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Leicester City

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Chelsea manager José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Despite remaining consistent throughout his Premier League campaign, winning the league with three games to spare, José Mourinho is still yet to be awarded a ‘Manager of the Month’ award.

In the month of April, Mourinho won 4 out of 5 games, only dropping points in a goalless draw away at Arsenal, in order to secure a strong footing to win the Premier League title. However, the award went to Nigel Pearson of Leicester City, who also won 4 out of 5 games, losing only to Chelsea. It is is likely that the argument in favour of Pearson would be that his team were able to climb out of relegation with those results, as opposed to Chelsea, who achieved the arguably less pressure-filled task of maintaining a point gap at the top; even losing all 5 matches would have them 3 points from first place.

This asks a question of the awarding committee: is it harder to be rewarded when you are under less pressure, or somewhat expected to win? The way awards have been previously appear to be based on the form of the team that month, often noting the most improved perhaps – but what if to win consistently is business as usual? Is Mourinho’s managerial brilliance ironically what hinders him from ever becoming Manager of the Month?

This ‘most improved over most consistent’ approach appears more prominent when one learns that Tony Pulis won the February Award with 2 wins and 2 draws, showing a notable improvement by losing one game since the January transfer period, while they were looking at almost certain relegation before the new year. However, this is contrasted by Arsène Wenger winning the March award, who won 9 out of 11 games since the new year to stay in pursuit of the eventual champions.

Where both Arsenal and Chelsea showed good form that month, Arsenal had the edge by wining all of their league games, whereas the Blues dropped points in a draw against Southampton. Upon looking throughout the league results of each month, Chelsea have only won every league game in the month of August dropping at least two points every other month; the winning streak just can’t seem to get going. This inability to have a perfect run of games in a month, combined with the fact that Chelsea have been consistent enough to create high expectations for the squad, hinders the ‘Special One’ from fully living up to his namesake.

In this final month of Premier League competition, Mourinho has begun with a good result to win the title, thus opening up a chance to end this year’s campaign as ‘Manager of the Month.’ However, while teams fight under pressure for safety and Europe, it appears that only the most towering victories will be able to stand against the best results of the other teams. At the very least, José will be holding a much more memorable award for his efforts.

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Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson won the latest Manager of the Month Award

It seems absurd but the manager who won the Premier League after leading the table from “day one” until the end is not going to win a single “Manager of the Month Award” this season.

The same is for John Terry, the captain, the leader and the “rock” of Chelsea, for many people the real top-player of the team, without detracting anything to stunning Eden Hazard who, anyway, never won the prize either.

The only player in Chelsea squad that was awarded with the monthly prize was Diego Costa back in August, due to his impressive start in the Premier League.

It’s right that to win the league is far better and more important that win these individual awards, but it seems also really absurd that the best team of the Premier League never got any recognition.

Both Mourinho and Terry were nominated to win this month, but at the end the winners were Nigel Pearson, who’s undergoing an impressive good run with Leicester City, and Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, who scored five goals in four games in April.

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Chelsea midfielder Willian claims the support from the fans against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge will make this Sunday a day to remember in Chelsea history.

“We are playing at home, we have the support of the fans behind us and we have a great chance to win the game. The fans are very important, we need them to come to the game and support the team. It gives us added motivation.

“Sometimes you have to forget about the supporters and get on with your job out on the pitch but, of course, Sunday is a day when they can be a very big help for us.”

Speaking about Chelsea’s Wednesday night win at Leicester, the Brazilian said: “I was pleased with the performance of myself and the whole team, it was a difficult game, everybody gave their best and we were very happy with the result. 

“The first half was tough for us but in the second half we played much better and scored three goals, in the end I felt we deserved to win the game.”

Willian has been a key part of the Chelsea midfield this season, but he was quick to highlight the importance of the decisions of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho: “Sometimes when the way you are playing isn’t working you have to change it. The manager did that at half-time and it paid off. In the second half we had a lot more possession and played with confidence. Because of that we created more chances, which enabled us to score the three goals.”



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Cech left Chelsea last summer after eleven years and many trohpies

Petr Cech believes being crowned Premier League champions this season will be the beginning of a new era of glory for Chelsea and that that the wait for this year’s success has been too long.

Cech, who has largely been second choice goalkeeper behind Thibaus Courtois this season after a ten year spell as being Chelsea’s number one, says that winning the league on Sunday will push the latest group of Chelsea players to greater things.

“This one is hopefully the start of a new era, another generation of players, because there is only me, JT and Didier left from the team who have been here for the last decade.

“You can say this is a new Chelsea generation. Hopefully we will win the title on Sunday and this team will continue to grow.”

Cech has been the subject of fervent transfer speculation following his spell on the sidelines and it is now generally accepted that he will leave Stamford Bridge this summer with PSG and Arsenal among his suitors.

However, despite his lack of chances  Cech still feels he has contributed to the team’s success and that the five years without the Premier League is far too long.

“It’s always nice to be there and make a contribution to the club’s success. At certain stages of this season, we have all contributed with moments that help us to be where we are.”

“The last title we won was back in 2010, so it has been a long time.”

Cech played in Chelsea’s 3-1 win at Leicester City and win the title with three points against Crystal Palace.

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Following Chelsea’s recent win and the remaining Champions League spots essentially decided, one will find much more competition between the teams at the bottom of the table.

At a glance, the bottom 7 seven teams enter the final month in some form of crisis: Newcastle, Hull City, Aston Villa, Leicester City, Sunderland, QPR and Burnley. Their survival hopes will be analysed below, followed by a prediction of how the bottom of the table will look like at the end of the month.

Newcastle: Despite being the current leader in the relegation battle, they have an interesting final four games that could be at best, profitable, or at worst make things more awkward for everyone. They start off away against Leicester City, who have shown great form in recent weeks. They then face West Brom, who will most likely fight for a win to completely ensure their own safety, as they will struggle to pick up any points from Man United, Chelsea or Arsenal. They will then be going away to yet another combatant, QPR, before finishing against West Ham, who will do them a favour if they beat Burnley and Aston Villa on their way to St James’ Park.

Hull City: Currently on a 2 game winning streak, the Tigers are somewhat unlucky to facing Arsenal at the start of their six-game barrage, where teams such as Sunderland may be able to steal points from a fatigued side. They’ll want to hit Burnley hard the following game in order to recover any lost goal difference, as their final games against Tottenham and Man United, still fighting to ensure European competition, won’t be easy.

Aston Villa: While they start off against the mid table Everton and West Ham, they will need as many points as possible prior to their game against Southampton, who will not relent in their chase for Europa League football, before ending their premier league campaign against a Burnley side who may or may not already be relegated on the day. Like Wigan two years ago, they are tasked with winning the FA cup against a top four side whilst fighting relegation. Perhaps they will be able to do better than Wigan, who were relegated upon lifting the cup.

Leicester City: Having not being able to take advantage of their game in hand against imminent champions Chelsea, the Foxes remain deeply rooted in the battle, starting off against a worried Newcastle and a Southampton side that will look to go on a winning streak after fighting their rivals for Europe, Tottenham, for a point. However, Leicester seem to be blessed with having a key say in the battle with matches against Sunderland and QPR, who are highly likely to drop points against the top 8 teams they will face.

Sunderland: Despite having a game in hand, their final games will be anything but easy. Their gap of three points could easily close when they host European hopefuls Southampton before going away to Everton. They then host currently in form Leicester City (ignoring the recent loss to Chelsea, where they were the better team in the first half), which will probably be the relegation blockbuster, given their current positions in the league, before two cruel away fixtures against a most likely fatigued Arsenal side that they may be able to steal a point from and the ever-consistent Chelsea.

QPR: I don’t know if it’s possible to make life any harder for Chris Ramsey’s men. Following a most likely fall at Anfield to a Liverpool side looking to prove themselves after a loss to Hull City and get into Europe, they go away to Man City before hosting a Newcastle side that can’t afford to lose, all before facing Leicester City, who are unlikely to take pity on them after a pressure filled game against Sunderland.

Burnley: Despite residing at the very bottom with the worst goal difference in the league, they still have a realistic chance of coming 17th, given their generally nicer final matches in comparison to other potential relegation survivors. Since they were able to beat Man City and draw against Tottenham a few weeks back, perhaps they could hope to grab some points away at West Ham and, more importantly, Hull City, before facing Stoke City, who can mathematically just about sneak into the Europa League – as long as the four teams ahead of them fall on great misfortune. They then face Aston Villa, who may or may not have to go all out to ensure they stay in the top flight.

After speculating over the final month of the season, the predicted final places are as follows:

14th: Newcastle (or potentially West Brom)

15th: Leicester City

16th: Hull City

17th: Aston Villa

18th: Sunderland

19th: Burnley

20th: QPR

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Jose Mourinho has warned against celebrating Chelsea’s title success too early in the wake of his side’s 3-1 win at Leicester City, a win that mean they are just three more points away from winning the league.

Many Chelsea supporters will arriving at Stamford Bridge on Sunday believing the title is secure, but the Portuguese believes it is wrong to adopt that attitude, saying they haven’t won the trophy yet and if anyone wants to celebrate they should do so for the League Cup victory in February.

“I cannot touch it, we need to win. We need two or three more points so I would say we need three points to be completely safe,” he said.

“I think we all had it in our mind to try to do it at Stamford Bridge. Today, the great motivation was exactly that.

“Stamford Bridge, they can’t celebrate yet. If they want to celebrate they have to celebrate the Capital One Cup.

“I hope they don’t go there to celebrate, I hope they go there to play the match with us and push the team.”


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Sky Sports pundit and Manchester United legend has dismissed claims that champions-elect Chelsea are boring and claimed that only winners are remembered.

Neville, who spent his whole career at Old Trafford where he won several Premiership titles, was commentating on Chelsea’s 3-1 win away at Leicester City when he praised the Blues style of play earlier in the season and used his own experience to emphasise the point.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” he told Sky Sports. “People called the Newcastle team of 1996 with Kevin Keegan exciting but they were exciting losers; nobody remembers them now.”

Manchester United famously chased down Newcastle United who had a 12 point lead in the 95/96 season to deny them the league title. Many at the time considered Newcastle to be the better side.

Neville continued:

“The fact of the matter is that people remember winners. People will remember this Chelsea team. They were exciting earlier in the season, the style was good.

“They have hit a blip in terms of the rhythm in their game and what you would call ‘football form’ in the last couple of months but their run of results is fantastic and that’s all that matters, as far as I’m concerned. You’re never going to go through a full season [playing] brilliant.

“The rest of the league has been poor. It doesn’t say a lot about the rest of the league that they’re going to get an easy ride at the end. It’s a poor reflection on the other teams that are chasing them or supposedly competing with them.”

Chelsea were jeered off the pitch by Arsenal ans after the 0-0 draw at the Emirates on Sunday, thus ensuing a wider debate about the aesthetics of football and whether the team at the top of the table has a responsibility to entertain as well as win.

Last night’s result means they will claim their first Premier League title in five years with a win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

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Chelsea have gone thirteen points clear at the top of the table after an impressive 3-1 victory away at Leicester City which means one more victory will see them crowned Premier League champions.

Chelsea started slowly with the home side taking the initiative early on, despite not creating any clear chances. There were brief moments of danger in the first quarter-of-an-hour when Leicester City appeared  to set their sight on goal but were let down by the first touches of their forwards.

The champions-elect first opening came on fifteen minutes and did so courtesy of a quick sprint with the ball from Willian who, with the on-running Ramires slightly too far ahead- pulled it back to Drogba whose mishit troubled nobody. It was sign that Chelsea were getting into the rhythm, however, and sight on goal came just a minute later when, from more orthodox approach play, Fabregas made a brilliant pass through the centre of the home defence, lobbing the ball over the heads of everyone to Ramires whose cut back reached no one in Chelsea colours.

The general play from Chelsea began to improve but the home side were still a threat, particularly from the wings- on a number of occasions John Terry had to hook the ball away from the near pot area when crosses threatened the goal. For their part, Leicester were quick to get players behind the ball when Chelsea were attacking. Fabregas and Hazard, Chelsea’s two main sources of creativity this season, found it hard to find space for their team mates even if their individual play was fine. A scrap in the penalty area followed Konchesky fashioning an attempt on goal from a deep cross on the right which Cech was able to make the save if not turn it around the post, but Leicester did take the lead a few moments later when Azpilicueta slipped and failed to clear a pass into the box from the left hand side which gave Mark Albrighton the easy task of passing the ball into the left hand corner.

It was a goal that Chelsea deserved to concede, such was their sloppy football in the first half. The team appeared too static and the moments of improvement were sporadic and never threatening. When the second half began, the deficit vanished within three minutes when a rejuvenated Chelsea played with far greater intent and drive. It was Drogba who got the Blues level, collecting a cut back from Ivanovic and bringing back memories of years gone by when he finished coolly into the same corner of the goal that Chelsea had conceded in at the end of the first period. That preceded a flurry of chances that they did not take, one from the old Ivorian, who found himself in a better position than he did when he scored but shot over, and another when Fabregas couldn’t quite connect to a brilliant run and cross from Willian which he probably didn’t expect to reach him.

Following that the game fell into a pattern of both sides taking it in turns venture forward in search of a third goal. To their credit Leicester did not sit back in search of a valuable draw in their struggle against relegation. Having won their previous four games their were confident to keep up the pressure that served them so well in the first half, but their wanderings into the Chelsea penalty area didn’t threaten the away side a great deal. Willian had a shot that curled over the bar, and it was the Brazil international who was one of Chelsea’s most threatening players as he often ran from one penalty area to the other.

The breakthrough for Chelsea came from an old source when Terry reached the ball first, as he has done so many times in his long career, after Cahill’s flick on header was saved from Fabregas’ corner with ten minutes to go. Ramires increased the lead just a few minutes later finishing brilliantly with his left foot from twenty-five yards out, and that point the Chelsea players knew the game, and perhaps the title, was won, such were their celebrations. It might not be mathematically certain yet, but tonight’s win means another three points will mean they are champions of England for the first time since 2010.


Leicester City: Schmeichel, Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan (c), Albrighton, King, Cambiasso, Drinkwater, Konchesky, Vardy, Ulloa.

Unused substitutes: Schwarzer,  Hammond,  Wood, Kramaric.

Manager: Nigel Pearson


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

Substitues: Courtois, Filipe Luis,  Ake,  Oscar, 

Manager: José Mourinho


Referee: Mark Clattenburg


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Chelsea are looking to close in for the title as they need just five points to be crowned Champions this season. They can either be won or dropped by Arsenal.

Chelsea take on Leicester City who look for safety and avoid relegation so what happened in the first half

Chelsea took quite a while to get into the rhythm as Leicester kept applying relentless pressure on the blues affording very little space but Chelsea have managed to get back into it and claim the possession of the ball most of the time

Most of the thirty minutes have been played in Leicester City’s half as Chelsea took full control but controlling isn’t winning and the moment the Blues are 1-0 down as Matic missed a tackle in  midfield allowing Ulloa to slide Vardly through the left

It could prove to be a massive goal for the foxes and Chelsea need to back into it really quickly

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Injuries dictate the team selection once more as Mourinho has decided to play it safe with the benching of Courtois and Oscar, leaving Costa off the sheet entirely while Leicester’s starting eleven is unchanged in their fight to escape relegation.

Although a point will not necessarily have either team reach their campaign goal, it will be valued by a Leicester side without the striking experience of David Nugent, as well as a Chelsea side who are perhaps privileged to have PFA player of the year Eden Hazard while notable members of the attack force battle with injury issues.

The line ups are as follows:

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan (c), Albrighton, King, Cambiasso, Drinkwater, Konchesky, Vardy, Ulloa.

Substitutes: Schwarzer, De Laet, Hammond, Mahrez, James, Wood, Kramaric.

Manager: Nigel Pearson


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

Substitues: Courtois, Filipe Luis, Zouma, Ake, Mikel, Oscar, Cuadrado.

Manager: José Mourinho


Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester, UK

Kick Off: 7:45pm BST


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