Chelsea v Leicester Match Preview (Premier League) – 15th May 2016

Chelsea’s final game of the season sees them taking on league champions Leicester. The Foxes have had a brilliant campaign, and they sit 10 points clear at the summit. Will they round off their season with another victory, or can the Blues restore some pride with a strong showing?

Of course, this game was meant to be a send-off for John Terry. The Blues’ captain looks set to leave this summer, so this clash would have been his final game for the Pensioners. But his red card last weekend means he’s missing out here, and he’ll be forced to watch from the stands as this season draws to a close.

It will, however, be a send-off for Guus Hiddink, who is taking charge of his last game. It’s not quite as special as his finale first time round, when he won the FA Cup. Still, the Dutchman has done a solid job since replacing Jose Mourinho, he’s stabilised the club, and guided them into the top half of the table. Things could have been much worse.

Despite that, Blues fans would have been hoping for much better. They’ll be delighted to see the back of this terrible campaign, one that has led to plenty of disappointment at the Bridge. Will this game go the same way, or can Chelsea get one over the newly crowned champions?

Recent form has been mixed for the Blues, they did do well against Tottenham and Liverpool, but they fell apart against Sunderland. For this final game, you’d expect the team will be able to produce something better than their match at the Stadium of Light. They do need to step things up, as they’re facing the champions.

Leicester may have little to play for, but they’re not the kind of side to give up now that the title is won. They were at their best against Everton last weekend, and they’ll be aiming to produce the same again here. They are a team who always gives their all and they’ll be fully focused ahead of this game, with certain individuals still in the hunt for various plaudits.

Jamie Vardy is just a goal behind Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot. Kasper Schmeichel is up for the Golden Glove award, with three other keepers level with him in the fight for that award. They’re all locked on 16 clean sheets this term, and if the Foxes’ stopper gets one at the Bridge, he’s guaranteed to at least share that award.

The Blues made their backing of Leicester public a few weeks ago, so they shouldn’t mind giving the Foxes a guard of honour on their visit this week. The clash between the last two English champions will get plenty of attention, even without anything being on the line. Chelsea can put on a strong showing here, ending a poor year on a high note and giving Hiddink a decent send-off.

LCN Verdict: 1-1 Draw

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea Match Report – 11th May 2015

A late equaliser from Christian Benteke prevented Chelsea from taking a win at Anfield. The Blues had been leading 1-0 thanks to a wonderful goal from Eden Hazard, but their strong defensive display was broken late on. The result does little to the table, but it does show that the Chelsea of old are still there. Somewhere. That at least bodes well for next season.

Guus Hiddink made plenty of changes following the defeat at Sunderland on Saturday. Thibaut Courtois wasn’t in the squad after illness, so Asmir Begovic replaced him. Bertrand Traore came in up front, while John Obi Mikel moved to centre-half to replace the suspended John Terry. The Blues bench was packed out with young academy stars.

With so many changes being made, it was easy to be wary about the Blues’ chances going into this one. The makeshift back four in play wasn’t one that looked like keeping a clean sheet. It didn’t help that Liverpool were coming in to this game in fine form, and they made the best start of the two sides here.

Out of nowhere, the Blues were in front though. They had possession in the Reds’ final third, but didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Hazard wriggled around, evading players and playing a one-two with Traore. He then started his move towards goal, jinking past a few defenders. Suddenly, he had space in the box, and the Belgian fired home to make it 1-0.

The Blues went in to the half-time break with a lead, something few in the ground saw coming. Given how the team have done this season, most expected the scoreline to change pretty soon. Jurgen Klopp had his side fired up for the second half, leaving Hiddink’s men camped in their own half.

Begovic was called upon to make a few good saves, as the Chelsea rearguard were pushed to their limits. The goalkeeper did look shaky on crosses, however. That came back to hurt him late on in the game, as Liverpool got level in the 92nd minute of the game.

A high cross from the left wing saw the Bosnian flap at the ball, and he palmed the ball straight in to the path of Benteke. The Belgian forward was likely playing his last few minutes at Anfield for the Reds, and he signed off by heading in from six yards. That kept a 10 point margin between these two teams.

Liverpool now go into the final day with an outside chance of making Europe. They’ll be pleased with this clash, as it was a good warm up ahead of the Europa League final. As for Chelsea, this was a display that had many elements of what made the team great. Hazard was brilliant throughout, and the entire team worked to defend as a unit. Pleasing signs for Antonio Conte, as he has something here to work with.

LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard

Chelsea Consider Olympic Stadium Groundshare Move

Chelsea are exploring the option of a groundshare move of The Olympic Stadium with West Ham during the three year period that their new stadium is being built.

The defending Premier League champions will need to find a new home from 2017 as the club look to redevelop Stamford Bridge into a 60,000 seater stadium. The West London club had originally explored the possibility of building a new ground at a number of locations, including Earls Court and Battersea Power Station, before eventually deciding on a £600 million refurbishment of the ground that they’ve called home since 1905.

The scale of the project means that they won’t be able to continue using the ground after next season, meaning that they’re looking for somewhere else to play their home games for the three years during which construction will take place. A £20 million a year deal has reportedly been agreed for the Blues to use Wembley Stadium during that time, but the club want to keep their options open.

That has led them to have talks with the London Legacy Development Corporation, the business that owns and operates The Olympic Stadium. There’s also belief within Stamford Bridge that Twickenham could also be a potential location for their home games during the redevelopment phase.

West Ham have agreed a deal to call The Olympic Stadium their home from next season, having played their final game at The Boleyn Ground against Manchester United earlier this week. The Hammers would need to agree to a groundshare with Chelsea, though their contract with the London Legacy Development Corporation would allow them to do so.

Chelsea officials met with the powers that be at the LLDC at the end of last year to discuss a possible move, with no firm agreement put in place. It is believed that West Ham would be resistant to any such move, though the financial implications of sharing the space with Roman Abramovich’s club could yet persuade them otherwise.

West Ham agreed to pay £2.5 million per year for 99 years for the right to move into The Olympic Stadium from next season, beating Tottenham Hotspur who also wanted to use the ground. There was some controversy over the awarding of the use of the stadium to West Ham, with the Hammers having paid very little for it. It is believed to have cost £272 million to convert the ground to being a suitable space for Premier League football, with West Ham contributing just £15 million towards those costs.

The details of that deal were only made public after a legal battle with the stadium’s owners LLDC. Spurs, having lost out on the chance to play their games at The Olympic Stadium, have instead decided to redesign White Hart Lane in a similar manner to Chelsea’s decision to revamp Stamford Bridge. It is understood that they are close to agreeing a deal with the Football Association to play their home games at Wembley Stadium during the 2017-2018 season. That is part of the reason why Chelsea are exploring other options for their home games, reluctant as they are to alternate use of the home of the England international team with such fierce rivals.

John Terry Deserves A Huge Goodbye, Says Hiddink

Chelsea’s interim manager, Guus Hiddink, believes that the club captain, John Terry, deserves a huge send-off and a massive thank you from the Chelsea fans for his years of loyal service to the club.

Terry won’t play again for Chelsea this season after he was sent-off for two bookable offences during the defending Premier League champions’ match against Sunderland last weekend. As it was his second dismissal of the season the usual one match suspension issued for a double-booking is increased to two games, meaning the 35-year-old will miss tonight’s game against Liverpool as well as the season’s final match against new Premier League champions Leicester City on Sunday.

There is still some debate around the future of Terry, with the club captain publicly stating that Chelsea have no offered him a contract extension despite his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge. That means he looks set to leave the club unless incoming boss Antonio Conte believes the former England captain has something to offer his team next season. That is unlikely to be decided until after this summer’s European Championship tournament in France, however, with Conte concentrating on his duties as Italian manager until he moves to West London.

Whatever happens in the future, though, Hiddink feels the fans should make their feelings known towards a stalwart of the club. The Dutchman said, “Whether he stays, whether he goes – in the last option, he deserves a huge goodbye”.

His presence is unlikely to be missed at Anfield this evening, with Liverpool fans having given the Londoner quite a bit of grief over the years. During the court case against Terry after the alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand, the former-England centre-back was forced to recall how Liverpool fans used to sing “John Terry’s ma loves the Scouse cock” to him when he played at their home ground; a song that referenced the fact that his mother used to date a person from the city of Liverpool.

With both Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard allowed to leave the club without much fanfare in recent years it seems unlikely that Terry’s contract will be renewed. But Hiddink feels the club are right to take their time over his departure. He said, “People who are making the decisions want to take their time. That’s up to them. That doesn’t mean there’s dramatic, bad treatment so far, but everyone has his own approach to deal with this matter. It’s never goodbye with those players, because I think in the near future, whatever happens, they can have a big impact in clubs”.

Terry has played 703 times for Chelsea in all competitions, making his debut in 1998. 483 of those appearances have been in the Premier League during which time he’s won four titles, five FA Cups, the Champions League in 2012, the Europa League in 2013 and three League Cup winners’ medals. He’s also gained 78 international caps, retiring from England in 2012 after the racial abuse incident with Anton Ferdinand was pursued by the Football Association, with the FA banning Terry for four matches.

Ultimately, though, Hiddink believes the future of John Terry at Chelsea is up to Antonio Conte. He said, “When I make a judgement on how he plays and his fitness on his age, he’s able to play, he’s able to continue. Where? What the near future is is up to the club, it’s not for me to make declarations on that”.

Liverpool v Chelsea Match Preview (Premier League) – 11th May 2016

Chelsea’s last away trip of the season takes them to Liverpool on Wednesday night, and the hosts are heavy favourites for the victory. Can Guus Hiddink’s men pull off a shock at Anfield, or will this be yet another disappointing outing for his side? With nothing to play for, it’s hard to see exactly why the players would be up for this clash.

Most Chelsea fans were looking forward to John Terry’s final game, mainly because it gave the season some semblance of meaning. Now the Blues skipper is out of the last two games with the suspension he picked up for getting sent off at Sunderland, and he seems to have played for the final time. Not only is that a blow to the fans, but it leaves a big hole at the back.

With Kurt Zouma already out, Hiddink is going to have to put his faith in inexperience at Liverpool. Either January signing Matt Miazga steps in at centre half, or there’s a big reshuffle. Branislav Ivanovic could move in to the middle, with Cesar Azpilicueta swapping to right back, and Abdul Baba Rahman coming in at left back. Neither of those two scenarios is ideal.

Hiddink has experimented with John Obi Mikel in central defence, and he could move back here. However they set up, there’s going to be a weakness there for Liverpool to exploit. With the Reds in fine scoring form, this might end up being a long night for the travelling Blues fans.

Liverpool have much more going on in their season, as they could move up to sixth with a win here. Jurgen Klopp could be on for a respectable league finish, having already taken his side to Wembley in the League Cup final. They’re also set for the Europa League final, which comes a week after this clash.

Don’t expect a weakened Liverpool side though as this is likely to be a game they take seriously. The matches either side of this one will see weakened teams from Jurgen Klopp. For their last match at Anfield this season, expect to see a pretty strong 11. They’ll want to give their players a test ahead of their clash with Sevilla.

As for Chelsea, Hiddink isn’t likely to make too many changes. He seems to have a settled side at the minute, but they just can’t find any consistency. The Blues seem to be inconsistent within games, having their positive moments before fading away. Hopefully that’s just a problem with their motivation due to their season being over, rather than something more serious.

This will be a tough night for the Blues. They’re going to a team who are playing well right now, and they’ll be desperate to end their season on a high. That same fight will probably be lacking for Chelsea, as they just want to end their season. This awful campaign is almost over, but we see another defeat before it’s finished.

LCN Verdict: Liverpool to win 2-1

Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea Match Report – 7th May 2016

Chelsea suffered a defeat at Sunderland on Saturday as John Terry played his last game for the club. The captain was sent off after picking up two yellow cards, which rules him out of the final two games this season as it was his second sending off of the season. With his contract up in the summer, it’s likely this was the defender’s last action in a Chelsea shirt. Not a great way to finish in all honesty!

Terry’s red card came in added time at the end of the match, with Chelsea already behind. Diego Costa had opened the scoring at the Stadium of Light, before Wahbi Khazri levelled. Nemanja Matic restored the lead, only for Fabio Borini to equalise. Jermain Defoe hit the winner, which lifted the Black Cats out of the bottom three.

Thibaut Courtois returned after suspension, replacing Asmir Begovic, Eden Hazard was introduced from the start here, after impressing as a sub last time out. John Terry once again led the team out, as he prepared for his Stamford Bridge farewell. With a strong team out, Guus Hiddink clearly wanted to build on his side’s fightback against Tottenham on Monday night.

Sunderland came into this match knowing they faced a massive week, one which would decide their Premier League future. Things didn’t start too well for them here, as Costa gave Chelsea the lead. The forward got onto a loose ball in the box, and slipped it home from a tight angle.

As half time approached, the Blues let the home side take control of the game. The Black Cats finally got on the scoresheet 41 minutes in, thanks to a great strike from Kahzri. It took just six minutes for the lead to be restored, as Matic struck just before half time. At the break, Sunderland were in massive trouble.

They had a much better second half, and once again Chelsea collapsed under pressure. Borini, the man who ended Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten Stamford Bridge run, caused more problems for the Blues here. He struck from outside the box, making it 2-2 with just over 20 minutes to go.

The winner came just three minutes after Borini’s strike. Former Spurs man Jermain Defoe got the all-important goal for the Black Cats. His quick touch and volley beat the flatfooted Chelsea backline. Things got even worse for the team, as Terry was sent off in the 95th minute.

His second red card of the season brought a two match ban, which means his season is over. Sunday’s game with Leicester was meant to be a big send off to the man who has led Chelsea for over 10 years. Instead, the fans who want to see him off will be watching the game alongside the captain.

The poor result here took a back seat to the disappointment over Terry’s red card. The captain won’t get a chance to say goodbye to the Bridge. He’s just the latest legend to leave without a big send off, it happened with both Frank Lampard and Petr Cech in recent years. In an awful season, this is just another blow to the dethroned champions.

LCN Man of the Match: Nemanja Matic

Chelsea And Tottenham Both Charged By The Football Association

Monday night was all about Leicester City’s first ever top-flight title, but the draw between Spurs and Chelsea that handed it to them was an ill-tempered affair that has led the Football Association to charge both clubs for failing to control their players and officials.

Twelve yellow cards were issued during the game, with nine of them being shown to Tottenham players. That is a Premier League record for the amount of yellows shown to one team during a game. Several Spurs players were also lucky to avoid red cards, with the match referee Mark Clattenburg missing numerous key moments.

One such moment was Mousa Dembele’s attempted eye-gouge on Deigo Costa that came during a melee in front of the dugouts towards the end of the first-half. The FA have decided that the attempted eye-gouge amounts to more than the usual charge of violent conduct.

Should Dembele be found guilty of the offence then a standard three game ban will be seen by the Football Association as being ‘clearly insufficient’ and he will almost certainly be banned for longer. The midfielder has until 6pm tonight to respond to the charge and the allegations that have been levelled at him.

Spurs players lost their cool after Chelsea clawed back a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 during the match at Stamford Bridge, a result that meant the London club would not be able to catch Leicester City and handed the Premier League title to the Foxes. It was an explosive game that featured two mass brawls, including one that resulted in Chelsea’s interim manager, Guus Hiddink, being pushed over.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had to go onto the field of play at one point in order to separate his defender Danny Rose from Chelsea’s Willian, with the two squaring up to each other. Rose was also one of the players involved in the moment that saw the Blues’ Dutch boss get pushed to the floor. It was one of numerous incidents that Clattenburg saw but elected not to punish with a red card.

A statement from the football association said, “Off-the-ball incidents which are not seen at the time by the match officials are referred to a panel of three former elite referees. Each referee panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence.”For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision of the panel must be unanimous”.

Tottenham’s Eric Dier was one of numerous players involved in heavy tackling of Chelsea players, with the defensive-midfielder guilty of a few challenges that might have seen him sent from the pitch on another occasion. Spurs led the defending Premier League champions 2-0 at half-time, hoping for their first victory at Stamford Bridge since before the invention of the Premier League in 1992. As the Blues got back into the game Tottenham’s players lost their heads and went on to lose out on the title.

Sunderland v Chelsea Match Preview (Premier League) – 7th May 2016

Chelsea head to the North East on Saturday to take on a struggling Sunderland side this weekend. While the Blues have little to play for, the Black Cats are fighting for their lives. Will Guus Hiddink be able to get his side up for this clash, or will they hand Sunderland a lifeline in the battle to avoid the drop?

Following the incredible game with Tottenham on Monday night, Chelsea are ninth in the league table. They can’t get much higher than that, and right now their league position doesn’t really matter. Sunderland are in a much more important fight, as they look to claw their way to safety.

The Chelsea players’ motivation is the big question ahead of this game. They were clearly up for the match with Spurs, some in the squad admitted that openly. That late push to get level was better than anything the team have done this season. But will they put on a show like that again?

There’s no great rivalry with Sunderland, and they have no real interest in the relegation fight. The players should want to win every game, but the fact that they suddenly turned it on for a crunch game with Tottenham is worrying. Have they just been sitting in first gear all season? And if they have, why hasn’t anyone sorted that out?

There are teams who tend to give up at this stage of the season, they’re also sitting around ninth as well. Once mid-table sides resign themselves to having nothing to play for, thoughts turn to their summer break. Hopefully Guus Hiddink can inspire his side ahead of this one, so that they can finish the season strongly.

There’s a chance that John Terry is in his last run of games at the club. While he’s not officially signed for anyone else yet, he’s also not been offered a new deal. The captain returned to the side on Monday night, and he’s set to start again on Saturday. As things stand, his final game will come against champions Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

Hiddink put out a very strong side against Tottenham, but expect a few changes here. This will be another chance for a few younger players to get a start. We’re also hoping that Eden Hazard starts once again, the decision to drop him against Spurs is still a baffling one.

However they line up at the weekend, hopefully they can repeat the display against Tottenham here. Not only do the travelling faithful deserve it, but it also ruins the relegation fight when teams just surrender points to those at the bottom. Hopefully the Blues will put up a fight here, with just three games left. After this they face Liverpool away and then Leicester, and fans will be desperate to see them finish an awful season on a high note.

LCN Verdict: 1-1 draw

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham Match Report – 2nd May 2016

Chelsea fought back to draw with Tottenham in a fiery encounter at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which in turn saw Leicester win the Premier League title. For once the neutrals were willing Chelsea on, and they made an awful start. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min put Spurs ahead in the first half. Goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard got Chelsea level, leading to wild celebrations in Leicester and big disappointment amongst Spurs fans.

John Terry made a welcome return to the side for what looks like his penultimate Stamford Bridge game. Eden Hazard might have returned to form last weekend, but he returned to the bench here. Guus Hiddink named a strong side, as the Blues looked to put a dent in their rivals’ title chances.

Things didn’t start all that well for them, as Harry Kane scored the opening goal. Tottenham knew they hadn’t won at the Bridge in 26 years, but they needed to if they were to keep their title hopes alive. Son Heung-Min added a second before half time, and that looked to have ended their awful run on this ground.

The game was a bruising, hot-tempered affair, and that stopped Tottenham from taking control of the game. They failed to keep a lid on Chelsea, and Gary Cahill pulled a goal back. The pressure was suddenly on Spurs, as they now had something to defend. They were chasing Leicester, but now they had to hold their lead to stay in the race.

Fans over land and sea and Leicester were willing Chelsea on towards the end of the game. Hazard came on and brightened up the game for the Blues, and he showed his ability with a fantastic equaliser. The Blues kept pushing to try to find a winner, but they were unable to claim a victory.

The last few minutes of the game saw the Tottenham players lost their heads, diving into wild challenges. The same happened at the end of the game, with a large coming together on the sidelines. Despite those negative images, it was the Leicester story that claimed the focus of attention. If Chelsea were to hand pick a side to hand the title to, it’s hard to think of a better candidate.

Plenty of supporters paid tribute to former Blues boss Claudio Ranieri, who guided Leicester to glory. He’s sure to receive a fantastic reception and a guard of honour when he heads to the Bridge on the final day of the season.

The players may have stopped Tottenham like they’d hoped, but only one of these two sides will be in the Champions League next term. There’s nothing left for the Blues to take from this season, they’re left to look back on the worst title defence in Premier League history. For the second season running a goal from Hazard at Stamford Bridge decided the league title. Second time around, there was nothing for the Blues to celebrate.

LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard

Chelsea Derail Tottenham Title Hopes

Chelsea scored two second half goals at Stamford Bridge last night in order to halt Tottenham’s chase of Leicester City and hand a first ever league title to the Foxes.

Goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min gave Spurs a 2-0 lead at half-time and gave hope to the London club’s race for the title, with Spurs needing to win their remaining games if they were to have any hope of catching Leicester. They have never won a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, however, with their last victory coming in 1990 when former Leicester striker Gary Lineker scored the winning goal.

The bad-tempered match saw Chelsea come back into the game in the second half after a goal from Gary Cahill gave the Blues hope and a tremendous equaliser from Eden Hazard saw them draw level. The goals came as Spurs lost their cool and ended the match with nine men on yellow cards – the most bookings by a single team during one match in Premier League history.

Leicester City could have had cause for complaint should Spurs have gone on to win the match, with several Tottenham players lucky to escape red cards. Mousa Dembele appeared to try to gouge the eye of Chelsea’s Diego Costa during one first-half fracas that was missed by the officials. There was also a moment involving Danny Rose and Willian that Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino needed to intervene in.

Pochettino felt that the spicy nature of the encounter was actually a compliment from Chelsea, with the physical approach they took representative of the fact that the West Londoners now see Tottenham as genuine rivals. He said, “When you play for the title and play a very big team like Chelsea it is normal to show emotion, but fighting on the pitch is not a good example for both teams”.

Eric Dier was another player lucky to avoid a red card, with several strong challenges only resulting in a single booking from Mark Clattenburg who struggled to keep up with the pace of the game. Chelsea captain John Terry hopes the Football Association bear in mind the emotion of the occasion when they consider retrospective action, however. He said, “Players are fighting for league titles, it’s emotions. It boiled over, let’s not get silly and start banning people. It’s a London derby and the fans want to see it”.

Chelsea fans were delighted to see their side ruin Tottenham’s title hopes after what has been a dreadful season for the defending Premier League champions. They endured their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s, with manager Jose Mourinho sacked in December as the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, bringing in former interim manager Guus Hiddink as his replacement in order to bring some stability to Stamford Bridge.

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas felt that it was the least Chelsea deserved after dominating most of the match, with the Spaniard also suggesting that it was a microcosm of Chelsea’s season as a whole. He said, “It’s a little bit how our season has gone – first half not too good, a little bit too easy. Then a wake-up call and we start performing. It’s a shame because I believe we have a lot of quality in this team and we can do a lot better. They scored two goals because we didn’t defend well enough but I think 70-75% of the game was ours”.

The true winners last night were Leicester City. The Foxes were 5000-1 to win the title at the start of the season, with some bookmakers convinced there was more chance that Elvis was still alive than Claudio Ranieri’s men winning the Premier League. It is the first time since 1978 that a club that had never won the top-flight title has gone on to do so.