens in January.

The former Nottingham Forest youngster is impressing in the Championship having featured 15 times with the Magpies so far.

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Chelsea development squad will face Everton this evening (7.05pm BST) in the Premier League matchday 10.

Adi Viveash’s side are currently 7th on the league table still with a game in hand, having reached only 2 wins in 8 games so far.

Defender Kourt Zouma made his return to the pitch with the squad last time out, when the Blues dropped out home points against Derby County in a brilliant 2-2.

Everton are impressing in the season so far and they will reach the top of the table if they win tonight against Chelsea.

Premier League 2

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Gary Neville is convinced Chelsea can be a serious candidate to win the title and the Manchester United legend, now a Sky Sports pundit, explains why:

“The very, very top teams make the fewest mistakes, and that was a team performance today (Sunday) of no mistakes.

“That clean sheet mentality has definitely been forced into them. It’s a way of being, it builds so much confidence. When the goalkeeper and defenders are happy, when they are comfortable and relaxed, the crowd aren’t getting anxious.

“I’m seeing Chelsea players do the right things, staying with their runners, and they’ve got two very, very good central midfield players from a defensive point of view, they’ve got a wonderful ability to read the game and fill in the gaps.

“Are they the finished article? Probably not, but I wouldn’t rule them out of the title, because I don’t trust the others enough to think that Chelsea can’t win it.

Not playing in the European competitions can be an advantage for the Blues:

“I think the fact that Chelsea have free weeks, and don’t have the confusion and disruption of European football, even though it is a good disruption being in the Champions League or Europa League, it gives them a big advantage.

“Certain players in their team – like John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Diego Costa, even Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic – I think they all benefit hugely from it.

“They would have been in that dressing room after the game, having put in a wonderful performance, and be thinking: ‘I’ve got a week now, I can get my body right, have a massage and not think about training on Tuesday ahead of another midweek game.’

“It’s a big thing for players of that nature, so I think that gives them a competitive edge, and Liverpool the same, who have players who give huge energetic performances. Their recovery between games is important.

WIt will be an advantage. I think Tottenham are as good as Liverpool, I think Tottenham are as good as Chelsea, there’s no doubt, but because Spurs are in European competition I would put Chelsea and Liverpool ahead of them in the Premier League for that reason.

“I think Manchester City and Arsenal are the better teams, but can you trust either of them fully yet? I don’t think you can. That’s not to say they won’t go and deliver, but because they’re in Europe, and that they’ve shown glimpses of the old Arsenal and old City, they’ve got to give me more yet before I trust them.

“That’s without even mentioning United, who have fallen behind a little bit.”

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Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has been targeted by Crystal Palace, according to the Croydon Advertiser.

Also Marseille, West Ham and AC Milan have been previously linked with a move for the 32-year-old, who joined the Blues in the summer of 2008.

The Serbia international’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

Moreover, Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning could reportedly try to lure Ivanovic with a massive contract offer.

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ChelseaManchester United and Manchester City will challenge in the race to land Celtic star Moussa Dembele to England, according to the Express.

The 20-year-old is said to have a £40m price-tag as he joined the Scottish side a few months ago from Fulham.

The 19-year-old joined the Scottish side from Fulham on a four-year contract a few months ago.

“Dembele is a sought-after striker with top teams in the Premier League wanting him” Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers recently said.

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Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is happy after Chelsea secured another win, staying just one point below the leading trio in the Premier League table:

We were aware of them [Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City winning yesterday],” Cahill told Sky Sports.

It’s too early to talk about winning the league, but we don’t want the gap to get too big, so this is good.

“That’s where we want to be [at the top], be amongst it. I can’t see anybody running away with it, so we want to be up there.”

Cahill believes the Blues showed character to defeat Saints and that it showed their hard work is paying off since a wake-up call against Arsenal last month.

We showed another side of ourselves today, a bit of character, we dug in.

“We knew earlier in the season we were letting goals in. [And] we get the rewards by working hard.

“That is the mentality of the players: to dig in. Four wins in the league, four clean sheets, we go on.”

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Southampton hosted Chelsea on Sunday evening, trying to prolong their unbeaten home run, having won their last home against Burnley with a scoreline of 3-0.

Chelsea on the other hand are also trying to extend their unbeaten run at the St Mary’s stadium, having won their last three Premier League games without conceding.

Well Chelsea went into the lead in the 6th minute following an Eden Hazard stunning individual goal after being teed up by Victor Moses, beating his man in the box and hitting past the legs of Fraser Foster. After the goal, Chelsea let Southmapton dictate play but penetration remained a huge task for the Saints as they only had 1 shot on target compared to the Blues 3, Costa came close to doubling Chelsea but could only shoot straight at Southampton goalkeeper,after that there wasn’t mucch action as Chelsea took their 1 nil lead into the half-time.

The second half started the same way the first half ended,with Southampton getting the lion share of the possession but still couldn’t penetrate a resilient Chelsea, as the Blues doubled their lead as Diego Costa hit an audacious effort from outside the box in the 56th minute.

Southampton 0-2 Chelsea 

5′ Hazard 55′ Diego Costa 

Chelsea Hazard Diego Costa

 

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Southampton – Forster, Martina, Fonte (c), Van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Clasie, Davis, Tadic, Redmond, Austin

Subs: Taylor, McQueen, Yoshida, Hojbjerg, Ward-Browse, Boufal, Olomola.

Manager: Claude Puel

Chelsea – Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.

Subs: Begovic, Ivanovic, Terry, Chalobah, Oscar, Willian, Batshuayi

Manager: Antonio Conte

Venue: St. Mary’s stadium

Kick-Off: 4pm BST

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Southampton supporter and Sky Sport Italia bet advisor, now exiled in Tuscany, Adam Grapes replied to our questions regarding today’s clash and team news before the kick-off at Saint Mary’s stadium.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte claimed yesterday that Saints play offensive football, this is the reason why he really likes Claude Puel.

“I wouldn’t really call our football offensive, – Grapes said – but at the same time it isn’t negative! Perhaps the best way to describe it is steady with the potential to be positive. So far we have only scored 11 goals in 9 matches, but we are waiting for the explosion!”.

Moreover, Matt Le Tissier revealed that both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa won’t shine in the clash at St.Mary’s as “Virgil van Dijk is the perfect player to deal with Diego Costa” and Cuco Martina could win the challenge against the Belgian star.

Anyway, Grapes has doubts about it: “You cannot disagree with Le God too much, but I’m not sure if Martina against Hazard is a particularly even contest”.

“I would have preferred to see Cedric Soares in the line-up – he added – but he isn’t yet available after his injury. Martina is a decent player, but I fear that Hazard will give him a difficult afternoon.

“Van Dijk, together with Fonte, are possibly the best centre back pairing in the Premier League, but against Costa they cannot let their guard down for even one second”.

Grapes is a football specialist really close to Italy and italian football, then we asked him a point of view about new manager Antonio Conte.

Will Chelsea improve under Conte and his well-known ‘idea of football’?

“I think their last home match against Manchester United was a sign that Conte is on the right track with his team – he claimed – I found it ridiculous the rumour of his possible departure a couple of weeks ago, the typical story to fill up a boring international week!”.

“At the end of the day, his team has lost only two games this season against Arsenal and Liverpool. His squad is reasonably strong”,

About striker Michy Batshuayi: “I believe that Batshuayi would get into the starting line-up of virtually every other team in the Premier League and without any European commitments, Conte can concentrate on the league”.

chelsea batshuayi

Chelsea and Southampton are reportedly set to fight in the race to reach the ‘European spots’ until the end of the season.

“I believe that Chelsea will not be just fighting for the European spots, but fighting for the title. It’s already pretty crowded at the top of the league, and a winning run at the right point of the season could open the door to any of the contenders”.

When asked about the Saints, he added: “Southampton? Of course Seville will win the Europa League as they always do, so no Champions League football for us next season!”.

“I would like to see us maybe get into Europe via a Cup win, as over the past few seasons we have neglected a bit these tournaments. The League Cup draw was unkind to us, but we beat Arsenal in this tournament a couple of seasons ago. We’ve done it before and it can be done again !

Who is the most talented player in Southampton squad at this stage? According to Grapes, is recently signed winger Soufiane Boufal.

“Hopefully Soufiane Boufal, our summer signing from Lille. He is just in the phase of being incorporated into the team after an injury and great things are expected of him.

“Hopefully his goal against Sunderland in the League Cup last Wednesday will be the start of something special!”.

Southampton

Last but not least, also former Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu deserves a mention.

Grapes ended: “Maybe he isn’t our most talented player but has been fantastic for us this season in his role as a defensive centre midfielder. Hopefully today he will put in another decent performance to show his old club what they are missing!”.

 

 

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TEAM NEWS

Chelsea

– Branislav Ivanovic recovered from his injury and he’s fit

– Cesc Fabregas still out for a thigh problem

– Kurt Zouma is in the final part of his recovery process from ACL injury, getting fit for the games

 

Southampton

– Ex Chelsea player Ryan Bertrand might be back today after recovering from a hamstring issue

– Shane Long out for a hamstring injury

– Jay Rodriguez doubt for a head injury

 

Possible Line Ups

SOUTHAMPTON – Foster, Martina, Fonte, Van Djik, Bertrand, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Austin, Tadic.

CHELSEA – Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, David Luiz, Moses, Alonso, Matic, Kante, Hazard, Diego Costa, Willian.

 

 

 

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