Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has admitted that the ongoing injury concerns played a part in the Blues’ 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The reigning champions were deemed favourites to secure three points against bottom-side Palace on Saturday, but they failed to show up in the absence of key first-team players.
Both Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante were sidelined with hamstring injuries prior to the game, whilst Victor Moses suffered an injury of his own late in the first-half. In a reported quoted by Sky Sports, Conte admitted that the club had a tough afternoon with injuries, although they will have to find a solution in the coming matches.
He said: “To play this game without three important players, it is not simple. Today wasn’t simple. I think we started very badly and it was very difficult. Also, we need to understand the situation and to continue to work to find the right solution despite the injuries. read more …
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker spoke fondly about midfielder Jack Wilshere after he impressed in the 1-0 win triumph over Doncaster Rovers in the League Cup.
The England international made his first Gunners start in 493 days, and played the entire game scattered.
Injuries have hampered Wilshere’s progress over the years, but the 25-year-old provided a solid performance against Doncaster, which led to special praise from club-captain Per Mertesacker. Speaking after the game, the World Cup winner was pleased to have the midfielder back on the playing field, and he admits that he is getting back to his old self.
He said: “It was very good to have him back out there. You can see that he’s getting more comfortable with his position now. He’s brave now and he trusts his body. That’s the most important thing, that he’s capable of playing 90 minutes. He will just grow with that and he was vocal as well, which was important for us, especially at the end. He kept the ball well in tight situations and to come out of that is vintage Jack. That’s what we want to see from him in the future here at Arsenal.” read more …
Liverpool legend-turned-pundit Jamie Carragher has claimed that Manchester United are unlikely to end up with the Premier League title unless they improve their record against the top-six opposition. The Red Devils stretched their unbeaten run to 11 across all competitions after they earned a 0-0 draw against Liverpool on Saturday.
Despite bagging a point, United’s approach was criticised in the media as they stuck with a defensive plan from the start to the finish. As a result, Mourinho has failed to win any of his previous 10 outings on the road versus top-six opposition. read more …
Arsenal legend-turned-pundit Martin Keown believes Mesut Ozil has already left the Gunners in his mind, and he is no longer regarded as a vital component of Arsene Wenger’s side.
The Germany international has managed just four Premier League starts in the 2017/18 season, and with just nine months remaining on his contract, he looks set to leave the north London giants.
Ozil has been recently linked with a move to arch-rivals Manchester United, and with the 28-year-old’s contract expiring next summer, there is little Wenger could do to block the move. As a result, Keown suspects the Frenchman will seek to offload the World Cup winner in January with the midfielder’s attitude being a concern this term.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think he’s testing Wenger more than any other player has. I think it was Belarus the other week, he didn’t fancy going. He didn’t want to go. Suddenly he was injured again, he played nine minutes against West Bromwich Albion on the Monday, so how did he get injured there? read more …
The Indian coach of the Under-17 national team Luis Norton de Matos has called for more international exposure for the team. The manager said there was a massive gap compared to the soccer levels in the rest of the world.
Hosts India lost 4-0 to their Ghanaian counterparts in the last Group A game at the ongoing tournament. The coach said the team gave their best at the tournament but they met superior teams. De Matos said they faced two tough games and they knew Ghana would be tougher as Africans are generally good at the Under-17 level. read more …
Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has stressed that he is not scared by the impending arrival of Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City.
The England international is due to join the Blues before the transfer deadline with reports emerging a £30m fee has been finalised for his services.
Speaking to SFR Sport, Bakayoko insisted that he is not scared of new arrivals as the competition for places would only make him a better player. He added to praise the abilities for Drinkwater, who he feels will make the team stronger in the centre of the park.
He said: “I’m not scared of any player but it’s competition and that’s what makes you better. He [Drinkwater] is a good player and he’s going to help the team. We don’t have enough players in the centre and he will make the team stronger.”
Blues boss Antonio Conte has cut a frustrated figure during the course of this summer’s transfer window with the club’s hierarchy failing to make quick progress on his preferred targets. However, there appears to be movement prior to the deadline day with deals for both Drinkwater and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the pipeline. read more …
Arsenal attacker Mesut Ozil could make a surprise return to La Liga this summer with Barcelona seemingly keen on his services.
The Germany international has been added to the Catalan club’s shortlist as they look to find a suitable replacement for Paris Saint-Germain-bound Neymar. Neymar is expected to travel to Qatar later this week where he will undergo a medical before sealing his world-record £196m move to Parc des Princes.
The Brazilian has been a pivotal player for Barcelona alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and his departure is likely to leave a huge void to fill ahead of the Spanish Super Cup. Real Madrid will have the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo when they take on Barcelona in the first-leg of the competition on August 13, and the absence of Neymar could significantly reduce the forward strength.
According to Don Balon, Barcelona have identified Ozil as a probable replacement for Neymar, should they fail to clinch a deal for top target Philippe Coutinho. The Copa del Rey winners are willing to pay a club-record sum for the Reds attacker, but unfortunately, Jurgen Klopp is adamant that the Brazilian won’t be sold at any cost. read more …
Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs are keen on avoiding the Arsenal problem when they were building the Emirates Stadium and had to slow down in the transfer market. They had issues of not lifting any titles despite playing good football, with many putting the lack of silverwae down to the squad depth, and the fact that the team continued to lose its core stars because they always showed a lack of ambition in the transfer market.
In a similar move, Spurs lost wingback Kyle Walker to moneybags Manchester City this summer. There are rumours that Eric Dier could exit this season as well though the club is keen on avoiding that. Soon it might be difficult to retain stars like Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose and Dele Alli as major European clubs would desperately seek their signatures. read more …
Former Liverpool striker-turned-pundit Michael Owen insists that the Reds are close to securing the club-record signing of midfielder Naby Keita from RB Leipzig.
The Guinea international put up an all-round performance for the Bundesliga newcomers last season as his eight goals and eight assists helped the club to a second-place finish.
The Reds have failed with two bids worth £50m and £66m for the midfield enforcer this summer, and they are set to return with a third offer of £70m, which many sources believe would be sufficient to seal an agreement. In a report by The Mirror, Owen suggests that his former club are ‘on the cusp’ of signing Keita, who has already earned comparisons with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante for his tireless workrate.
“They are on the cusp of signing Keita, and that could be an amazing signing if that came off,” he told The Mirror. Meanwhile, he also praised the club’s recruitment of Mohamed Salah, who has significantly bolstered the Reds attack ahead of their Champions League playoffs next month. read more …
Ashley Cole is a 36 year old defender who in a few month´s time will be reaching the 37 age mark and the veteran performer himself knows that his playing career is almost over but the English player is already thinking about ways of remaining influential in the world of football even though it might be outside of the actual pitch.
The current contract of Cole sees him staying with the MLS side LA Galaxy until December of 2017 and his future beyond that remains unknown at this point in time as the player has not talked about his plans when his deal with the American club expires.
However, there is something that Ashley Cole has actually talked about and its in relation to taking up a coaching or a scouting position with his former club Chelsea.
Throughout the entire playing career of Cole, he has performed with: Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, As.Roma and his current club LA Galaxy.
Out of all those clubs mentioned, it´s with Chelsea that Ashley Cole managed to lift major pieces of silverware and made a name for himself as one of the best defenders in the world of football. read more …