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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke ahead of Blues‘ next clash against Southampton.

The Italian manager gave an injury update: “The situation is the same, Fabregas is not able and Ivanovic has fully recovered. So we have all the players available and I have to take the best decision for the starting XI”.

About captain John Terry, who received unfair criticism following his poor performance against West Ham in the EFL Cup Round Four last night: “I don’t like to talk about individual players for the performances, we win and lose together”.

“John came back from an injury and it’s not easy to find the right shape quickly, but I’m satisfied with him and the team”.

“I know that Terry is an important players for us, if he plays or if he doesn’t play, also for the changing room and the club – Conte added – I have always to take the best decisions for the team and not for a single player”.

 

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Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic could miss the Premier League opening game against West Ham, due to a dislocated shoulder.

The 32-year-old suffered an injury during the friendly against RZ Pellets WAC on Wednesday and was replaced by Baba Rahman during the game.

Anyway, new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could be compelled to make some changes after Ivanovic’s injury.

The Daily Express claimed the Blues are keen on Benfica star Victor Linedolf, while Lazio’s Stefan de Vrij has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge this morning.

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AS Roma general director Mauro Baldissoni has come out to claim that Roma have no intention of letting Radja Nainggolan leave this summer.

According to his words here is no substance behind the current transfer speculation surrounding the the 27-year-old and Belgian International: “Just because someone takes a photo while visiting Chelsea, people assume all sorts of things,”

“He could have also visited Arsenal, Tottenham and other clubs to find out who is on the market and who isn’t.”

“Anyway, he was there with Mohamed Salah’s agent because we will be buying him outright this summer, not to discuss over Nainggolan.”

Then Roma seem to not be eager to let their midfielder go to Chelsea, but Baldissoni confessed that the move could still happen if the price is right.

“Every player has his price but our goal is to strengthen Roma.”

 

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According to Corriere dello Sport, Roma are monitoring the situation and are ready to make an attempt to sign Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian International is valued at £8m and totaled 28 Premier League appearances, with 2 goals.

Roma sport director Walter Sabatini was in London this weekend, reportedly to talk about the Belgian International Radja Nainggolan and the future of Mohamed Salah, but the two sides could have discussed the Serbian,  whose contract ends in 2017.

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has become the newest name to be linked with Giallorossi.

 

 

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TEAM NEWS

Swansea

– Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin has a full fit squad to choose from;

– Swansea are playing in a diamond formation these days;

Andre Ayew has just returned to full training;

– Bafétimbi Gomis is likely to start as lone striker, with Alberto Paloschi ready to substitute him during the game.

Chelsea

Gary Cahill is unlikely to play but he’ll have a fitness test ahead of the game;

– Branislav Ivanovic will be in the starting XI alongside Matt Miazga, with Baba Rahman and Cesar Azpilicueta in the full back positions;

Alexandre Pato, with Costa’s absence, is likely to start;

– According to rumours, Guus Hiddink could place Courtois on the bench to give Asmir Begovic a chance;

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has a good chance of featuring and Kenedy could replace Willian, but the 27-years-old is seen as the favorite to feature against Swansea.

PREDICTED LINE UPS

SWANSEA – Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Naughton, Cork, Britton, Fer, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Gomis.

Manager: Francesco Guidolin

CHELSEA – Courtois (Begovic), Baba, Miazga, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Obi Mikel, Fabregas, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Pato.

Manager: Guus Hiddink

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Chelsea starting XI:

Courtois 5- No big saves to make, but couldn’t keep out Lukaku. First strike unstoppable but the second was drilled between his legs. A poor season for Courtois.

Azpilicueta 4- Couldn’t get going when pushing forward, with no real influence on the match, shrugged off by Lukaku for his first.

Ivanovic (c) 4- Completely out of his depth all season. Overpowered by Lukaku for his first. Showed very few signs of leadership.

Cahill 3- Turned inside out for Lukaku’s first goal, pretty much falling over himself. His standards have become lower and lower throughout the season.

Kenedy 4- Played fairly well going forward. But played Lukaku onside for his second goal. Is not a natural left-back and should not be playing there.

Mikel 4- Overrun in midfield, looking like the immobile player he was under Mourinho. Couldn’t get anything going from midfield.

Matic 4- More agile then Mikel in the middle, but can’t reach the heights of last season. Looked to push forward but couldn’t influence the game.

Willian 5- Chelsea’s stand out player of the season couldn’t find a way through. His first half free kick was well saved by Robles.

Fabregas 5- Picking the ball up all over the field. A lovely pass played in Costa but couldn’t find enough space in forward positions.

Pedro 4- Ineffective out wide on the left, has plenty of energy, but couldn’t find an end product and his first touch was suspect at times.

Costa 5- Although he was sent off in the closing minutes, he looked like the man to make things happen and brought the passion needed for a quarter final. More players need to take note. Can’t be going over the top like he did tonight.

Subs:

Oscar 4- Only came on with 15 minutes to go, in a difficult period for Chelsea, but he seems to have lost his way in the last year or so.

Remy- N/A

Terry- Came on for his 700th club appearance in the final few minutes. Surely needs to be given a new deal with Chelsea in this mess.

Manager:

Guus Hiddink 4- The team did not need two holding midfielders in Matic and Mikel. This was needed on Wednesday night against PSG to keep the game tight. But they lacked creativity with both of them in there.

Kenedy is not a left back and was suspect for Lukaku’s second. Chelsea have two key defenders out and a £20 million defender in Baba Rahman still can’t get in to the team.

The Blues worst performance during Hiddink’s reign. With the season now effectively over, Chelsea need to use the final few games of the season to build ahead.

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Branislav Ivanovic spoke well of team-mate Eden Hazard after clash against Paris Saint Germain.

He told The Evening Standard: “It’s not an excuse, but people have to think about the fact he started the game injured. Did that show how committed he is? Yes. Of course when you lose a game the fans are not happy and they have to be like that. But in my opinion it was one of his best performances so far. He was very strong and quick. He wanted to score and had a couple of actions where he looked like last season.”

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These has been Branislav Ivanovic releases after yesterday’s victory on the thin ice against Southampton, where a header of Serbian defender meant for Chelsea the second back-to-back win after the huge one against Newcastle on 13rd of February.

“I didn’t actually see the ball go into the net but it is fantastic, a great feeling. I think these goals are not important for the individual but they are important for us and we work as a team”.

Ivanovic perfectly replaced the captain Terry, whom is still recovering from a tedious hamstring injury.

Yesterday’s score was the second of the season for the 32 years old central defender, scored just 14 minutes after Cesc Fabregas had cancelled out Shane Long’s first-half opener for Southampton.

 

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Begovic 6- Didn’t have a great deal to do but played well when called upon.

Kenedy 7.5- Looked very bright throughout and dangerous when he got forward.

Terry 7- Commanded the defence relatively well but still some uncertainty.

Zouma 7.5- Looked assured throughout and made a number of good interventions.

Ivanovic 7- Looks better than he did before injury.

Fabregas 7- An improvement but still too slow on the ball at times.

Matic 7- Played well in both the defensive and offensive aspects of his game.

Willian 8- Very good. Played with energy, put his set pieces in accurately and made a fantastic assist for the goal.

Hazard 8- Like others this was a very good showing and he is getting closer to his best.

Pedro 7.5- Perhaps his best showing in a Chelsea shirts. He was bright and eager to run at defenders when with the ball, did well to make space for Costa for the goal.

Costa 7- Scored a very good goal to show everyone what he is capable of at his best, but there were still moments of frustration as he didn’t run into the box at the right time and went down too easily in the fist half.

 

Substitutes:

Oscar 6- Came on for Pedro late on, looked bright.

Ramires N/A- Came on far too late, didn’t see much of the ball.

Azpilicueta N/A- Same as above.

 

Manager:

Jose Mourinho 7.5- The team played much better than it has done at most points this season and in the end their patience paid off with good and quick thinking from a number of players. He didn’t panic when the team’s approach didn’t initially work and was able to leave substitutions for cover purposes late on.

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