Chelsea 0 (10) vs. (11) 0 Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Review

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.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

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.

Defenders

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.

Midfielders

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. 

Forwards 

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.

Manager

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!!!

Chelsea vs. Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Preview

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. 

Chelsea Team Preview

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 Team Preview

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.

Starting XI Prediction

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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!!!

Chelsea 2 vs. 0 Lille Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg Review

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. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper 

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.

Defenders

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. 

Midfielders

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.

Forwards

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.

Manager

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!!!

Chelsea vs. Lille Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg

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 Team Preview

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 Team Preview

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. 

Starting XI Prediction

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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!!!

Crystal Palace 0 vs. 1 Chelsea MW 26 Review

Big win given the circumstances!

Chelsea travelled to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon to play Crystal Palace for MW 26 of the Premier League season. Palace had drawn their last two games and had not won in any of their last few. Tuchel selected a strong lineup with Mendy in goal and a back four of Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, and Sarr. Kante and Jorginho made up the midfield with Havertz, Pulisic, and Ziyech playing behind Lukaku up top. A strong lineup and one which many expected would score some goals. 

The game was a stop start one and end to end. Chelsea had two good chances in the first half with Kante and Pulisic going close. Rudiger forced Guaita into a fine save from long range. The 2nd half saw Chelsea drop off and as the game went on Palace gained momentum. The Eagles still failed to register a shot on target as Chelsea’s defence stayed strong. Chelsea scored a late goal after Kovacic played through Lukaku who’s shot deflected into the path of Ziyech but Lukaku was offside. The game looked like it was heading for a draw but Alonso delivered a good cross to the far post and Ziyech pulled in behind to volley it past Butland to give Chelsea all three points. A smash and grab performance but with Liverpool winning and City losing it was important Chelsea did not drop points. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

A clean sheet return for Mendy and he had nothing to do for much of the game. No shots on target for Palace but there were some nearly there shots. This is clean sheet no 9 for Mendy in the league this season and hopefully many more are to come.

Defenders

A clean sheet for the back four this time. We were essentially playing four centre backs with Christensen, and Sarr playing as makeshift full backs. They did a decent job but there was very little attacking threat. Sarr did put a good ball in which Kante should have scored. Silva, and Rudiger were solid as usual. Alonso came on in the 2nd half and delivered the assist that got Ziyech the winner. An overall good performance.

Midfielders

Kante, and Jorginho were not required in this game as we had majority of the possession. Kante is wasted in forward areas because attacking is not his game. It wasn’t a great outing. Kovacic had an instant impact when he came on as he started to play balls through the middle of the pitch. Loftus-Cheek also came on and had a decent impact but he was returning from injury.

Forwards

Another night to forget for the attack. Pulisic was good in the first half but playing as an attacking midfielder he didn’t enjoy the same freedom he would have on the wing. Havertz did a good job overall as he worked hard off the ball and was phyiscal in his challenged. Lukaku was extremely poor and only had SEVEN touches over the whole game. I don’t care whether it’s the system or the players no one should only register seven touches and Tuchel was visibly frustrated with him. Ziyech was the only silverlining as he was a constant threat down the right hand side again. A game winning goal on two occasions and he continues to step up. 

Manager

Tuchel said that the team was jet lagged and a few of the players were suffering from a cold. He said he was not expecting too much from the team in this game having played two extra time games over the last few weeks. All Tuchel will care about is the three points from this result but he would not have liked how little some players offered to the team.

Chelsea remain 3rd in the table with the win seven points behind Liverpool and 13 behind Man City with a game in hand over them. All Chelsea can do at this stage is go on a run and take it one game at a time. Next up is a visit by reigning French Champions Lille in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea MW 26 Preview

A return to Premier League action!

Chelsea sit 3rd in the table with a game in hand as they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Palace 13th in the table with a game in hand and have drawn three and lost two of their games. Palace have had a decent first season under Vieira playing some exciting attacking football with young players. Chelsea won the reverse fixture 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and will be hoping to do the same in this game.

It’s been more than 20 days since Chelsea played Tottenham in their last Premier League game. Since then there has been an international break and Chelsea have been crowned World Champions. The time away from the Premier League sees Chelsea sitting 16 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Chelsea are also seven points behind Liverpool and only four points ahead of Manchester United. In the pre match conference Tuchel said that the main aim for right now is to build their gap from 4th and then reassess at the end of the season. Chelsea will not want to get dragged back into a top four race and there is still a slight small chance that they can cut the gap to the top albeit not win the league. The essential goal still remains to finish in the top three and within single digits of whoever wins. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea are still without Reece James, and Ben Chilwell. James should return to training next week. Mason Mount is also out with an ankle injury but Chelsea are hoping he is back next week. Mendy should start in goal with a back four of Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Silva, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho should start in midfield with Pulisic, and Ziyech as the wingers and Havertz and Lukaku up top. Chelsea coud play with a back three as well but I think the back four is bringing out the best in players like Ziyech at the moment. Pulisic deserves a run as a winger as well while Havertz and Lukaku have shown that they can build some sort of partnership up front. Regardless Chelsea should have a strong XI on the pitch and strong subs on the bench. Ruben is also back for this game.

Crystal Palace Team Preview

Palace will be without Gallagher who cannot play against parent club Chelsea. Gallagher has been a big player for Palace and is already lined up to make an impact at Chelsea next season. Guehi has done well at centre back for Palace and is a mainstay for them. Guaita should start in goal with a back four of Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, and Ward. Schlupp, Hughes, and McArthur should start in midfield. Zaha, Edouard, and Ayew should start up front for Palace. Players like Olise, and Eze can provide plenty of threat with their pace and creativity of the bench or if they start. Benteke, and Mateta are also available. It’s a good team with plenty of pace and there is always a threat.

Starting XI Prediction

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Chelsea return to the bread and butter on Saturday. The problems for Chelsea remain that the players are not clinical enough but hopefully the Club World Cup win is the boost they need. Lukaku scored two and maybe it can spur him on. Chelsea will have to be clinical and tight at the back. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea 2 vs. 1 Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Review

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!

Chelsea took on Brazilian team Palmeiras at the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. It was Chelsea’s 2nd appearance in the competition’s final after losing in 2012 while Palmeiras were making their first appearance. A win for either team would have been their first. Palmeiras had the same team as predicted with Dudu, Rony, Scarpa, and Veiga all starting up front. The majority of the fans in the stadium were Palmeiras fans mostly because Brazilian teams really cherish the Club World Cup. There was decent Chelsea support as well and the Blues knew the importance of winning this trophy because it would complete the set. Tuchel selected Mendy in goal with a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi started as the wing backs with Havertz, Mount and Lukaku playing up top. A strong lineup. 

The first half was pretty straight forward. Chelsea had two thirds of the possession but Palmeiras’s low block meant that very few chances were created. Palmeiras on the other hand had some very good chances on the counter attack. Mount had to come off in the first half after hurting his ankle and was replaced by Pulisic. Pulisic’s addition did add some flair to the forward line but there was no breakthrough. 

The first goal came in the 54th minute as Hudson-Odoi put a brilliant cross into the box and Lukaku rose highest to head the ball into the net. A goal in a big final and Lukaku earned back respect last night. Chelsea though could not find that finishing goal though and Veiga scored a penalty to equalise in the 64th minute. Thiago Silva had tried to head a ball away but it his hand and obstructed play. Neither team could find a winner in regular time as the game went to extra time.

In extra time Palmeiras just sat back and defended while Chelsea tried to throw the kitchen sink at their defence. The breakthrough came late with Azpilicueta volleying a shot towards goal and it hit defender Luan on the hand. After a short VAR check the penalty was given. Azpilicueta took the ball and cleverly took all the intimidation given to him by the Palmeiras players following which he handed the ball to Havertz to take the actual penalty. Kai Havertz stepped up and just like he did to win Chelsea the Champions League he scored the winner to win the club the World Cup. Havertz was then brought down late in the game after being through on goal and Luan was sent off with a straight red card. Full time and Chelsea were champions of the world. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Mendy returned to goal in this game. There were a few saves he had to make and the penalty is always a 50/50. Apart form that it was a good outing and he adds another trophy to his cabinet. Both Kepa and Mendy got game time and did brilliantly.

Defenders

The whole defence was very good. Azpilicueta became the first Chelsea player to win every single trophy at the club. An absolute legendary captain for the club and one of the legends of the game for sure. Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger were also solid at the back. Sarr came on in extra time when Chelsa switched to a back four. 

Midfielders

Kovacic and Kante started as the midfield two. Kovacic was very good for much of the game. Kante played the whole game but for me had a mixed performance. In patches he was great but sometimes he was caught out. Mount looked good until he had to come off and hopefully the injury isn’t serious. Saul came on late in the game to liven up the midfield. 

Forwards

Havertz was very good and played the whole game. He scored the winning penalty and exhibted great nerves in such a pressure situation. It should be the boost needed for him to kick on in the 2nd half of the season. Lukaku also made it two goals in two games and scored a powerful header. His first trophy with Chelsea and it again should help him kick on and score more goals. Hudson-Odoi played as a wing back and got an assist but overall had an ok performance. Pulisic was impactful when he came on and showed real hunger. Hopefully the American can get a run of games. Ziyech and Werner also came on and did well to create chances and stretch the Palmeiras defence. 

Manager

Tuchel finally made it for the game and was in the dugout for the final. It was great to see. I think the most clever thing Tuchel did over the two games was give most of the squad game time. He made everyone feel involved and like they contributed to the trophy. A third trophy at the club in a year and hopefully many more to come. 

Chelsea completed football last night and Abramovich was on hand to witness the missing piece of the puzzle. Again, this is the beginning of a new era and if Tuchel continues to get the backing Chelsea will only get better. Next up is a visit to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace.

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD, COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Preview

Massive final for Chelsea!

Chelsea will take on Brazilian team Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup final on Saturday. Palmeiras beat Al Ahly 2-0 in their semi-final and will have several thousands of fans in the stadium supporting them. Chelsea seem to have the rest of Brazil supporting them so I guess it’s not that bad for the Blues. This is the teams first outing in the Club World Cup and their first appearance in the final. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Al-Hilal 0-1 on Wednesday. It was a close game but Chelsea pulled through thanks to a goal from Lukaku in the 1st half. Chelsea will be playing their 2nd Club World Cup final having lost the first one to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2012. It is is the only trophy that is missing from the cabinet at Chelsea and if the Blues win it they would have completed the set of all available trophies to an English Premier League club. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea have the full squad available with the only exceptions beind Reece James and Ben Chilwell. Mendy is back in training and was on the bench against Al-Hilal. Kepa has been outstanding while Mendy has been at AFCON. Some would say that the Spaniard deserves to start in the final but I would say start Mendy. Fans are fickle and if a long range effort went in that Kepa could not save then everyone would blame him. Chelsea are blessed with two goalkeepers that are high on confidence so start Mendy and bring Kepa on if the game goes to penalties which hopefully it does not.

Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger should start in defence while I would start Azpiicueta and Sarr as the wing backs. Christensen and Alonso could start but I would be worried with Alonso and his lack of pace against Brazilians. Jorginho and Kovacic should start in midfield with a front three of Havertz, Lukaku and Ziyech. I personally would start Havertz ahead of Lukaku and bring in Mount but I doubt the Belgian will get dropped. The front three did well against Al-Hilal and I think the wingers should keep their place. Again Chelsea could go with a back four as well in which case we could see Mount come in for one of the centre backs. It should be a strong lineup regardless.

Palmeiras Team Preview

Palmeiras just began their new season this year. Last season their top scorer was Veiga while Rony and Willian also finished with 10+ goals. Scarpa was their highest creator with 20 assists last season. This season having played five games Dudu is their highest goal scorer with three goals. Veiga has the most assists with three. I wouldn’t say I know much about Palmeiras but they are a strong and pacy team that love attacking. Weverton should be their goalkeeper with a back four of Rocha, Gomez, Luan, and Piquerez. Danilo and Ze Rafael should make up their midfield with Dudu, Veiga, and Scarpa starting up front behind Rony who is their striker. The front four by all means look lethal and that is where the danger lies with Palmeiras. Abel Fereira is their manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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This trophy means a lot for Chelsea fans. These players would be making history if they won it for the first time for the club. There seems to be welcome news that Thomas Tuchel might make it for the final which will be great for the whole team. Palmeiras won’t be an easy team by any means and their fans will be as vocal as ever, but Chelsea know what they need to do. The most important thing is to be clinical in front of goal. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Al-Hilal 0 vs. 1 Chelsea Club World Cup Semi-Final Review

Onto the final!

Chelsea took on Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal on Wednesday night in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup semi-final. The winner of the game would seal place in the final alongside Brazilian team Palmeiras. Al-Hilal picked a strong team with Marega, Pereira, and Ighalo all starting. Chelsea selected Kepa in goal with a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta and Alonso started as the wing backs with a midfield of Kovacic, and Jorginho. Havertz, Ziyech and Lukaku started up front. A strong lineup by both teams as they looked to reach the final.

Al-Hilal started well but Chelsea grew into the game in the first half. Chelsea had several good chances in the first half but the final finish was missing as usual. Al-Hilal didn’t have a shot on target for much of the first 45. The only goal of the game came in the 32nd minute as Havertz did well to dribble and put in a cross which fell into the path of Lukaku who smashed it into goal. The Belgian improved as the half went on but Chelsea failed to double the lead.

Al-Hilal came out to play for the 2nd half and grew back into the game. They got several corners and began to test Kepa. Kepa made a particularly brilliant save late on that kept Chelsea in the lead. Chelsea did hold on for the win though and will now play the final on Saturday.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

A cleansheet for Kepa as his redemption season continues to go well. It was a brilliant save late in the game and it is a testament to his quality that Chelsea have not missed Mendy. Another very good game for him.

Defenders

All the defenders did pretty well. Christensen made a particularly good challenge in the 2nd half to deny a counter. Rudiger handled Ighalo well. Silva was his calm self while Azpilicueta and Alonso were decent as the wing backs. Sarr came on in the 2nd half for Alonso to see out the game.

Midfielders

Jorginho and Kovacic did really well in the 1st half. Jorginho had to come off at half time and that did impact the fluidity with which Chelsea passed in the midfield. Kante came on in his place but didn’t have his usual impact. Mount came on in the 2nd half as well to add some bite and threat. Kovacic had a very good all round game and played some brilliant passes as well. 

Forwards

The forwards all did relatively well in this game. Havertz was a constant threat and his movement seemed to allow Lukaku to play better. Havertz should have scored but he hit the post. Ziyech again and had an influential game as he continues to enjoy game time at the moment. Lukaku began the game poorly and missed a chance from point blank range. His goal was a poachers one and he was more involved following the lead. Some good linkup play and a constant threat. 

Manager

Zsolt Low was taking care of the management side while Tuchel contnues to isolate in London. Tuchel though delievered the half time team talk and would have liked that the team kept a clean sheet. We should have been more clinical in front of goal though. Final no 5 for the German at Chelsea though.

Chelsea will play the final against Palmeiras on Saturday night. It is bound to be a big game for the club. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Al-Hilal vs. Chelsea Club World Cup Semi-Final Preview

Another trophy to win!

Chelsea will take part in the semi-final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday as they take on Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal. The londoners have been in Abu Dhabi for the last few days and have had a mid season camp of sorts with warm weather training. The Club World Cup is no friendly tournament though and Chelsea have lost the final once before in 2013. Al-Hilal are the opposition and are managed by former Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim. 

Al-Hilal have won four of their last five games and beat Al Jazira 6-1 to get into the semi-final. They are in no way a team to take lightly for Chelsea and it seems that Tuchel and the players know that. Tuchel himself won’t be present for this game as he continues to isolate in London. Chelsea are hoping that he might make it for the final or 3rd placed game. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Plymouth Argyle at the weekend. It wasn’t the greatest of games and it took 120 minutes for Chelsea to get past the Championship team. The Blues were not poor but it was another game where there was no cutting edge up front. The only attacking player that seemed to play the whole game at a good level was Hakim Ziyech. The winger continues to thrive in Chelsea’s formation switch. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea will have Edouard Mendy back in the fold after he was crowned an Africa Cup of Nations champions with Senegal on Sunday. It is yet to be seen whether he will start the game though. For safety I will say Kepa will probably start. Mount was also touch and go but has returned to training recently. Chelsea should revert to a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger for this game. Hudson-Odoi, and Sarr should start as the wing backs with Kovacic, and Kante in midfield. Mount, Ziyech, and Havertz should start up front. 

Tuchel could of course start with a back four with Sarr probably starting on the left but Al-Hilal are a pacy team with plenty of attacking talent. I wouldn’t start Lukaku either because he was far from decent at the weekend. There are several options and I think the lineup above could easily transition to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with Chalobah and Sarr playing as full backs. It’s a solid team either way. 

Al-Hilal Team Preview

Al-Maiouf is the goalkeeper with a back four of Abdulhamid, Jang, Al Bulahi, and Al-Shahrani. Kanno, and Cuellar serve as their two sitting midfielders. Up front is where the talent lies in the team. Marega the former FC Porto striker plays as a winger while Pereira who Chelsea fans know all to well from his West Brom days plays as the playmaker. Al-Dawsari plays on the left wing with Ighalo their striker. Ighalo the former Watford and Man United striker has been in fine form this season while all the front four scored against Al Jazira. They have Carrillo on the bench as well. A talented team with a talented manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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The Club World Cup is the missing link for Chelsea as a club. It is the only trophy we have not one and the hunger for all the players should be real. It won’t be an easy game but if Chelsea play at their best level then we should book a place in the final. COME ON CHELSEA!!!