Tag Archives: Chelsea FC

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?

See the source image
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.

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.

Women Super League – 24/7 Football weekly round-up and predictions

Women’s Football Weekend: 16-17thNovember

WSL attendance figures soared as the first ever Women’s football weekend proved a huge success and as the Tottenham co-head coach, Karen Hill expressed,

 “ It shouldn’t be a moment – it should be something that hopefully becomes the norm.”

More than 70,000 attended the six matches on show last weekend that included a Super League record 38,262 fans at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium watching Arsenal’s 2-0 win against North London rivals Tottenham.   This surpassed the previous record that was set on the opening day of the campaign at the Manchester Derby by a further 5,265.

In terms of the League itself after six games played only a point separates the top three of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.

The league leaders, Chelsea secured a 1-0 win against newly promoted Manchester United in front of a sell out 4,790 crowd at the Cherry Record Stadium, thanks to a penalty from Norway defender, Maren Majelde in the 68thminute.

Casey Stoney’s United side were unfortunate not to get anything from the match as their striker, Ella Toone was denied by the woodwork eight minutes from the end.

England’s Georgia Stanway featured heavily in Manchester City’s 5-0 win over West Ham United, the midfielder scored twice but was then sent off in the second half on what was her 100thappearance for the club.

Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool are still searching for their first win of the campaign after slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton, in the first ever Super League match to be held at Anfield.

A mistake from Liverpool keeper Anke Preuss, who fumbled Lucy Graham’s strike into the goal before half time ultimately proved the difference between the two teams.

Brighton & Hove Albion however were able to secure their first win of the season at the Amex Stadium as they beat Birmingham City 3-0 thanks to two goals from striker, Kayleigh Green.  Bristol City meanwhile twice came back from two goals against Reading at the Madjeski Stadium to draw 3-3.

Preview and Predictions for Week Seven – Sunday November 24th

Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion (12:30pm)

Following Brighton’s first win of the campaign last weekend; the seagulls travel to face Casey Stoney’s Manchester United at the Leigh Sports Village.  Hope Powell’s team have now won their last two games in all competitions, having also won 5-0 against the London Bees in the Continental Tyres Cup on Wednesday and look to have turned a corner after a difficult start to the season.  United however will be determined to bounce back from last weekend’s set back against Chelsea.

Prediction: 2-0 Manchester United

Despite Brighton’s recent upturn in form I think Manchester United played well last week and were unlucky to not get anything. I can see them returning to winning ways in the league.

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur (12:30pm)

Spurs come into this game having lost back-to-back games against their London rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea in all competitions. Everton meanwhile won a closely fought Merseyside Derby and are one of this season’s surprise packages having won four of their six games in the league so far and are currently sitting fourth.

Prediction: 2-1 Everton

I reckon that the Toffees will maintain their impressive start to the season, Tottenham are currently going through a tricky period and I believe that will continue at Everton’s Haig Avenue.

Bristol City vs Manchester City (12:30pm) – Live on the BBC Red Button and Online

Bristol City is one of two sides in the Super League who have yet to record a victory this season.  Their were however signs that things are started to turn around for them as they showed plenty of character to claim a point at Reading last time out.  Nick Cushing’s City side have been very impressive so far this campaign, despite being knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid last month they have only lost once in the league so far this season.

Prediction: 3-0 Manchester City

Despite an improved display by the West Midlands side in their last match I cannot see them getting anything against one of the leading sides.

Arsenal vs Liverpool (2pm)

The Gunners head into this game in fine form having won five out of their last six matches in all competitions.  Their opponents, Liverpool however are in desperate need of a win having lost three matches and are still to win in the league this season. Vicky Jepson’s side however did play well against their Merseyside rivals last time out that demonstrates a first win might not be too far away.

Prediction: 4-0 Arsenal

Joe Montemurro’s team are on an impressive run and think that will continue against the league’s bottom side.

Birmingham City vs Chelsea (2:45pm) – Live on BT Sport 1

The Midlands side have proved to be a tough nut for the league leaders to crack in recent times. Emma Hayes’ team lost their last league meeting 3-2 back in January of this year at the Cherry Red Record Stadium and they could only draw the corresponding fixture 0-0 last season. Birmingham has however struggled to replicate their form of the last campaign having only managed one win in the league this season against the bottom side, Liverpool.

Prediction: 3-1 Chelsea

I don’t think that Birmingham are playing well enough at the moment to cause the West London side the same problems that they did last season.

West Ham United vs Reading (3pm)

Both of these sides have enjoyed mixed starts to the season so far, the Royals are currently one point and one place ahead of this Sunday’s opponents in seventh.  The Hammers however have won two of the three league meetings between the teams, but the corresponding fixture last season finished 0-0.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw

Both sides are currently struggling for consistency and both managers will think this is a game that they cannot afford to lose.