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Premier League

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For the fifth consecutive year, Chelsea will play in the International Champions Cup as part of their pre-season preparations.

The Blues will know next week their opponents and the dates and venues in which they are going to play: the International Champions Cup will announce all the fixtures in Miami and former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien will attend the “ceremony”.

Other Premier League clubs as Manchester UnitedTottenham and Arsenal will be involved in the competition.

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SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 15: Newly appointed manager Mark Hughes during his first Southampton FC training session and. Mario Lemina(R) at the Staplewood Campus on March 15, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Southampton boss Mark Hughes welcomes Chelsea to St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday and, win or lose, he will make his mark.

If the former Blues striker secures a first top-flight win since being in charge at Saints, he will become only the third manager to beat the Stamford Bridge side in the Premier League with four different clubs.

Hughes has obtained victories over Chelsea, for whom he made 95 Premier League appearances, when he was in charge of Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Stoke City.

The other managers to achieve this were Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson secured victories over Chelsea when manager of Blackburn, Liverpool, WBA and Crystal Palace while Allardyce overcame the Blues when in charge of Bolton, West Ham, Sunderland and Palace.

Should Hughes lose against Chelsea another little record will be set: it would be the third time that Hughes would have been beaten by Chelsea this season, having suffered two defeats while in charge of Stoke City.

Only one other manager has suffered three defeats at the hands of the same opponents in one season: Graeme Souness lost three times to Arsenal as manager of Blackburn and Newcastle United.

 

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Danish defender Andreas Christensen has made some mistakes in recent Chelsea‘s games and he was left outside the Starting XI on Sunday at Stamford Bridge vs West Ham.

However, the Blues player believes he has been having a good season so far: “It has been a difficult time recently,” Christensen said in Chelsea’s matchday programme for Sunday’s game against West Ham. “But I’m happy with the overall season. It’s easy to just look at the recent games, but I try to remember I played probably 25-30 games with no mistakes at all before that. Everyone knows you can’t go through a whole season not making a mistake, as a defender – it’s impossible. That’s the bad part about our job – when there’s a goal, there’s a good chance you’re the one getting pointed at, but you still have to take responsibility next time you get the ball and do what’s best for the team.

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Speaking to Chelsea official website, Belgian star Eden Hazard suggested that not qualifying for the next Champions League can also have positive effects for the Blues and it would not only bring for the London club negative aspects.

I hope, for the Chelsea fans and ourselves, that we can achieve something. Hazard said. “We still have the FA Cup to play for so we need to bring this trophy to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. When you play for Chelsea you want to be in the Champions League every year but last year we didn’t play in it and we won the title. So sometimes a bad thing can create a good thing, but we will play [to try and qualify] for the Champions League, for sure.”

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After the draw at home against West Ham Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has surrendered in the pursue of a Champions League place for the next season:

“If you’re asking me if Tottenham are going to drop eight points plus, it is not going to happen,” the Blues skipper said after yesterday’s game.

“A good team is not going to let that kind of lead slip. We’ve done it before when we were top of the league, it doesn’t slip. If you’re a good side, which they are, it doesn’t slip.

“I will be very, very doubtful if that is the situation. The way that me and my teammates play, we don’t give up on anything, but we know that the season hasn’t gone to plan.

“The league is where it is at the minute and we have the FA Cup to rescue the season. The season is about trying to win the FA Cup.”

Cahill reckons what happened in yesterday’s derby against the Hammers, with Chicharito Hernandez equalising with less than 20 minutes to go and with Chelsea in control of the game, reflects what happened in the whole season:

“It sums up this season to be honest,” he told ChelseaTV.

“The amount of chances we had in the first half was incredible. We created them, we started the game really well, but we didn’t take them and obviously 1-0 is a dangerous scoreline against anyone in this League.

“Ruthless is the word. We should have been more ruthless as a team and kill the game off early on. I was just waiting for the second goal. It was all there apart from the end product and that was the frustration for the whole team.

“We’re not just digging out the forwards here. At 1-0 we needed to see the game out at the back. But it seems to be the trend of this season: a little break, ball gets squared back and goal. We got punished and lost three points.”

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Antonio Rudiger was clear and determined when asked to provide a comment on the latest Premier League clash against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge. The German international told Chelsea’s official website: “I think we begged for the goal, and in the second half, or even in the first half, we could have finished the game, but like the last few months we couldn’t, and we conceded at the end. It’s not easy to explain. I don’t understand after we go 1-0 up why we always drop off and let our opponents come and get stronger and have more ball possession”.

“We could have done better, of course. Like in the last few weeks we gave them a gift. It was the first clear chance they had and they scored. It’s been a long time since we kept a clean sheet. It’s our own fault. There’s nobody to blame but ourselves”.

Chelsea face Southampton on Sunday and then in the FA Cup semi-final later this month, on 22th of April. Rudiger underlined the importance of winning all the remaining games, because “if Chelsea don’t win games they cannot get in the top four”: “The thing is we have to start playing good football and winning games – Rudiger said – We have to try and turn this around and finish the season on a high. There’s no other way. We have to go to Southampton and do our thing, analyse this West Ham game very well, and keep going”.

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Speaking after the draw with West Ham Antonio Conte admitted his team have to work hard to solve this season issues that brought them to the current 5th place in the table, 10 points below the fourth spot and the Champions League qualification:

“How do I see this result? It is very difficult to explain it at all.

We dominated the game and created many, many chances to score but we didn’t and that explains our season.

“We have had good performances all season but you have to score.

“This is not the first time and we have to improve a lot. When you stay in this position in the table it means that you have a problem.

“At the end we are talking about a draw and not a win and it means that it is incredible.

“We must be frustrated, this is not the first time. We are in this position because we have wasted good chances to get three points.

“This is the truth. We have to improve, we must win this game. Instead we are talking about a draw.

“You need the desire to score a second goal, a third, a fourth.

“Top four? Top four? [laughs] I don’t know, I don’t know. We will try to do our best. We change, I don’t know what.”

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Cesar Azpilicueta admits frustration at the end of the derby against West Ham.

Chelsea are now 10 points down the fourth place in the table, the last one that allows a team to qualify for the next Champions League and it will tough to close that gap in only 6 games:

“What matters is the score at the end, I am frustrated today, we should be able to win this game,” the Spaniard said after the final whistle.

“We controlled the game, we created enough chances to win but we struggled at the end and maybe they could have scored the winner. We are not happy.

“To get a draw at home in another London derby is really frustrating for all of us and all of the fans.

“It’s becoming harder and harder every game it goes on. We are further away then ever.

“The FA Cup is a massive trophy but it’s not enough for us. We will try to win it but the cup will not save our season.”

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Chelsea slip 10 points down from Champions League spot after drawing 1-1 with West Ham at home.

The Blues took the lead at 36′ with Azpilicueta and seemed in control of the game but weren’t able to add more goals to the score.

Eventually, Chicharito Hernandez equalised at 73′, giving the Hammers also the chance to get the three points some minutes later.

With this disappointing result the qualification to the next Champions League and the confirmation of Blues boss Antonio Conte are further from Stamford Bridge.

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CHELSEA – Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard.

Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Emerson, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Pedro, Giroud.

Manager: Antonio Conte

WEST HAM UNITED – Hart, Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Joao Mario, Arnautovic

Subs: Adrian, Pask, Evra, Cullen, Diangana, Hugill, Chicharito

Manager: David Moyes

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-Off: 4.30PM BST

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