Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg Review

England stay strong!

Man City 7 (10) vs (2) 0 Schalke 04

City decided they had to teach Schalke a lesson for daring to score two goals past them as they thrashed them 7-0 at home. Aguero opened the scoring with 2 goals while Sane, Sterling, Silva, Foden, and Jesus. City became the third english team to qualify for the quarter-finals this season.

Juventus 3 (3) vs. (2) 0 Atletico Madrid

Juventus had it all to do and putting three past Atletico looked like an impossible task but Juventus bought Ronaldo for a specific reason and he turned up to beat Atletico 3-0 and take Juventus to the quarter finals. Ronaldo scored a header in the first half and another in the 49th minute to level the scores for Juventus. A penalty in the 86th minute meant that Ronaldo completed his hattrick and Juventus won the game. Juve continue their goal of finally winning the Champions League this season.

Bayern Munich 1 (1) vs. (3) 3 Liverpool

The teams had it all to play for but Bayern had to keep Liverpool’s goals to a bare minimum to stand a chance and that was not the case. Mane opened the scoring for Liverpool with a goal in the 26th minute which meant that Bayern would need 2 goals. Matip then scored an own goal in the 39th minute to bring Bayern back into the game although if the score remained then Liverpool would go through. Van Dijk scored in the 69th minute to give Liverpool the lead and hand Bayern two more goals to score. Mane sealed matters off in the 84th minute with a 3rd goal. Liverpool’s qualification meant that they made it 4 english teams in the quarter finals. 

Barcelona 5 (5) vs. (1) 1 Olympique Lyonnais

Lyon did well to keep Barcelona at bay in the first leg but Messi and co had other plans in mind and Messi opened the scoring in the 17th minute via a penalty. Coutinho then doubled the lead in the 31st minute. Tousart got one back for Lyon in the 58th minute but Messi restored the deficit with a 3rd in the 78th minute. Pique and Dembele added goals in the final 10 minutes. Barcelona became the final team to qualify for the quarters for what looks like will be brilliant final rounds. Everyone’s eyes will be on Porto. 

Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg Preview

Part 2 of the Round of 16.

Man City (3) vs. (2) Schalke 04

City beat Schalke in the 1st leg in what was brilliant comeback as they got three away goals in the process. Schalke are not out of the fixture by any means but would need to score 2 without reply to seal progression to the next round. City are in great form while Schalke have since lost three in a row. City should win this game and reach the quarter finals bar some miracle.

Juventus (0) vs. (2) Atletico Madrid

Juventus surprisingly lost 2-0 at Atletico without get a single away goal as Atletico were strong defensively and took their chances. Juventus have to do it all and need to score 3 goals without reply to progress to the quarter finals. It is a tough task especially because Atletico are so strong defensively. This should be a brilliant game and with comebacks not impossible and with Ronaldo there anything can happen. Juventus have since one all three of their games while Atletico have also won all three of their games and not conceded a single goal in the process.

Bayern Munich (0) vs. (0) Liverpool

The 1st leg was a boring draw and its all to play for in Munich. Bayern would do well to score and keep a clean sheet because if Liverpool score and the game is a draw then Liverpool go through. A Liverpool goal would mean that Bayern have to win the game. Bayern have been in overdrive having won all three of their games and scoring 12 goals in the process. Liverpool have played out 4 games drawing 2 and winning 2. Bayern have been a different proposition since the New Years and on Wednesday this is the game to watch. 

Barcelona (0) vs. (0) Olympique Lyonnais

Lyon did well to keep Barcelona out of their goal in the 1st leg and both teams have it all to play for in the 2nd. Similar to the Bayern Liverpool game Lyon would be in a better position if they got an away goal which would mean that Barcelona would have to win the game. Barcelona have since played 4 games winning all four of which two were against Real Madrid. Lyon have also played 4 games winning 2, losing 1 and drawing 1. Barcelona have plenty of quality to go through and score goals but their defence is suspect and if Lyon can get an away goal it would make this an interesting tie. 

 

Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg Review

English teams stay strong!

Real Madrid 1 (3) vs. (5) 4 Ajax

The champions of the past three years Real Madrid were surprisingly dumped out by Ajax 1-4 at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid had been in poor form and this result only adds more questions around the club and Solari’s future. Ziyech opened the scoring for Ajax in the 7th minute followed by a goal from David Neres in the 18th minute. Tadic added a third in the 62nd minute but Asensio gave Real Madrid a chance in the 70th minute by putting the ball in the net. Ajax were not done though and Schone scored a brilliant free kick in the 72nd minute to seal the win and end Madrid’s reign. 

Borussia Dortmund 0 (0) vs. (4) 1 Tottenham

Kane scored in the 48th minute to seal Tottenham’s progression to the quarter finals 0-4 on aggregate. Dortmund could not reply as they go through a really tough time in all competitions. Tottenham might be slightly poor in the Premier League but their Champions League hopes continue. 

FC Porto 3 (4) vs. (3) 1 AS Roma

Francisco Soares gave Porto the lead in the 26th minute but De Rossi equalised for Roma in the 37th minute via the penalty spot to put them back in the driving seat. Marega then added a second for Porto in the 52nd minute which saw the game go into extra time because Roma could not reply. Alex Telles then scored in the 117th minute to seal progression for Porto and send Roma out of the competition. 

Paris Saint Germain 1 (3) vs. (3) Man United

PSG truly are the bottle jobs of Europe as they lost a 2-0 lead in the 1st leg to get dumped out by the opposition on goal difference again. United had to do it all and similar to Chelsea in 2012 they channeled their history. Lukaku scored in the 2nd minute but Bernat equalised for PSG in the 12th minute. Lukaku then added a 2nd for United in the 30th minute but United still needed one more goal. That goal came in the 94th minute as Kimpembe was deemed to have handled the ball in the penalty area and VAR gave the penalty. The new rules that FIFA implemented this weeks state that a handball whether intentional or unintentional will be given as a penalty. Rashford stepped up and scored and United went into the quarter finals of the Champions League. Further questions are raised of PSG. 

Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg Preview

The Champions!

Real Madrid (2) vs. (1) Ajax

Real Madrid for all intents and purposes should progress to the quarter finals but with successive losses albeit to Barcelona Ajax should not be disheartened to get something in Madrid. Ajax have scored 13 and conceded only 1 since they lost to Madrid and while Madrid are different team in the Champions League this should be an interesting fixture to watch. 

Borussia Dortmund (0) vs. (3) Tottenham

Tottenham might not be doing great in the League but having thrashed Dortmund 3-0 they have one foot in the quarter finals. Dortmund have been extremely poor over the last few weeks and saw their lead in the Bundesliga cut down to goal difference this weekend. Dortmund have a massive mountain to climb if they want to reach the quarter finals and while Tottenham are known to bottle it I think this is one game that they should get through. 

FC Porto (1) vs. (2) AS Roma

Porto and AS Roma have been in decent form going into this game although they both lost their weekend fixtures. FC Porto have an away goal while Roma have the lead and they will feel that if they do not concede they could reach the quarter finals. An interesting game to watch. 

Paris Saint Germain (2) vs. (0) Man United

PSG and United are two teams in great form but United have it all to do in the 2nd leg as they trail PSG who have 2 away goals. PSG have been known to bottle it in the Champions League but their team this season is different and PSG should see through United to reach the quarter finals although United won’t give up without a fight.

 

Midweek Football Review

Big results all around.

Premier League MW 28

Cardiff City 0 vs. 3 Everton

A massive win for Everton and Marcos Silva as Sigurdsson scored in the first half and added a second in the 66th minute. Calvert-Lewin sealed proceedings off in the 93rd minute. Cardiff drop into the relegation zone at 18th while Everton climb up to 9th in the table. 

Huddersfield 1 vs. 0 Wolverhampton

Mounie scored in the 91st minute to give Huddersfield a surprising win against top 10 side Wolves. It was expected that Wolves would roll over Huddersfield but the Terriers seem to have decided to go down fighting. Huddersfield remain bottom of the table three points behind Fulham while Wolves move into 7th level on points with Watford.

Leicester 2 vs. 1 Brighton

Brendan Rodgers was present at the King Power as the Leicester players put on a show for their new manager. Vardy and Gray scored to give Leicester a lead and while Propper did get one back in the 66th minute the Foxes held on for a much needed win. Leicester move up into 11th while Brighton remain 16th in the table. 

Newcastle 2 vs. 0 Burnley

Schar, and Longstaff scored in the first half to give Newcastle a very important win at home against Burnley. Newcastle move into 13th with the win while Burnley find themselves 15th in the table. 

Arsenal 5 vs. 1 Bournemouth

Arsenal got ready for a North London Derby at the weekend by thrashing Bournemouth at the Emirates. Ozil ran the show as he opened the scoring in the 4th minute and goals from Mkhitaryan, Koscielny, Aubameyang, and Lacazette followed. Mousset had got Bournemouth back into the game after Arsenal’s first goal but it only spurred the Gunners on. Arsenal remain 4th one point ahead of United and 3 ahead of Chelsea, and four behind Spurs. 

Southampton 2 vs. 0 Fulham

Southampton won a crucial game and also dealt another hammer blow to Fulham’s survival hopes as they won comfortably at home. Romeu and Ward-Prowse provided the goals in the first half. Southampton climb out of the relegation zone into 17th while Fulham are 10 points off of safety. 

Crystal Palace 1 vs. 3 Man United

United were without 9 first team players but they still got the job done as they continued their unbeaten league start under Ole. Lukaku scored in the 33rd and 52nd minute to give United the lead and while Ward did get Palace back into the game in the 66th minute Young scored a 3rd in the 83rd minute. Palace are 14th in the table while United remain 5th 2 points ahead of Chelsea. 

Liverpool 5 vs. 0 Watford

Liverpool got back to thrashing teams as they hammered Watford 5-0 at home. Mane scored a double, Origi a 3rd and Van Dijk added two more late on. Liverpool boost their goal difference and remain top of the table 1 point ahead of City, while Watford drop into 8th with a poor goal difference. 

Man City 1 vs. 0 West Ham

City just about got the job done against West Ham as Aguero scored a penalty in the 59th minute to seal the three points. This was a must win game for City and they remain in the title race 1 point behind Liverpool and 8 ahead of Tottenham. West Ham are 10th in the table.

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Barcelona won the Classico double header 1-4 on aggregate with a strong 0-3 win at the Bernabeu. Suarez scored two in the 2nd half and Varane added an own goal. Valencia and Betis are still to play but Barcelona reach the final of the Copa Del Rey. 

Coppa Italia Semi-Final 1st Leg

Lazio and Milan drew 0-0 and Fiorentina and Atalanta drew 3-3 in two very different draws. All to fight for for all teams involved as the teams wait on when to play their 2nd leg fixtures. 

Coupe De France Quarter-Final

PSG beat Dijon 3-0, Rennes beat US Orleans 2-0, and Lyon beat Caen 3-1 with Vitre and Nantes still to play. The usual suspects won their games and PSG in all honesty might just win this trophy too. 

 

 

Midweek Football Preview

No time to take a breath. 

Premier League MW 28

Cardiff City vs. Everton

It is getting tight at the bottom for Cardiff as they sit 17th and welcome 11th placed Everton to Wales. Everton did not play at the weekend as their opponent were City who were playing in the Carabao Cup Final. Everton are shaky at the moment and are a team for the taking if Cardiff stay solid at the back a important game for both sides. Everton beat Cardiff 1-0 in the reverse fixture. 

Huddersfield vs. Wolverhampton

8th placed Wolves will look to return to winning ways in emphatic fashion as they travel to play Huddersfield. The Terriers have been really poor as they sit bottom of the table and this should be an easy win for Wolves. Huddersfield beat Wolves 0-2 in the reverse fixture.

Leicester vs. Brighton

12th vs. 16th as Leicester take on Brighton. Leicester are managerless and will be looking to appoint someone in the near future but this game comes fast at them. Brighton are suspect away from home and Leicester can see this as an opportunity to play with more freedom and gain an important win, while the Seagulls will look to do more damage. Brighton and Leicester drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture. 

Newcastle vs. Burnley

Newcastle face tougher opposition as they take a side 2 points ahead of them in Burnley. Burnley did extremely well to beat Spurs and will be in a positive mood going into this game. Newcastle need to win this otherwise they could find themselves 5 points adrift of 14th while a loss for Burnley would see them sucked back into the relegation battle. A tough game to call. Newcastle beat Burnley 1-2 in the reverse fixture. 

Arsenal vs. Bournemouth

Arsenal face 10th placed Bournemouth as they look to remain 4th but this is a tough game unlike their game against Southampton. Arsenal’s defence is poor and Bournemouth have the pace to hit them on the counter while also having a solid defence. A tough game for the Gunners and an opportunity for Bournemouth. 

Southampton vs. Fulham

18th vs. 19th as 7 points separate the two sides. A loss would be damaging to Fulham’s chances at survival as they would find themselves 10 points behind 18th. Southampton need the win to boost their own chances and based on current form they are the better side. A really important and feisty game awaits.

Crystal Palace vs. Man United

United remain unbeaten under Ole as they travel to Selhurst Park to regain 4th but carry several injured with them. Herrera, Mata, Lingard, Martial and possibly Rashford are all suffering some sort of injury as their attack looks to be blunted. Palace have several players to hurt United on the counter and if they can stay solid defensively they could get some much needed points. An interesting game to keep an eye on, maybe Michy could do Chelsea a favour?

Liverpool vs. Watford

1st vs. 7th as Watford travel to Liverpool. Liverpool have taken their foot of the gas in recent weeks as they find themselves only a point ahead of City who are 2nd. Watford have been flying high and have nothing to lose as they head to Anfield. Klopp’s men seem to be feeling the pressure and this is no easy game. Watford could do some damage as this game is too close to call.

Man City vs. West Ham

It took Man City an penalty shootout to beat Chelsea in an high octane and draining Carabao Cup Final. Although the win will boost them West Ham will be hoping to take advantage of the tired players. Can Pellegrini do some damage to City’s title push or will City march on. On paper City should win this but you never know.

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Barcelon travel to Real Madrid for their 2nd leg of the semi-final as the 1st leg ended 1-1, a Classico and a highly important at that. Real Betis travel to Valencia for their 2nd leg of the other semi-final as the first leg ended 2-2. Another interesting game which is too close to call. 

Coppa Italia Semi-Final 1st Leg

Milan travel to Lazio for their first leg of the semi-final as remain the team in form and seem to be picking some scary momentum. The other semi-final sees Atalanta travel to Fiorentina in a game that is too close to call. In cup games League form is thrown out and really anything can happen. 

Coupe De France Quarter-Final

PSG take on Dijon, Rennes take on US Orleans who play in Ligue 2, Lyon take on Caen, and Nantes travel to AS Vitre who play in the 4th tier of French Football (Championnat National 2). Seeing the teams you can only see one winner which is PSG although Lyon might have a say. 

 

Chelsea 3 (5) vs. 0 (1) Malmo Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg Review

Sarri passes test no 1.

Chelsea got the job done with a good second half performance against Malmo as Giroud, Barkley and Hudson-Odoi scored. Sarri was under pressure going into this game and so he selected a lineup that would have appeased some Chelsea fans temporarily. Caballero started in goal with Emerson, and Christensen coming in for Alonso and Rudiger. Kovacic played behind Kante and Barkley in the Jorginho position while Hudson-Odoi started alongside Giroud and willian in attack. The first 30 minutes of the game were poor from Chelsea as there were several miss placed passes and slow play all around. The game picked up as the teams approached half time but Malmo held on. Chelsea switched another gear in the 2nd half and Giroud opened the scoring in the 55th minute as Kante broke through the midfield and laid the ball off to Willian who crossed it in for a Giroud tap in. Emerson then broke into the Malmo final third and the Swedish side conceded a free kick in the 74th minute. Barkley then stepped up and scored a brilliant one as Chelsea doubled the lead. CHO sealed things off in the the 84th minute as Willian switched play to CHO who attacked the penalty area and drove a low ball into the net. 3 goals Cheslea fans happy and we progress to the Round of 16.

Post match Sarri stated that if Chelsea played like they did in the first 30 against City then we would get thrashed again. Sarri also praised CHO, Emerson, and Christensen on their displays and said that they would feature more. Sarri was asked whether he had talks with Roma to which he replied he had not and that they person in question was in Saudi Arabia. Sarri also questioned why the media did not put Emery under pressure but Sarri should know that the media don’t like Chelsea. 

Player Review

  • Caballero – A good performance with no real problems to face, some much needed game time as well considering he might have to start against City.
  • Azpilicueta – Probably the poorest player on the pitch and it is not often that I have said that about Dave. Azpi seems to be going through rough patch of form but with Zappacosta out through illness he had to feature. 
  • Rudiger – A solid display at the back but it remains to be seen whether he or Christensen will start alongside Luiz. 
  • Christensen – Another good performance and the hope is that he starts alongside Luiz against City as he brings a calmness to the central defensive area unlike when both Luiz and Rudiger are on the pitch. 
  • Emerson – Grew into the game and ended the 90 minutes as one of the better players. Got an assist for Barkley’s goal and had brilliant linkup play with the left hand side. Emerson needs to start against City, although the odds are that Alonso does. 
  • Kovacic – Kovacic had a better 2nd half as he dictated play well but the first 30 minutes showed why Sarri starts Jorginho in that position as he knows it well and passes the ball that bit faster. Still not a bad performance and one which he should feature in more often. 
  • Kante – Kante seemed to be playing deeper in this game although with the liberty to move up the pitch and he was crucial for several of Chelsea’s moves. People who dont want Chelsea regularly won’t see the impact that Kante makes and so pundits will always make the defensive argument. The fact is that Kante transcends any position. 
  • Barkley – Barkley finds it tough with the tactics but while his play was sloppy and he does stop attacks he did score a brilliant free kick when called upon and the only way is upward. 
  • Hudson-Odoi – When called upon CHO performs and he once again showed why he should start ahead of Willian and Pedro. With Pedro suffering a stomach virus it basically was fight to see who plays alongside Hazard and Higuain on Sunday and the hope is that CHO one that battle in Sarri’s eyes. Similar to Emerson though the odds are that Willian starts the game against City. 
  • Giroud – Giroud might find it tough to score in other competitions but the Europa League is his party and he got another goal making it 6 out of 7. A good performance and a goal is all you can ask from a striker. 
  • Willian – Not amazing and only began to perform well when the team was 2-0 up but he did get two assists. It remains to be seen who starts on Sunday but I would rather see CHO start with Willian coming on for him. 
  • Jorginho – Jorginho came on as a sub for Kante and was unfairly booed by a minority of the fans to whom I say you guys should be ashamed of yourselves. To his credit Jorginho laughed it off and passed the ball faster in his area. 
  • Loftus-Cheek – RLC came on for Barkley and played on the right hand side as he linked up well with CHO and if it were not for his back problem we obviously see him more. One hopes he starts against City but most likely he features off the bench. 
  • Ampadu – Ampadu came on for Azpi at right back but had little chance to impress although his link up play with CHO and RLC was awesome. 

So, Chelsea head into the City game with a win, its a final and so the ambience will be different than a cup game. The odds are heavily against us but one can only hope that the players channel previous final performances and then what happens will happen. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!

 

Chelsea vs Malmo Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg Preview

Game no 1 to save Sarri. 

Chelsea got dumped out of their first cup competition on Monday as they lost to United at the Bridge by to 2 goals to nil. It was another performance which lacked fire and appetite but what annoyed the fans even more was Sarri’s team selection and substitutions of which the pinnacle was bringing on Zappacosta for Azpilicueta. The fallout has been renewed pressure from a section of the fans for Sarri’s sack and reports since Monday have stated that Sarri has two games to save his Chelsea career. While it would be sad if Sarri got the sack and while I still think that if he were to win this game and by some miracle beat City at the weekend he would at least see out the season but Sarri has not covered himself in glory with his stubbornness and refusal to change the lineup and listen to others. 

Redemption no 1 comes today as Chelsea take on Malmo at home in the 2nd leg of the Europa League Round of 32. Chelsea won the 1st leg 1-2 but as Sarri said in his pre match press conference Malmo are very dangerous away from home and considering our current form they wont be too scared of coming to the Bridge. Sarri was questioned on his team selection and whether others should get a chance to play to which Sarri replied that when others have got a chance to play they have made mistakes as well and that is why he thinks it is a case of mentality rather than the players. The nonsensical question of Kante’s position was also asked. On his future Sarri stated that he sees himself staying at Chelsea for a long time because that is his vision and if given time it would bear results. Sarri stated that if Chelsea were to win two three games in a row then it would bring a positive mood which I agree with and there are no better games than the next three which if we were to miraculously win would mean that we reach the Round of  16, win the Carabao Cup and beat Spurs at home. I really should slap myself in the face but hope is something that everyone should have. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea will be without Pedro, Zappacosta, and Kepa who is a doubt for the City game as well. The biggest quarrel among the Chelsea fan base both who want Sarri to stay and go has been the continued use of players like Alonso, Pedro, Willian etc when CHO, Ampadu, Christensen and the rest have remained on the bench. Sarri needs to change the personnel at least in this game if he wants to see a positive atmosphere in Stamford Bridge. A change of formation is a long shot though. 

Starting XI Prediction

IMG_7801

Chelsea need to win convincingly and IF players like CHO, RLC, and Emerson are given a chance they need to put in a good shift to stand a shot at playing on Sunday. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!!

 

Chelsea 2 (2) vs. 1 (2) Tottenham 4-2 Pens Carabao Cup 2nd Leg Review

COME ON!!!!

Chelsea progressed to the final of the Carabao Cup with a confident win against Tottenham in regular time and penalties. The 2-1 scoreline meant that Tottenham were level on aggregate which took the game straight to penalties which Chelsea won 4-2. The lineup was as predicted Emerson and Giroud finally got the nods ahead of Alonso and the false 9 formation while Pedro and Barkley started ahead of Willian, and Kovacic. Chelsea dominated the first half as without any real attack Spurs chose to defend and play on the counter. The first goal came in the 27th minute after a loose header from corner found its way to Kante who volleyed into the net as went through the legs of three Spurs players. Barkley was fouled in the Chelsea half and a quick release to Hazard meant that he passed it to Azpi who cut back in the box for Hazard to finish from close range to double the lead in the 38th minute. Chelsea went into the half ahead on aggregate and in the lead but Spurs rallied in the second half and Llorente scored in the 50th minute to bring the score level on aggregate. Chelsea then created more chances but Spurs had grown into the game to take the decision to penalties. Eriksen scored the first for Tottenham, then Willian levelled for Chelsea. Lamela then put Spurs ahead but Azpi expertly dispatched his penalty. Dier then skied his penalty to give Chelsea a chance to go ahead and Jorginho put Chelsea ahead with his trademark skip penalty. Moura then saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Kepa, and Luiz scored the final penalty to send Chelsea to the final. 

It was an expert performance and Chelsea brilliantly responded to Sarri’s cry for more determination and a better mentality. Higuain himself was great on the sidelines as he showed emotions with the fans. 

Player Review – 

  • Kepa – Brilliant, he got his moment in the spotlight in a season which he has gone under the radar providing consistent performances. 
  • Azpilicueta – Showed great leadership throughout the game and during the penalties although he does seem to be slowing down as time goes by.
  • Rudiger – Another consistent performance nothing amazing but nothing bad. 
  • Luiz – Not a great performance by Luiz but with Kane, Son and Alli not present he managed to get through without any major mistakes.
  • Emerson – A brilliant game by Emerson, he grew into the match and provided a threat via crosses and was solid defensively. Emerson needs to start more games ahead of Alonso and Sarri has stated that the only reason Alonso starts is because he is taller. Hopefully he Emerson gets more chances with Higuain on the pitch.
  • Jorginho – Fair amount of criticism has been placed on Jorginho in recent weeks but he had a brilliant game against Spurs. Was caught out a couple of times but he recovered well, dictated play and could have got a couple of assists. Jorginho’s penalty technique is so awesome. 
  • Kante – Kante was probably the best player on the pitch. The world continues to debate between him and Jorginho but with his 4th goal of the season he is slowly growing into his position. Kante made forward runs, great dribbles and could have provided 2 or 3 assists if the chances had been finished. Also, he was great defensively.
  • Barkley – Not great but not bad either, Barkley did the simple things well but with RLC returning to fitness he would probably drop to 3rd in selection at the moment. 
  • Pedro – Pedro was not as good as the rest but was agile and maybe overplayed on a couple of occasions. There were chances that he should have scored but was decent and subbed of for Willian. 
  • Giroud – Giroud’s link up play was great but his performance in front of goal was similar to Morata’s performance against Arsenal last year. The difference was that Morata missed several one on one chances and Giroud missed a couple of headers. All I can say is I’m happy Higuain is here. 
  • Hazard – Hazard returned to his brilliant best as he played in his regular left wing position. Got a goal and could have had at least one more. Hazard stated post match that he didn’t care about what the manager said about him in his typical nonchalant behaviour. Hazard might be going at the end of the season or he might stay but he needs to give it his all either way and that seems likely. 
  • Willian – Willian didn’t really make any impact when he came on but he scored his penalty and for now that is all that matters. 
  • Kovacic – Kovacic carried on what Barkley was doing in that he played well without dazzling. 

Chelsea now head into the FA Cup as we put the final at the back of our minds for now. The pundits can say what they want we just have to keep our heads down and talk on the pitch and whenever we do that we usually don’t need to be worried. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Chelsea (0) vs. (1) Tottenham Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg Preview

We have to win this!

Since the loss to Arsenal at the weekend much has been said by the likes of the media and Chelsea in regards to what Chelsea can achieve this season. From Sarri questioning the mentality of the players to the media deciding that he is going to get sacked to Higuain finally signing for Chelsea but not being able to play in the semi final, lots of things have happened. With all this in mind Chelsea now go into their Carabao Cup semi-final 2nd leg against rivals Tottenham who have a 1 goal lead thanks to a Harry Kane penalty. Chelsea were awful in the first half of the 1st leg but the 2nd half was dominated by the blues although we lacked a killer instinct upfront and so could not capitalise on the chances we created. Tottenham have since lost to United and beat Fulham and have also lost Kane, and Alli to injuries and Son to the Asian Games. Tottenham are by far no weak team and I am not saying this should be a cake walk but if there was a time to bounce back from a poor result it would be now against or local rivals in a semi-final and a chance to play City in the final. 

The lineup’s of either team will tell a lot and if Chelsea start with the likes of Alonso, and Willian on the pitch and Hazard as false 9, I can tell you the fan base won’t be happy and that would be the equivalent of having Kane, Alli, and Son on the pitch. Sarri was asked pre-match whether his comments had put him at odds with his players and he replied by saying that to improve as a team they had to acknowledge their faults and weaknesses. Sarri also took responsibility himself and stated that the mentality should also come from the manager. When asked about Hazard’s comments Sarri stated that, Hazard needed to improve because his potential is so high compared to his current level and he is letting himself down by not reaching it. I would have to agree there is only so much a manager can do to improve a player’s mentality and if Hazard himself is laid back about its out of Sarri’s hands. Sarri stated that at the current moment there are potential leaders in Azpi, and Luiz but Hazard is not a leader but more of an individual. Sarri stated that because Hazard likes to roam around on the pitch he is forced to organise the rest of the 10 players. Hazard might be in his final few months as a Chelsea player and if so then he should give it his best and make it memorable. Hazard needs to decide whether he wants to stay or leave and stick to it. This is a must win game Sarri and Poch are both after winning their first trophy as a manager although Poch has been at Spurs for a fair few seasons. It is a must win game for Chelsea and we have to reach the final there is no other option. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Sarri has no injury concerns as RLC remains the only player out. Christensen not returning to the bench after leaving it was questioned by the press but Sarri stated that Christensen is always nervous on matchday’s and so he was just worried for his health. As far as the lineup is concerned Emerson, CHO, and Giroud have to start. Hazard cannot start as a false 9 and Alonso and Willian cannot be on the pitch. It is debatable whether Christensen, Rudiger, or Luiz will start but if someone were to get a rest I would prefer Rudiger because Luiz is a greater threat going forward. Higuain did not make the deadline and so a game against Sheffield Wednesday looks more of a possibility. 

Tottenham Team Preview

Tottenham are heading into the game without Kane, Son, and Alli. Moura, and Sissoko might be back although to push them into a starting position would be a risk. Llorente should start alongside Lamela, and Erisken. Spurs have a lead and can afford to play on the counter in this game.

Starting XI Predicition

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Under the lights, a semi-final at Stamford Bridge needing a comeback to reach the final, it’s a made for Chelsea condition. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!