Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland Match Report – 24th May 2015

Chelsea ended the season in style as they beat Sunderland and lifted the Premier League title at Stamford Bridge. Diego Costa and a brace from Loic Remy gave the champions the win to wrap up what has been a fantastic season. The hosts were presented the title at the full time whistle, as John Terry lifted the trophy for the fourth time as Blues captain.

Two legends were given starts, ahead of possible departures during the summer. Petr Cech returned in goal after a minor injury, as he looks set to leave in order to find first team football. Didier Drogba confirmed that he would be leaving the club this summer just hours before kick off, and he captained the team and led the line going into the final game.

Sunderland didn’t quite read the script for this match, as they spoiled the Chelsea party by taking a first half lead. Fletcher struck for the visitors to give them a shock lead, even though they were already safe from relegation. Shortly after that, Drogba picked up an injury, ending his career at the club. The rest of the players carried him off the pitch, before he was replaced by Costa.

It was Costa who equalised before half time, as he buried a penalty to put the champions back level. John O’Shea barged Juan Cuadrado, gifting Costa the chance to equalise. It certainly got the fans back into the party spirit, as that early goal silenced the crowd. The match was devoid of any real intensity, as both clubs had already achieved their targets this season. It felt more like a testimonial for the departing stars than a Premier League match.

The Blues finally got ahead for the first time in the game when Remy struck his sixth goal of the season. A mazy run from Eden Hazard pulled apart the Sunderland defence, which let the substitute Remy find space 20 yards out to score. He and Costa rarely got a chance to start together this season, but they showed they could work in tandem in the second half of this one.

Remy then added the third of the game, when he buried a cross from Nemanja Matic. The Serbian’s ball in from the left fell for the forward just a couple of yards out and he applied the finish to wrap up the comeback here. While it wasn’t their best performance of the season, they still managed a winning end to the campaign. This win leaves Chelsea eight points ahead of City, who won with Frank Lampard scoring in his last ever Premier League game.

After the match the players and fans celebrated a great year as the league title was presented to Terry and the team. It gave the squad the perfect send off for the summer break, and the two departing legends a fitting finale to fantastic careers at the Bridge.

LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard

Petr Cech

Mourinho Wants Cech To Stay At Chelsea Next Season

Petr Cech
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Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he wants Petr Cech to remain at Chelsea next season, despite the goalkeeper only managing to make 16 appearances for the Premier League champions this season.

Cech is a ‘person of interest’ to Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Arsenal, and has also been linked with Manchester United given that the North-West club are likely to lose David De Gea to Real Madrid this summer.

The 32-year-old Czech Republic international has been given permission to talk to other clubs as Thibaut Courtois is now considered to be Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper.

Cech joined Chelsea from the French club side Rennes in 2004 for £7m, remaining the West London club’s number one for 10 seasons. During that time he has won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champion’s League and the Europa League.

Mourinho, who was named the Barclay’s Premier League manager of the season for the third time this week, said, “I keep saying I would like him to stay”. In the event that he does go, though, the Portuguese manager doesn’t mind where it is that his former number one ends up. He said, “In case he leaves, I have no preferences [where he goes]”.

The self-professed Special One also confirmed that Cech will have a part to play in Chelsea’s final game of the season. He said, “I hope he is fit to play the last game of the season”.

The Chelsea manager is also aware of Frank Lampard’s impending departure from the Premier League. The former Chelsea midfielder is heading off to play for New York City FC in Major League Soccer when his current loan at Manchester City concludes at the end of the season.

Mourinho paid tribute to his ex-midfield general saying, “He is a big loss for English football. He was one of my best players ever. One of my best professionals ever”.

Lampard is Chelsea’s record goal scorer and Mourinho said, “Frank is a Chelsea legend and a legend in the Premier League. I have to honour him and wish him the best in the United States. I hope he comes back to England as soon as possible because people like him make this country much better”.

With Cech soon to join Lampard on Chelsea’s departed list, there is only John Terry left of the Londoner’s old guard of players. Though Ivanovic and Mikel have also been around for some time.

Mourinho is starting to look to the future, with the Belgium duo of Courtois and Eden Hazard – who was named the Barclay’s Premier League player of the season, adding to his Professional Footballer’s Association and Football Writer’s Association awards that he has already received – being the focal point of his future teams.

He will remain indebted to the likes of Cech, though, whose performances throughout Mourinho’s time at Stamford Bridge helped to cement him as one of the best manager’s in the business.

Chelsea v Sunderland Preview (Premier League) – 24th May 2015

Chelsea host Sunderland in their final league game of the season, knowing they’ll lift the Premier League trophy after the game. Stamford Bridge should be in the party mood ahead of this game, but the team will want to go out on a high, and Jose Mourinho will have them focused.

Expect a couple more changes ahead of the final game, with another slightly weakened team likely. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has started for the last two games and should keep his place, while there will be a few more youngsters who will likely come off the bench. Diego Costa could start again, while Cesc Fabregas will miss out after he was sent off in the 3-0 defeat by West Brom last time out.

That result probably won’t have too much bearing on the team selection here, as Mourinho was happy enough to make excuses for his side post game. Playing on the day that the title is lifted is something every player wants to do, and it’s hard to see the manager disappointing his key players after a long season. It’ll be a mix of the regular and the new, slightly looking ahead to next season, whilst also celebrating the current one.

Sadly, this may be Petr Cech’s last ever chance to walk out in front of the Blues’ fans, and he’s currently struggling with a minor injury. He should be back in time for Sunday, and hopefully he gets a game ahead of a likely move in the transfer window. After 10 long years of service, the Czech stopper deserves the well wishes of the supporters after an incredible spell between the sticks for the club.

This game was to be one of the three with sides fighting against relegation, until Sunderland went and took a point at the Emirates on Wednesday night. The Gunners were below par, but the Black Cats showed resilience to move on to the 38 point mark that secures their safety. They have already drawn with Chelsea this season, at the Stadium of Light back in November, so the Blues know how tough they can be to break down.

That result takes a lot of the edge off this game, as the visitors are no longer fighting for their lives. Just like the Blues, they’ll now be looking forward to next season, and they’ll probably mix their team around a little. It would have been interesting to see how the side looking to beat the drop would have done against a team waiting to celebrate at the final whistle, but Sunderland fans will be glad that’s no longer the case.

Whatever happens on the day, the champions will enjoy the evening. It’s going to be an incredible mix of celebrating the legends who could leave, basking in the glow of success and welcoming some possible new academy graduates. On top of that, players like Andre Schurrle and Mo Salah will be back for their medals, making it a day to savour for players past and present.

LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 3-0

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas Has Ban Reduced To One Game By FA

Cesc Fabregas
Laszlo-Szirtesi /

Cesc Fabregas’s red card, picked up on Monday night when he kicked the football at a crowd of people and it hit Chris Brunt on the head, would ordinarily be punished with a 3 game ban. However the FA have confirmed they are reducing the ban to just 1 game.

Chelsea argued that a 3 game ban would be “excessive” punishment for the act, with Mourinho declaring after the game that the referee’s decision to send the Spaniard off was “harsh” and “bizarre”.

The FA agreed with the Portuguese manager of the Premier League champions, saying in a statement, “A claim by Chelsea that the three-match suspension for Cesc Fabregas is excessive has been upheld by an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing”.

The decision by the FA to cut Fabregas’s ban down to just 1 game means that he will now only miss the match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season, rather than that game as well as the first two games of next season.

Although he won’t be able to appear on the pitch on Sunday, the Spaniard should still be able to celebrate the lifting of the Premier League trophy, which is due to take place at the Bridge after the full-time whistle. It should be a double celebration, given that Sunderland’s draw against Arsenal on Wednesday night ensured their survival in the league for another year.

Andre Schurrle

Mourinho Text Me To Say I’d Won The Title, Says Schurrle

Andre Schurrle
mooinblack /

Chelsea’s former winger Andre Schurrle has told BBC’s World Service that Jose Mourinho sent him a text to let him know that he’d won a Premier League winner’s medal.

Schurrle said, “I didn’t know that I’d get a medal when I didn’t play most of the second half of the season. [He] sent me a text to say that I’d get a medal and he asked me to come to the last game. That was very nice for me”.

Schurrle made fourteen appearances for Chelsea, with most of those coming from the substitutes bench. Premier League rules state that a player must make at least five appearances in order to get a winner’s medal, so the 24-year-old more than ticket the necessary boxes.

Having moved to Wolfsburg for £22m, however, the German International had not expected to receive any recognition. He said, “I’m really happy for the boys. They played a very good second half of the season so of course, for me, it’s good to get a medal but the boys did the work”.

The Premier League winner’s medal means Schurrle could end the season with a bizarre hat-trick of medals for the season, having already won a World Cup winner’s medal with Germany in Brazil last year. Meanwhile Wolfsburg are gearing up to play against Borussia Dortmund in the final of the German Cup on the 30th of May.

Schurrle feels that his exploits with Germany at the World Cup may well have accelerated his exit from Chelsea, with exhaustion playing a major part in his lack of starts in games of the high intensity of the Premier League.

He said, “I had the World Cup which was very perfect for me and the start of the season was good as well. Then there came a little bit of a period for me where my body didn’t feel very good, I was not clear in my head and I didn’t have as many good moments for Chelsea. I wanted to come back to the Bundesliga, I wanted to feel a little bit more in the team and to get a bit more playing time”.

Schurrle was aware when he joined Chelsea that starts may be limited, owing to the quality of player on the West London club’s books, saying, “It can be difficult to get first team football because you have so many good players. I think I took my chances very well because normally every time I got playing time I did something good and I scored”.

Despite making just 20 starts for Chelsea during his time there, with a further 24 appearances from the bench, the German has no regrets about his time at Chelsea. In fact, he told the BBC, “If you have the chance, you have got to go there”.

Of course, getting a Premier League winner’s medal for making just fourteen appearances will always taint your opinion of any experience, but there’s no question that Schurrle remains loyal over his time at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho: West Brom Defeat Was Rival’s Fault

Jose Mourinho has offered a somewhat bizarre defence of Chelsea over the club’s loss to West Brom. The Midlands club ran out 3-0 winners over the Premier League champions on Monday night in a game that took a strange turn when Cesc Fabregas got sent off for kicking the ball towards a group of players.

After the match Mourinho refused to lay any blame at the feet of his players, instead claiming that the fault for the loss was down to Chelsea’s rivals who failed to push them all the way to the end of the season. He said, “I think the top contenders are…guilty because they let us win the title so early”.

He also offered an odd criticism of his own work in the build up to the match, saying, “I have to blame myself. I also lost that salt and pepper you need during the week to work at a high level”.

Mourinho is famed for being a born winner at whatever cost, and it was evident that he was extremely disappointed with the defeat at The Hawthorns to Tony Pulis’s revived West Bromwich Albion side. Yet he wasn’t quite ready to mope around the place. After the game he said, “We are champions. You can’t expect us to go on the bus crying because we lost 3-0. Am I happy because we lose? Of course I’m not happy. Am I sad? No. The ideal scenario would be to be champions, close the shop and go home”.

Mourinho was also critical of the referee Mike Jones, who sent Fabregas off after just 29 minutes. Jones was dealing with an argument between Chelsea striker Diego Costa and the Baggies defender Gareth McCauley in the WBA box. Several players had gathered around them to offer their point of view on the matter at hand whilst Cesc Fabregas waited to take the free kick outside the area.

Whether it was frustration at being made to wait to take the free kick or he was genuinely trying to get the ball to the referee only Fabregas will know, but whatever his reason the Spaniard decided to kick the ball into the crowd of players and it hit West Brom’s Chris Brunt on the head.

Jones quickly brandished a red card and gave Fabregas his marching orders for only the second time in his career in the Premier League. The red angered the Chelsea boss, though, who said, “Where is the danger of the situation? Where is the aggression in the situation to get the red card in a friendly game? I really don’t understand”.

Mourinho continued, “For me, a top referee, a stable, big personality and in control of the game, goes there, two or three words and it’s done. It’s a bizarre red card”.

Mourinho also felt West Brom’s captain Darren Fletcher was lucky to escape the referee’s ire. He said, “I think Fletcher was aggressive, he pushed him [Fabregas] in the chest because he is experienced and knows where he can push for a yellow card. He is much more aggressive than Fabregas”.
Despite his desire to shift the blame for the loss away from himself and his team, as well as his unfair criticism of a referee who was just following the rules, Tony Pulis stated that he thinks his Portuguese counterpart is one of the best in the business. He said, “I’ve managed against him twice now and have managed to beat him twice… He’s been very, very gracious in defeat”.

Chelsea have one game left of the season – a home game against Sunderland – and they’ll have to play it without Cesc Fabregas. Yet given the fact that it’s also the game in which they’ll be presented with the Premier League trophy, Mourinho is unlikely to let Chelsea put on such a limp display as they did against West Brom.

West Brom 3-0 Chelsea Match Report – 18th May 2015

Chelsea’s penultimate game of the season ended in disaster as they were heavily beaten by West Brom at the Hawthorns. A double from Saido Berahino and a goal from Chris Brunt gave the Baggies the win, in a match which saw Cesc Fabregas sent off. This result has no bearing on the club’s season, but it was still a disappointing performance for the traveling fans.

The result suggests that this was a very weakened Chelsea side, but in fact Mourinho named a strong team and even had Diego Costa on the pitch. The Spaniard returned up front after a long absence, and he played alongside Loic Remy. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was handed another start, this time alongside Nemanja Matic in central midfield. Filipe Luis starting at left back was the only change to the usual back five, so this was the bulk of the starting XI.

It did take something special to beat Thibaut Courtois first time around, as Berahino scored a fantastic goal from outside the box. He buried a shot from 20 yards to give the hosts the lead inside 10 minutes, as the game took on an intensity that few expected before kick-off.

The return of Diego Costa certainly added to that, as he was as aggressive as ever against the hosts’ defence. His clash with Gareth McAuley led to a ridiculous chain of events that saw the visitors go down to 10 men. Their off the ball grappling led to a mass pile up involving most of the players. Fabregas wasn’t involved, and after going to argue with the linesman, he kicked the ball towards the crowd of players, hitting Brunt in the face. This heightened the intensity of the game further, and the referee sent the Spaniard off.

That made things very difficult for Chelsea, as they went into the break a goal and a man down. West Brom had little to play for, but they pushed ahead anyway looking to take a big scalp. The Blues had lost just twice this season, but they were pushed closer to a third defeat right at the start of the second half, when West Brom were awarded a penalty.

John Terry pulled down Berahino as he tried to run on to a pass from Brunt. The young forward then stepped up and scored the spot-kick to double the lead. That gave the Blues a huge task to get anything out of the game, and the points were wrapped up for WBA as Brunt’s fierce shot beat Courtois at his near post.

That result left the champions winless in four games at the Hawthorns. It doesn’t have any bearing on the season, and the side can be forgiven for slipping in their last few games after an excellent campaign. They will be looking for an improvement this weekend, as they host Sunderland before finally lifting the Premier League trophy.

LCN Man of the Match: Diego Costa

John Terry

Mourinho: I’m Why Terry Is Still At Chelsea

Jose Mourinho has claimed that the reason John Terry is still playing top level football with Chelsea is simple: Jose Mourinho.

The Chelsea skipper is now 34 and, unlike his ex-teammate Frank Lampard or Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, he has played every minute of Chelsea’s title-winning league campaign. It is the fourth Premier League title he has lifted as Chelsea skipper.

Mourinho said, “I think he knows that, without me, he probably wouldn’t be at Chelsea in this moment”. The manager’s defensive style has no doubt helped Terry, with the team sitting much deeper and playing with a far more defensive mind set than under some of the managers that Chelsea tried to replace the self-proclaimed Special One with.

Before his return to the Bridge, whilst he was watching from the outside in, Mourinho admitted that he wasn’t sure Terry had much longer left in him as an elite level footballer. He said, “I thought he was in trouble. I thought he was over. He hadn’t played for the previous two years, two or three consecutive matches. I thought there was something wrong and that he couldn’t get back to his normal level”.

Unusually for the Portuguese manager it wasn’t all a case of arrogance. He was quick to praise Terry’s professional and accept that if the ex-England captain hadn’t been there then Chelsea may not have won the title. He said, “I always thought he was going to improve and I’d have a good player. But, in the end, he came to a fantastic level. He’s had a magnificent season…I also know that, probably without him, I would not be again Premier League champion”.

Terry struggled to earn a regular starting spot under Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez when they were in charge of the Stamford Bridge club, and he was very much on the back foot when André Villas-Boas tried to introduce a high defensive line during his ill-fated time in charge of the West London club.

Mourinho summed up the problems with the previous gaffers at the club, saying, “Probably with another manager he wouldn’t play. And without playing he wouldn’t have another contract”.

Another contract he has received, however, with the club rewarding his excellent form with an extension that keeps Terry tied down until the end of the 2015-2016 season. With the emergence of youngsters like Kurt Zouma in the Chelsea backline, Terry’s extension will allow him to not only play on for another season, but also to guide Chelsea’s more youthful defenders in the ways of Premier League.

West Brom v Chelsea match preview (Premier League) – 18th May 2015

Chelsea play their penultimate game of the season on Monday night when they travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Brom. After wrapping up the title there’s only really pride to play for in the remaining fixtures, and this time around they face a side who are equally aimless. While that’s hardly anything to get excited about, it could well hint at the appearance of a few academy prospects.

Last time out Jose Mourinho dropped a huge surprise by picking Rueben Loftus-Cheek in the starting line up to face Liverpool, giving the youngster his full debut. The manager had said he wanted his side to focus on the remaining games, which hinted that he was going to be picking full strength sides. The appearance of the 19-year-old shows that there is a chance for young players to force their way into the team in these last few games, and possibly into the manager’s plans for next season.

Chelsea have a large squad of quality players that means they should be able to rotate in a game like this and still field a strong side. The likes of Juan Cuadrado springs to mind, as the Colombian has barely been seen since his January move. This could be a great chance for him, and possibly for Loftus-Cheek to get another run out. He certainly did enough on his debut to show that he can handle Premier League football.

West Brom will be sticking around for Premier League football next term, after Tony Pulis steered the club to safety this season. A Pulis side is always a difficult challenge, as the Blues know from facing his Crystal Palace side last season. The hosts are 13th in the table, but it’s hard to see them managing to finish any higher this term.

At this stage of the campaign, it’s only natural for minds to look ahead to next season. Loftus-Cheek is likely to be a full member of the senior squad next season, so fans will want another look at him in action. Hopefully a few of the main stars will be left out, as the likes of Diego Costa and co could do with a rest ahead of what will be a long campaign next year.

As well as the future, the game against the Baggies could be a moment to reflect on the past. Petr Cech and Didier Drogba have been fantastic servants to the club over the years, but they could both be out of the squad next season. Cech deserves first team football, while Drogba hasn’t agreed a deal for next term yet. Despite how good Costa and Thibaut Courtois have been this season, I think most fans would like to see the two legends start in the last two games.

These kinds of fixtures struggle to really excite anyone, but they are the reward for such an excellent season. Win, lose or draw, nothing can stop the party next weekend when Chelsea finally lift the Premier League trophy for the fourth time in 10 years.

LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-0

Chelsea 1–1 Liverpool Match Report – 10th May 2015

Chelsea maintained their unbeaten home record with a draw at home to Liverpool on Sunday. The Blues were given a guard of honour after clinching the title last weekend, and they followed it up with a hard-fought point against a dogged Liverpool side. John Terry scored the opener early on, but Steven Gerrard struck just before half time to secure a point for the visitors.

Jose Mourinho sprung a surprise with his team selection, as he picked youngster Rueben Loftus-Cheek in his starting line-up. He started alongside John Obi Mikel in midfield, while Filipe Luis was given a rare start ahead of Cesar Azpilicueta. Loic Remy returned from injury to start up front.

There was no hangover in evidence for the champions here as they made a very intense start to the game. Raheem Sterling was brought down by a foul by Cesc Fabregas, for which the midfielder was lucky to only receive a yellow card. They then had the perfect start, as they took the lead after just five minutes. Terry headed home from a corner to give the hosts the lead, but it was a soft goal from Liverpool’s point of view.

That goal showed that Jose Mourinho wasn’t joking when he said that his side would be taking the run-in seriously, despite having nothing to play for. Kurt Zouma picked up an injury midway through the half, with Gary Cahill replacing him. Even with some future prospects in the side, the champions weren’t about to let the pace they’ve set all season slip. They pressed well, dominated the game, before throwing away the lead through silly mistakes.

Branislav Ivanovic gave away a needless foul on Adam Lallana, bringing him down right outside the box for a free kick wide on the right hand side. John Obi Mikel managed to lose Gerrard, who then had all the space in he needed to head the ball home at the back post. Despite dominating the first half, Chelsea went in at the break level.

Mourinho went a little more defensive in the second half, as he replaced Loftus-Cheek with Nemanja Matic. The youngster had a very impressive game, and he was far more impressive than Mikel who outlasted him on the pitch. Loftus-Cheek was tidy in possession and pressed well, and he should be a very good addition to the first team next season, giving an extra option in central midfield.

Mourinho made yet another defensive sub with less than 10 minutes to play, as he took off Loic Remy and replaced him with midfielder Juan Cuadrado. It’s not really a change you’d expect him to make, but with the title already won he packed out the midfield to try and kill off the game.

That worked, and it gave Chelsea a point which they didn’t really need. Keeping the unbeaten home record was much more important, while the Reds saw their Champions League hopes all but ended. The Blues are back at Stamford Bridge for their final home game of the season in two weeks’ time, when they’ll finally lift the Premier League trophy.

LCN Man of the Match: Filipe Luis