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Gary Cahill, who celebrated his five-year anniversary as a Chelsea player this week, spoke ahead of today’s home clash against Hull City.

“This weekend will be difficult – the captain told Chelsea’s official website – Every game in the Premier League is, but we responded really well against Leicester and the performance was fantastic”.

“That was exactly what we needed after the Tottenham result. We want to go on another run and when we play at home against anybody we always feel confident. It’s a very important game for us because we want to keep a little gap at the top and a win would do that for us”.

When asked about the importance of Blues‘ defending trio (Cahill-Luiz-Azpilicueta), he added: “Thankfully we’ve all been fit and we’ve managed to play together since then, there’s a good understanding. We know each other as players and we’ve played together for a long time, even from before we all know David. We’ve trained together a lot and we know each other individually”.

“In that formation I think it’s important to get games under your belt and understand your role. During this period we’ve kept clean sheets and defended well, not just us three but the team as a whole”.

“Because playing in a three is slightly different, the more games you play the more you understand the position. I feel comfortable with it, we all know each other’s role so it’s good”.

Cahill was named captain of the squad against Hull City in October and kept the armband since that game.

“It’s something I’m very proud of – he ended – To captain this club for one game is an incredible feeling. John has done it for so many years now and to be able to lead the team out, particularly during a run in which we’ve done so well, has been fantastic”.

“I don’t think it’s changed me too much as player. It’s about being able to handle that little bit of added pressure on your shoulders, which I feel okay with. But in terms of my preparation for games, nothing has changed. I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been great”.

“No matter who the captain is, to have a few experienced players and big personalities around is important. Everybody says you need a lot of leaders on the pitch, and we have that at the moment, so it’s great for us”.

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Chelsea wing-back Marcos Alonso made an impact settling really well in Antonio Conte‘s tactical system so far, the same we can say for Victor Moses.

Alonso’s brace secured Chelsea last 3-0 away win against Leicester City, while today the Blues will face Hull City at Stamford Bridge.

When asked about his relationship with Moses, especially on the pitch, the Spaniard told the club’s official website: “I think it is a good balance for the team, there was no need for us to talk to each other before about what we were going to do”.

“A lot of games he goes more forward and I maybe stay more at the back, but that also depends on how the other team plays and it’s good to have variation and different options”.

“Victor is doing a great job and hopefully we can keep helping the team as we have been doing in the previous games”.

About the 3-4-3 system, Alonso added: “It’s not so different from how I was used to playing at Fiorentina, so it was easy to adapt when I first came here, but there are some different aspects that we have been working on with the manager. But I think it’s not too far from the football I played last year”.

“The team is playing very well and we’ve just got to keep it going and think game by game, not think about games in the past or how we did last week, every week we have a new challenge and we have to face each of them with 100 per cent focus to stay at the top of the table”.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke ahead of next game against Hull City at Stamford Bridge.

“If you want to win something during the season it is important to create a unity in the team, – Conte told the club’s official website – To create this unity between the players, the staff, the club, you have to have a good spirit. I think we are showing this is one of the most important things that has led us to the top of the table”.

“In every team I managed, I always tried to build the right spirit because it is of fundamental importance if you want to have a good season. It is not easy to create and before you arrive at creating a good spirit, you have to pass different steps, but I am pleased to see this unity in my team”.

“When you start the season and arrive at a new club it is not easy because you have to bring your habits, your mentality, your philosophy and also you have to make decisions on some of the players – who starts the game, who goes on the bench, who is in the stands?”

Then Conte added: “You create the spirit day by day and step by step, with your work, with your decisions, with your behaviours and the players’ behaviours. Also you must know that you have to put in a lot of time to create this”.

“It’s important to trust in the work because only the work can improve the situation. For sure it is important to have great players and in my team I have great players with great humility to work and try to improve the different situations and different tactical aspects”.

Chelsea have attacking players all fit and available again, following the comeback of Diego Costa from his back injury and Chinese Super League huge offers.

“We have players who are playing very, very well in a fantastic way and I am pleased for this because it allows me to make different choices game by game, – the Italian manager claimed – I must be honest, this situation is not simple for me, to make this decision or another decision, but it is important for the team and during the game I can change one player with another and adapt different situations to win the game”.

“If I make a decision to choose one player and not another player, it is not because I want to punish one player, but because I have players who stay in really good form and for me it is not easy to make the best decision. But I hope to make the best decision”.

About Pedro he added: “With Pedro, all of us can see his performance and he is playing in a fantastic way,’ said the first team coach. ‘Not only is he scoring, but he is playing really well with and without the ball. He is always in the right position to press and win the ball, but also to score the goal”.

“We are seeing the best moment of Pedro. I hope to continue this way – to continue to train well and improve. Pedro, for sure, is a really important player for us, but in the same way Willian has discovered really good form, and also Eden and Diego”.

Then Conte ended: “For sure there is the path to follow to increase your confidence, to improve your knowledge, I think the reason we are on top of the table is because all our players are performing very well”.

“We are a team and in the team every single player is bringing his talent and it is very important to continue to work and maybe to work more than the past if we want to continue to stay on top of the table”.

 

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Tottenham Hotspur earned a crucial and ‘massive’ point – as manager Mauricio Pochettino claimed after the game –  against Manchester City, following a first half easily controlled by Pep Guardiola’s side.

The Spurs came from behind equalizing with Dele Alli and Son, while Citizens criticised a non-called penalty for Kyle Walker’s challenge on Raheem Sterling just a few minutes before the 2-2.

Tottenham

Tottenham lost their defender Toby Alderweireld due to an hamstring injury, anyway Pochettino said ‘it doesn’t look too bad’, which sounds good considering that also Jan Vertonghen is out due to an ankle ligament issue.

Writing in his Daily Mail column,  former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher underlined how Tottenham currently are the only squad which could challenge Chelsea, but also admitted that they can’t count on a crucial player like Eden Hazard or Alexis Sanchez (for Arsenal).

Chelsea are determined to extend their gap at top of Premier League table, which could see Antonio Conte‘s side leading the championship with 55 points.

Even Arsenal have a game in hand as the Gunners are set to face Burnley this afternoon.

Premier League

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chelsea are set to face Hull City in Premier League Matchday 22 at Stamford Bridge, where the Blues will try to increase their gap with Tottenham and Liverpool.

Kick-Off: 5.30 BST

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Team News

Chelsea

  • Striker Diego Costa is fit and available to play after his alleged back injury;
  • Defender John Terry is also available after suspension.

Hull City

  • Henriksen, Luer, Odubajo, Keane, Bruce, Elmohamady and Mbokani are all out;
  • Robert Snodgrass is still in doubt after suffering a muscle injury;
  • David Meyler is available to play again in midfield;
  • All new January signings Oumar Niasse (from Everton), Evandro (from Porto) and Omar Elabdellaoui (from Olympiakos) are available.

Predicted Line-Ups

CHELSEA (3-4-3) – Courtois; Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Hazard, Costa, Pedro

HULL (3-5-2) - Jakupovic; Dawson, Davies, Maguire; Diomande, Huddlestone, Clucas, Mason, Robertson; Niasse, Hernandez

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Diego Costa shows his passion celebrating the winner against WBA © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte underlined the importance of striker Diego Costa, who is being heavily linked with a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning but could start regularly against Hull City tomorrow.

Anyway, the Italian manager has yet to decide about the Spaniard: “Every time he plays for Chelsea he always gives all of himself for this club, -Conte said - If he starts the game and is not concentrated the fault is mine”.

“I would have made a bad choice because this week I didn’t see the player wasn’t focused or concentrated or was thinking about other situations”.

“Together we have to win against Hull City. It’s important for me, for the players, for the fans to focus on the game and take another three points”.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke ahead of Blues’ next clash against Hull City at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian manager, speaking at press conference in Cobham, told the club’s official website: “Our fans are really important, always. Our fans are great, they push us a lot when we play at home, they push us a lot when we play away”.

“For me they are the 12th player on the pitch and I hope they continue in this way, pushing my players in every moment of the game. They are a really important part for us to try to continue to fight for the title”.

Chelsea could face some injuries during their title race, anyway Conte is not alarmed to hear about this prospect as ‘when you start a season you must consider you can lose important players for one or two games’.

“For this reason, it’s important when you work to prepare to be a team. When you are a team you can support this absence during the game. Our team is showing this. A great team must have this characteristic when it is missing one or two important players”.

“I see our situation now, and for me the most important thing I am seeing this year is great commitment from all my players”.

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West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed that Michail Antonio has been offered a lucrative contract extension and is confident that the England international will accept the deal despite Chelsea interest in him.

The 26-year-old wing-back has been recently linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, but Bilic is quoted to have said: “Antonio is a player who came last season to us and he has improved a lot. He came for the future but is now one of the most important players for us,” 

“When a player is like that and of a good age as well, he attracts interest from other clubs. I don’t know all the details but I hope a new deal is close, even done”.

“He totally deserves it with his behaviour, work-rate, energy and his assists. He is a character and it is that basically makes the difference,” 

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Pablo Simeone spoke at press conference after his side’s 3-0 win over Eibar in the Copa Del Rey.

When asked about Griezmann’s future, as the French star has been repeatedly linked with a move to Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea as well as Paris Saint-Germain, he claimed: “I don’t tie anybody down, I simply keep working to continue getting better for the sake of the club,”

“Griezmann is in an extraordinary moment, is working well, has got back on the scoresheet and his form is good”.

Then Simeone added: “It is normal that the best teams in the world want him. I am not surprised that the teams who are looking are the ones who can afford him.”

Manchester United are reportedly leading the race to sign the former Real Sociedad star and looks set to trigger his £86m buy-out clause next summer.

Anyway, reports in England suggest that also Chelsea are keeping tabs on the 25-year-old.

“I can say that Griezmann will be an Atletico player for a long time” Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo is quoted to have said.

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Chelsea winger Pedro spoke ahead of next clash against Hull City.

The Spaniard, who scored 7 times providing the same number of assists so far in Premier League and F.A. Cup, told the club’s official website: “I have always scored a lot of goals with both feet. It’s an important quality of mine. It’s good to be able to shoot with one foot or the other foot, it gives you more options”.

“The goal against Bournemouth was a very good goal for me and the team and I’m happy to score again. it was a nice moment”.

“I think the goal against Tottenham was better but the Bournemouth one was a good goal, also”,

Then Pedro added: “I remember at Barcelona many times scoring goals in consecutive weeks, and here it is the first time like this. It’s the right way for me”.

“I think it’s the moment. In the right moment you can score more goals; in other moments you don’t, and it’s difficult. I think you can get in to a rhythm and it helps when you’re feeling confident, in your game and with your team-mates. I’m feeling very comfortable on the pitch and this is a good moment for the team and the club, for everybody”.

Pedro scored his last goal against Leicester, when he put the ball past Kasper Schmeichel with an unusual header: “The ball came to me and I touched it in a certain way for Willi. He went inside and then I scored with the head”.

“I have tried it once or twice maybe in training but it’s something you do in the moment. You don’t think about it; you just play the ball in the best way you can”.

Then the 29-year-old added: “It helps when you are confident, for me it’s probably the best moment since I’ve been here. I want to continue like this, to keep scoring goals and to help the team get more wins”.

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Gary Cahill, who celebrated his five-year anniversary as a Chelsea player this week, spoke ahead of today's home clash against Hull City. "This weekend will be difficult...