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CFC

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Chelsea are interested in signing Everton full back John Stones, should Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane not leave the Bernabeu this summer. 

Stones has three years left on his contract, but is attracting increasing attention, according to the London Evening Standard.

Varane on the other hand, is reportedly manager Jose Mourinho’s first choice. However, he is looking to be an increasingly tough signature, as he has climbed up the pecking order at Los Blancos in recent months. This in turn makes the the Frenchman’s signature look more and more unlikely.

The Blues’ cause is hindered further by the fact that 21-year old Varane has a contract at Real until 2020.

Stones is considered as a Plan B, but has impressed on Merseyside after joining the Toffees from Barnsley for £3 million in 2013.

The 20-year old also has four senior England caps to his name, with his signature helping Chelsea to conform to Home Grown Players rules.

He still has three years left on his current deal at Goodison Park, with Everton reportedly asking for a minimum of £20 million for his signature.

 

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Former England boss Fabio Capello praised John Terry’s season in particular when he spoke about Chelsea.

With many having said that the former England captain was past his best, Terry has rebuffed those claims, having played in every game this season for the Blues.

Capello, who is currently the manager of the Russian national team, said: “He played an important part. I always supported him, even when people tried to pin blame on him that was undeserved. He remains in my view the best English defender.”

The former England manager also highlighted that he quit the Three Lions because of the racism row involving Terry and Anton Ferdinand. But for Capello, Terry is a brilliant example as a player and as a captain.

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In anticipation for tomorrow’s Premier league clash, ex-Blues player and pundit Pat Nevin shared his thoughts on the game with the official Liverpool F.C website.

In response to Chelsea recently winning their 5th league title, Nevin remarked: “Although people didn’t realise, the pressure really was on Chelsea; they were running out of top players,” before stating that the champions will still go for a good result, due to “the relationship between the two clubs and the great games there have been over the last few years.”

It can go either way, it’s quite common that you will see a team opening up when the pressure is off. That could happen with Chelsea but I don’t think it will.” The former Chelsea Player of the Year remarked on how lack of pressure can allow a team to play freely or have them slack somewhat, although remained confident that Mourinho’s men would stay disciplined, predicting it to be “a tight and technical game.”

Nevin then shared his views on PFA Player of the Year, Eden Hazard: He is improving all the time…I would compare him with [Cristiano] Ronaldo at Manchester United, because there were elements of his game that were superfluous, and he then got rid of them all and kept the things that worked.”

He then went on to speak on the emerging youth from Liverpool, stating that “Coutinho stands out” amongst the rest, who Nevin feels could get closed down by solid defensive work from the likes of Azpilicueta and Ivanovic: “The bits we’re beginning to see of Coutinho, he’s absolutely up there and he’s a phenomenal standard of player.

Nevin states “it’s hard to say” how a Liverpool side can get a much needed win over a consistent Chelsea side under Mourinho: “if he opens it up it could be anyone’s game and the fact that Liverpool need it more I wouldn’t be too surprised if they win if Mourinho makes a few changes.”

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PEP GUARDIOLA JOSE MOURINHO
Guardiola and Mourinho used to be good friends when both at Barça in the late 90's, then...

On Wednesday night the world admired Leo Messi destroying his ex manager hopes to reach the Champions League final – football is strange, but everyone believes a comeback in Munich would be VERY hard for Bayern- netting two goals in three minutes after Bayern Munich’s Guardiola resisted on 0-0 for 76′ at Camp Nou. Then Neymar, in the injury time, sealed match and tie, for Pep desperation: the Catalan manager played three Champions League semifinals with Bayern so far, and lost all of them.

Speaking about Messi’s importance in a team, José Mourinho jabbed Pep Guardiola, stating that for any “Anthony”[Portuguese for ‘Joe Bloggs’] would be possible to reach the Champions League final having a star like Leo in his team:

“One thing is a team. Another thing is a team with Messi, it’s a different story. He played a Champions League final with Guardiola [2009 and 2011].

“He – normally – is playing a Champions League final with Luis Enrique [2015]. And if one day he plays for Anthony , Anthony will go to a Champions League final with him.

“So when people analyse teams, you have to remember that this boy makes everything different, he makes everything different.”

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PETR CECH
Petr Cech will move to Arsenal this summer © Francesca Ceciarini

Speaking about Cech possible move during next market window, Mourinho revealed that his desire is the Czech goalkeeper to stay at Chelsea but, in case he has to go, he said that he won’t let him join another Premier League side.

The Portuguese manager also claimed that this kind of decisions belong to the board, not just to him:

One thing is Jose Mourinho and another is Mr Abramovich and another thing is the board because the board includes a little bit of me, a little bit of other people”

“But if it was me, if it was my decision, my decision is Petr to stay. That’s it. It would be my decision for Petr to stay”

“I think that the club is more important than the players and, as was proved this season, the club needs two very good goalkeepers,” he said.

“Without Petr this season I don’t think the club would be champions because he played six important matches in the Premier League and without these points we probably wouldn’t be champions”

“So for me, decision number one: Petr will stay. After that, second point to go but not in England. The option I don’t want is for him to go to an English club”

“But, I repeat, I am just the manager and he means so much for this club and what he did in this club I think he deserves everything from this club”

“If the club decision is different to mine, I will accept with all the respect“.

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KOKE
Koke was impressive in La Liga last season

The Daily Express reveals that Chelsea are in advanced talks with Atlético Madrid over a £30m swap deal for Spanish midfielder Koke.

According to the English newspaper the 23-year-old has a £44m release clause, but the Blues hope that including former Atlético left-back Filipe Luis in the deal could tempt Cerezo’s club into selling. Luis didn’t impress this season at Stamford Bridge and is reportedly keen on returning to Madrid.

Koke is believed to be on the top of Mourinho’s wishlist, but unless a formation change is in the Portuguese’s plans, the Spain international may find it difficult to occupy a place in Chelsea’s side next term. The Blues have used a 4-2-3-1 system for the majority of the season, with Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic operating as a pair in the heart of the midfield: the two midfielders  both  fundamental for the stability of the team during this successful season, but it’s also true they missed several games for injuries or suspensions, and like every player had moments of low form, with Zouma forced to play in the midfield to give more stability and power, so Koke can be the perfect replacement to dip into in certain moments.

In the last games Mourinho often used the 4-3-3 system also to deal with the absence of his strikers, all coping with injuries, so Koke could perfect to suit a three-men-midfield: his arrival could give Mourinho more options to play and the team won’t be hinging on the two pivots, Fabregas and Matic.

With Real Madrid and Barcelona set to dominate La Liga for the considerable future, Koke may choose to take a step closer to silverware this summer. Chelsea would be the perfect destination for the young midfielder.

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Petr Cech hinted he could leave Chelsea this summer despite one more year of contract to complete with the Blues.

The Chelsea legend hadn’t liked very much the fact this season he was relegated to be “Number Two” in favour of Thibaut Courtois and now he will probably look for another club to continue to play at top level as the first choice.

Blues boss José Mourinho stated he would like Cech to stay at Chelsea, considering him very important and fundamental for the stability of the squad and also for his performances when needed:

“If it was my decision, I want Petr to stay: the club is more important than the players. As we proved this season, the club needs two very good goalkeepers”

“Without him I don’t think we would be champions. He played six games and without those points we wouldn’t be champions”.

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JOSE MOURINHO LEO MESSI
Mourinho revealed he spent hours studying how to stop Leo Messi

Speaking before the match with Liverpool to Chelsea website, Mourinho talked again about Steven Gerrard, after praising him already in his press conference, revealing he was one of the champions and the rivals he admired and respected the most, having tried to sign him for every team he managed.

Gerrard will play for the last time with a Liverpool shirt tomorrow at Stamford Bridge, before heading off to Los Angeles to play the MLS with LA Galaxy.

Lampard and him were for years the pivots of England national team, and many people were talking about the best way to combine their style of play.

Mourinho wanted to share his opinion about this:

“They were the two best number 8s in Europe from 2004 to 2012. When you have them, with my vision, you don’t play with a number 10. You play with a number six and give the freedom to the number 8s because they will score more goals than a number 10. Frank Lampard would score 30 goals from midfield and Steven Gerrard would score 25.’

The Chelsea boss then spoke about Leo Messi, that last Wednesday provided another impressive performance, with two stunning goals, in the Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich. The world of football is another time – literally- at his feet:

“Almost every year I’m there, in the quarter-finals, semi-final or final, this was the first time in many years I wasn’t there. It’s very normal not to be there once in a while but watching Messi you don’t miss being there because you enjoy it so much, you don’t think about not being there, you think about what he did”

“I always planned when I played against him. Every time I spent hours studying and trying to [find ways to] stop him. Many times we were successful, other times we weren’t”

“For Inter, against Barcelona, we stopped him in both matches. I think the last way to do it is man to man, because he’s better than everyone. When you go man to man, you go with similar power. With him it’s an impossible job”

“I played against him so many times. He played for Barcelona against Porto when I was there and he was just a kid. After that I played against him with Chelsea, Inter and at Real Madrid I played against him dozens and dozens of times”

“Every time I played against him I would think about ways in which we could collectively give him a difficult match, that’s the best thing you can do against him”

 

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With the last three games being something of a formality for title-winning Chelsea, it is their visitors Liverpool who have more to play for as the two face eachkther at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (16:00 GMT KO). 

Following the 1-0 win against Crystal Palace which won the club the title, Chelsea now have a 10 point lead over second placed Manchester City and third placed Arsenal (who have a game in hand).

There is a 21 point gap between the Blues and their visitors this weekend (Chelsea; 83 points, Liverpool; 61), as the Reds continue their fight to secure European football. Champions League football is still very much possible for Liverpool, being only four points off fourth placed Manchester United with three games to go.

It’s been a somewhat disappointing season on Merseyside. Following a brilliant season last year, the loss of Luis Suarez and repetitive injuries to Daniel Sturridge have seen the club’s form fall. They have won just two out of their last seven games, losing three.

 

Team News:

Chelsea:

– Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will make a late decision on whether to play striker Diego Costa.

– Oscar is definitely out.

– The Blues have no other injury concerns, so could give starts to players who usually start on the bench including Kurt Zouma, Filipe Luis and Petr Cech.

Liverpool:

– Daniel Sturridge is a long-term absentee for the visitors.

– Mario Balotelli and Lucas Leiva could both be back in contention after returning to training this week.

 

Stats:

– Liverpool have lost just one of their four BPL visits to Stamford Bridge, winning two of them.

– Eden Hazard has created 88 chances this season – the most from open play in the league.

– Brendan Rodgers’ side has kept seven clean sheets from nine away games this season.

– Mourinho has lost just one game out of the 96 he has managed at Stamford Bridge, winning 75 of them.

– Chelsea won the away fixture 1-2 in November, with goals from Gary Cahill and Diego Costa cancelling out Emre Can’s opener.

– Chelsea and Liverpool also met in the Capital One Cup earlier this season, Chelsea winning the second leg 1-0 at home after drawing 1-1 in the away leg.

– Liverpool have managed just one win in seven league games against teams from the top four.

– Mourinho has won eight out of 10 games against Liverpool as Chelsea boss, losing just one.

 

Last time out:

Chelsea (home vs. Crystal Palace, won 1-0): Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Cuardrado, Willian, Hazard, Drogba

Liverpool (home vs. QPR, won 2-1): Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Lovren, Johnson, Henderson, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling, Lambert, Lallana

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Cech
Petr Cech played six games in the league this season

Chelsea fans must be questioning themselves regarding Petr Cech situation

The 32 years old has spent more than ten years at the club, and is expected to leave this summer after falling behind Courtois in the order

Cech has attracted many clubs in Europe such as Arsenal, AS Roma, PSG but the Blues insisted they won’t let him go for less than 10M and is likely to leave the Premier League despite having one more year left on his contract

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