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Chelsea FC

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

FIFA just announced to have banned Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid from signing new players for the next two transfer windows: summer 2016 and winter 2017 for illegal actions in the young players market.

The two clubs can still be operative and sign players in this section, winter 2016, and they can still sell players if they want in the next two.

Chelsea star Eden Hazard was linked to Real Madrid more than once over the past months, and it is rumoured that his bad form this season is due to the interest of the Spanish giants, that would distract him.

With just this session left and then having the market blocked for one year, will Real Madrid try to get Hazard before the end of January?

The Blancos are used to sign at least one top player every summer, but since next summer they won’t be able to do any signing, it’s possible they will try to get as many players as they can in this winter transfer window.

Everyone knows that Eden Hazard has been on their and Zidane‘s top list for months: Chelsea could ask around 60/65m £ to sell the Belgian star but they also can try a swap with some Real Madrid stars: James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale are on Abramovich‘s wishlist in case the deal can be completed.

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DIEGO COSTA
Diego Costa was top scorer for Chelsea last season © Francesca Ceciarini

It was a nervous Diego Costa the one we saw last night at the final whistle: he clashed with West Brom’s goalkeeper Boaz Myhill in the middle of the pitch and the two had to be separated by Chelsea captain John Terry and full back Cesar Azpilicueta.

During the game he also quarreled with Claudio Yacob and Jonas Olsson.

The Spaniard left the pitch so furious that he had to punch the wall in the dressing room tunnel to relieve his tension: the result was a big hole.

When manager Guus Hiddink was asked about this in the press conference straight after he joked:

“A hole in the tunnel wall? We can repair that easily, it’s not a problem.

“He’s an emotional guy and I like that very much. If you have to push players it’s difficult to survive in the Premier League, but if you have to control them it’s much better.

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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois thinks that the 2-2 against WBA tonight came also because of the attitude of Pulis‘ guys on the pitch: according to the Belgian they kept provoking Chelsea players, so to destabilise them in a match that was already tense between two teams that are struggling at the bottom of the table:

We are very disappointed,” said the Blues keeper.

It was a tough game with them playing the long ball and, second ball, trying to provoke players.”

 

 

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The ghosts were back to Stamford Bridge tonight to haunt Chelsea players and fans in what seems a season curse.

The team seemed to have improved under Hiddink in attitude and confidence but tonight not one, but twenty steps back were made.

Chelsea seemed again the team we saw from August 2 to December 14, when Mourinho was in charge this season: sloppy attitude, poor confidence, low pace.

WBA get a well deserved 2-2 in west London and remain 3 points ahead of Chelsea, that is still 14th in the table, with 27 points, while the Blues collected 24 until now, just 6 more than Sunderland -18- that would be the last team to relegate if the Premier League ended tonight.

Almost 20 points behind the two teams in the top of the table- Arsenal and Leicester- that both lead with 43 and 12 point from the 4th place, the last Champions League spot ( after playoff) where we find Spurs with 36 points: in between ten teams.

Too many, probably, to reach the fourth spot in the remaining four months if the attitude and the determination will be the same Chelsea showed tonight and in many other games this season.

Is Hiddink’s magic touch already finished after nearly one month? We hope not.

But tonight we saw a movie we’ve already seen many times in this campaign: Chelsea starting well, with a good rhythm and pace, trying to dominate the opponent, then getting the equalizer from the opponent and having a mental collapse.

The Blues found an early goal- at 20′ with Cesar Azpilicueta after Diego Costa incredibly missed the ball on an almost perfect cross by Ivanovic, concluding a nice playing by Willian, again the best player in his team- and then relaxing and conceeding too much to the rival instead of trying to find the 2-0 to virtually close the game.

And the sloppy attitude was evident in Pedro’s superficial mistake, when the Spaniard lost the ball on Chelsea midfield and Fletcher was quick to serve Craig Gardner, who beat a numb Courtois that dived way too late to try to save the ball. It was minute 33 and Chelsea, like it happened in other matches before, lost all their confidence after the opponent scored.

West Bromwich then went very close to score 2-1 and Chelsea seemed to become a little nervous.

At half time Pedro leaved the pitch for Kenedy, and – like it happened on Sunday with another youngster, Ruben Loftus-Cheek – the young substitute immediately brings freshness to the team, creating chances and opening up space for the team-mates with his speed.

Also Diego Costa seemed to be very dangerous with Kenedy supporting him, and the Brazilian youngster gets his reward where after a good playing by Fabregas and Willian he provokes McAuley own goal, with the WBA defender deflecting the ball behind Myhill with his knee.

It seemed that Chelsea could go home with the 3 precious points, but the team relaxed again conceding too much to the rival, that never lost the faith and continued to attack, being dangerous especially on corners.

And, at the end, also WBA got their reward and McLean canceled his mistake on the own goal when with a great shot beat Courtois – again not reactive enough – with just 4′ to go.

Chelsea had little nervous reaction to try to get the victory, but West Bromwich kept calm and at the end almost risked to win with a couple of chances around 90′.

When referee Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle the “boos” from Chelsea fans invaded Stamford Bridge again: the ghosts were back, let’s hope Hiddink can shoo them away again.

 

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WBA manager Tony Pulis refused to give credit to Guus Hiddink for Chelsea’s revival.

Pulis always had a good relationship with Hiddink‘s predecessor, José Mourinho: the pair got a lot of mutual respect and often sent esteem messages to each other.

When Pulis was asked about Chelsea’s good run after Mourinho‘s sacking, he reacted like this:

To be honest, what’s been said is a load of c**p in lots of respects.

“The fact Mourinho won the league by a country mile – to say someone’s come in and changed it and they’re playing better and doing everything else better.”

There might have been other reasons that things didn’t go so well this year.”

Pulis also added that sacking Mourinho was really disrespectful to the Portuguese coach and the players who won the title last year:

“But to put Jose down is completely and utterly out of order. It’s disrespectful to Mourinho and also the players that won the league last year, because they played some great football.”

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BABA RAHMAN

Ghana full back Baba Rahman arrived to Chelsea last summer but he didn’t have all the chances he was expecting at Stamford Bridge.

He made a total of 6 appearances so far, 3 in Champions League and 3 in the Premier League, playing 516 minutes.

Not so bad considering the players he has to compete with, but the Ghanian players was expecting more, and now that the January window is open he reveals his frustation:

“Of course it’s frustrating for any footballer to sit in the stands,” the 21-year-old told German newspaper Bild.

“It’s not something I’ve experienced a lot of.

“As a young player you have to get used to it, and I have to get accustomed to life at a big club and this world-class league.

“In my view, the first half year was quite okay. But in the second half I will definitely play more.

Chelsea are one of the best clubs in the world,” he concluded.

 

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Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink © Francesca Ceciarini

When Guus Hiddink was asked if Chelsea would make some signings in this January transfer window to revamp their attack, he answered:

“We also have Bertrand Traore who is a youngster. And then we are thinking.

“I’m thinking. It’s not good to talk when you are thinking. Why shall we go public? If, suppose something is going on, it can be harmful when you go public. That’s my intention, to get you confused,”

“I have good contact with the board and they are open to discussing all the options. That’s not to say it has to be done but it is open. And if the window is open the mouth is shut”.

Hiddink was also asked about Patrick Bamford, that had a bad loan spalle to Crystal Palace, about a chance for him in the first team squad:

“Things haven’t worked out for whatever reason. I would have been more content if I had been given a chance and not taken it, but I haven’t started a game in the Premier League. For a young player like me, that’s not what you need so I had to take my development into consideration and make it the priority. He will continue to play with the U21 because he has to prove something.”

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Before the clash with West Bromwich Albion tonight at Stamford Bridge Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink spoke about the options he would have in his attack, claiming that Loic Remy – that was coping with an injury in the last weeks- will have his chances:

“With the multitude of games coming up I hope Loic Remy  will deliver if he is needed,” assured Hiddink.

I hope he and Diego Costa will stay fit and I hope Remy can make his next step and get even more fit. I haven’t seen that much of him because he has repeatedly got injured. I have seen him in training the last few days but before that it was yes, no, yes, no, so I am curious.

Falcao is just with the physios working. It is purely medical what he is doing now; he is not on the pitch. He is completely in the doctors’ and physios’ hands. If he is declared fit then it will take time to get him game-fit so I don’t know how long, I don’t know how many weeks [before he is available].

 

 

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Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola apologised to Premier League managers as he put pressure on them when he declared, some days ago, that he was looking for a new challenge in the English championship:

“The reason I have not extended my contract is simple: I want to manage in the Premier League,” Guardiola said last week while in Qatar for a winter training camp.

I want to experience the atmosphere there and look forward to the stages there. I’m 44, it’s the right moment to go there. I haven’t decided on a new club yet, I need a new challenge.”

Bayern Munich and Guardiola already announced that the Spanish manager will be in charge until the end of the season, then former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti will be appointed.

But last night, after the Ballon d’Or ceremony, he apologised as he realised those words put pressure on his colleagues working in the Premier League

“I’m sorry,” he said, as quoted by Spanish paper AS.

“Normally, throughout my career – both as a player and as a coach, I have shown great respect to my fellow colleagues. It wasn’t my intention [to cause any upset]”,

Guardiola, that was also rumoured as next Chelsea permanent manager, also joked on his future:

“I can’t talk about my future; once I have something signed I’ll let you know… or not”.

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink revealed in his pre-match press conference that Blues star Eden Hazard is ruled out for WBA clash tomorrow night.

Chelsea number 10 has been dealing with a hip injury for a month, and despite playing a bunch of games in the last weeks he had to limp off against Crystal Palace, not being able to perform.

Hiddink said that Hazard is under treatment with physios and medical department, but he doesn’t know when he will be ready to go back on the pitch:

Diego Costa is ok, he got a strong contusion on the knee, but not in the joint so we were lucky. He was soon back to training. Remy has beeen back to train with the group since two days, Hazard is not ok:  he was on the pitch today with the physios but he is still not available.

“We want to have him fit. It’s better a little bit late than too early.”

“For me to perform good is a sign of freshness, Hazard had some physical problems this year, if you see yesterday the Ballon d’Or, these people have freshness every year”

“All the players get proper attention, also individually, but we will give Hazard the time to come back”.

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