Tags Posts tagged with "title race"

title race

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Ex West Ham and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand claimed that he doesn’t see other teams as consistents as Chelsea in the Premier League:

“These boys are running away with it,’ the former English centre-back told BT Sport.

“There’s no one consistent enough to stay with them in the league.

“They’ve found a way of playing, a formula, an understanding of the manager’s ideas.

“I think he [Conte] has to take huge credit, the season before… terrible season, so far off the pace.

“He’s come in and, based on repetition, built an understanding of how he wants the team to play and the players are really putting it in, he’s run away with the league this year.”

 

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CHELSEA

– Eden Hazard is ruled out of the clash for leg injury

– Victor Moses is available despite leaving the pitch for a minor injury with Manchester United

– Another un-named player was a doubt for the game

– Cesc Fabregas could start due to Hazard’s absence

– Chelsea have only won two of their last seven games away to Stoke in all competitions.

 

STOKE CITY

– Stoke defender Glen Johnson is absent with a shoulder problem

– Marko Arnautovic should return after missing out in midweek because of illness.

– Xherdan Shaqiri is back after a six-match absence

– Wilfried Bony, who was ineligible against Manchester City, is available.

– However, the Potters have managed just two victories in 17 Premier League meetings (D3, L12).

 

Possible Line Ups

STOKE CITY – Grant; Bardley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Diouf, Cameron, Allen, Shaqiri; Arnautovic, Bony.

CHELSEA – Courtois; David Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Willian, Diego Costa, Fabregas.

 

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Venue: Bet365 Stadium

Kick Off: 3 pm GMT

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Gary Cahill is back to his top form this year © Francesca Ceciarini

Gary Cahill is leading Chelsea on the pitch this season, wearing captain armband.

The English defender is back to top form under Antonio Conte and his new tactical system and spoke before the clash with Stoke City:

“We played Stoke at home and beat them when Peter Crouch played, and he always proves difficult to play against,’ the centre-back said about the Blues next rivals to Chelsea official website.

“Naturally his size proves difficult in and around the box, but also I’ve trained with him for England many times and as everyone knows through his career he’s a great finisher and he’s got great feet for a big man.

Mark Hughes has done a great job there and I think they do go direct when they need to, but they’ve also got good technicians where he wants to play as well. It’s a tough place to go, everyone in the league knows Stoke is a very difficult place to go and get three points.

But the confidence and momentum we have going into this game means we should be concentrating on us and the work we have been doing to get us to this point. We need keep doing the same things.”

Continuing to speak about the Potters, he said:

“Everyone’s quick to say this might be their weakness or that might be their weakness. Height is dangerous in the box, of course it is, pace is dangerous, everything’s dangerous. You’ve just got to go out and do the best you can and we’ve managed to do that this season.

“Whether the opposition go with a big man up front or they don’t, the way we approach the game and the way we want to play is what we should be concentrating on. Obviously we’ve spoken about the threats they’ve got, but we’re playing well, we’re in a good moment, so we’ll continue and focus on what we’re doing.”

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Speaking before Stoke City clash Antonio Conte stressed again the importance of a player and a professional like Cesc Fabregas, who is becoming a key-part of this Chelsea success:

“Cesc is showing he has a great impact for us. I hope to finish the season in the right way and to try to win [trophies],” the Italian manager said to the press.

“But for sure Cesc has shown himself to be a great professional but, above all, a great player.

“I’m very pleased to see that in him, his commitment and work-rate. This season he faced a new situation.

The Chelsea boss continued:

“In the past, Cesc has always played every single game. It’s not easy to change.

“But, for sure, Cesc showed me that he is not only a great player but a great person.

“I think, this season, he has improved a lot in all aspects and, for me, he is a really, really important player.”

With Eden Hazard’s absence against the Potters, it’s likely for Fabregas to start again this afternoon.

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Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

A major blow for Chelsea ahead of Stoke City clash: Blues star Eden Hazard didn’t travelled to Northern England with the team last night.

The Belgian is suffering a muscle leg injury and this issue will also stop him to join his national team for the international games scheduled for next week.

Antonio Conte admitted in yesterday’s press conference that he had a couple of injury concerns to value and today we got the confirmation that Hazard was ruled out of this crucial game for Chelsea title campaign.

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Eden Hazard was one of the protagonists of Chelsea win at West Ham last night: the Belgian international opened the scoring after a thrilling counter-attack at minute 25.

It is easier for me to move inside,” said Hazard while speaking to Sky Sports after the game.

“Sometimes when I play wide I am alone. In this system we know what to do, we try to pass to each other all the time.”

Asked by Chelsea lenged Frank Lampard if they might beat the Premier League record of 95 points with which they won the title under José Mourinho in 2004/2005, the Belgian forward said they were not setting any targets other than winning the Blues’ sixth top-tier title.

“We are top and we want to stay there. We have 11 games left, and we will try to win the title as quickly as possible.”

“Tonight we played a good game, maybe not the best of the season but we scored two goals and won.”

 

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Victor Moses challenging Spurs star Harry Kane in November 2016 game at Stamford Bridge © Francesca Ceciarini

Harry Kane claimed Spurs must be ready to take advantage of the situation in case Chelsea would slip up in Premier League title race:

“We’ve got to concentrate on ourselves, build a gap on the teams around us and if Chelsea drop points then great and if they don’t then we’ll be second or third,’‘ the Tottenham striker said.

“Hopefully. It’s hard to talk and say we are because we’ve got to show we are,” said the English forward, who leads the Premier League scoring charts with 19 goals.

“We were disappointed last year, as we all know. We are in a good position now, trying to catch Chelsea, but it’s important we build a gap between the teams around us as well and with Man United and Arsenal dropping points it was important we capitalise.”

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Eden Hazard is back to top performances this season and the Belgian claims that most part of the merit is Antonio Conte’s, that gave him a better role and helped the squad to improve:

“It’s easier for me to play more inside now and link up,” Hazard claimed after the win against West Ham.

Last season I was more out wide and there I am sometimes alone, against two guys.

Antonio Conte is a great character and he helps us a lot.”

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Antonio Conte is doing an awesome job at Chelsea © Francesca Ceciarini

Frank Lampard spoke about Chelsea fantastic season and Antonio Conte‘s impressive job that transformed the Blues during the last months:

“It is a nice situation, you are top of the league and some games you are winning comfortably,” the Blues legend claimed while speaking to Standard Sport.

“You can give some players time, but at the same time it doesn’t have to be the case. He could concentrate on the moment. 

“People talk about a manager’s lifespan being two years so why should you worry about 18-year-olds. But from seeing Conte bringing young players in, incorporating them into the training squad, showing faith in them… I know the work that is being done in the academy and they deserve that. 

“They deserve those lads being given time so let’s hope some of them push through and really become top players.”

Lampard gave also his opinion on last season’s disaster:

“They obviously relaxed after winning the league previously. The minute you relax in football, whether as an individual or as a team, you really feel it, especially in the Premier League now. 

“Last year was a perfect storm in a negative way, where players backed off and when you get bad results, that can become a bit of a feeling around the squad. That had to go. But what I didn’t imagine, was that the reaction would be so good. I expected them to challenge, to be in the top four, I didn’t expect them to go so far clear and that is credit to the club.”

About his future, Lampard said:

 

“I haven’t got a clear route. At the minute I need to get my badges. To shout my mouth off that I am going to get this job or that would be completely wrong and I wouldn’t feel right doing it anyway. 

“I am very calm about it. I am working behind the scenes at the minute with young players, learning the trade on the other side of the fence which is a big change. I’ll make my decision down the line.

“Chelsea are helping me with my badges and I am thankful for that. The badges are a process and that will take some time. I will do some TV to keep me involved and I am interested in that kind of stuff so that leaves me with my options open. 

“When you finish, it is important you don’t make a rash decision straight away. You are in this bubble of being a player and you can step outside that and make sure you make the right decision. Fortunately, I have got options so it is about taking the right one.”

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard revealed that the team and him want to close this Premier League title race as soon as possible, so to release the pressure and to end in the best way possible a fantastic season for the Blues:

It’s easier for me to play more inside now and link up. Last season I was more out wide and there I am sometimes alone, against two guys,” he told Sky Sports News after the win against West Ham.

Antonio Conte is a great character and he helps us a lot. We want to win the trophy as soon as possible and bring it back to Stamford Bridge.”

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