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CFC

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LAURENT BLANC PSG
Blanc knocked out Chelsea from the Champions League with PSG last season

PSG manager Laurent Blanc spoke in the press conference before Champions League clash against Chelsea:

“We can beat them and I guess this can benefit the group.

Terry? With or without him it will be a difficult match.

“Verratti? He is young and I am happy he extended his contract.

“This is the moment to show our value on the pitch.

Hiddink brought calm to Chelsea, they got confidence again.

“Verratti cannot play 90 minutes but I want to play him in this game”.

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Gianluigi Donnarumma has emerged as one of the goalkeepers for the future. The Italian keeper has cemented his place as AC Milans number 1 at the age of just 16.

There are rumours that Chelsea have contacted AC Milan over the availibility of the youngster who is tipped to be a long serving goalkeeper for the Italian national team.

Donnarumma is reportedly already worth a staggering £119m

Manchester United are also keeping an eye on the teenagers progress.

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Chelsea captain John Terry fell awkwardly during the game against Newcastle at the weekend and Chelsea feared that Terry wouldn’t be available for selection in the Champions League heavy weight clash with PSG.

Terry tried to continue but was quickly replaced by Baba Rahman just after the break.

A scan yesterday revealed nothing too serious with the injury and John Terry has resumed full training which is a huge boost for Chelsea and the centre-back is in full contention of a place in the starting 11 on Tuesday night.

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Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has sparked further rumours of his speculated move to PSG.

The Belgian has struggled for good form in this years campaign but still has heart set on playing in the Champions League next year with the chances of winning the trophy.

Hazard spoke to Le Parisian and it seems that French giants PSG are his favoured choice.

“[It is] difficult to say no to PSG, or to any of the teams capable of winning the Champions League.

“PSG are now in that category. And for me, winning the Champions League is my main aim.

“For the moment, I’m not really thinking about [a move].”

 

 

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Thiago Silva against Chelsea in Champions League, 2015 © Francesca Ceciarini

This time last year Chelsea faced Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the same stage of the Champions League and got a great 1-1 draw at the Parc de Princes. The Blues went on to draw 2-2 at home against 10 men and lose the tie on away goals. So how do they beat the Ligue 1 champions this time round?

The first leg takes place this Tuesday at the Parc de Princes. Where Chelsea are in an unfamiliar position this time round in which they are languishing down in 12th position in the Premier League table. As oppose to last year when the Blues were flying high at the top of the table. That day in 2015 Chelsea came away with a flattering 1-1 draw in which PSG missed plenty of chances to take a lead in to the second leg.

Now the French side are 24 points ahead in the table, and have been able to rest seven first team players in their recent 0-0 draw at home to Lille. This puts the Blues in a difficult position against a fresh team and without defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic who is suspended, Kurt Zouma who is out for the rest of the season and potentially without captain John Terry who came off injured against Newcastle on Saturday.

The midfield power

The Blues have their backs against the wall. But with star men Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas looking like their back to top form, they will always have a chance. With the departure of Ramires, and Matic suspended, Hiddink only has a choice of three for the central midfielder spot. John Obi Mikel, Cesc Fabregas and twenty year-old Ruben Loftus-Cheek. It is more then likely the Dutchman will start with Fabregas and Mikel, but if he wanted more strength and power in the midfield he may well go with Loftus-Cheek and Mikel, pushing Fabregas up in behind Costa. Which could work effectively against Thiago Motta and Marco Veratti who both dominated Chelsea over the two legs last season.

This would mean dropping Oscar to the bench, and although the Brazilian scored a fantastic hat trick against MK Dons a few weeks back, his inability to perform in the big games will stand against him. And operating Loftus-Cheek in a more defensive holding role, to use his size and agility to get around the park could work wonders for Chelsea.

Defensive options

Now, without John Terry and Kurt Zouma the Blues will be very light at the back. With only one real back four choice to choose from, of Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill and Baba Rahman who has not had much football since his £20 million move from Augsburg. This could be worrying for the Blues who will hope Terry is passed fit or this could mean 20 year-old Matt Miazga takes a place on the Chelsea bench for the first time since his move from New York Red Bulls. The Blues will need to focused for the likes of Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi and Di Maria coming at them.

Attacking Threat

Chelsea’s pace on the break is second to none and they will be hoping this will help them as they come up against former team mate David Luiz and one of the best centre backs in world football Thiago Silva. With the likes of Hazard, Willian and Diego Costa all on form the Blues, they will be looking to hit PSG on the break, soaking up their pressure and using the pace and skill of these attackers to exploit their defensive frailties. All Chelsea fans will remember how susceptible David Luiz can be, and the attack will really be targeting him at the Parc de Princes.

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After Saturday evenings 5-1 win at home to Newcastle, Cheslea defender Gary Cahill is looking ahead to two of the biggest games of the season for the Blues, against Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Speaking to Chelsea’s Official website the Englishman said ‘We mustn’t get too carried away, it is one result, but at the same time we have been waiting for this.

‘Even the result we got away at Arsenal, it was a fantastic result but we crept over the line there with 1-0. We’ve been waiting to really create a lot of chances and in the first half against Newcastle we could have had two or three more. That tells you a lot about how we started the game and how we played throughout.

‘It is very pleasing, we were waiting for that and it feels good to be a part of. I enjoyed it and now we get ready again for two massive games for us.

‘We spoke before this game that although we were unbeaten and we’ve steadied things down, a lot of those results were draws and we need to turn them into wins to start progressing up the table, so that was in our heads when we first went out and the start we made was terrific.’

Cahill said it was more like the way the team expects to play and he enjoyed watching the attacking players in full flow, but although Chelsea got that part of the performance right, there were solid foundations to it too.

‘The defensive, the nitty-gritty,’ highlighted Cahill. ‘We chased back, we harassed, we won the ball back numerous times very quickly after we lost it. That was pleasing but the flair players were on fire and we played really well. We didn’t get everything right because we conceded late on but most things we got right.’

All this come before Chelsea’s huge clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. They were able to rest seven first team player in their Ligue 1 game at the weekend as they are 24 points clear at the top of the table. And Cahill finished by stating the clubs ambition in both the Champions League and the FA Cup.

“We want to go as far as we can in the Champions League and the FA Cup and this is a very important week for the football club. We got off to a great start this weekend and we have arguably the biggest games of the season coming up for us now, so we go into the week with the confidence from this game and knowing how important it is going to be.”

Cahill won both the FA Cup and the Champions League within his first 6 months at Chelsea in 2012.

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NEMANJA MATIC

After Chelsea’s 5-1 win against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening Nemanja Matic believes the team gave 100 per cent and that this was the real Chelsea.

The Serbian told Chelsea’s Official website “I think we played a good game. We scored lots of goals, we defended well also and I think we deserved to win 5-1. We also had a couple more chances which we didn’t take, but we are very happy because of the result and we hope to continue like this.

‘I think everybody gave 100 per cent and this is the result when everybody takes some responsibility. I think we showed the real Chelsea and we didn’t forget to play football.

‘I don’t know if this is our best performance since the manager arrived, it is difficult to say – we also had a couple of other good games. At Arsenal we also played very well, but this one is maybe the best because we scored five goals.

‘It’s very important to win and score many goals because when you win like this, the next opponent won’t be scared, but they will be careful how they play against us so this result is very important for our future.’

The defensive midfielder is suspended for the Blues biggest game of the season tomorrow night against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League second round.

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Chelsea midfielder Oscar was left out of Newcastle game squad yesterday for a little calf injury he picked up in training.

The problem, anyway, seems not to be serious, and the decision was taken as a precaution with the away trip to Paris in mind.

The Brazilian midfielder is expected to travel to France and to be selected for the Champions League game against PSG.

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WILLIAN
Willian celebrating a goal with Diego Costa © Francesca Ceciarini

“We killed them in 20 minutes and then it was more and more easy to play,’Willian told Chelsea TV after the win against Newcastle.

“Now we have more confidence to go there and to play. PSG have a great team, great players, but we go there to try to win the game.”

The Brazilian midfielder also spoke about his attack partner Diego Costa:

Diego is a great player. We have no doubts about him, about his quality. He’s scored so many goals.

“I gave one assist for him, he gave one to me. I enjoy a lot playing with him.’

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