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CFC

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With Antonio Conte expected to be named Chelsea head coach in the coming weeks he will be looking to replace the outgoing Blues captain John Terry.

The Chelsea defence has come under huge scrutiny in an underwhelming season. And with Terry’s contract set to expire at the end of the season Conte could look to Juventus star defender Leonardo Bonucci.

The Italian national manager has worked with Bonucci during his time with Juventus and Italy, and is expected to name him in his Euro 2016 squad. Bonucci has played more minutes this season then any other Juventus outfield player (2,347), he is considered one of the centre backs in Europe.

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RAFA BENITEZ CHELSEA
Rafa Benitez managed Chelsea in 2013, winning Europa League

Former Chelsea interim boss Rafa Benitez has returned to the Premier League with Newcastle.

The Magpies dismissed former manager Steve McClaren this morning, as they currently sit 19th in the table. Benitez, who started the season at Real Madrid, has taken over on a three-year contract, but has an opt-out clause if the club are relegated to the Championship at the end of the season.

Benitez took over from club hero Roberto Di Matteo midway through the 2012/13 season. He had a mixed relationship with Blues fans, due to his rivalry with Chelsea when he was at former club Liverpool. He was quoted saying this about Chelsea fans “We don’t need to give away flags for our fans to wave – our supporters are always there with their hearts, and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches – not flags.”

He went on to lift the Europa League that season and finish third in the Premier League after winning fifteen out of his twenty six league games in charge.

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Chelsea are looking to bounce back from their European exit as they face Everton in the quarter finals of the FA Cup at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Blues were beaten 2-1 by Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday, crashing out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage. However, they are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League games and have scored 12 goals and conceded just two in the FA Cup this season, beating Scunthrope, MK Dons and Manchester City 2-1, 1-5 and 5-1 respectively.

Everton currently sit 12th in the Premier League, two places and two points behind Chelsea, and have beaten Dagenham and Redbridge, Carlisle and Bournemouth 2-0, 0-3 and 0-2 respectively on their way to the quarter finals.

Last six games:

Everton: WWLWWL (includes one FA Cup game).

Chelsea: LWWWDL (includes one FA Cup game and two Champions League games).

 

Team News:

– Bryan Oveido is out for the Toffees with a chest infection.

– Aaron Lennon’s hamstring problem will also be assessed, but fellow midfielders Gareth Barry and Tom Cleverley should both be fit after suffering from illness.

– Kevin Mirallas is suspended after being sent off for two yellow cards in the 2-3 defeat to West Ham last Saturday.

– Chelsea striker Diego Costa is doubtful with a tendon injury which forced him to be substituted against PSG.

– Eden Hazard is 50/50 after picking up a hip problem.

– John Terry could return from a hamstring injury but this is yet to be confirmed.

 

Statistics:

– Guus Hiddink has never lost an FA Cup match with Chelsea (played six, won six), guiding them to the trophy in 2009.

– Eden Hazard has scored and assisted in both of his two FA Cup appearances this season (two goals, three assists in total).

– Former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his four FA Cup appearances for Everton.

– Ross Barkley has been involved in 20 goals in all competitions this season – the most of any English Premier League midfielder (12 goals, eight assists).

– Everton and Chelsea have been paired together nine times in the FA Cup. Chelsea have won six of those, but have never won an FA Cup tie at Goodison Park.

– The Toffees have won five of their last nine home games against Chelsea in all competitions (D1, L3), but Roberto Martinez’s side have lost three of their last four home games.

 

Starting XI last time out in the FA Cup:

Chelsea (home vs. Manchester City, won 5-1): Courtois, Baba, Ivanovic, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Willian, Fabregas, Hazard, Pedro, Costa.

Everton (away vs. AFC Bournemouth, won 0-2): Robles, Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Oviedo, Barry, McCarthy, Lennon, Barkley, Cleverley, Lukaku.

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In the wish-list of next Chelsea manager most serious candidate, Antonio Conte, there are important names like Gonzalo Higuain and Edinson Cavani.

The two South American strikers are his main targets and the Italian manager will try to sign them during next transfer window should he be appointed from Chelsea.

The Blues will also try to bid on Juventus’ Paul Pogba but the negotiation will be really difficult as the Bianconeri are asking at least £80m for the French talent.

Pogba’s himself is asking for £300,000 week salary and this could be a huge financial effort for a club that won’t participate to Champions League next year.

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Diego Costa © Francesca Ceciarini

During today’s press conference ahead of Everton’s clash in the FA Cup Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink provided injury update for some of the Blues players that had some physical problems:

JOHN TERRY –He worked well in the past days, He will be included in the travel list for today, he intensified his training in the last two days. I like him to travel to Liverpool.”

DIEGO COSTA – “He had some problems, he rested and had treatment, I cannot say if he can be fit, he’s got a hip injury as well.”

EDEN HAZARD – When you play on an injury you are not fully fit and you miss some freshness. He will be ok and available for the weekend. He’s desperate to participate in the team performance.

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

Guus Hiddink press conference ahead of FA CUP Everton clash

FA CUP TO RESCUE THE SEASON – It’s a very important cup to go for but i don’t to undervalue the classification in the premier league, we had to come out from the zone, so I think it might be difficult to qualifyy for European position, of course now we go for the clash with Everton

EUROPEAN CUPS QUALIFICATION– There are some teams like West Ham that are doing very well, they are knocking on that door, if not 4th they can finish 6th, but we cannot say the season is over, if we have a big failure tomorrow….. but I think we also have to think to go as far as we can in th PL

PSG KO -” We lost and we were disappointed, also psychologically there is always a setback, now the players have to respond.”

HAZARD – “I think his father made a fair judgement, he was very humble, when you play on an injury you are not fully fit and you miss some freshness. He will be ok and available for the weekend. He’s desperate to participate in the team performance, we haven’t’ spoken yet about what happened on Wednesday, I don’t want to overvalue that because in some countries that is normal. He hasn’t given me his explanation yet.

“Every now and then I see that he’s capable of beautiful things some players have difficult times, that is what he’s doing in training as well…sometimes if I see he doesn’t feel well I tell him to train individually.

“Most of the players ask for a little bit of help, we did it with everyone, we help them to find a path, we try to help him to arrive as soon as possible at the level he’s expected.”

SPECULATION – “I don’t like to speculate, but I guess the club is doing a serious project, I think Chelsea is a very attractive club to play for, some clubs have one good performance for one year, that doesn’t mean they have a good project, so they are not so attractive to players.”

TERRY – “He worked well in the past days, He will be included in the travel list for today, he intensified his training in the last two days. I like him to travel to Liverpool.”

BENITEZ/NEWCASTLE – “Rafa has big experience, not just in Premier League, he’s done a lot of experience, also in Madrid, I know which kind of club is that, it’s a beautiful club every day you feel the heat on you.
About Steve McLare, it’s always sad when a colleague has to go.”

TECHNOLOGY on the PITCH –  “Yes, I am a fan, finally we had it. We experimented that in the 80s when I was at PSV, we were looking for offsides by video control.”

“It will help the referees as well, we could see it also in the last Spurs v Arsenal, with the ball still two inches touching the line, so it will help everyone, big help. I think it’s very good, we have to learn also from more modern sports.”

FA CUP- “It is important not just for me, but for the club, for England, there is a lot of attention on this trophy from all over the world.”

DIEGO COSTA – “He had some problems, he rested and had treatment, I cannot say if he can be fit, he’s got a hip injury as well.”

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

Eden Hazard‘s father dismisses again speculations over his son joining Paris Saint Germain next summer.

The Belgian player was booed and criticised by some Chelsea fans after last Champions League game for his lack of commitment and also for swapping his shirt with [Angel] Di Maria at half-time, a gesture that for some people showed how much Hazard is not really focused into games.

But his father, that already spoke on his behalf in the past difficult months for the Blues number 10, spoke to French media Le Soir to dismiss any rumour of Eden moving to France in the next transfer window.

Let’s be clear: Eden has never said he wanted to play for PSG,Thierry Hazard said.

“He has only said that it’s a big club and anyone would want to play there.

“He’s got a contract [at Chelsea] until 2020. There’s no question of him leaving at the moment.”

About Eden’s current disappointing performances said:

“He has been carrying an inflammation in the hip for three or four months now.

“It’s not a serious injury, but it’s painful. You can compare it with the feeling of getting stabbed.

“Instead of giving him time to rest, and heal completely, Eden has been forced to play, especially when it comes to important matches.

“He has no choice.”

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has refused to sign a contract extension with Chelsea and three Chinese clubs seem to be really interested in bid for him.
John Shittu says the midfielder has told the club he need to wait before he takes a decision on his future.
He told naij.com: “Chelsea approached him for an extension of his contract but he said after the season he will decide. He has so many teams interested in him, almost three Chinese clubs want him.”

The 28-year-old is at his 10th season with Chelsea and promised to end his contract before Mourinho was sacked. Then, with the arrival of Guus Hiddink the Nigerian international has found a regular place in the starting line up of Blues.

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martinez
martinez

The FA Cup is Chelsea’s only remaining chance to save the season and Everton manager Roberto Martinez doesn’t believe that Chelsea needed any extra motivation ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final at Goodison Park: “It depends what way you want to look at it. If you are pessimistic, you’ll say that Chelsea will now be focused on the FA Cup. If you are optimistic, you’ll say that they won’t now have that feel-good factor after Wednesday’s result. The reality is that Chelsea are an outstanding team and we know what they have achieved since Guus Hiddink arrived, they are unbeaten in domestic competition.”

He said about Hiddink: “Guus has experience, not just in the British game but other leagues, has brought a different approach but in general it is the same group of players who found it difficult at the beginning of the season that are now consistently producing good performances. Guus’ experience on how to handle group dynamics and a dressing room in need has been very impressive.”

 

 

Interviewed by Matt Smith for BT Sport former Chelsea boss José Mourinho revealed he will be back on charge next July.

The Special One didn’t reveal the club where he will be appointed, but the Manchester United and Van Gaal’s difficult situation let think that he will sign for the Red Devils.

Here are the tweets where the English journalist revealed these details:

Schermata 03-2457458 alle 22.29.52

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