Tag 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. 

Should the FA Cup replay’s be scrapped?

Following the New Meadow 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury and Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp stated his first team players, nor himself, would appear in the replay back at Anfield.

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Shrewsbury’s Jason Cumming’s scored the equaliser on Sunday to take the tie back to Merseyside.

Since Klopp’s arrival to the Premier League he has shown no happiness towards the busy December period and the replay format of the cup, it seems he believes the players are requested to play too often, hindering their physical capability and lack of recovery time. Despite this, his team way ahead at the top of the Premier League do not seem to be suffering on the whole. A factor which is potentially being interpreted as ignorance when their competition is from the lower leagues who play more games than those in the top division with remarkably less money and resources.

A recent discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live heard how Great Britain hockey star Samantha Quek argued the FA Cup replay’s should be scrapped and the format should be changed to two separate pots of Premier League and Championship teams and another of the lower divisions. A disgruntled Tranmere fan was on the phone to explain how much the FA cup meant to a lower league team, not just financially but sentimentally, and rightfully so.

The FA Cup ties and replays are renowned for bringing extra revenue to smaller clubs which can become a vital input for changes that Premier League clubs do not have to think twice about. Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts explained how the money from the return trip to Anfield would allow for improved drainage of the pitch and cameras for analysis to be used in games. Something Premier League regulars may take for granted.

The FA Cup allows for extra distribution of money which is circulated within English football, vitally this money can reach the lucky lower league teams who make it through the rounds. But it is also the importance of sentiment that the cup brings. For a supporter, the FA cup can be a magical occasion and allows for that chance to visit a Premier League ground to watch their team play against some the world’s greats. Similarly for a player, who may have finished a day working, to then take to the stage lined up against world famous players, a great euphoric feeling which can’t be replicated.

Yes, the Premier league may be tasking for players who play a higher standard week in week out, but they are professional. Their clubs, if anything out of respect, should participate thoroughly in an FA Cup game as if it was any other game.

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.

WSL Update: Gameweek eight review and week nine preview

Arsenal break top-flight winning margin, the Hammers earn dramatic victory and the Royals secure last minute draw

 The Gunners were in phenomenal form last weekend, securing a record 11-1 victory over struggling Bristol City at Meadow Park. 

 Dutch record goal scorer, Vivianne Miedema, played a pivotal role in the outcome of the game by scoring six times and provided four assists.

 This result moves Arsenal to the top of the table, level on points with Manchester City, who secured a 1-0 win over bottom side Liverpool thanks to a headed goal from former reds captain, Gemma Bonner.

Fellow title contenders Chelsea meanwhile had their game with Everton postponed due to a frozen pitch meaning that they dropped to third.  A date for the rearranged match is yet to be confirmed.

Reading meanwhile secured a dramatic draw with Hope Powell’s Brighton thanks to a goal from their midfielder Remi Allen, who converted the last kick of the match in a goalmouth scramble that secured a 2-2 draw for the Royals.

There was also drama in West Ham’s match with Manchester United.  The Hammers overturned a 2-1 deficit to secure a 3-2 victory at their Rush Green Stadium. Two free kicks in the last ten minutes from German midfielder Katharina Baunach helped complete a thrilling comeback.

The final game of the round saw Tottenham Hotspur and Birmingham City play out a 1-1 draw at the Blues’ Damson Park Stadium. Abbi Grant gave the midlands club the lead in the first half before the North London side hit back through Kit Graham, 17 minutes from time that earned Spurs their first top flight draw.

Gameweek nine preview: Sunday 8th December

Chelsea vs Manchester City (Kick-Off 12:00) – Match on TV BT Sport 3

Undoubtedly the match of the weekend, only two points and one place separates these two sides heading into this encounter.

Emma Hayes’ blues are currently the only unbeaten team in the league while Manchester City have only lost once in the league all season.

The last four league meetings between these two teams have ended in draws, with Chelsea needing a 89thminute goal from So-yun Ji in the last match between the sides, to secure a 2-2 draw at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium.

Prediction: Draw 1-1

Think this will be a high quality match, both sides are in terrific form heading into this one but we predict that the encounter will ultimately end up as a draw. Both teams will be happy with at this stage.

Manchester United vs Everton (12:00)

Both of these sides have met once already this season with Casey Stoney’s Manchester United winning 3-0 on that occasion in the WSL Cup.  They have also both enjoyed decent starts to the campaign, just three points currently separates Everton in fourth from Manchester United in fifth.

The Red Devils however have been very strong at home this season having only lost on one occasion in all competitions and that was against defending champions Arsenal.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 win

Anticipating a much tighter match than their only previous meeting in the cup, we think that United will just come out on top in this one due to their strong home form so far this season.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Brighton & Hove Albion (14:00)

This is the first time either of these sides have met in the Women Super League and both are coming into this game not in the best of form, having drawn against Birmingham City and Reading respectively last time out.

Tottenham have only won once at home all season and that was against bottom side Liverpool in their first home match of the campaign, while Brighton has not won an away match all season.

Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 win

I fancy Spurs to get back to winning ways.

Liverpool vs West Ham United (14:00)

Last season the reds did the league double over the Hammers and the Merseyside club desperately need a win to kick-start their campaign.  They put in an improved display against Manchester City in their last match and could of perhaps nicked something.

The Hammers meanwhile have been very up and down this season, reflected by their current league position of eight. They did secure an important 3-2 win against Manchester United last weekend.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 win

I have a feeling that the Vicky Jepson’s side will finally secure that elusive first win of the campaign in this one.

Reading vs Arsenal (14:30)

Reading has never beaten the Gunners in their seven encounters with the current champions. The Royals however did manage a draw in the corresponding fixture last season, 0-0.

Kelly Chambers’ team will however be forgiven for approaching this match with trepidation having witnessed the Gunners put 11 past a struggling Bristol City team last weekend.

They will particularly have to keep an eye on the leagues’ current top scorer, Vivianne Miedema if they hope to get anything from this match.

Prediction: Arsenal 4-1 win

Predicting a comfortable victory for the league leaders.

Bristol City vs Birmingham City (15:00)

Both sides are heading into this match short on confidence and are struggling near the bottom of the table.

Tanya Oxtoby’s west midlands team in particular will still be recovering from their record defeat against the Gunners last time out.

The Blues meanwhile are fairing slightly better and do have a good record against Bristol City having won four of their five encounters, however the Robins only victory over Birmingham did come earlier this year.

Prediction: Birmingham City 2-0 win

I think that Bristol City will still not have fully recovered from their heavy defeat to Arsenal last weekend and anticipating the blues to come away with the points.

Amazon prime: a new era for football broadcasting?

As Amazon Prime Video broadcast their first Premier League games this week, is this a preview of things to come?

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Not your usual delivery! Amazon take on new Premier League broadcasting deal.

In an agreed 3 year deal, Amazon are set to start out their football broadcasting career with December’s fixtures. This strategic deal comes with aim of the company to see an influx of new customers during the busiest time of the year. For the already members of Amazon Prime, they will benefit from watching for free whereas new customers can enjoy a free trial, with follow up prices at the beginning of permament membership set to increase. A free trial period is a risk taken by operators at Amazon in hope that people will follow up their subscriptions.

If this is the way football media is heading, the effects could be very damaging in terms of reducing live match day attendances. As the variety of subscription services are increasing, it is likely football fans will already subscribe to at least one of the major sports broadcasters in Sky Sports, BT Sport or now Amazon. Alongside the current expense of travelling to away games especially, could this be another factor to prevent football fans from travelling away?

If this is to be the case, in the next ten years there could be rapid change in how the game operates. Football’s commercialisation is continually on the up rise – meaning football clubs always have to look to protect themselves financially. This could mean in future they take broadcasting opportunities into their own hands. Could it be that the clubs themselves start up subscription services such as those of MUFC TV and LFC TV? These already offer some game footage and insider viewing for their subscribers. For supporters this could become a choice between your traditional season ticket or a digital season ticket for home viewing.

Despite this, it is unlikely clubs will endeavour to claim tv rights from the broadcasters just yet, so for now it seems it shall be them battling it out for top spot of football television.