Category Archives: Chelsea

Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech set to join Chelsea this summer

After a verbal agreement was reached between Chelsea and Ajax, Hakim Ziyech is set to join the Premier League side for €45 million.

Ziyech, who had signed a three-year contract with the Dutch giants this past August, was linked to a move to England for some time. However, the South London club were the only ones able to snatch the 26-year-old.

Criticized for not making a move during the winter transfer window, especially after fighting to get their ban removed, Chelsea were able to add a player who can make a difference on the pitch.

 Already filled with tons of young talent on the squad, the Moroccan international brings an impressive pedigree from the Netherlands and is hoping to having similar success in one of the best league’s in the world. 

The attacking midfielder has some familiarity of what the Blues are all about, having played them twice this season during the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

During his senior career, Ziyech has scored 79 goals in 211 appearances for Heerenveen, Twente, and Ajax. However, he was most known for his excellent passing, leading the Eredivisie in assists four times over the course of his career.

Most of Ziyech’s success came after playing for de Godenzonen, where he was Ajax’s Player of the Year twice, included in the Eredivise’s Team of the Year three times, and, most notably, part of the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season last year when the Dutch side made a surprise run to the semi-finals of the tournament before losing to Tottenham.

After some notable players, particularly Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) and Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona), on the team left for bigger clubs, Ziyech opted to stay in Amsterdam, where he currently has 6 goals and 12 assists this season.

As a member of the Atlas Lions, Ziyech has scored 14 goals in 32 appearances for the country, where he pledged his allegiance over the Netherlands. Having represented Morocco in some major tournaments such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, he was a part of the 2019 CAF’s Team of the Year.

With several big names in the club who have expiring contracts, Ziyech is brought in to provide some much-needed assistance. As Chelsea finally make a move for the club, fans are hoping that Ziyech is the answer to help the squad do well in domestic and European competition. 

Victor Moses joins Inter Milan on loan deal. Reuniting with Antonio Conte

After completing a loan spell with Fenerbahçe, Victor Moses is joining Inter Milan on loan with an option to buy, reuniting him with former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte.

Moses, who was primarily used as a winger earlier in his career, was converted to a wing-back during Conte’s stint at Chelsea. This conversion ended up benefiting the Nigerian-international as his play played a pivotal role in The Blues securing the Premier League title in 2017.

The duo also won the FA Cup in 2018. However, after Conte was fired and replaced by fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri, Moses fell down the pecking order and was loaned out for 18 months to Fenerbahçe.

After making 14 appearances for the Turkish club in his first season, Moses has only been featured six times this season. He has also been sidelined with several muscle injuries, causing him not to be featured since November. 

Other than playing for Chelsea and Fenerbahçe, Moses has suited up for Crystal Palace, Wigan Athletic, Liverpool, Stoke City, and West Ham United. In 298 appearances at the senior level, the 29-year-old has scored 36 goals. 

The Nigerian was also a key member of the Super Eagles, including being a member of the 2018 World Cup squad. Moses had scored a pivotal penalty in the final Group D match up against Argentina to tie the game but fell 2-1 and were knocked out of the competition. Shortly thereafter, he had retired from his international duty.

As Moses gets ready to suit up for Inter, fans are hoping the chemistry between him and Conte will help them secure their first Serie A title since 2010 as they stand four points behind fellow Italian powerhouse Juventus for the top spot in the league.

Club legends: a new era of managers?

The past year has seen an increase of past player managerial appointments, with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and most recently Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. But how big is the risk to appoint a club legend?

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Frank Lampard is well under way in his first season in charge of Chelsea

Frank Lampard is possibly the best example of a club legend taking charge of a former club. Lampard spent 13 playing seasons at Chelsea where he totalled 648 appearances for the South London club. Lampard took charge of Derby County during the 2018/19 before returning to the capital where he was appointed as Head Coach.

At the time it was seen as a gamble as it was only Lampard’s second season in a managerial position but with England teammate Steven Gerrard taking the same role at Rangers, Chelsea were not alone in their method of appointing a new generation of managers. Lampard got off to a respectable start with their first league loss of the season coming against reigning champions Manchester City at the Ethiad. Since then, the club has seen its fair share of mixed results. Some have been reasoned poor results, such as a 3-1 loss to struggling Everton, due to the youth of the team but and possible naivety.

But can it be argued that the lines of managerial blame become blurred when the manager in question has already such an intense relationship with the club? If the team isn’t performing to a standard expected, an element of the blame is usually passed onto the manager and the way in which the manager reacts is generally a determiner of their future. As with any manager, previous club relations or not, it is up to the powers above how long they are in charge at club. It can be suggested bias may come into play if the manager is affiliated with the club, with a possible unconscious hope of wanting him to do well. Equally, it may cause discrepancy amongst fans, some may want him to do well but if a group believe he is only keeping his places due to his club history, it could cause a divide in the support.

On the other hand with some clubs of late sacking managers as if it was going out of fashion, could it be a good thing to appoint more club favourites to coaching positions? Affiliation with the club could lead to longer managerial spells if the club want the individual to succeed in a coaching role. Former players could have the opportunity to reignite old passions within the club which would reinforce its culture. This would be advantageous also because they know and understand the club and could potentially reinforce its older traditions of play which will be reason as to why a large majority of the fans have such strong connections to the club.

Respectively it is a risk to appoint a club legend, especially for a ‘big’ successful club, who could easily attract a ‘safe’ option of an experienced man. However, the risk could be beneficial if the manager is able to recreate the passion they once had for playing for the club in the form of management.

Racism Must Be Kicked Out.

Chelsea defeated Tottenham 2-0 in the late Sunday kick off, however the game arose a different sort of matter which needs to be defeated.

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Antonio Rudiger; the latest Premier League player subject to alleged racism

Tottenham striker Son-Heung Min was seen to kick out at Rudiger in the aftermath of a tackle, a tackle which subsequntly led to Son’s dismissal. But what happened following the sending off is a much higher priority issue.

The Chelsea man reported receiving racially stimulated abuse from a Tottenham supporter, Rudiger followed procedure of informing his captain who then reported the issue to the Referee. Television pictures show Rudiger displaying the monkey-like actions which was the abuse he received. During the game, the Tottenham public announcement system gave plea to immediately stop racially inclined abuse as it was interfering with play. Unfortunately, these strategies do not seem efficient. Yes, an announcemnent is an immediate reaction but it is not a strong enough deterrent and does not justify the upset directly caused to Rudiger.

With multiple examples of racism towards players already this season, it is imperative that stronger action is taken. A possible deterrent may be that players decide to leave the pitch if made to feel uncomfortable due to verbal or physical racially fuelled abuse. Empowering the players to leave the pitch and stop the entertainment will make an example of the extremity of the spectators action to receive the punishement they deserve. It will also hopefully deter others from acting irresponsibly. Players have previously been reluctant to do this, as exampled in England’s recent international match in Bulgaria where the players continued the game despite a copious volume of racism in the stands, as those players who had been subject to racism and their team mates refuse to let the racists win by causing their exit from the pitch.

Another deterrent has to come from the sanction given by those in high power, which have been critiqued as very minimal. On Sunday night The Proffessional Footballers’ Association called for Government enquiry into the alleged abuse. A Downing Street spokesperson said they were working very closely with the footballing authorities to tackle the issue. It is clear something needs to be implemented urgently and although publication of statements follows protocol, it is simply not enough to just say what action they will take. As a country, this issue needs to be actively eradicated as soon as possible.

During the mean time of national debate to implicate an effective strategy to end racism in football, the clubs themselves can respond to any form of racism within their club and ultimately anyone found guilty racist behaviour should be punished heavily. It would be most effective to sanction a life ban from football, we do not want these people in the game.

Racism of any kind is out of order, and the people in charge of running the league need to do something about it – before the name of English football is tarnished for the worse.

Christian Pulisic named U.S. Soccer’s 2019 Male Athlete of the Year

Recent in-form winger Christian Pulisic was voted as the Male Athlete of the Year for U.S. Soccer, accumulating 38 percent of the votes.

He had a narrow margin over Seattle Sounders midfielder Jordan Morris, who garnered 35 percent of the votes. FC Schalke’s midfielder Weston McKennie finished third at 13 percent.

 The votes were casted by several members across American soccer, including national team players who had caps in 2019, national team coaches, members of the U.S. Soccer board of directors, the U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, head coaches from Major League and United Soccer League, former players and administrators, and select members from the media.

This award is Pulisic’s second, having already been the youngest to accept the prestige honor back in 2017. Now, he is the youngest two-time winner, beating former Everton player Landon Donovan, who won his second at a mere 22 years old. The Hershey, Pennsylvania native is also the seventh player to have won multiple times.

Representing the U.S., Pulisic scored five goals and added three assists, helping the nation get to CONCACAF’s Gold Cup Final while also being named in the tournament’s Best XI.

In the first half of 2019, Pulisic scored three goals and had two assists in 13 appearances in his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund. 

Once Pulisic moved to Chelsea in August, after a tough start to his inaugural Premier League campaign, he has since scored six goals and added five assists in 20 league and cup appearances.

At just 21-year-old, Pulisic is accomplishing feats that seem unimaginable for someone his age. However, Captain America is here to put America on the map in the world’s biggest and most beautiful game.