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Eden Hazard

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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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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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EDEN HAZARD
Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

Eden Hazard comes from a family made up entirely of footballers, thus creating the potential for a future ‘Hazardous’ squad.

Eden is the first child of four brothers in the world of football, coming from a matrimony between former footballers.

The beginning of what could’ve been a ‘team of Harzards’ began with Chelsea’s signings of the oldest brothers, Eden and Thorgan, back in 2012. However any hopes of them appearing in the same starting XI were dashed when Thorgan’s loan to Borrusia Mönchengladbach became a permanent deal – although the Blues retained a buy-back option.

The Hazard footballing family is rounded off by 19 year-old Kylian, who took elder brother Thorgan’s place with Belgain side Zulte Waregem in 2014, and 12 year-old Ethan, who is currently in the youth ranks at Belgian 2nd Division team Tubize.

In an interview with The Sun, Thorgan expressed a desire to play with his older brother in the future, stating that “[Eden] wants to play with me one day, maybe with the other brothers at the end of our careers when we are old.” 

Although it may be too early to tell what lies ahead for any of the brothers in the distant future, one can still hope for an eventual family reunion on the same team.

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Chelsea won the Premier League title last weekend

Our exclusive photo gallery from Stamford Bridge: let’s enjoy the new Champions of England celebration!

 

Please remember all pictures are © Francesca Ceciarini, every abuse will be prosecuted

 

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PFA Team of the Year Chelsea players
Some of the Chelsea players at the PFA awards ceremony last night at the Grosvenor Hotel in London

The PFA Player of the Year Awards were given out at a reception at the Grosvenor Hotel in London last night, and we round up who won what as the 2014-15 season draws to a close. The list was voted for by players from 100 clubs from the Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League.

PFA Player of the Year

Winner – Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Shortlisted – Diego Costa (Chelsea), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), David de Gea (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

EHPOTY

As was expected by many, Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard was awarded the Player of the Year trophy after what has been a brilliant season for the Belgian. With Chelsea on course to lift their first Premier League title since 2010, Hazard’s consistenly good performances have been instrumental in maintaining the Blues’ dominance this season. The 24-year old has scored 13 goals and grabbed nine assists this season.

 

PFA Young Player of the Year

Winner – Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

Shortlisted – Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), David de Gea (Manchester United), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

HarryKaneYPOTY

It has also been a fantastic season for young Tottenham striker Harry Kane. Although he didn’t score his first goal this season until November, he has been scoring them for fun since with an incredible 20 goals. He is currently the joint top-goal scorer in the Premier League, whilst becoming the first Spurs player to break the 30 goal threshold in all competitions since Gary Lineker in the 1991/92 season. Two of those goals included a winning brace against London rivals Arsenal.

 

PFA Women’s Player of the Year

Winner – Ji So-Yun (Chelsea)

Shortlisted – Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Jess Clarke (Notts County), Kelly Smith (Arsenal)

JSYPOTY

Nicknamed ‘The Korean Messi’, Ji So-Yun has had another good season for Chelsea Ladies. The South Korea international enjoyed a fine debut season in England after joining from Japanese side Kobe INAC Leonessa last year. Having been named FA WSL 1 Players’ Player of the Year at the FA Women’s Awards Last November, after helping Chelsea to second place in the top league, she is now the PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year 2015.

 

PFA Young Women’s Player of the Year

Winner – Leah Williamson (Arsenal)

Shortlisted – Freda Ayisi (Birmingham City), Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), Aoife Mannion (Birmingham City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City – on loan from Everton), Amy Turner (Notts County)

LeahWilliamsonYPOTY

Having been the star of the England Under-19 penalty incident, 18-year old Leah Williamson has been a star performer for the Female Gunners since joining the club at the age of nine. She has shown bags of talent since, with great vision and being strong in a tackle.

 

PFA Merit Awards

Former England midfielders Steven Gerrard, 34, and Frank Lampard, 36, shared the PFA Merit award. The veteran pair will leave the Premier League for Major League Soccer in the United States in the summer, having collected 220 England caps between them.

 

PFA Premier League Team of the Year

PFA-Premier-League-Team-of-the-Year

There are six Chelsea players in this year’s team, three of which make up the back four. Ryan Bertrand makes up the back line after an impressive first full season at Southampton. Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa get into the team after their debut season.

The team – David De Gea (Manchester United), Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), John Terry (Chelsea), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Nemanja Matic (Chelsea), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Diego Costa (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham).

 

PFA Women’s Team of the Year

PFA-Premier-League-Team-of-the-Year

Last year’s winner of the Women’s Player of the Year, Lucy Bronze, gets into the team along with Casey Stoney and Emma Mitchell from Arsenal. Nikita Parris gets into the team after an impressive season with Everton last term despite the Toffees being relegated to WSL2. Ji So Yun also gets into the team after winning the Women’s Player of the Year.

The team – Carly Telford (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Liverpool), Casey Stoney (Arsenal), Rachel Corsie (Notts County – now Seattle Reign), Emma Mitchell (Arsenal); Ji So-Yun (Chelsea), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Birmingham City), Karen Carney (Birmingham City); Nikita Parris (Everton), Eniola Aluko (Chelsea).

 

PFA Championship Team of the Year

Team-of-the-year-C-Twitter

Championship Player of the Year Patrick Bamford is a somewhat surprising omission from the team. Watford striker Troy Deeney is the only player to be included from the north London side, despite the Hornets being the first side to be promoted. Alex Pritchard is included after a great season on loan at Brentford, whilst Russell Martin is recognised for his solid performances at the back for Norwich City.

The team – Kieren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday); Simon Francis (Bournemouth), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Russell Martin (Norwich City), George Friend (Middlesbrough); Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough); Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth), Bakary Sako (Wolves), Alex Pritchard (Brentford – on loan from Tottenham); Troy Deeney (Watford), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town).

 

PFA League 1 Team of the Year

Team-of-the-year-L1-Twitter

The team – Frank Fielding (Bristol City); Nathan Byrne (Swindon Town), Tom Clarke (Preston North End), Aden Flint (Bristol City), Joe Bryan (Bristol City); Dele Alli (MK Dons); Luke Freeman (Bristol City), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Korey Smith (Bristol City); Joe Garner (Preston North End), Eoin Doyle (Chesterfield – now Cardiff City).

 

PFA League 2 Team of the Year

Team-of-the-year-L2-Twitter

The team – Daniel Bentley (Southend United); Phil Edwards (Burton Albion), Steve McNulty (Luton Town), Connor Goldson (Shrewsbury Town), Ben Coker (Southend United); Ryan Woods (Shrewsbury Town), Matt Grimes (Exeter City – now Swansea City), Jed Wallace (Portsmouth), Danny Mayor (Bury); Matt Tubbs (Portsmouth), Reuben Reid (Plymouth Argyle).

 

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EDEN HAZARD
Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

Former Premier League striker Alan Shearer has said that Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard can become the ‘best in the world’.

Shearer’s comments to BBC Sport come after Belgian midfielder Hazard was awarded the PFA Player of the Year award in London last night, after what has been a brilliant season for the 24-year old. He has scored 13 goals and grabbed nine assists this season.

Former Newcastle and Blackburn Rovers striker Shearer, who won the PFA award twice himself, said that despite Hazard deserving the award, he will be focusing on winning the league:

“Being voted PFA Player of the Year will mean a lot to him too. He has been the Premier League’s outstanding player over the whole campaign, and he deserves the individual recognition.

That’s how I felt in 1995 when I won the title with Blackburn Rovers and was also Player of the Year for the first time. I felt the award reflected my performances and contribution towards my team’s success that season, and it is the same with Hazard. I don’t think anyone can argue that he is not a worthy winner.

The bad news for Chelsea’s rivals is that at 24, Hazard is only going to get better. In three or four years, I think we could be talking about the Belgian being the best player in the world – he has the potential to be that good.”

Hazard has started all 33 games for the Blues this season, and Shearer believes that it’s his consistency that won him the award:

“Diego Costa was brilliant for the first half of the season but has not sustained that form.

“It was the same for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, while Tottenham striker Harry Kane did it the other way round – he did not get his first Premier League goal until November then did not stop scoring for months.

“Hazard was a clear winner for me. He has performed brilliantly throughout the entire campaign.

“His consistency over the last few months has made a massive difference for Chelsea and, individually, he has shone all season.

“He has created the most goal-scoring chances in the Premier League, and attempted and completed the most dribbles.”

In stats collected by BBC Sport, Hazard has completed 155 dribbles out of 254 attempted, created 88 chances, played 98.5% of minutes in the Premier League this season, and drawn 100 fouls. That’s a lot of tackles, but Shearer thinks that it’s part of being as good as Hazard:

“When you have got the skill that he has, and can cause the damage he can, then you get singled out by the opposition as the man to stop.

“He’s a marked man but he has handled that well, which is another big positive.”

Hazard, who moved to Chelsea from LOSC Lille in 2012 for £29 million, was at risk of being excluded from the squad when Jose Mourinho became Chelsea boss for the second time, as many struggled to see how he would fit into the squad. However, 44-year old Shearer, who works as a pundit for the BBC, said that Hazard has adapted his game brilliantly:

“He has improved his defensive discipline and works hard tracking back – you cannot fault his effort or attitude at all.

“It is rare to see attacking players like him used so much, especially at a big club where you see a lot of managers rotate players or rest them towards the end of games, particularly forwards.

“Hazard does not get left out very often and that probably suits him – it always suited me. I always wanted to play because I wanted to score goals and make a difference, and Hazard seems to be very similar.

“That hunger will help to make him a better player.”

 

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EDEN HAZARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR PFA
Chelsea star Eden Hazard with the PFA Players' Player of the Year award

Chelsea star Eden Hazard has been named PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

The Belgian was named ahead of Chelsea team-mate Diego Costa, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, Manchester United’s David de Gea and Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

Kane could consol himself however, as he won the PFA Young Player of the Year award, while Chelsea midfielder Ji So-Yun took the Women’s Player of the Year award.

The trophy was presented tonight at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, and Hazard – clearly satisfied with the prize – said:

“I’m very happy. One day I want to be the best and what I did this season is play very well, Chelsea played very well.

“I don’t know if I deserve to win but it is good for me. It is better to be voted by the players – they know everything about football.

“Personally I have played a good season, I have been there in the big games and I scored a lot of important goals, this is why I’m better this season.”

It’s been a brilliant season for the Belgian, with eight goals and seven assists this season as the Blues look to claim their first title since 2010.

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ARSENAL v CHELSEA

With injuries playing a part in this latter part of the season,  Diego Costa remains ruled out of the team selection for the crunch match between Arsenal and Chelsea. The line-ups are as follows:

 

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker (c), Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud.

Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Debuchy, Wilshere, Flamini, Walcott, Wellbeck

Manager: Arsene Wenger

 

Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Ramires; Oscar, Willian, Hazard.

Subs: Cech, Felipe Luis, Zouma, Loftus-Cheek, Mikel, Willian, Cuadrado, Drogba

Manager: José Mourinho

 

Referee: Michael Oliver

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, UK

Kick Off: 4pm GMT

 

 

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Scholes-Hazard

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes spoke to the Evening Standard about the PFA award.

The ex footballer reckons that Eden Hazard should be the winner, being by far the best Premier League player this year:

“Had I still a ballot paper in this particular election, my vote would go to Eden Hazard,” Scholes wrote in his Independent column. “I prefer the attacking footballers and Hazard has been the best in that regard.”

“Hazard has made the difference in big games, like the one against Manchester United”

“If I were to place the six shortlisted players, plus Terry, in order, I would rank them like this: 1) Hazard; 2) Kane; 3) Terry; 4) David De Gea; 5) Philippe Coutinho; 6) Alexis Sanchez; 7) Diego Costa”

“Hazard is a superb player, and one who does not go missing in big Premier League games”

“When Jose Mourinho has the opposition locked down it is to Hazard whom Chelsea look to get the assist or the goal which will win them the game”

Then he stated that if Hazard wants the consideration that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi have, he should score more goals:

“One thing I do wonder with Hazard is whether he has that hunger to score goals that you see in Ronaldo, Messi and Suarez. They’re unstoppable. Hazard seems to me to be a relatively gentle soul”

“If he wishes to challenge the achievements of Messi and Ronaldo then he will have to prove that he can match their relentless desire to score goals”

To end, a praise to Chelsea captain and former fellow-mate in England national team, John Terry:

“Terry is their [Chelsea’s] main man. He plays in every game and he is deserving of a place on the shortlist of the PFA Player of the Year award”.

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BRANISLAV IVANOVIC

Branislav Ivanovic has been one the most important players in this Chelsea season, one of the ones Mourinho could always rely on, since he barely missed a game and was never substituted in the Premier League.

He looks back at this incredible campaign and at the forthcoming matches with Chelsea official website:

When you look at each game, one by one, you will see I have missed some in the cups, but yes, it’s still a lot,’ agrees Ivanovic.

‘As a squad we have great guys who can play every game; those possibilities are very important. We have been doing well all season so we haven’t had to try to change things too much”

‘It’s been a very long season. When you look at the first couple of games we played in the league it feels like it was two years ago! So it’s been very tough for us but we’re coming to the end now and we must stay focused”

‘We have six games to go and psychologically our first aim is to win the title as soon as possible, but we don’t need to rush. We have to study every game, we have to handle every game and we hope to win it as soon as possible.’

John Terry and Eden Hazard are the other only two Chelsea footballers that started all the 32 League games, speaking about the Belgian player he said:

“He is flying: in my opinion it’s been the best season of his career!

“He’s made a difference every game. All season he has got a lot of kickings but he never complains. He’s a hard worker on the pitch. He’s improved massively from last season and for us he has been the most important player”

“I see him every day in training and I’ve played a lot of games with him. He’s the guy who when you pass him the ball you just have to leave him alone. He will do everything. He’s something different”.

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