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Chelsea’s Star Man Hazard to take a trip to Paris?



Eden Hazard has been a Chelsea player for 2 full seasons now, but it was the last 12 months where he really began to show the form that justified the £32 million price tag from Lille. Initially, his talent was obvious for all to see and he was no stranger to the spectacular, but displays were still wrought with a degree of unpredictability. Hazard was absolutely capable of pulling off a 25 yard strike that would find its way into the top corner, but would also be equally adept at going missing for a game or two. Now though, the awards he picked up for this most recent season are evidence enough that he has grown into a much more consistent performer. Terrorising defences on a weekly basis, he was Chelsea’s main man for the entire campaign, often pulling them out of sticky situations when their striking department simply refused to fire on all cylinders. Notching up 17 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions, along with a hatful of assists and magical dribbles earned him the accolades of PFA Young Player of the Year and Chelsea’s Player of the Year Award.

Despite the massively high regard in which Chelsea fans hold their favourite Belgian, José Mourinho was not at all afraid to criticise him. Seemingly the final straw for the Special One was Hazard’s apparent lack of commitment to the team during Chelsea’s home defeat to Atlético Madrid in the 2nd leg of the Champions League semi-final. Hazard let Atlético’s Juanfran run off the back of him, an act which directly led to Chelsea conceding a goal at a vital time in the tie. While Chelsea’s boss did not withdraw him from the fray at the time, he did publicly lambast him in the media during the aftermath. This came as a shock to many, as Mourinho’s usual tactic is to deflect all criticism away from his players onto himself. Furthermore, he left the flying winger on the bench for their next Premier League game seemingly to send a message. Eden Hazard strikes me very much as a player who needs to be loved and appreciated, and after José claimed that he had retained a season-long issue with him regarding his sacrifice for the team, I can’t imagine the Belgian was delighted.

Eden Hazard could not have failed to attract the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs during his time at Chelsea so far, and it seems that the most impressed of them all is Paris Saint Germain. The French league champions are owned by the Qatari royal family and have more than flexed their financial muscle in the recent past. Despite receiving relatively severe sanctions last month for overstepping the bounds set out in Financial Fair Play, their club President has already announced to say that they are not really taking any notice. “The players that I want, I will have,” stated Nasser al-Khelaifi recently. “This changes nothing of the project, the motivation of the club and the players. We respect and accept this decision. But nothing and no one will stop us, we always dream bigger. We had a plan over five years when we bought the club and that will not change. We have already invested a lot in the last three years and we will continue.”

PSG spent a great deal of money acquiring their current squad, but that is not to say that even their recent arrivals are safe from the exit door. Just in terms of the attacking contingent, Jeremy Ménez seems certain to leave and the places of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani are not guaranteed. You also have to consider that even Zlatan cannot continue forever, despite what he may have you believe. An acquisition not only of the quality of Hazard, but one who also knows Ligue 1 very well, makes perfect sense for PSG to realise their Champions League aspirations.

All signs say that PSG’s advances for Hazard are not just a pipe dream. The powers that be at Stamford Bridge take a different, more respectful view towards FFP, and have serious desires to soon become completely self-sufficient. This requires, from time to time, players to be sold at huge financial gain. The rumoured figure for PSG’s potential bid is anywhere between 60 and 100 million pounds; masses of money in anyone’s eyes. Chelsea will almost certainly at least receive double the amount that they spent for him just two years ago, therefore making good business sense. Considering other factors as well, this is definitely a proposition to seriously think about. José Mourinho seems to an outsider to be the man for the long term at Chelsea and if he no longer feels he can trust Hazard in the biggest matches, is it worth refusing such a huge bid? We have seen José’s defensive tactics being employed to great effect with this side in the away fixtures at Manchester City and Liverpool where The Blues came up trumps.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Eden Hazard had been assigned the number 10 shirt; his favourite, for Chelsea next season. His tweet about the subject will be reassuring for Chelsea fans, but as we know in football, doesn’t make the situation cut and dry. He stated that ‘I hope it brings me a lot of luck in the future and I look forward to the fans seeing me in it next season.’

Personally, I believe that every top team needs a bit of something special, something different, to make them stand out from the rest and really push for success. Hazard is certainly one of these players, having the rare ability to be able to sway the outcome of every match he plays in. Chelsea did not win a single piece of silverware last season and, despite Mourinho’s public protestations to the contrary, I am sure it aggravates him intensely. He may not want to admit it, but retaining the likes of Hazard sends the right message to your rivals, and keeping such mercurial talent in your squad must have a long term benefit for trophy success. I believe that Mourinho would be a fool to allow Hazard to leave for anything less than a world record fee, not because he is the best in the world, but because Chelsea simply do not need to sell. Parting with the Belgian for a fee in the region of £60 million would mean in my opinion that José’s stubborn nature had got the better of him. In PSG’s view, they will keep spending for sure and I don’t think that any price will put them off. In the end, I see Chelsea’s resolve caving at around the £75 million mark, and José returning home with a secret and triumphant smile on his face.

I am currently at university studying Mechanical Engineering, but in my spare time I'm into all things football. I'm an avid Liverpool fan but always try to remain impartial. My other interests include gaming and Formula One.


Are Chelsea finally going to see the best of Alvaro Morata?

The Spanish international has been inconsistent since his £60 million move.



Photo: Getty Images

When Antonio Conte sealed the signing of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid in the summer, many Chelsea fans lauded him as one of the signings of the window.

He was an instant hit at Stamford Bridge following his £60 million arrival, scoring on his debut off the bench in a 3-2 loss against Burnley on the opening day.

Morata has been most commonly used as an impact sub especially at Madrid, but at Chelsea, he was quickly given the responsibility of spearheading the Blues’ attack.

He repaid the faith Conte showed in him early, notching a hat trick away at Stoke in mid-September.

There was early talk of him being involved in a four-way battle for the golden boot alongside Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus.

Since then, it hasn’t worked out as well for Morata at Chelsea.

He went on a scoring drought soon after, although he did score a crucial winner against title rivals Manchester United in November.

He still received criticism, however, culminating in a poor performance against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup, where he missed several guilt edge chances to give Chelsea the advantage.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He then played 40 minutes in the FA Cup against Norwich, managing to receive two yellow cards in a matter of seconds, first for diving, and then for dissent.

The cold weather has been blamed for his lack of form, as well as a back injury which at one point Conte suggested could force him to miss the rest of the season.

The English climate is different to what Morata will have previously experienced in Spain and in Italy with Juventus, although whether that can be used as a real argument is debatable.

He proved that theory wrong today, finishing off a fine Chelsea move in one of the coldest games of the season.

The Spaniard has looked bereft of confidence in recent weeks and months, and it appeared that Olivier Giroud had overtaken him as Chelsea’s leading marksman until today.

Morata proved his class against a Leicester side that, had it not been for a late mistake, would have taken the current Premier League champions to penalties.

His well placed shot after an excellent Willian through ball opening the scoring before an audacious flick hit the crossbar.

Although not at the heights of the likes of Kane (24 goals) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (28 goals), Morata has notched 10 goals of his own – a decent return considering he has missed a fair amount of games with injury in a team that is equally reliant on goals from wingers Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian.

With the cold weather subsiding, if that can be used as an excuse for some of Morata’s poor performances, and Chelsea’s chances of silverware increasing with an FA Cup semi-final, now is surely the time for Morata to produce some of his best form and lead Chelsea’s charge going into the back end of the season.

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Tieumoue Bakayoko disappoints again for Chelsea against Leicester City

The Frenchman looked to struggle against his FA Cup opponents.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Tieumoue Bakayoko was one of the big-name signings for Chelsea during the summer as the club tried to push on under Antonio Conte after their Premier League triumph.

The Frenchman had been a standout player for AS Monaco during their surprise Ligue 1 winning campaign and cost the Blues a reported £40 million.

Although they are one of the richest clubs in the world, that remains a big spend and they would have been expecting a first-team ready player.

That hasn’t been the case as Bakayoko has struggled to adapt to English football and has found himself sidelined for Danny Drinkwater on several occasions.

The England international is an experienced Premier League player, but he was brought in to provide cover. It is a worry that he has been performing better than the player brought in to partner N’Golo Kante.

(Photo by Adrian Dennis/Getty Images)

Chelsea managed to qualify for the semi-final of the FA Cup with an extra-time victory over Leicester City. However, Bakayoko was underwhelming once again after being brought back into the starting eleven.

He lasted until half-time before being replaced by Cesc Fabregas. During the first half, the Blues were too predictable in central midfield as neither player offered creativity from deep.

Wilfred Ndidi was arguably the best player in that area of the pitch as he dominated Bakayoko and Kante for the first-half.

The summer signing from Monaco was booked just before the break and didn’t re-emerge for the second-half. It was another disappointing performance from him as he failed to take the opportunity provided by Antonio Conte.

During the match, Bakayoko had a tackle success rate of 33% and he failed to make a single key pass to influence proceedings in the attacking half.

It was obvious that he was lacking in confidence as he often chose the simple pass and wasn’t as aggressive as the Leicester midfield players that he was competing with.

As the season has progressed, central midfield has emerged as an area of weakness for Chelsea. They often play with two defensive-minded midfielders and that makes them predictable to play against.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Last season, Nemanja Matic was more dynamic in central areas and he wasn’t afraid to step into the attacking half to contribute to attacks. The decision to sell him to a rival club now looks a huge mistake as the Blues are less effective in the middle of the park.

It was hoped that Ross Barkley would provide more energy to that position, but he has struggled with injuries since moving to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a difficult task to save their season, as they must finish in the top four and lift the FA Cup to restore pride.

Bakayoko needs to have a strong end to his season if he is to prove himself worthy of another chance next season. There is likely to be a new manager at Stamford Bridge with Antonio Conte’s position looking more untenable by the day.

A managerial change will lead to a squad overhaul and the 23-year-old will be one of the first to go. He doesn’t offer anything different to Kante and his compatriot is far superior in every area.

His most ardent supporters will allude to his inexperience and suggest that he needs to be given more time. However, when watching him against the 21-year-old Ndidi, it became clear that he isn’t good enough for a club like Chelsea. He was outclassed and outbattled by his younger opponent.

Since Roman Abramovich bought the club, there have been several mistakes made in the transfer market. The decision to sell Matic and sign Bakayoko was another.

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Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea: Three talking points from the Etihad

Jake Jackman



Manchester City
Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City managed to beat Chelsea for the second time this season as they continue their march to the Premier League title. The contest was far from entertaining, as the visitors showed no interest in playing football and instead to soak in pressure.

Pep Guardiola’s team didn’t have to get out of second gear and it was a more comfortable victory than they would have been expecting. The Citizens are now 18 points clear at the top of the table and remain on target for 100 points, which would be a superb achievement.

Meanwhile, Chelsea sit outside of the Champions League places and are now five points behind Tottenham in fourth position. They will need a near perfect end to the season if they are to avoid missing out on qualification for next season’s competition. Here are three talking points from the Etihad Stadium…

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

David Silva showed his class

The 32-year-old has been at Manchester City for the majority of their journey from Premier League also-rans to elite super club and he remains a crucial player for them under Pep Guardiola.

If he had been in the team for the entire campaign, he would be running Kevin de Bruyne close for the PFA Player of the Year award. He is a classy operator who seems to get better with age.

He got the important assist for the winning goal with a superb piece of play and that is becoming par for the course for the Spanish international. Silva completed 95% of his passes and made three key passes during the contest. Meanwhile, he was very good out of possession as he made three ball recoveries.

It has been incredible to watch Pep Guardiola get all of his attacking talent on the pitch at one time, but the improvement of both Silva and De Bruyne off the ball has helped achieve that.

They are now complete midfielders and capable of thriving in both halves of the pitch. The midfielder is a club legend and supporters will be hoping that he has a few years left in him.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte continues to make puzzling decisions

Last season, the Italian was lauded every week as his side won the league title comfortably, but he has failed to follow it up with a good second campaign. There have been a lot of problems for Chelsea this season including recruitment, tactics and player performance.

They have been reliant on Eden Hazard and as the campaign has progressed, the team have lost their intensity, which suggests they no longer believe in Conte.


Their 3-4-2-1 formation was revolutionary, but they have moved away from it frequently this season and haven’t been able to settle on a first eleven. That was one of Chelsea’s strengths last season. Gary Cahill and David Luiz have been sidelined, while Alvaro Morata has failed to replace Diego Costa sufficiently.

On Sunday, Conte chose to field Hazard as a lone frontman, but he struggled to impact the game in that role. He is best when having space in front of him to run into and he didn’t have that against Manchester City.

The Belgian international was isolated and touched the ball only 31 times. It was a tactical error and one that blunted Chelsea’s attack before a ball was kicked.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Ilkay Gundogan is flourishing in the middle of the park for Manchester City

The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has had his problems since arriving in the Premier League.

He has suffered a few injuries and that has seen him struggle to secure a regular starting berth, but he has featured prominently in recent weeks and is perfect for the system. Gundogen recycles possession effectively and that is required, especially when the opposition team sits deep.


Gundogen touched the ball more than any other player on the pitch with 181 touches and was very good at distributing the ball quickly. He finished the match with a 96% pass success rate, which shows his role.

He wasn’t taking any risks and he didn’t have to. City have a lot of attacking talent and the German international isn’t required to try risky passes to influence the game.

Although Chelsea didn’t get on the ball much, Gundogen broke up the play when required with four ball recoveries. Fernandinho’s absence could allow the 27-year-old to secure the place on a permanent basis and he does offer more in the role, especially in possession. It was a strong performance and one of the standouts in a dull affair.

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