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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

Ahead of the game with Manchester City Guus Hiddink focused his attention on some of the players in Chelsea squad.

The first one is Baba Rahman:

“He’s one of the guys who, when I came in, I had an impression after a few days he was too quiet, but very skillful with both feet.

“He’s left-footed by nature but he can handle his right foot very well, which is unusual for left-footed players.

“This week I played him right-back in an exercise game because I was curious how he’d do, and he had no problem.

“To survive in the Premier League he must make it very difficult for a coach to put him out of the team. He has the skill to be very dominant defensively in his area and he’s working on that.

“He’s a very nice person and I told him to be nice off the pitch but less nice on the pitch. He’s getting the experience and I hope he can make the next step.”

Then he spoke about Eden Hazard, who’s missing for injury since the second leg game against PSG:

“Last year everything was beautiful and this year everything has been dark for him, so the contrast is huge,” Hiddink explained.

“In the last few days I’ve seen him training very spontaneously, and I think that’s the road he must try to go down, but it’s not easy.

“I think you come back by playing how kids play. Just think in the moment, not in the past or future. Just go and play.

“There are different characters. If you see his skills in training, his spontaneous actions and his movements, by nature they are perfect. The conditions are there but how do you cope with the season he’s had? How does he react? He can be at a very high level but it’s not just about natural skill, also the experience in your career.”

The Dutch manager also revealed why Willian missed the trip to Swansea:

Willian came back from Brazil [from international duty] and was devastated because he had a little complaint in his calf,’ he said. ‘We gave him last weekend off, he recovered and he’s available for the game.”

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Diego Costa returns after and is seen as the favorite to feature against Citizens;

Eden Hazard, John Terry, Loic Remy and Nemanja Matic are injured, while Gary Cahill and Willian is still a doubt;

Thibaut Courtois is expected to return to the starting line-up as a substitute for Begovic.

Manchester City

Raheem Sterling is the only worry for Manuel Pellegrini;

Vincent Kompany may not be risked as he is short on fitness.

Yaya Toure remains a doubt after the Ivorian was named in the bench for the mid-week Champions League clash against PSG.



CHELSEA – Courtois (Begovic), Baba, Miazga, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Obi Mikel, Fabregas, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Oscar, Diego Costa.

Manager: Guus Hiddink

MANCHESTER CITY – Hart, Clichy, Otamendi, Mangala, Zabaleta, Fernando, Fernandinho, Silva, Navas, De Bruyne, Aguero

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini




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Ahead of Chelsea’s game against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, we take a look at the odds on offer.

All odds provided by SkyBET (SB), Ladbrokes (L) and Coral (C), correct as of 15th April.


Full-time score:

Chelsea win: SB – 3/4, L – 3/4, C – 8/11

Draw: SB – 13/5, L –11/4, C – 11/4

Manchester City win: SB – 7/2, L – 4/1, C – 4/1


First goalscorer:

Eden Hazard: SB – 6/1, L – 13/2, C – 13/2

Oscar: SB – 6/1, L – 6/1, C – 5/1

Bertrand Traore: SB – 7/2, L – 4/1, C – 5/1

Pedro: SB – 5/1, L – 13/2, C – 8/1

Willian: SB – 6/1, L – 13/2, C – 8/1

No goalscorer: SB – 10/1, L – 11/1, C – 11/1

Wilfried Bony: SB – 10/1, L – 10/1, C – 9/1

Sergio Aguero: SB – 9/1, L – 9/1, C – 8/1

Kevin de Bruyne: SB – 10/1, L – 10/1, C – 8/1

Samir Nasri: SB – 12/1, L – 12/1, C – 12/1

Kelechi Iheanacho: SB – 12/1, L – 14/1, C – 14/1


Final Score:

Chelsea win:

1-0: SB – 6/1, L – 6/1, C – 6/1

2-0: SB – 7/1, L – 7/1, C – 15/2

2-1: SB – 7/1, L – 7/1, C – 7/1

3-0: SB – 12/1, L – 14/1, C – 14/1

3-1: SB – 12/1, L – 12/1, C – 12/1


0-0: SB – 10/1, L – 11/1, C – 11/1

1-1: SB – 11/2, L – 11/2, C – 6/1

2-2: SB – 14/1, L – 14/1, C – 14/1

3-3: SB – 66/1, L – 60/1, C – 55/1

4-4: SB – 250/1, L – 250/1, C – 150/1

Manchester City win:

1-0: SB – 11/1, L – 12/1, C – 12/1

2-0: SB – 25/1, L – 25/1, C – 25/1

2-1: SB – 14/1, L – 14/1, C – 14/1

3-0: SB – 50/1, L – 60/1, C – 66/1

3-1: SB – 40/1, L – 40/1, C – 40/1

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Guus Hiddink will be looking to recover from his first defeat in his second spell as Chelsea boss as the Blues face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (17:30 GMT KO). 

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 25th minute strike was enough to hand Chelsea their first defeat in 14 games at the Liberty Stadium last weekend, and they now come up against a City side who are unbeaten in their last four in all competitions.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side currently sit fourth, and although all but out of the title race they qualified for the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their history earlier this week.

In the reverse fixture on what was just the second week of the season, Chelsea slumped to a comprehensive 0-3 defeat at the Etihad thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho, before Chelsea easily overcame City 5-1 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge.

Last six games:

Chelsea: DLLDWL (includes one FA Cup game and one Champions League game).

Manchester City: DLWDWW (includes three Champions League games).


Team News:

– Diego Costa is available after serving a three match suspension.

– John Terry, Eden Hazard and Loic Remy all remain out.

– Nemanja Matic and Gary Cahill have returned to fitness but it is unclear whether they will be involved on Saturday.

– Vincent Kompany is likely to miss out with a calf injury.

– Raheem Sterling has recovered from a groin injury, but despite returning to training it may be too soon for his return.



– Chelsea have lost just one of their last 17 meetings with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge (W11, D5).

– The Blues have never lost at home in the league during Hiddink’s two spells in charge (W6, D7).

– This is the longest run of home games without a clean sheet endured by Chelsea in the Premier League(nine).

– Manuel Pellegrini’s side have lost just one of their last seven Premier League away matches (W3, D3, L1).

– Sergio Aguero has scored 11 Premier League goals since the turn of the year – the highest total in the league.

– City have conceded just two goals in their last five league games.


Starting XI last time out in the Premier League:

Chelsea (away vs. Swansea City, lost 1-0): Begovic, Baba, Ivanovic, Miazga, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Fabregas, Oscar, Loftus Cheek, Pedro, Pato.

Manchester City (home vs. West Brom, won 2-1): Hart, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Mangala, Kolarov, Navas, Fernando, Delph, Nasri, Bony, Aguero.

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Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson gave a prediction of tomorrow’s Premier League clash Chelsea v Manchester City with a column for the sport TV broadcaster website.

Here is his opinion:

The gap between Manchester City in fourth and Manchester United in fifth is just four points and I fully expect Louis van Gaal’s side to close the gap by the time kick-off comes around at Stamford Bridge. It’s a massive game for City.

They had a brilliant result in midweek and you have to hand it to them after they reached the Champions League semi-finals, but they cannot take their eye off the ball against Chelsea. It’s still a huge ask to win the Champions League so the league is crucial. However, I think Chelsea will win this and blow the top four wide open.


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Guus Hiddink press conference ahead of the Premier League match with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge:

TERRY, HAZARD, REMY OUT – “I think we had a good week, I am especially happy that some injured players came in, not all of them because Terry, Hazard and Remy are still out.

“It’s good to see of what they are able to do, I think I will play some youngsters, so they will get the experience, they have to go into tomorrow’s match with ambition and desire, we want to to do a good row until the rest of the season.

MAN CITY“For Man City is good to be in the last four of Europe, it’s a reward for their season, Liverpool was able to qualify after a crazy game and  for English football is good to have two teams winning in the European games.

“If City can be distracted from the Champions League? They had a wonderful week and they have still some days before they play Real Madrid, it’s encouraging for us, it’s one reason more to expect a strong opposition.”

CHELSEA SEASON“You have to consider all season: half way in December Chelsea was one point from the relegation, it was difficult to imagine that you could compete for the title at the end. These games are normally the ones that decide the championship, unfortunately this time not.”

DE BRUYNE-LUKAKU“They are quality players, it would not be nice to neglect that, they got huge qualities, their career has improved so far, it’s good to see them performing well, also for the upcoming EURO.”

EDEN HAZARD – “It’s been a long period [ since he has been injured] it hasn’t been alarming, but now he is coming back. It’s difficult when you are the player of the year, and then you have this drastic fall of form.

“I was breaking my head too to understand how to have him on track, I think he fell to match into injuries and it was difficult for him to come back.”

DIEGO COSTA – “He could take a break since he was missing some games but he didn’t, he worked very hard, he was in Cobham working with the staff, he is very ambitious, very eager to play.”

CHELSEA MOTIVATION FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON – “It’s strange, because this club used to be involved in the last weeks of the season in some fight for some title. You are a little be empty because there is no silverware to go for, this has been a very difficult season, but we made a great step out of relegation zone, some days you think about the thing you don’t fight for nothing, but then you have to react.

You see a little bit of [bad] reaction from the players, going a little bit more on injuries, now they must show what they are capable of.”

NEXT SEASON – “Of course there is a lot of work to do, they have to restart their energy.”

HIS FUTURE – “If I am asked I am available for this club.”

WHY SEASON WAS WRONG – “You have to go back to the start of the season, to August, untile December… We can make an analysis, of course I’ve got my opinion, but I think it’s not good for me to do it here.”

REACTION – “I want a reaction after the setback with the first defeat in the Premier League. For them it’s important to show what they can do, to show that they are happy to play for this big club. Some of them are going to play in the EURO, and they must arrive prepared, because it’s a tough competition.”

COMPETITION“Some clubs will have more money to spend in the next years, I think for the football is good that also smaller clubs will have the chance to sign better players.

Teams that were used to compete for the title or the Champions League spot will be chased.”

FALCAO- PATOLast week we brought many youngsters also because of the injuries. That’s good to go on that, to use this strategy, to permit to the youngsters to have more playing time.

“Pato deserved to start one game at least, to give him the chance to show what he is able to do not just in training.”

INJURIES –Cahill and Matic are in, Kenedy suffered a small injury but he will be able to be selected.”


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Terry and Lampard in last year challenge beteween Chelsea and Manchester City © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard spoke to TalkSPORT ahead of the game between two of his English former clubs: the London Blues and Manchester City.

The New York City FC midfielder was surprised that he could properly follow the Premier League while in the USA:

“We get more games on TV here than in the UK,” he says over the phone from his New York home. “When I first got here, I wasn’t sure if I liked watching it. It was kind of fresh because I’d just finished, but as I’ve been here longer I’ve watched more.

“How would I sum up this season? A one-off. Refreshing. Just a crazy season.”

LEICESTER ON TOP –We all have our teams – I’ve got Chelsea strong in my heart, and a bit of Manchester City – but no one can say they haven’t been excited by the idea of a team like Leicester doing what they look like doing. Big teams have underperformed and Leicester are the fairytale. I thought they would be caught. But with the big results they’ve pulled off and the consistency they’re playing with, plus the lack of games left, I think it’s pretty much theirs. The only thing that can stop them now is the nerves that can come when a team isn’t used to being in that position. But they look like they’re enjoying it. There’s a difference between feeling pressure in a negative way and enjoying it, and at the moment the whole place is buzzing. Watching on TV you can feel the atmosphere. That might carry them over the line.”

RANIERI – “I’ve always followed Claudio Ranieri’s career because he was a huge turning point in mine when he took me to Chelsea. Leicester was a difficult job, though. I know he’s a good manager and a man who galvanises players, but I wasn’t sure what he had to work with there. He and every player have exceeded themselves. In recent weeks, when the pressure could have been tough for the players, he’s taken it off them with a smile and the way he behaves. It’s not just down to him, though. The players have come out of nowhere to look like world-beaters. Some are in their international teams now, when they were nowhere near them at the start of the season. They’re the ones who go out there and do it consistently, so credit to them.”

RELEGATION BATTLE –In recent years we’ve seen so-called big clubs, who believe they can’t go down, getting relegated. That’s when a club has to take a look at itself from top to bottom – from players to recruitment, owners and managers… Aston Villa have looked completely disjointed this season. In previous years they’ve consistently been at the higher end of the league, but now they look like one of the worst Premier League clubs we’ve seen.”

GUARDIOLA TO CITY – “When a club announces a new manager is coming in at the end of the season, it shouldn’t have any impact on the players. But history says it does affect teams. Manchester City will be the club that asks: ‘Was that the right time to announce it [Pep Guardiola’s signing]? They dropped from a title-winning position afterwards. When Chelsea announced that Antonio Conte was coming in they didn’t have much to lose, so for them it was wise to lay their cards on the table.”

CONTE TO CHELSEA – “Conte has a big job to do. There’s been a transition at Chelsea that looked like it was going in a good direction, but it’s gone in a completely negative one. They shouldn’t be where they are now. You can see Conte is going to take the bull by the horns and try to imprint his style and technique on the club. He might need to bring in players who will respond to that. There will be a change of personnel at Chelsea.”

CHELSEA SEASON – “Chelsea’s players have underperformed. Important players, too – ones who were at a really high level last year. I don’t know if that’s because of issues they have with the club, the manager; if it’s just form, or injuries. The players have to look at themselves and ask: ‘How can so many underperform to that level?’ You can have bad seasons, but you shouldn’t have a bad one where you finish in the bottom half. The big test is how they come back, because Chelsea can’t afford to be out of the top four for two years consecutively.”

JOHN TERRY’s FUTURE – “I imagined finishing my career at Chelsea, and I know John would have, too. But you do have moments when you wonder where your career is going, and I found that period difficult at the end of my time at Chelsea. It’s now the choice that John makes. If he doesn’t stay, where does he go? For me it’s been an amazing experience to go to Manchester and New York, even when I didn’t expect it. And it might be the same for John if it does go that way. But it’s a difficult situation – you’ve got a family and you’re wondering where you’re going to live. You go from being very stable and at a club you love to having to take in all these other variables. So it is not an easy time. John will be going through all that now.”


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Manchester City winger David Silva © Francesca Ceciarini

Manchester City star David Silva was delighted last night after his side triumphed against PSG but he urged his team-mates and him to stay focused on next games that are really important as well, like the next one they will play on Saturday afternoon against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, because the enthusiasm sometimes can become an enemy after games like the one Citizens lived last night:

“The manager is very happy but now we have to think about Saturday’s game against Chelsea, he said after the Champions League match.

“We have two league games in a very short space of time and we have to perform well.

“We have to try and finish as high in the table as we can to secure Champions League football next season.”

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

According to Italian website TuttoMercatoWeb.com Chelsea star Eden Hazard will replace Gareth Bale at Real Madrid.

The Welsh footballer refused to extend his deal with Merengues and now the two Manchester club, City and United, are keen to sign him offering to the ex Spurs star stunning deals.

In case Bale would join the Premier League again Real Madrid targeted Hazard to replace him: a swap with James Rodriguez is possible, or the Spanish side will have to pay around £ 50m to the Blues to secure the Belgian services for the next seasons.

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De Bruyne was unable to break into Chelsea's first team.

Kevin De Bruyne impressed again last night with Manchester City taking Pellegrini‘s side to Champions League semifinals with a stunning goal in the tight clash against PSG.

He also scored in the 2-2 draw at Parc des Princes last week and those were not the only two games where he made an impact this year with Citizens, after being back to the Premier League one year and half later Chelsea sold him to Wolfsburg.

The Belgian star was signed in 2012 from Genk and was loaned to Werder Bremen: he came back in summer 2013 and had time to play nine games with the first team, before being sold to Wolfsburg in January 2014.

It was revealed later that was his request to leave since he wanted a guaranteed place in the starting XI that José Mourinho couldn’t assure to him in that moment.

Anyway, Chelsea directors will probably regret their decision for the rest of their lives, since De Bruyne played wonderful with Man City this season after coming back to England in a £55m deal last summer.

Ex Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino was really disappointed by the Stamford Bridge club letting him go, like every Blues fan around the world and expressed this feeling on an article he wrote for The Times:

“What did Chelsea not see in Kevin de Bruyne?

“I can’t understand how they and Jose Mourinho decided to let him go.

Then he goes on:

“He may not have played that many games for them but surely he showed his potential in training every day?

“Top clubs these days have a wealth of coaches to spot talent and this lad has the lot.

“I think he is probably the most gifted young player in Europe when it comes to using either foot.

“His goal was superb but some of his incisive passing was fantastic.

“One first-half pass in particular finding David Silva and splitting the Paris Saint-Germain defence —was one that only a few players could pull off.

“I don’t know how Chelsea couldn’t see his potential.”


Former Chelsea's defender Michael Ian Mancienne will face his former side tomorrow in the Carabao Cup third round at Stamford Bridge. The 29-year-old spent 11 years in the...