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CFC

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Chelsea could have a key effect on the fight to stay in the Premier League as they face struggling Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tomorrow afternoon (15:00 GMT KO). 

Sunderland are currently in 18th, one point off rivals Newcastle, and one point ahead of 19th-placed Norwich City as the three toil to remain in the top flight. However, they have lost just one of their last eight league games – to Premier League champions Leicester – but that being said, six of those games have bee draws.

They come up against a Chelsea side who earlier this week were key in deciding the title race, Eden Hazard’s 83rd minute curler denying Tottenham any hope of the title. The Blues however have only won once in their last four matches.

In the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge, goals from Branislav Ivanovic, Pedro and Oscar were enough to secure a comfortable three points in a tense atmosphere inside the ground. The first game since the sacking of Jose Mourinho, banners were displayed all round but a Fabio Borini goal was not enough to deny Chelsea a strong start to the post-Mourinho era.

 

Last six games:

Sunderland: DDLWDD

Chelsea: DWLLWD

 

Team News:

– Sam Allardyce has just one injury concern – defender Billy Jones is set to be out with a hip problem.

Thibaut Courtois completes his two-match suspension, whilst Loic Remy (groin) and Kurt Zouma (knee) remain out.

Eden Hazard looks to be recalled after his exceptional performance as a second half substitute last Monday.

– Neither team has no other injury concerns.

 

Statistics:

– Sunderland have won just two of the last 23 meetings with Chelsea in the league – they have lost 19 of those.

– The Black Cats have scored more than one goal in only two of their last nine matches.

– Allardyce has fielded the same starting XI for the last five matches.

– The home side have also scored just 17 goals at home this season.

– Chelsea have lost just two of their last 19 league games, winning eight.

– They have taken 19 points from eight away games in 2016.

– However, they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 games.

 

Starting XI last time out in the Premier League:

Chelsea (home vs. Tottenham Hotspur, drew 2-2): Begovic, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Mikel, Pedro, Costa.

Tottenham Hotspur (away vs. Stoke City, drew 1-1): Mannone, Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Catermole, M’Vila, Borini, Khazri, Defoe.

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Guus Hiddink spoke today during a press conference and discussed the levels of intensity his Chelsea team showed against Tottenham in the 2-2 draw on Monday.

Hiddink stressed the point that his side were not to drop the effort for the game against Sunderland tomorrow, even though the Black Cats are fighting a relegation battle. The Dutch manager is treating every game the same no matter where the teams are currently sitting in the Barclays Premier League table.

“It’s important for ourselves, for our pride and for our enjoyment of football.

“Second, we want to have the same approach for all the teams who are still fighting to avoid relegation. They deserve the same approach in our seriousness, with no guarantee that we can win, but we will go for the win of course.

“Given the situation it wouldn’t be fair of us to have a serious approach for the Spurs game and not have a serious approach for the other games.

“I am not going to change a lot in the team. Before, I made some changes with Academy players, but it would not be fair to do it again to the other teams we are approaching in the last games.

“You have the obligation as a player to act well. They did that in the previous games against Bournemouth and Tottenham and we are going in to the last three games with the same attitude.”

Sunderland are currently needing to win games to avoid the drop into the Championship and Hiddink stated that although Chelsea don’t need to win, they still want to win.

“They have to win, and we want to win.

“We will give them as much resistance as we have. They are now in the relegation zone which makes it not easy. They have a very experienced manager who will fine-tune the team in the right way I think.”

 

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Jose Mourinho former assistant manager Steve Clarke believes that Chelsea and Antonio Conte are making a mistake not extending John Terry‘s contract for the next season:

“I’m surprised and I have been quite vocal in my support of John Terry staying at Chelsea next season,” Clarke told Sky Sports News HQ.

“John has been there so long. He understands the club and knows it inside out. He understands the passion of the supporters and it is just my personal opinion, but I think he would be a big help for the incoming manager.

“It’s Conte‘s first season in the Premier League and he would have John’s experience to call on when needed. He’d have John’s ear, if you like.

“John is the club captain and a big personality in the dressing room and it just seems a little strange that they are going to let him go. It’s not as though he is over the hill. You look at his performances this season when he’s been fit, the team have done well so I think he has another season in him.”

Clarke also underlined how Chelsea will struggle in next transfer window, being the club out of European competitions for the next campaign:

“The elite players, the top, top players around the world want to play Champions League football so Chelsea will struggle to attract that type of player to the club,” Clarke said.

Finally, he claimed that Conte is the right choice in this moment for the club:

“But I think Antonio Conte is a good appointment. His track record is good. People I have spoken to tell me he is quite intense, not too dissimilar to Jose Mourinho in that aspect.

“He’s very demanding of his players and I think Chelsea have shown this season that they are a squad of players that need a manager who demands a lot of them and pushes them.”

 

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Chelsea captain John Terry is set to leave the club at the end of this season after he joined it as a kid and became a legend, as well as the leader of the team for many years.

The Blues directors are not keen to extend his contract and the skipper, now 35, wants to hire Stamford Bridge for a big leaving party next week and boss Guus Hiddink hopes to get an invitation:

“I hope I will be invited,” said the interim manager.

“I don’t know. You have to ask him.”

The match with current Premier League champions, Leicester City, that will end this campaign on 15 May could be the last one for Terry with the Chelsea shirt and all the tickets are already sold out.

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Spurs midfielder Moussa Dembele is going to accept the FA charge for violent conduct after he poked Diego Costa‘s eye in last match at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea.

The Tottenham player was caught by TV cameras during a scuffle in front of the dugouts, provoked by Pochettino‘s men nervousness as they were losing the league title to Leicester City after Eden Hazard‘s equaliser.

Following this episode the FA charged the Tottenham midfielder on Wednesday, indicating that his actions required sterner punishment than a three-match ban for violent conduct.

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Chelsea are lining up a £20m offer for Juventus man Simone Zaza and the striker is considering a move to Stamford Bridge, according to Tuttosport.

The Italy international is believed to have been targeted also by Premier League champions Leicester, whereas Juventus have also rejected bids for the player in the January transfer window.

It is understood Massimiliano Allegri is keen on keeping Zaza with the Bianconeri, despite the 24-year-old reportedly wants to leave in order to feature regularly and then Chelsea might be the right choice.

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Chelsea incoming manager Antonio Conte is willing to move for Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanovic when he takes over at Stamford Bridge, according to in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 31-years-old and Slovenia international has recently extended his contract until June 2019 and the two clubs have yet to start any negotiations over his possible signing.

Handanovic recently told SkySport in Italy: “Will I stay at Inter? Who knows, you can never say never in football,” 

“I have a contract, but you can never tell.”

His ownership is believed to be esteemed around £13m.

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Chelsea star Willian believes Alexandre Pato should be kept by Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge, despite his lack of minutes during this months with Blues.

The 27-years-old, who has recently been selected in the Brazil’s team for Copa America, reportedly told Globo: “He has the desire to stay and I hope this can be resolved as quickly as possible, It would be very positive for us if he did.”

Then Willian added: “I have had a great relationship with him since the days in junior football and he is a very good friend of mine. He doesn’t know whether he will stay or go.”

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Chelsea have targeted Charlton highly-rated striker Ademola Lookman, according to The Mirror.

Also Arsenal and Tottenham are expected to join the race for the 18-years-old who has scored five goals with the Addicks this season in spite of their disappointing season and relegation to League One.

According to The Mirror, also Liverpool are keen to bring to Anfield Lookman, who is under contract at The Valley until 2020.

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pogba
Pogba stayed at Juventus last summer but hinted an exit soon
Juventus star Paul Pogba has recently said: “Everyone wants to play with champions but I am happy to be here, I am concentrating on our goal of winning the Scudetto.”Chelsea are still keeping tabs on the Frenchman despite Juventus is keen to keep him for at least another season. Pogba’s ownership is esteemed around £80m and he is under contract with Juventus until June 2019.

His agent Mino Raiola reportedly told GQ Magazine: “I don’t think he will leave, but I cannot completely rule out the deal.”

“My job is not to bring everybody to Chelsea, I’m not a taxi driver.”

“I handle people, of which I am proud and my job is to help people find themselves, to make them believe in the incredible.”

“With my clients there are no contracts, just a handshake – everything or nothing.” 

“We meet up and we understand each other, but if we don’t see things the same way, then, they’re free to go.”

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