A Heads up to anyone who reads the blog. I recently transferred it to Substack and will be posting over there from now on. Below is the link to the blog.
It would be great if you could like, and comment with your thoughts and subsribe to it.
A Heads up to anyone who reads the blog. I recently transferred it to Substack and will be posting over there from now on. Below is the link to the blog.
It would be great if you could like, and comment with your thoughts and subsribe to it.
Proud of the team but wastefulness cost us…
Chelsea took on Liverpool at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday evening. The pre-match narrative and build up by pundits had formed to make it seem like it was the world against Chelsea because the London Clubs ownership. Liverpool selected a strong XI with everyone who was expected to start making the XI except Kelleher who started in goal and Keita who replaced Thiago in the warm up. Mendy started in goal for Chelsea with a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger after Christensen injured his Achilles in training. Azpilicueta, and Alonso started as the wing backs with Kovacic and Kante in the midfield. Pulisic, Mount and Havertz started up front. Strong lineups from both teams.
Chelsea started the game brightly with Pulisic going close in the opening minutes. Azpilicueta played a brilliant ball in but Pulisic’s shot was directed straight at Kelleher from close range. Chelsea then went close again with Mount missing from close range and seeing his shot go wide. Liverpool then grew into the game and dominated possession for much of the 1st half. Mendy was forced into making a stunning double save. The first half ended with Liverpool having had the better half.
The 2nd half began with Chelsea starting strongly once again. Pulisic played in Mount thanks to a brilliant lobbed pass and Mount hit the post which was very unlike him. Mendy made a couple more good saves but Liverpool were largely at bay in the 2nd half. Keita should have been sent off for a tackle on Chalobah but somehow the foul went Liverpool’s way while Chalobah required stitches after the game. The game headed into extra time with Chelsea having not been clinical in the final 3rd.
Extra time was all Chelsea and Liverpool looked tired. Lukaku scored a brilliant goal running in behind the Liverpool defence but it was ruled offside. When it went to VAR his whole body was onside and the goal should have stood but VAR dubiously used his left arm as the marker to rule it offside. Havertz then scored another goal but he was offside. The game headed into penalties and all players scored their penalties except Kepa who’s shot went sky high. Liverpool won the cup.
Mendy was man of the match thanks to his stunning saves in the first half especially. It was a brilliant performance over the 119 odd minutes. Mendy had little to do for the final 45 or so minutes though. Kepa came on as planned but could not save Chelsea in penalties his time out. No blame was given to him because without him we wouldnt have reached the final in the first place. Just not his day this time.
Chalobah had a tough time against Luis Diaz on the right hand side but managed it well none the less. Silva was amazing once again playing the whole game and converting his penalty. He made a stunning clearance during the game albeit it looked like Salah’s chip was going wide. Rudiger was his usual self. Azpilicueta and Alonso actually did quiet well throughout the game and both were a danger from the wing back positions. Alonso also kept Salah quiet. Reece James had to come on for Azpilicueta late on and he did well. It was good to see him back. A clean sheet on any other day and that is all you can ask from you defence.
Kante had a decent game in midfield. The physicality seemed to be getting to him at times but he was brilliant at other times. Kovacic was amazing and he did really well throughout the game. Jorginho came on late in the game helped control the tempo and retain possession for Chelsea. Mount was the main cause Chelsea lost the game. Two brilliant chances and he should have finished both of them. It happens though and there is no need to dwell on it. The finishin has to improve as a whole.
Pulisic did well for much of the game and he played in a brilliant ball for Mount that should have been a goal. Pulisic himself missed a solid chance though. Havertz was very good throughout and continues his run of good form. Had the ball in the back of the net but was offside. Timo came on in the 2nd half and added pace in behind. Werner also had the ball in the back of the net but he was offside. Lukaku also came on and did well. The hold up play was better and he was more mobile. He scored a perfectly good goal which wrongly ruled offside and he drew a late save from Kelleher as well. Just were not clinical.
Tuchel would have been proud of that performance and the team did play really well. The manager coached a win and we would have won if we were not wasteful with our chances. As long as Tuchel is Chelsea manager though we will continue to get more chances at trophies.
Not our day and the luck was missing on the night. The finishing boots by some players were also left at home. Finishing has cost Chelsea dearly all season and it is something we have to improve on. Proud of the team though and if we continue to play like that and take our chances we should end the season strongly. Next up is a trip to Luton Town in the FA Cup 5th Round. COME ON CHELSEA!!!
Peterborough beat QPR in the last round and sit bottom of the Championship. They have since drawn one and lost five. Man City beat Fulham 4-1 in the last round and sit top of the Premier League. They have since won four and lost one of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Man City. Anything else and it would be a massive shock.
Palace beat Hartlepool 2-0 in the last round and they sit 11th in the Premier League. Palace have since won one, drawn three, and lost one. Stoke beat Wigan 2-0 in the last round and sit 15th in the Championship. Stoke have won one, drawn two, and lost two since. Palace are the better team on paper and are at home so they should win this even if Stoke cause some problems.
Middlesbrough beat United on penalties in the last round and sit 8th in the Championship. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Spurs sit 7th in the Premier League and beat Brighton 3-1 in the last round. They have since won two, and lost three of their games. With Tottenham away and the form that they are in this result could go either way. Spurs though are still favourites on paper.
An all Premier League clash as Southampton take on West Ham. Southampton sit 9th in the Premier League and beat Coventry City 2-1 in the last round. The Saints have since won three and drawn one of their games. West Ham sit 5th in the table and beat Kidderminster 1-2 in the last round. The Hammers have since won two and drawn two. Neither team is unbeaten in their last four but Southampton have won one more game. This should be an interesting game between two good teams and the result can go either way.
The newly crowned Carabao Cup champions take on another cup as they welcome Norwich City in an all Premier League clash. Liverpool beat Cardiff 3-1 in the last round and have since won five and drawn one of their games. Norwich beat Wolves 0-1 in the last round and sit bottom of the table. Norwich have since drawn one and lost three of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Liverpool.
Everton beat Brentford 4-1 in the last round and sit 17th in the Premier League as they take on Boreham Wood. Everton have since won one and lost three of their games. Boreham Wood sit 3rd in the National League and beat Bournemouth 0-1 in the last round. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Everton are at home and even though Boreham Wood will give it their all Everton should win this game.
Burnley sit 18th in the table as they take on Leicester who sit 13th. A win for Burnley would take them out of the relegation zone and into 15th in the table on goal difference with two games in hand remaining. A win for Leicester won’t mean much movement but it will take them closer to mid table with three games in hand remaining. A big game for both teams Burnley have only lost one of their last five games while Leicester have lost three and drawn two. One game to keep an eye on.
Valencia take on Bilbao with an aggregate score of 1-1. Betis take on Rayo Vallecano with an aggregate score of 2-1. The Valencia Bilbao game is finely poised and the result can go either way. Betis have a slight advantage but Vallecano are no pushovers and will give it a go. Any team can reach the final.
Milan take on Inter, and Juventus travel to Fiorentina. Two very good games and neither team are clear favourites in their fixture. Milan and Inter are going though a rough patch at the moment while Juventus are inconsistent. Fiorentina are having a decent season. Who will take advantage in the 1st leg?
Union Berlin take on St.Pauli, Hamburger take on Karlsruher, Leipzig travel to Hannover, and Bochum welcome Freiburg. Leipzig are the most high profiel team remaining in the cup. Freiburg are having a very good season though and so are Union Berlin. Anything can happen.
Nice take on Versailles, and Monaco travel to Nantes. Nice should beat Versailles and reach the final while Monaco and Nantes will be a more cagey affair. Nice will be favourites though with Monaco and Nantes being at a similar level this season.
Adams and Romeu scored for Southampton as the Saints ran out comfortable winners against Norwich. Southampton move up to 9th in the table while Norwich remain bottom of the table and five points from safety.
Doherty, Kulusevski, and Kane scored in the first half while Son scored in the 2nd as Tottenham bounced back and won comfortably at Leeds. Leeds dropped down to 16th wth the loss and it saw Bielsa sacked as a result of it. Jessy Marsch is lined up to take the helm but Leeds are truly in a relegation battle at the moment. Spurs move up to 7th with the win five poins from top four.
Dasilva was sent off for Brentford in the 11th minute to give Newcastle a man advantage. Joelinton and Willock then added the goals as the Magpies won comfortably. A silver lining for Brentford and football in general was the comeback of Christian Eriksen. Brentford drop down to 15th and find themselves in a relegation battle while Newcastle jump up to 14th in the table with yet another win.
Schlupp scored in the 9th minute to give Palace the lead but Milivojevic scored an own goal in the 46th minute to bring Burnley back into the game. Neither side could find the winner. Palace remain 11th in the table while Burnley remain 18th, one point from safety.
Cash scored in the 17th minute while Watkins scored in the 68th minute as Villa finally got a win after a run of poor results. Brighton drop down to 10th with a third successive loss while Villa move up to 12th with the win.
United huffed and puffed but they couldn’t tear down Watford. So many missed chances for the home team and Watford were able to leave with a point. United remain 4th in the table two points above 5th while Watford remain 19th and three points from safety.
Foden scored in the 82nd minute due to a big mistake from Keane and then Rodri committed the most blatant hand ball you will ever see but no penalty was given as Everton were robbed of a point at home. Everton drop down to 17th in the table a point above the relegation zone while City remain top of the table six points clear of Liverpool who have a game in hand.
Soucek scored in the only goal of the game in the 59th minute as West Ham got all three points in this important game. West Ham move into 5th in the table two points behind United while Wolves drop down to 8th in the table and seven points behind Man United.
Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 0-1, Atletico beat Celta Vigo 2-0, Villarreal beat Espanyol 5-1, Sevilla beat Betis 2-1, Real Sociedad beat Osasuna 1-0, and Barcelona beat Bilbao 4-0. Real Madrid reman six points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla behind them. Betis are the only team to lose in the top seven as they see their gap to 4th cut down to one point. Barcelona sit 4th with Atletico 5th, and Villarreal 6th in the table. The title race is not over but Real Madrid have regained form in recent weeks. The top four race is also alive and running with five teams vying for two spots. An interesting season in Spain.
Milan drew with Udinese 1-1, Inter drew with Genoa 0-0, Juventus beat Empoli 2-3, Roma beat Spezia 0-1, Napoli beat Lazio 1-2, and Atalanta are yet to play. Napoli go top of the tabel on goal difference as the Milanese teams continue to drop points. Milan sit 2nd and Inter 3rd. Juventus sit five poins behind Inter in 4th. Atalanta sit 5th and a win would take them to within three points of Juventus. Roma move up to 6th while Lazio sit 7th. A close race at the top while Juventus have a good buffer from 5th at the moment. Anything can happen but it is advantage Napoli for now.
Hoffenheim beat Stuttgart 2-1, Leverkusen beat Arminia 3-0, Bayern beat Frankfurt 0-1, Leipzig beat Bochum 0-1, and Dortmund drew with Augsburg 1-1. Bayern go eight points clear at the top of the table as Dortmund drop points. Leverkusen and Leipzig make up the top four. Bayern as I have said are their own worst enemy and this weekend they returned to winning ways and created a bigger gap. Not much to look at in Germany.
Nice drew with Strasbourg 0-0, PSG beat St.Etienne 3-1, Reims beat Monaco 1-2, Marseille drew with Troyes 1-1, and Lille beat Lyon 0-1. PSG go 15 points clear at the top of the table with Marseille, Nice, and Rennes making up the top four. Lille, Monaco, and Lyon sit 8th, 9th and 10th respectively. Ligue 1 just a formality at this point.
Another chance to win a trophy!
Chelsea take on Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup Final. Liverpool last won the league cup in 2012 when they beat Cardiff City on penalties. Klopp himself has not won a domestic cup since taking over as Liverpool boss. Liverpool beat Norwich, Preston, Leicester, and Arsenal to reach the final and are currently on a 9 game winning run in all competitions albeit not having played particularly great in many of those games. The acquisiton of Luis Diaz has added more depth up front and Liverpool do go into this game as the favourites.
Chelsea last won the League Cup in 2015 beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final. Since then the club have reached the final the last being in 2019 under Sarri eventually losing on penalties to Manchester City. Chelsea beat Aston Villa, Southampton, Brentford, and Tottenham to reach the final. An all Premier League route. At the moment Chelsea are on a six game winning run in all competitions. Chelsea already have the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup to their name this season. The team and Tuchel have fallen a bit behind City and Liverpool in the title race but remain active in all competitions this season. The previous two meetings against Liverpool this season have end in score draws. The last one came recently in January when Liverpool took a 2-0 lead but Chelsea came back 2-2 before half time. Chelsea go into this game with some confidence in the team once again after what has been a dire winter period. Not many lossess but several draws which have cost the team.
The only player out injured is Ben Chilwell but everyone is back involved in training now which will be a relief to Tuchel. The first big debate for the lineup comes in goal. Kepa has been involved in all the cup games so far but Mendy is back and did also play in the Club World Cup final. Kepa deserves to start but Mendy is the better goalkeeper while the game is going on. Mostly due to his range of saves. Whatever decision Tuchel makes will be followed but I would go with Mendy in goal and bring in Kepa if the game goes to penalties. Chelsea should return to a back three for this game with Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger making it up. Reece James is back and in Tuchel’s words has been brilliant in training. I would start him at right wing back with Azpilicueta shifting to left wing back. Kante, and Kovacic should form the midfield. The front three is another big question. Pulisic should start given he impressed against Lille and against Liverpool earlies this year. Havertz has done very well and should also start. Mount is back training but Ziyech is in form. I would go with Mount for this game just because he can bring that extra energy to the press. There will be plenty of space in behind and Werner could also be an assest from the bench if need be. Ziyech would be perfectly fine though. Lukaku should come off the bench. A strong lineup regardless.
Liverpool have a fully fit squad as well bar Firmino who is out injured. Liverpool’s lineup is a bit less speculative. Alisson will be in goal with a back four of Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, and Robertson. Thiago, Henderson, and Fabinho should start in midfield with a front three of Salah, Jota, and Mane. If Jota is not fit enough to start then Mane will play up top with Diaz coming in from the left. We all know what to expect from Liverpool and its front three. The defence has been a bit shaky this season and Van Dijk has not really come back all guns blazing. A strong lineup either way.
Chelsea and Liverpool have a history and the games are always feisty. Add on top of that the whole Klopp, Tuchel debate and its a good narrative for a final. Liverpool are favourites but Chelsea like to be the underdogs. It’s going to be a very interesting game but its all about taking the chances. COME ON CHELSEA!!!
Races on all fronts!
10th placed Southampton are unbeaten in their last four as they take on Norwich who sit bottom of the table and five points from safety. Southampton have one game in hand while Norwich also have one game in hand. Norwich are trying to survive in the league but it does look like they will go down once again. Norwich won the reverse fixture 2-1. The result can go either way but Southampton will be favourites.
15th placed Leeds take on 8th placed Tottenham with both teams under massive pressure. Leeds have one game in hand and sit only three points above the relegation zone while Spurs have two games in hand and sit seven points from top four. Spurs have lost four of their last five while Leeds have done the same. Two teams in need of a win the result could go either way. Spurs won the reverse fixture 2-1.
14th placed Brentford take on 17th placed Newcastle with only two points separating the teams. Brentford are one of those clubs which are in a relegation scrap as well with the gap minimal at this point. Brentford have no games in hand while Newcastle have two games in hand. Brentford have lost four of their last five while Newcastle are unbeaten in their last five. Massive pressure on Brentford while Newcastle are in a period of good form. The reverse fixture was a 3-3 draw.
Palace sit 11th as they take on Burnley who sit 18th in the table. Palace have no games in hand while Burnley have three games in hand. Burnley are in a period of good form having only lost one of their last five while Palace finally managed to win when they beat Watford. No pressure on Palace but Burnley are the ones chasing survival. A big game for the away team. The reverse fixture ended in a 3-3 draw.
9th placed Brighton have lost their last two as they take on Villa who sit 13th and have also lost their last two. Two teams in identical form with Brighton having one game in hand while Villa have two. The result can go either way. Villa won the reverse fixture 2-0.
Man United sit 4th in the table a point clear of 5th as they take on Watford who sit 19th in the table. Man United have not been playing well but they have faced favourable fixtures and got decent results. This is the final relatively easy game before a run of tough fixtures. Watford have one game in hand and are fighting for survival but United should win this. Watford won the reverse fixture 4-1.
16th placed Everton have three games in hand as they take on City who lead the league by three points. Everton and Lampard need to return to winning ways but after City lost last weekend they will face a tough test. With Liverpool not playing this weekend City can create a six point gap even though Liverpool will have a game in hand. A massive game for both teams. City will be favourites. City won the reverse fixture 3-0.
West Ham sit 6th in the table and have only won one game in their last five as they take on Wolves who sit 7th in the table with a game in hand. Both teams are still fighting for 4th but have no advantage now. Both teams need a win as well. Wolves won the reverse fixture 1-0.
Real Madrid travel to Rayo Vallecano, Atletico take on Celta Vigo, Villarreal take on Espanyol, Sevilla welcome Real Betis, Real Sociedad welcome Osasuna, and Barcelona take on Bilbao. Real Madrid sit 6 points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla, Betis, and Barcelona making up the top four. Atletico sit 6th in the table. Some massive games this weekend with Real Madrid potentially increasing their gap if results go their way. One to keep an eye on.
Milan take on Udinese, Genoa welcome Inter, Juventus travel to Empoli, Roma travel to Spezia, Lazio take on Napoli, and Atalanta take on Sampdoria. Milan sit 2 points clear of Inter and Napoli while Juventus sit 4th. Atalanta sit 5th in the table. Lazio sit 6th. Roma sit 8th. The title race could take some more turns this weekend with some teams facing tough opposition.
Hoffenheim take on Stuttgart, Leverkusen take on Arminia, Bayern travel to Frankfurt, Leipzig travel to Bochum, and Dortmund travel to Augsburg. Bayern sit six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and all the other teams can do is hope they drop more points. That does not seem likely though and it is more or less a race for the other places.
Nice travel to Strasbourg, PSG take on St.Etienne, Monaco take on Reims, Marseille travel to Troyes, and Lyon welcome Lille. PSG sit 13 points clear and the title is all but over. Marseille, Nice, and Strasbourg make up the top four. Monaco sit 6th and Lyon sit 8th. Some interesting fixtures in terms of the top four race but other than that not much to fight for.
An interesting week of results!
Vlahovic scored in the 1st minute to give Juventus the lead but Parejo equalised for Villarreal in the 66th minute. Neither side could find the winner as the game ended in a draw. Anyone can go through in the 2nd leg but Juventus will be favourites given the home advantage and no away goals.
Felix scored in the 7th minute and Atletico dominated the whole game and should have scored several more but the finishing was abysmal. United managed to equalise in the 80th minute thanks to Elanga. The 2nd leg is a free for all but United will have to play way better than they did in this game. Atletico will need to stay strong defensively and take their chances. All to play for.
Tadic scored in the 18th minute to give Ajax the lead but Benfica equalised through a Haller own goal in the 26th minute. Haller restored Ajax’s lead in the 29th minute but Yaremchuk equalised for Benfica in the 72nd minute. Another draw and neither side is able to take advantage. All to play for in the 2nd leg but Ajax will have the home advantage.
After the high of beating Man City, Tottenham’s world came crashing down as Burnley beat them thanks to a Mee goal in the 71st minute. Tottenham had several chances but were not clinical. Burnley remain 18th in the table but only two points from safety now. Tottenham remain 8th in the table and seven points from top four with four losses in their last five games. Conte especially looked shocked after the game and it all seems to be crashing already.
Mateta scored in the 15th minute to give Palace the lead but Sissoko equalised for Watford in the 18th minute. Gallagher restored Palace’s lead in the 42nd minute and Zaha got two goals late in the game to seal a big win for Palace. Watford drop down to 19th in the table four points from safety and it is looking like they will be going down this season. Palace finally win a game and move up to 11th in the table.
Salah got two penalties, Mane got a double, and Matip along with Van Dijk added the rest as Liverpool ran out comfortable winners against Leeds. Liverpool did not play particularly well but Leeds given the way they play are always open to conceding goals. Liverpool remain 2nd but cut the gap to the top to three points. Leeds remain 15th but only three points above the relegation zone as relegation becomes a real threat for them.
Hwang gave Wolves the lead in the 10th minute but Arsenal mounted a late comeback. Pepe equalised for Arsenal in the 82nd minute and Sa scored an own goal in the 95th minute to give Arsenal a massive win. Arsenal move up to 5th in the table now only a point behind Man United. Wolves remain 7th in the table six points from top four.
What a difference movement can make!
Chelsea took on reigning French champions Lille at Stamford Bridge for the Champions League Round of 16 first leg. Lille selected a strong lineup with the likes of David, Bamba and surprisingly Sanches all starting for Les Douges. Tuchel selected a strong lineup as well with Mendy in goal and a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta, and Alonso made up the wingbacks with Kovacic, and Kante as the midfield two. Havertz started up top in place of Lukaku with Pulisic, and Ziyech playing as the wingers. A strong lineup, Lukaku dropped and Chelsea were ready to go.
The Blues started the game brilliantly with Kai Havertz going close in the opening few minutes thanks to a brilliant ball by Azpilicueta. Havertz then got a shot off which resulted in a corner. Ziyech took the corner and Havertz headed it in to give Chelsea the lead in the 8th minute. Post the goal though Chelsea didn’t have the same impact of the opening 10 minutes. Sanches helped Lille grow into the game and they created some half chances but nothing to test Mendy directly. The half ended with Lille having had more shots but Chelsea had more on target and were more efficient.
The 2nd half started saw Chelsea start with the same ferocity as they did the first half. Pulisic especially made some good driving runs and Havertz was a constant nuisance. The 2nd goal came in the 63rd minute as Kante drove forward from the midfield and played in Pulisic who finessed a shot into the goal. 2-0 up and comfortable. Chelsea searched for the 3rd goal but Lille held tight to keep the scoreline at 2-0. A good win overall.
Another cleansheet for Mendy as he had a generally comfortable game. Some simple catches to make but nothing stunning needed. Mendy continues to have a stellar record in the Champions League and Chelsea overall and long may it continue.
Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger all had brilliant games. Silva especially looked very good and that is a testament to how he treats himself and keeps himself fit. A joy to watch. Azpilicueta was solid but Alonso had a shaky afternoon and Tuchel was visibly frustrated by him throughout the game. Sarr did come on in the 2nd half for Alonso to add a bit of energy.
Kante and Kovacic had a solid game and Kante especially returned to form after having put in some poor performances over the last few games. Kovacic sadly had to come off but hopefully it isn’t a serious injury. Loftus-Cheek came on for him and did well, he took control of the ball and distributed it well, along with using his physicality. Saul also came on in the 2nd half and added extra grit to the midfield. A solid performance overall.
Pulisic had a very good game and was a constant threat throughout. Later in the 2nd half he also tracked back well to help out in defence. It looked like the Pulisic of two seasons ago. A deserving goal scored as well. Havertz was a breath of fresh air up front after having seen Lukaku there for several games. Constant movement, constant threat and the whole attack just seemed to flow and funtion better. It was a pleasing performance on the eye and another goal to his name. Ziyech got an assist and had a good game but was relatively quiet. Ziyech did have to come off and one will hope he is ok. Werner did come on for the final 10 minutes and also provided threat. He managed seven touches in 10 minutes which is more than some can manage over 90. A fluid and exciting attack.
Tuchel will be pleased with the overall performance but he did mention that he didn’t like the way we allowed Lille to grow into the game in the first half. A win and a cleansheet is good though and gives Chelsea a solid footing going into the 2nd leg. Next up is a vist to Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool. COME ON CHELSEA!!!
Champions League is back!
Chelsea return to their Champions League campaign on Tuesday night as they take on French champions Lille in the 1st leg of the Round of 16. Lille won Ligue 1 last season but the summer saw them lose Galtier to Nice and several players left the club over the next two windows leaving them in a very different place. Currently Lille sit 11th in Ligue 1 having won 9 drawn 9 and lost 7. A very inconsistent season. Lille in the Champions League still managed top their group winning 3 drawn 2 and losing 1. Since the last group game they have won 4, drawn 2, and lost 3. Simply going by the results inconsistent is the best word to desrive Lille this season.
Chelsea go into this game having beaten Palace 0-1 over the weekend. Chelsea finished 2nd in the group stage and that is why the home leg comes first for the Blues. Chelsea have won 11, drawn 5, and lost 1 since the last group stage game. It’s the draws that have cost Chelsea in the league as the attack continues to struggle. Chelsea are also involved in all competitions which while being great also means that the players have played more games than most teams. Pre-match the main topic was Lukaku. Tuchel summed it up nicely though that strikers struggling at Chelsea is not a new thing. It might be a combination of the system and player working together along with some key missing players like Reece, and Chilly. Other than though Tuchel said that the team felt better now after struggling with jet lag and a cold for the Palace game.
Chelsea will be without Reece James and Ben Chilwell as usual. Hudson-Odoi was not seen in open training so will probably miss the game. Mount did train but might not be risked for this game. Azpilicueta is back. Mendy should start in goal with a back four of Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger, and Sarr. Jorginho and Kovacic should make up the midfield two with Werner, Havertz, adn Ziyech making up the players behind Lukaku who should start again. If it were me I wouldn’t mind going 4-3-3 and maybe playing Loftus-Cheek alongside Kovacic, and Kante and moving Havertz up top in place of Lukaku. Lukaku did not have a great game against Palace but I do get the feeling that Tuchel will persist with him. The players do need to provide him with more passes but the striker has to show more movement. The bench should be strong and there should be plenty of options.
Lille should not be taken lightly. They still have several exciting players that can cause Chelsea plenty of damage if the team is not awake. Fonte, and Botman form a decent centre back partnership. Bamba, Jonathan David, Burak Yilmaz, Renato Sanches, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Timothy Weah are all players that are exciting and can create and finish chances. Lille should probably set up in a 4-4-2 and look counter with pace.
There are no more away goals in the Champions League this season which should see home teams attack more and away teams defend more. Another cup competiton for Chelsea and the players will love it. The attack has to click as it has to in every game. Ziyech has been the only standout performer over the last few weeks. Lukaku needs to have a big game if he wants to avoid getting further criticism. An interesting game for sure. COME ON CHELSEA!!!
Champions League time once again!
Villarreal sit 6th in La Liga as they take on Juventus who sit 4th in Serie A. Villarreal have won 8, drawn 2 and lost 2 of their games since the group stage. Juventus have won 7, drawn 5, and lost 1. Two teams in similar form going into this game. Neither team is touted to go far in the Champions League this season and I doubt Villarreal will fear this Juventus team. This fixture could go either way.
Atletico sit 5th in La Liga as they take on Man United who sit 4th in the Premier League. Atletico have won 5, drawn 1, and lost 7 of their games since the group stage. United have won 7, drawn 4, and lost 2 of their games. It is safe to say that Man United are the team in better form while Atletico have been inconsistent at best. Ronaldo loves playing against Atletico and United have a good chance of going though, Atletico though might turn it up for these fixtures. The result can go either way but Man United will be favourites.
Benfica sit 3rd in the Primeira Liga as they take on Ajax who sit top of the Eredivisie. Benfica have won 8, drawn 2, and lost 4 while Ajax have won 10 and lost 1 of their fixtures. On form it should be a win for Ajax who have looked rampant in Europe and domestically this season. Benfica can ofcourse cause problems and have talented players but over two legs I think Ajax should go through.
18th placed Burnley take on 8th placed Tottenham as teams play their games in hand. Burnley have only lost one of their last five games and look in good form while Spurs have won two of their last five games having lost three. It would be typical Spurs to beat City and then drop points against Burnley who will be a completely different test. Burnley would still have three games in hand and a win would take them into 18th and two points from safety. Spurs would have two games in hand and a win would take them into 7th. Big game for both teams.
18th placed Watford take on 13th placed Crystal Palace. Watford finally managed to win at the weekend and would have one game in hand post this fixture. A win would see them remain 18th but a point from safety. Palace have not won a game in a while and this is their only game in hand. A win would see them move up to 11th in the table though. It is a London Derby and both teams need a win, Watford for survival hopes and Palace for morale. The result can go either way.
Liverpool sit 2nd while Leeds sit 15th in the table as the two go head to head. This is Liverpool’s only game in hand for now and a win would take them to within three points of Man City and 10 points clear of Chelsea. Leeds would have one game in hand remaining and a win would take them into 14th. Leeds have lost three of their last five games and Liverpool are rampant. Liverpool should win this game comfortably. Liverpool won the reverse fixture 0-3.
6th placed Arsenal take on 7th placed Wolves in a big game for European places. Arsenal would have two games in hand remaining after this game and a win would take them into 5th and a point behind Man United. Wolves would have one game in hand remaining after this game and a win would take them into 5th and 3 points from 4th. A big game for both teams and the result can go either way. Arsenal won the reverse fixture 0-1.