Midweek Football Preview

More cups!

FA Cup 5th Round

Peterborough vs. Man City

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. 

Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City

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 vs. Tottenham

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.

Southampton vs. West Ham

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.

Liverpool vs. Norwich

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 vs. Boreham Wood

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. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Leicester

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.

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg

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. 

Coppa Italia Semi-Final 1st Leg

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?

DFB Pokal Quarter-Final

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. 

Coupe De France Semi-Final

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. 

Chelsea 2 vs. 1 Plymouth Argyle FA Cup 4th Round Review

An unexpectedly tough game.

Chelsea welcomed Plymouth Argyle to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon for the FA Cup 4th Round game. Plymouth sat 7th in League One so on paper it should have been an easy afternon for Chelsea. It did not get off to the best starts though as Thomas Tuchel turned in a positive covid test and had to isolate. Chelsea still selected a strong lineup as Kepa started in goal with a back four of Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho started in the midfield two wth Hudson-Odoi, Mount, and Ziyech playing behind Lukaku up top. Tuchel was communicating with the staff via the phone throughout the game as it kicked off.

Gillesphey gave Plymouth the surprise lead against the run of play in the 8th minute via a set piece. Plymouth then defended with their lives as Chelsea hit the post three times. The equaliser finally came in the 41st minute after Mount sent in a low cross and Azpilicueta backheel flicked it into the goal.

It was all Chelsea for much of the game but Plymouth did come out and test Kepa in the latter stages in the 2nd half. The game went into extra time and Chelsea finally gained the lead in the 106th minute thanks to Alonso. Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz linked up well and Havertz cut back for Alonso to smash Chelsea into the lead. Plymouth then threw the kitchen sink at Chelsea and got a late penalty to send the game to penalties. Kepa though was more than up for the task and saved the shot to deny Plymouth. Chelsea saw out the final few minutes for the win. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Kepa was strong once again and the goal that was conceded was not his fault but due to more marking. The penalty save is what Kepa is brilliant at and it was great to see him save Chelsea once again. A good overall game for him.

Defenders

Azpilicueta got a brilliant goal while Alonso also came off the bench to score the winner. Christensen, Rudiger, and Sarr had decent games as well. Chalobah came on later in the game to see out the win. The defence continues to be the torch bearer for goals in this team. 

Midfielders

Jorginho and Kovacic along with Mount found it tough to handle Plymouth physically in the 1st half. They got better as the game went on. Mount got an assist to his name. Saul came on later in the game to help search for a winner and see Chelsea to victory.

Forwards

Apart from Ziyech who was brilliant for the whole 120 minutes and Havertz and Werner who played a part in the winner no one else did much at the top. Hudson-Odoi didn’t have the best of games and was being muscled off the ball by Plymouth players. Lukaku was at his worst again and looked like he couldn’t be bothered to be on the pitch. Late to every ball, loose passes, no conviction it was a lacklustre performance. 41 shots and only 11 on target sums up Chelsea in front of goal. 

Manager

Tuchel would have been happy to see Chelsea progress to the next round but apart from that it would have been a poor performance for him. There is not much the German could have done and the players on the pitch really need to pick up in performances especially in attack.

Chelsea progress to the next round where they will face Luton Town away from home. For now Chelsea travelled to Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the Club World Cup. The team will be in the middle east for the week and will look to win another trophy. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Review

Some major upsets!

FA Cup 4th Round 

Man United 1 (7) vs. (8) 1 Middlesbrough

Sancho scored in the 25th minute to give United the lead but Crooks equalised for Middlesbrough in the 64th minute. Neither team could find the winner as the game eventually headed into penalties. Both teams managed to score all their penalties until Elanga missed his which sent United out of the FA Cup. Middlesbrough continue on to the next round while United realistically can only look to a top four finish this season.

Kid’minster 1 vs. 2 West Ham

Penny scored in the 19th minute to give Kidderminster the lead against West Ham. The home team were so close to a famous win but Rice scored the equaliser in the 91st minute. The home team were then close to reaching penalties but Bowen found the winner in the 121st minute. West Ham proceed to the next round but Kidderminster really made them work for it. 

Man City 4 vs. 1 Fulham

Carvalho gave Fulham the surprise lead in the 4th minute but it only served to wake City up. Gundogan eqalised for City two minutes later and Stones gave them the lead in the 13th minute. Mahrez added two goals in the 2nd half to seal the win for Man City. City progress to the next round while Fulham will now concentrate on getting back into the Premier League. 

Wolverhampton 0 vs. 1 Norwich

McLean scored the only goal of the game right before half time as Norwich held on for a win against Wolves. Wolves will now focus on finishing as high as possible in the league while Norwich continue on to the next round. 

Everton 4 vs. 1 Brentford

Life for Lampard as Everton manager got off to a great start as Everton got a big win against Brentford. Mina gave Everton the lead in the 31st minute and Richarlison doubled it in the 48th minute. Toney got one back for Brentford in the 54th minute via  a penalty but Holgate and Townsend added two more in the 2nd half to seal the comfortable win. 

Southampton 2 vs. 1 Coventry

Gyokeres scored in the 22nd minute to give Coventry the lead but Armstrong equalised for Southampton in the 63rd minute with a brilliant strike. Walker-Peters scored the winner for Southampton in the 112th minute. Southampton survive a shock to progress to the next round while Coventry are sent out. 

Crystal Palace 2 vs. 0 Hartlepool

Guehi scored in the 4th minute to give Palace the lead while Olise doubled the lead in the 22nd minute. Hartlepool could not score any goals as Palace cruised into the next round. 

Tottenham 3 vs. 1 Brighton

Kane scored in the 13th minute to give Spurs the lead while March scored an own goal in the 24th minute to double that lead. Bissouma got one back for Brighton in the 63rd minute but Kane added a third three minutes later to seal the win for Spurs. Spurs progress to the next round while Brighton are sent back home. 

Liverpool 3 vs. 1 Cardiff

Jota scored in the 53rd minute to give Liverpool the lead while Minamino made it two for Liverpool in the 68th minute. Elliot made it three in the 76th minute while Cardiff got a consolation goal in the 80th minute via Colwill. 

Nottingham Forest 4 vs. 1 Leicester

Zinckernagel, Johnson, and Worrall scored in the 1st half to give Nottingham Forest a blistering 3-0 lead. Iheanacho got one back for Leicester in the 40th minute. Spence got a 4th for Forest in the 61st minute to seal the win for the home team. Forest on a roll as they progress to the next round while the holders Leicester are sent home packing. 

La Liga MW 23

Sevilla drew against Osasuna 0-0, Real Sociedad drew with Valencia 0-0, Barcelona got a big win against Atletico 4-2, Villarreal beat Real Betis 0-2, and Madrid beat Granada 1-0. Real Madrid increase their gap at the top to six points. Sevilla, Real Betis, and Barceona make up the top four as Atletico drop down to 5th. Villarreal move up to 6th while Real Sociedad sit 7th. A good weekend for Real Madrid while Barcelona get a massive win and move into the top four. Worrying times for Atletico as they will need to find form. 

Serie MW 24

Roma drew 0-0 with Genoa, Milan came from behind to beat Inter for what was a big win, Giroud with two goals. Lazio beat Fiorentina 0-3, Cagliari beat Atalanta 1-2, Napoli beat Venezia 0-2, and Juventus beat Verona 2-0. Inter see their lead at the top cut down to one point. Napoli, Milan and Juventus make up the top four. Atalanta, Lazio, and Roma sit 5th, 6th, and 7th respectively. A big weekend for Milan and Napoli as they get back into the title race while Juventus also get a good win with Vlahovic scoring. 

Bundesliga MW 21

Frankfurt beat Stuttgart 2-3, Bayern beat Leipzig 3-2, and Leverkusen thrashed Dortmund 2-5. Bayern increase their gap at the top to 9 points as they begin to pull away once again. Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Union Berlin make up the top four. Leipzig sit 7th in the table. Bundesliga looks like a foregone conclusion once again as Bayern should roll on and win.

Ligue MW 23

Marseille beat Angers 5-2, Monaco beat Lyon 2-0, Clermont beat Nice 0-1, and PSG thrashed Lille 1-5. PSG sit 13 points clear at the top with Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg making up the top four. Monaco sit 6th while Lyon sit 8th. Lille sit 11th in the table. Similar to the Bundesliga Ligue 1 is a foregone conclusion. 

Chelsea vs. Plymouth Argyle FA Cup 4th Round Preview

The FA Cup returns to resume football!

After a two week break where most of football including the fans took some time off to rest and relax and freshen their minds after a grueling winter period, the sport is back again. The Fa Cup 4th Round is upon us and Chelsea entertain Plymouth Argyle who sit 7th in Football League One. Plymouth beat Birmingham 0-1 in the last round and have since won one, drawn one and lost two of their games. It’s safe to say Plymouth are relative underdogs going into this game and similar to Chesterfield in the previous round Chelsea are heavy favourites.

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Chesterfield 5-1 in the last round. The club have since won two, drawn one and lost one. This is a good game for Chelsea to get back into the groove of things and another good chance for the academy players to get a run out at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea only play the solitary Premier League game this month against Palace as we will be involved in four different competitions this month. It’s a grueling schedule and a consequence of us being involved on all fronts and doing well. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Bettinelli should be back in goal for this game with a back four of Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Andreas Christensen, and Malang Sarr. I expect Lewis Hall and Saul to make up the midfield two with Hudson-Odoi, and Charlie Webster supporting Vale and Havertz up front. To be honest it is anyone guess who Tuchel picks having almost a full squad to select from apart from Silva, Pulisic, James, RLC, and Chilwell. Either way whoever plays Chelsea should have enough talent on the pitch and the bench to get the job done early and expertly. The players should be refreshed from the break and that should relfect on the pitch. 

Starting XI Prediction

IMG_2589

Chelsea should get this game done nice and early in the 1st half. I expect a fresh peformance from the team and some of the academy players if given a start should look to impress. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Preview

Back after the winter break with the FA Cup!

FA Cup 4th Round

Man United vs. Middlesbrough

United kick off proceedings on Friday night as they welcome Middlesbrough who sit 7th in the Championship. Middlesbrough beat Mansfield Town 2-3 in the last round and have since won two and lost one. United beat Villa 1-0 in the last round andd have since won two and drawn one. United’s turmoil behind the scenes has continued over the break but on the pitch they should beat Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough have nothing to lose.

Kid’minster vs. West Ham

Kidderminster sit 3rd in the National League as they welcome West Ham who are flying in the Premier League. Kidderminster beat Reading 2-1 in the last round have since won five drawn one and lost one. West Ham beat Leeds 2-0 in the last round have since won one and lost two of their games. On paper West Ham should win this game comfortably but Kidderminster are at home and they always stand a chance.

Man City vs. Fulham

The Championship leaders Fulham travel to the Premier League leaders Manchester City for this game. Fulham beat Bristol 0-1 in the last round and have since won four and drawn one. City beat Swindon 1-4 in the last round have since won one and drawn one. City will ofcourse be favourites but Fulham could pull off an upset in this game.

Wolverhampton vs. Norwich

An all Premier League tie as Norwich travel to Wolves. Wolves beat Sheffield United 3-0 in the last round and have won both their games since. Norwich beat Charlton 0-1 in the last round and have since lost one and won two of their games. Wolves should win this game because they have been in brilliant form but Norwich will look to cause an upset.

Everton vs. Brentford

Everton have been busy over the break as they appointed Frank Lampard to be their new manager. It’s another all Premier League fixture and it should be an exciting one. Everton beat Hull City 2-3 in the last round and have since lost both their games. Brentford beat Port Vale 1-4 and have since lost all four of their games. Goodison Park will be a vibrant place and Lampard will want to kick his tenure off with a win. 

Southampton vs. Coventry

Coventry sit 10th in the Championship and beat Derby 1-0 in the last round. They have since won two and lost two. Southampton beat Swansea 2-3 in the last round have won one drawn one and lost one of their games. This should be an interesting game that could go either way. 

Crystal Palace vs. Hartlepool

Hartlepool sit 16th in League Two as they travel to Premier League Crystal Palace. Hartlepool beat Blackpool 2-1 in the last round and have since won one drawn drawn three and lost one. Palace beat Millwall 1-2 in the last round and have since drawn one and lost one. Palace should win this game comfortably.

Tottenham vs. Brighton

Probably the toughest fixture of the lot as Tottenham welcome Brighton in an all Premier League fixture. Spurs beat Morecambe 3-1 in the last round and have since lost two of their games and won one. Brighton beat West Brom 1-2, and have drawn their last three. This is going to be an interesting game. This is Spurs only chance at a trophy this season so they have to take this seriously. 

Liverpool vs. Cardiff City

Cardiff sit 20th in the Championship but beat Preston in the last round 2-1. They have since won two and lost two. Liverpool beat Shrewsbury 4-1 in the last round and have since won three and drawn one. Liverpool should win this game comfortably. 

Nottingham Forest vs. Leicester

Forest sit 8th in the Championship and beat Arsenal 1-0 in the last round. They have since won three and lost one. Leicester beat Watford 4-1 and have since lost one and drawn one. Forest could cause an upset in this game it will be interesting to keep an eye on it. 

La Liga MW 23

Sevilla travel to Osasuna, Real Sociedad travel to Valencia, Barcelona take on Atletico in the biggest game, Real Betis take on Villarreal, and Real Madrid entertain Granada. Real sit four points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla, Betis, and Atletico making up the top four. Barcelona sit 5th in the table and Sociedad sit 6th in the table. If Atletico beat Barcelona they can open up a four point gap while if Barcelona win they move in to top four. An interesting weekend for sure. 

Serie MW 24

Roma take on Genoa, Inter take on Milan in a massive derby, Lazio travel to Fiorentina, Atalanta take on Cagliari, Napoli travel to Venezia, and Juventus take on Verona. Inter sit four points clear of Napoli and Milan while Atalanta sit 4th. Juventus sit 5th while Roma sit 6th in the table. The derby is a massive game and could see the lead increase to seven points or decrease to one point. Juventus also have Vlahovic up front now which should give them a boost as well. Big weekend ahead. 

Bundesliga MW 21

Frankfurt travel to Stuttgart, Bayern take on Leipzig, and Dortmund take on Leverkusen. Bayern sit six points clear at the top of the table while Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Union Berlin make up the top four. Leipzig sit 6th in the table. An interesting weekend ahead the other teams will be hoping Leipzig can cause some sort of upset. 

Ligue MW 23

Marseille take on Angers, Monaco take on Lyon, Nice take on Clermont, and Lille welcome PSG. PSG sit 11 points clear at the top of the table, with Nice, Marseille and Strasbourg making up the top four. Lyon sit 7th and Monaco sit 8th in the table. Mostly a given that PSG will win the league at this point. 

Weekend Football Review

Some upsets in the FA Cup!

FA Cup 3rd Round

Swindon 1 vs. 4 Man City

Silva and Jesus scored in the 1st half to give City a comfortable lead. Gundogan added a 3rd in the 59th minute via free kick. McKirdy got one back for Swindon in the 78th minute but Palmer made it four in the 82nd minute to seal the win for City. City progress to the next round while Swindon are knocked out. 

Burnley 1 vs. 2 Huddersfield

Rodriguez scored for Burnley in the 28th minute but Koroma equalised in the 78th minute for Huddersfield. Pearson then scored the winner for the away team in the 86th minute to seal a big win. Burnley are knocked out and can now focus on survival while Huddersfield progress to the next round. 

Millwall 1 vs. 2 Crystal Palace

Afobe scored in the 17th minute to give Millwall the lead. Olise equalied for Palace in the 46th minute and Mateta gave the Eagles a lead in the 58th minute. Palace managed to see out the rest of the game for a win. Palace progress to the next round while Millwall are dumped out. 

Newcastle 0 vs. 1 Cambridge United

The richest club in the world Newcastle were dumped out by Cambridge United as Ironside scored the winner for the away team in the 56th minute. Newacastle tried hard but could not find the goals. Newcastle can now focus on survival while Cambridge United’s FA Cup journey continues. 

West Brom 1 vs. 2 Brighton

Robinson scored in the 47th minute to give West Brom the lead. Kipre was sent off for the home team in the 69th minute and Brighton mounted a comeback in the final 10 minutes. Moder equalised for the Seagulls in the 81st minute and Maupay won the game in the 98th minute to seal the win in extra time. Brighton progress while West Brom are sent packing.

Leicester 4 vs. 1 Watford

Tielemans scored for Leicester in the 7th minute via a penalty. Maddison made it two for Leicester in the 25th minute. Pedro got one back for Watford in the 27th minute but goals from Albrighton and Barnes in the 2nd half made Leicester comfortable winners. The holders progress to the next round while Watford can now focus on the league.

Port Vale 1 vs. 4 Brentford

Forss scored in the 26th minute to give Brentford the lead. Mbeumo got a second in the 65th minute. Harratt got one back for Port Vale in the 69th minute but Mbeumo added two more goals to complete the win for Brentford and get a hattrick. Brentford move along while Port Vale are knocked out. 

Hull City 2 vs. 3 Everton

Smith scored in the 1st minute to give Hull City the lead. Gray equalised for Everton in the 21st minute and Gomes gave Everton the lead in the 31st minute. Longman equalised for Hull in the 71st minute and the game was sent into extra time. Townsend scored a screamer in the 99th minute to seal the win for Everton. Everton progress to the next round while Hull are knocked out.

Swansea 2 vs. 3 Southampton

Redmond scored in the 8th minute to give Southampton the lead. Valery was sent off for the Saints in the 29th minute. Piroe equalised for Swansea in the 77th minute to send the game to extra time. Bednarek scored an own goal in th 94th minute to give Swansea the lead but Elyounoussi equalised for the Saints a minute later. Long then scored the winner in the 102nd minute. Swansea fought hard but are knocked out while Southampton progress.

Charlton 0 vs. 1 Norwich

Rashica scored in the 79th minute to give Norwich the win as their fans got something to celebrate about. Norwich progress to the next round while Charlton are knocked out.

Wolverhampton 3 vs. 0 Sheffield 

Podence scored in the 14th minute to give Wolves the lead and Semedo added a 2nd in the 72nd minute. Podence then sealed the win in the 80th minute to continue a good season for the Wolves. Sheffield United are knocked out.

West Ham 2 vs. 0 Leeds

West Ham’s brilliant season continued as goals from Lanzini and Bowen saw them through against Leeds who’s poor season continues to go on. Leeds can now focus on survival while West Ham are still in three competitions this season.

Tottenham 3 vs. 1 Morecambe

O’Connor scored in the 33rd minute to give Morecambe a surprise lead. The Shrimps tried to hold on for the win but Winks equalised for Spurs in the 74th minute. Lucas grabbed the winner in the 85th minute, and Harry Kane got a third in the 88th minute. Tottenham go through to the next round while Morecambe are knocked out.

Liverpool 4 vs. 1 Shrewsbury

Udoh gave Shrewsbury a surprise lead at Anfield in the 27th minute but Liverpool were always going to come back. Gordon equalised for Liverpool in the 34th minute, while Fabinho gave them the lead in the 44th minute via a penalty. Firmino added a 3rd in the 78th minute while Fabinho got a 2nd in the 93rd minute. Comfortable win overall but Liverpool were given a scare.

Nottingham 1 vs. 0 Arsenal

Arsenal were knocked out by Nottingham Forest with Lewis Grabban scoring the winner in the 83rd minute. Arsenal still have the Carabao Cup semi-final to play but apart from that their only goal will be top four. Nottingham Forest progress to the next round.

Man United 1 vs. 0 Aston Villa

McTominay scored in the 8th minute and that was enough for United. The Red Devils didn’t play well and Villa had two goals ruled out by VAR but no goals means that they were knocked out and United go through. 

La Liga MW 20

Real Sociedad beat Celta Vigo 1-0, Barcelona drew with Granada 1-1, Real Madrid beat Valencia 4-1, Sevilla beat Getafe 1-0, and Villarreal drew with Atletico 2-2. Real Madrid have a game in hand and sit five points clear at the top of the table. Sevilla, Betis, and Atletico make up the top four. Real Sociedad are level on points with Atletico in 5th while Barcelona are 6th but only a point behind Atletico. Villarreal sit 8th in the table while Valencia are 10th. Real Madrid continue to have the advantage while others stumble.

Serie MW 21

Milan beat Venezia 0-3, Atalanta beat Udinese 2-6, Napoli beat Sampdoria 1-0, Juventus beat Roma 3-4, and Inter beat Lazio 2-1. The Juventus Roma game was insane as Roma had a 3-1 lead going into the 70th minute but somehow lost the game by the 90th minute. Inter remain in the lead with a game in hand as they sit a point clear of Milan. Napoli, and Atalanta make up the top four. Juventus sit 5th, while Roma are 6th now 6 points behind Juventus. Lazio sit 8th. Pressure piling on Mourinho at the moment especially after another collapse. Milan and Inter still lead the league with consistent results.

Bundesliga MW 18

Monchengladbach beat Bayern 1-2, Leipzig beat Mainz 4-1, Leverkusen drew with Union Berlin 2-2, Dormtund beat Frankfurt 2-3, and Bochum beat Wolfsburg 1-0. Bayern remain 6 points clear at the top of the table while Dortmund, Hoffenheim, and Freiburg make up the top four. Leverkusen sit 5th in the table, while Frankfurt, and Leipzig sit 8th and 9th repsectively. Monchengladbach sit 12th in the table. Bayern go through a rare stumble but it will be interesting to see whether they bounce back or if it’s a lingering problem. All the rest can do is try and get results. 

Ligue MW 20

Marseille beat Bordeaux 0-1, Monaco drew with Nantes 0-0, and Lyon drew with PSG 0-0. PSG remain top of the table by 11 points with Nice, Marseille, and Rennes making up the top four. Monaco sit 7th while Lille and Lyon sit 10th and 11th respectively. PSG are looking likely to win it but it’s more by default rather than actually playing top quality football. 

Chelsea 5 vs. 1 Chesterfield FA Cup 3rd Round Review

Job well done!

Chelsea welcomed National League leaders Chesterfield at Stamford Bridge on Saturday for the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. The National League is the 5th tier of English football but Chesterfield have been doing well this season and are aiming for promotion. Tuchel picked a strong lineup as we looked to finish the game early on. Bettinelli started in goal for his debut with a back three of Christensen, Sarr, and 17 year old Lewis Hall who also made his debut. Pulisic, and Hudson-Odoi started as the wing backs while Kovacic, and Saul started in midfield with Werner, Ziyech and Lukaku up front. 

Chelsea dominated the game from the first minute as one would expect and the first goal came in the 6th minute as Ziyech shifted in from the right and shot at goal, the shot was saved and fumbled into Werner’s path who finished into an empty net. Ziyech had another chance but his shot was saved. Hudson-Odoi made it two in the 18th minute as he finessed a right footed shot from outside the box into the bottom corner. A great goal and something he needs to do more often. Lukaku then made it three two minutes later as Lewis Hall drove forward and cut back a pass for the Belgian to tap in. Lukaku then had a briliant chance but his shot went wide. Christensen made it four in the 39th minute after a shot by Hall was deflected into the Dane’s path and he cushioned a header into the net. Cruise control going into the 2nd half and a chance to rest players.

Lukaku and Kovacic came off at half time with Loftus-Cheek and Havertz coming on. Chelsea got a penalty in the 55th minute after Pulisic was brought down and Ziyech stepped up to convert the penalty. Vale and Baker came on for Pulisic, and Christensen, as Christensen passed the armband to Loftus-Cheek. Barkley was the final sub for Hudson-Odoi. Chelsea didn’t create much in the final 3rd of the game with Sarr being the only defender on the pitch. Asante finally got a goal for Chesterfield in the 80th minute and it was great to see their 6000 away fans celebrate it with joy. A brilliant moment that those fans will always remember. Full time came and Chelsea progress to the next round.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Bettinelli made his debut for the club and had little to do for much of the game. Pulled off some decent saves and the goal wasn’t his fault after the shot by Tshimonga was saved but deflected into Asante’s path. Not sure how many games Bettinelli will get but if it’s a favourable draw he might feature in the next round. 

Defenders

Christensen, and Sarr were the only two proper defenders on the pitch in this game. Both did really well and Sarr looked comfortable in the centre of the three. Christensen had a good game and also captained the team after Kovacic came off. The goal was conceded when Sarr was the only defender left on the pitch.

Midfielders

Lewis Hall played out of position as a left centre back and did brilliantly given the opposition. Calm in possession, some great moments of dribbiling and driving forward. Two assists as well it was a perfect debut for the youngster. Could Hall feature as a wing back? Maybe but we shouldn’t get carried away. Kovacic, and Saul had good games as well as Saul played the whole 90. Loftus-Cheek came on in the 2nd half and captained the team when Christensen came off. It was great to see and he did really well, driving forward and playing some brilliant passes. Baker also made an appearance as a right centre back and looked decent. Barkley also got 25 minutes and was the only player that actually had a bad game. Very poor from him and he should be allowed to leave or sold. 

Forwards

Werner, Ziyech, and Lukaku all got goals but all three could have scored way more. Ziyech and Lukaku especially could have scored two or three each. Hudson-Odoi got a good goal and was dangerous from the left while Pulisic got an assist and played on the right. Havertz and Vale also came on in the 2nd half did well but Vale did play as a wing back. 

Manager

Tuchel will be happy with the result having rested key players and coming through the game unscathed. Progression into the next round and with tough games ahead this is all he could ask for. 

A brilliant debut from Lewis Hall and a professional performance from the rest. Chesterfield did well and hopefully they get promoted to League Two this season. Next up for Chelsea is a visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the 2nd leg of the Carabao Cup. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. Chesterfield FA Cup 3rd Round Preview

This season’s FA Cup journey begins!

Chelsea’s FA Cup journey for 21/22 begins on Saturday as we welcome Chesterfield who sit 1st in the National League. Chesterfield have won 12 drawn 7 and lost 1 this season so on form the club is on par with Chelsea albeit 3 or 4 tiers below the Londoners. The club was founded in 1866 but the clubs current incarnation was founded in 1919. The club is fan owned and take pride in how they have gone about their business. They are looking to get promoted to League Two for next season which is the 4th tier of English football. 

Chelsea reached the final of the FA Cup last season where we lost to Leicester at Wembley. We do tend to reach the final of the competition frequently but have not managed to win it for some time. Our last win came in 17/18 under Antonio Conte. Tuchel pre-match has stated that Chelsea are the favourites but anything can happen in football and that is why the players need to forget the status of the team and opposition and treat this as any other game. At the end of the day Chelsea have to win to progress to the next round. The club goes into this game having fought back to draw against Liverpool and beaten Tottenham at home. This should be a good chance to get quite a few academy players involved as well.

Chelsea Team Preview

Silva and Kante remain out with Covid but are healthy while Chilwell and James are long term. I expect to see rotation in this game with the 2nd leg against Spurs to play and City next weekend. Still there are players that need game time as well so it should be a good mix. Bettinelli should start in goal to make his debut for the club while I expect a back three of Christensen, Baker and Sarr with Simons, and Alonso making up the back wing backs. Saul, and Loftus-Cheek should make up the midfield with Vale, and Hudson-Odoi playing behind Werner. Webster and Hall have also been involved in training and there are the likes of Barkley as well who need game time. It’s actually anyone’s guess who will play but I think this is a good enough team to get a result but also if we get the goals early we can allow more academy players to be involved. 

Chesterfield Team Preview

Chesterfield tend to play a 3-5-2 formation and I expect them to play like that against Chelsea. Their striker Tshimanga has 18 goals this season and is their main man up front. They have scored 38 goals while conceding 16 over 20 games. So all said and done they are the best team in their league and having lost only one game they are in confident form. 

Starting XI Prediction 

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No game is too small and when it comes to form Chesterfield are right up there with Chelsea this season. Two top teams in different leagues going head to head and it should be fun for both sets of fans. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Weekend Football Preview

FA Cup is back!

FA Cup 3rd Round

Swindon vs. Man City

Man City travel to Swindon who sit 5th in League Two. City have a heavy load of Covid cases to deal with but can’t get the games postponed because the FA Cup doesn’t allow it. City should win this game regardless but Swindon will feel they have a chance if they face a weaker Man City team.

Burnley vs. Huddersfield

Burnley welcome Huddersfield to Turf Moor with the Terriers sitting 6th in the Championship. Huddersfield have had a good season so far and this should be an interesting game. Levi Colwill should play this game as well and so it’s one to watch for Chelsea fans. 

Millwall vs. Crystal Palace

Millwall sit 11th in the Championship as they welcome fellow London club Palace for a London Derby. Palace have been playing well this season but London Derby’s are great and in the FA Cup anything can happen. 

Newcastle vs. Cambridge United

Newcastle are fighting for survival in the Premier League and have just bought Trippier as the first signing of the Saudi Era. Cambridge visit them for this round with them sitting 16th in League One. Newcastle should win this game. 

West Brom vs. Brighton

West Brom are playing well and sit 4th in the Championship as they take on Brighton who sit 9th in the Premier League. This should be a fun and interesting game with both teams in form, either team can go through. 

Leicester vs. Watford

The FA Cup holders Leicester begin their journey with a visit by Watford who sit 17th in the Premier League. Leicester have been inconsistent this season and Watford will want to bring some hope to their fans amid a poor run of form. Watford have a good chance for an upset but Leicester are favourites. 

Port Vale vs. Brentford

Port Vale sit 6th in League Two as they welcome Brentford who are doing well in the Premier League this season. Brentford will be favourites for this game while Port Vale have nothing to lose. 

Hull City vs. Everton

Hull City sit 19th in the Championship as they take on Everton who are also struggling in the Premier League. This is a good chance for Benitez to get a win and get some momentum but Hull will have nothing to lose in this game. 

Swansea vs. Southampton

Swansea sit 17th in the Championship and are struggling as they take on Southampton who are inconsistent this season but doing well. Southampton should win this game and progress to the next round but Swansea have nothing to lose. 

Charlton vs. Norwich

Charlton sit 13th in League One as they take on Norwich who sit bottom of the Premier League. Norwich are struggling at the moment and need some sort of positive result to end the poor momentum. This could be that result but Charlton can give it their all in this game.

Wolverhampton vs. Sheffield

Sheffield United sit 13th in the Championship as they travel to play Wolves who are doing well in the Premier League this season. Wolves should win this game it’s just a matter of can they score the goals in 90 minutes. 

West Ham vs. Leeds

An all Premier League game as West Ham take on Leeds. West Ham have fallen off pace recently but are still doing well as Leeds ended a poor run last weekend. West Ham will be favourites but Leeds will go into this game fighting as usual. 

Tottenham vs. Morecambe

Tottenham welcome Morecambe who are 19th in League One. The FA Cup is Spurs only realistic chance of a trophy this season so this is a big game for them. Given their performance against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup they need to turn up and show their fans that they are fighting. Morecambe can give it their all. 

Liverpool vs. Shrewsbury

Liverpool have also apparently had Covid cases and were able to postpone their game against Arsenal but they won’t be able to weasel out of this game. They should have enough talent to beat Shrewsbury who sit 14th in League One. 

Nottingham vs. Arsenal

Nottingham Forest sit 9th in the Championship as they welcome Arsenal who are in good form recently but lost to City in their last game. This should be an interesting tie given that Forest are at home but Arsenal will be favourites for sure. This is Arsenal’s only realistic chance for success this season other than the Carabao Cup.

Man United vs. Aston Villa

United are embroiled in turmoil at the moment with rumours about player mutinies and squad disharmony along with the poor football on the pitch. Rangnick seems to have no control at the moment and the players have no respect. Villa have Gerrard back in the dugout and have played well overall but haven’t found a result against the bigger teams. This might be the game for Gerrard and co and it would be a brilliant result, I think Villa could cause an upset here.

La Liga MW 20

Real Sociedad take on Celta Vigo, Barcelona travel to Granada, Real Madrid take on Valencia, Sevilla welcome Getafe, and Atletico travel to Villarreal. Real Madrid did not start 2022 with a win so they will want to bounce back this weekend while the rest are playing catch up. The title race is open with almost all the teams behind Real Madrid having a game in hand as well. The problem is that no team bar Real Madrid has been consistent in Spain. Some interesting fixtures for sure this weekend. 

Serie MW 21

Milan travel to Venezia, Atalanta travel to Udinese, Napoli take on Sampdoria, Roma play Juventus, and Inter welcome Lazio. Another good chance this weekend for Milan to move back into the top spot. Inter and Atalanta were not involved during the week so if their games go ahead they will be raring to go. Roma lost to Milan during the week and face another tough test against Juventus with both teams not playing particularly well. Another interesting weekend of Italian football.

Bundesliga MW 18

The Bundesliga is back this weekend following their winter break. Bayern welcome Monchengladbach, Leipzig entertain Mainz, Leverkusen take on Union Berlin, Dortmund travel to Frankfurt, and Wolfsburg travel to Bochum. Bayern sit 9 points clear of Dortmund with Freiburg, and Leverkusen making up the top four. Frankfurt sit 6th in the table, and Leipzig sit 10th in the table. Bayern have already probably won the league at this stage because usually they steamroll teams in the 2nd half of the season. All the other teams can do is try and finish in the top four and hope that Bayern stumble at some point.

Ligue MW 20

Marseille travel to Bordeaux, Monaco travel to Nantes, and Lyon play PSG. PSG sit 13 points clear at the top of the table with Nice, Marseille, and Rennes making up the top four. Monaco sit 6th, Lille sit 8th, and Lyon sit 13th. Similar to the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 is a foregone conclusion and all the other teams are trying to do is finish in the European places. 

Chelsea 20/21 Season Review

A rollercoaster ride!

Overall – 

20/21

Won – 34 Drawn – 13 Lost – 12 

19/20 

Won – 29 Drawn – 8 Lost – 18

20/21

Scored – 99 Conceded – 43 Clean Sheets – 32 

19/20

Scored – 102 Conceded – 79 Clean Sheets – 13

When I wrote the review last season I said it was a season of progress for Chelsea. This season I would say we progressed by taking the biggest leap a European Football Club can take but we for sure took the scenic route. The season began on September 15th 2020 for Chelsea with Frank Lampard as our manager and an exciting expectation about the season. Chelsea’s season ended on May 29th 2021 winning the Champions League with Thomas Tuchel as our manager and an exciting expectation for next season. Over the course of this article we will look at each competition and see how the season went from high high’s to low lows and how Chelsea ended up winning the biggest prize in European football for the 2nd time. 

Premier League

Let’s look back to September of last year. The Euros had been cancelled but Chelsea bought really well during the summer and had one of the best windows ever. Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy, and Kai Havertz all joined Chelsea for Lampard’s 2nd season in charge and it was going to be glorious. Chelsea’s Premier League campaign can be divided into 3 parts. The first period started in September with MW 1 and ended at the beginning of December with MW 11. In that period Chelsea played 11 games winning 6, drawing 4 and losing 1 in the process. We scored 23 goals and conceded 11 playing a 4-3-3 formation under Lampard. It was a solid period at the end of MW 11 we were 3rd 2 points off of league leaders Tottenham. Our highlight would have been that MW 11 game against Leeds at Stamford Bridge which also welcomed around 2000 fans to the stadium. We ran our socks off against Leeds out running Bielsa’s team and played really well all over the park. All 5 signings started that game and it was another check on Lampard’s list. It looked like there was clear improvement and as Chelsea fans everyone was very confident.

Then come’s the period from MW 12 to MW 19 where it felt like someone flipped a switch with the team. Chelsea played 8 games, winning 2, drawing 1, and losing 5; scoring 8, and conceding 12. Losses to Leicester, Man City, Arsenal, Everton and Wolves saw us drop down to 9th in the table 7 points from 4th. Then came the news that Lampard had been sacked by Chelsea. It was a complete shock to everyone. I still remember I was out having lunch and I just lost my appetite. There was confusion, anger, from fans as to why. We had been promised a project and sure the results had not been great over the last month but we were in it for the long run with Lamps. At the very least he deserved till the end of the season. A personal message from Abramovich stated that it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make. There was news about some key players isolated like Rudiger, and Azpilicueta while the declining form in front of goal of Werner etc was not ideal. So the next question was who’s next. There was really only one top manager available who had just been sacked by PSG and that man was Thomas Tuchel. 

Now before we talk about Tuchel’s first 4-5 months in charge of Chelsea I would like to say that he was at the bottom of my list when it came to Lampard replacements. The anger, and not really knowing Tuchel apart from the results with PSG and Dortmund from a distance meant that I didn’t really take him as serious manager and more of a nearly there. I am so happy to say that I was slapped in the face and put in my place by the German. From the first press conference when he was unveiled as the manager I felt like this was another manager I would fall in love with. Tuchel said that he would make Chelsea solid and hard to play against and a team that others feared and I can happily say he delivered and we aren’t even anywhere near the finished product. Tuchel’s first game came in MW 20 and over the next 19 games Chelsea won 11 games, drew 5, and lost 3. We secured 4th on the final day with 67 points and Champions League football with it. That would have been Tuchel’s main objective and he was able to get it done. In that period we beat Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool, Man City and Leicester scoring 8 and conceding 2. Overall we scored 25 and conceded 13. 

Now last season I compared Lampard’s first season to the ones that the likes of Klopp, Pep etc had. That was one full season though and comparing Tuchel’s 5 month period would be unfair. What we can do is compare what exactly was different between Chelsea under Lampard and Chelsea under Tuchel. Now during that first period and for most of the time under Lampard Chelsea had a more dynamic gung ho approach. You could win big but you could easily lose heavily. During the first 19 games we scored 3 or more goals 8 times. We also conceded 3 or more goals 4 times. Under Tuchel the goals did dry up as we scored 3 or more goals once in 19 games but we also conceded 3 or more goals once in 19 games which came against West Brom. What I feel hurt Lampard and led to him getting sacked was our dry spell and the fact that we didn’t switch it up at the back. Tuchel recognised that there was a dry spell and it continued on but we became one of the best defences in Europe and so even scoring 1 or 2 goals were enough. It was just evident that Chelsea were missing that touch up front. The club led the Premier League in terms of chances created since January. Defensively we were a massive improvement though really only behind City and we probably would have been better if Tuchel had been around for a season.

The main difference between Lampard and Tuchel was that when the going got tough Lampard’s inexperience showed. The isolation of key players and the lack of tactical knowledge needed to solve a tricky situation meant that we were hoping for a turn around in form rather than working on it. Now with more experience and growth I believe Lampard will reach new heights as a manager because getting top four last season was no small task and we did play really well up till December. Tuchel on the other hand showed his experience. Bringing back influential figures like Rudiger, Azpi, Alonso and making everyone feel like they had a place in the team. Tuchel gave everyone a chance in those opening few games. Finally the change in formation played to Chelsea’s strengths and our defensive solidity meant that we became a great team. The energy that the players displayed for many games during the 2nd half of the season and the willingness to press was very Germanesque. Of course we did pressing under Lampard as well but the positive results always help the team believe that they are gaining rewards for their hard work on the pitch. 

At the beginning of the season I predicted that Chelsea would finish 3rd and within single digits of the top 2. That did not pan out as we finished 19 points behind City and 7 points behind Manchester United. We also only managed a point more than we did last season. There is a big asterisk though and the change of managers meant that early season predictions at least those on the league were thrown out the door. Regardless of the finish Chelsea will be expected to challenge for the title next season and who knows if we can solve our patchy form during the holidays we can win the lot.

Champions League Winners

The crowning achievement of the season and one that made the rollercoaster ride worthwhile. At the beginning of the season I said that anything past the Quarter-Finals would be a bonus but what followed was fully deserved. It was a campaign of sustained success from the group stage to the final and for that both Lampard and Tuchel deserve credit. The group stage began with a 0-0 draw at home to Sevilla. What came next were wins against Krasnodar, twice against Stade Rennais, and a big win against Sevilla where Giroud scored all 4 goals in a 0-4 win. The final Champions League game under Lampard was a 1-1 draw against Krasnodar. A solid group stage which saw us improve under Lamps from last season. We scored 14 goals over 6 games and conceded 2 which was very very good. 

Lampard’s sacking in January meant that for the knockout stages we would have Tuchel in charge who himself was sacked at PSG after guiding them to the knockout stages. What followed under Tuchel will go down in history. We beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 over two legs in the Round of 16, out playing and out fighting Diego Simeone and his players. Next up was Porto in the Quarter-Finals who beat 2-1 on aggregate as we won the 1st leg but lost the 2nd leg to a wonder goal. Porto tried to play dirty but we fought it out. Real Madrid were next in the Semi-Finals and we beat them 3-1 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw in the 1st leg and a big 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge. 

We all know what happened on Saturday as Chelsea beat Manchester City in Porto 0-1 to become Champions of Europe for a 2nd time. It was a deserved win as Chelsea were once again the better team against Manchester City. 9 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss. 23 goals scored, 4 conceded!. To put that into context we conceded 16 goals last season as we were knocked out by Bayern in the Round of 16. 4 goals conceded also happens to be a new record for a CL winning team. We also kept 9 clean sheets in 13 games. For many in this team the Champions League is their first trophy at Chelsea and for many it’s their first senior trophy ever. It should be a major catalyst for what really is a new era at the club.

The main thing to take away from this CL win is the fact that unlike 2012 this time we deserved to win it. 2012 was a campaign against the odds, Chelsea were 2nd best in several games but we fought hard and at times rode our luck but we got the job done. It was special. This time we outplayed each team we should have scored way more goals and we deserved it over the course of the campaign. A 2nd Champions League really makes Chelsea a global force and puts any doubts of the colour of London to bed. London is Blue and for now Europe is Blue. 

FA Cup Final

We had another solid FA Cup campaign as we reached the final for a 2nd consecutive season. Wins against Morecambe, Luton, Barnsley, Sheffield United, and Manchester City saw us reach the final. We scored 11 goals and conceded 2 as we lost the final to Leicester at Wembley. We also kept 4 clean sheets over 6 games. Falling at the final hurdle for a 2nd time was tough but another learning experience and one that probably encouraged the players to get the job done in Porto. 

Carabao Cup 4th Round

Once again we were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the 4th round. We beat Barnsley 6-0 in the 3rd round but lost to Tottenham on penalties. 

It wasn’t a predictable season. So many ups and downs throughout. At the beginning of December Lampard was challenging for title with the club and in January he was sacked. Tuchel came in and Chelsea became a power house and won the Champions League. We conceded 4 goals in the entire CL campaign but conceded 8 to West Brom over two games. Supporting Chelsea is never boring but man it can be exhausting. Elation, to anger, to elation again are just some of the emotions I felt this season. So what’s next? Well it’s a summer break but not for the players as they have Euro 2020 to deal with. A couple of weeks break after that and Chelsea will be back in pre season. This squad doesn’t need another 7 players but 3-4 key players. Our forward players seemed to have lost their finishing en masse after December and we need to sign a forward hopefully Lukaku to be that consistent source up front. A defensive midfielder like Rice would be an amazing get as well. The rest Chelsea can sort out for themselves. This Chelsea team under Tuchel is ready to challenge next season and it’s going to be a big one. I expect the team and squad to challenge on all front’s and it has me very excited. For now though the Euros and an entertaining transfer window! COME ON CHELSEA!!!