Hazard: Kante Is Like A Rat

Eden Hazard has praised his new team-mate N’Golo Kante by declaring that ‘he’s like a rat, he goes everywhere!’.

Kante, who is one of only three signings brought in by the club’s new head coach Antonio Conte so far this summer, was bought from defending Premier League champions Leicester City for a fee believed to be worth around £30 million. He has started all three of Chelsea’s games of the new campaign, helping them to win nine points from nine.

The Blues opened the new season against their London rivals West Ham and have since gone on to play Watford and Burnley. During those games Kante has made eight successful tackles, five interceptions and has notched up a 95% pass completion rate, showing that he has not had a problem adapting to his new club.

Conte is hoping that Kante and fellow new boy Michy Batshuayi can help Chelsea get back to the right end of the table, having finished in a disappointing tenth position last time out. They got off to their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s and manager José Mourinho paid the price. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was sacked in December, with Dutchman Guus Hiddink coming in to replace him. Chelsea finished the campaign with no trophies, something that is a rare occurrence under the ownership of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Hazard, who is away on international duty with his home nation of Belgium at the moment, believes that Kante is the sort of player that gives attackers the confidence to try things they may otherwise be too scored to try. Speaking ahead of Belgium’s friendly game against Spain at the weekend the Belgian forward said, “He gives us confidence. We want to try to dribble and to pass the opponent because we know, even if we try but don’t pass the opponent, and if we lose the ball, then he is there behind us and he can take the ball”.

Hazard, who struggled along with the rest of the Chelsea squad during the last Premier League season, is getting back to his best form this time around. He has already scored two goals in three games for the Blues, demonstrating that Kante’s support in games is helping him to forget about his defensive duties and concentrate solely on his attacking duties.

Chelsea Forward Kennedy Joins Watford On Loan

Chelsea’s Brazilian forward Kennedy has joined the London club’s Southern rivals Watford on loan until the end of the season, the club has confirmed.

The youngster came through the youth ranks at Fluminense and is viewed as one Brazil’s hottest properties for the future. He was signed by José Mourinho for £6.7 million last August but struggled to nail down a starting place as the Portuguese manager cam under pressure. The Blues got off to their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s, eventually leading to the sacking of the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ in December of last year.

Mourinho was replaced by Guus Hiddink on an interim basis and the Dutchman placed a little more faith in the Brazilian. Between the two managers he notched up twenty appearances for Chelsea last term in all competitions, scoring his first goal for the club in a League Cup win over Walsall. He also got his name on the scoresheet against Norwich City in March. His goal against the Canaries came after a mere 39 seconds of play and was the fasted goal scored in the top-flight last season.

The Blues’ new head coach Antonio Conte has deemed the Brazil under-20 international to be surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, however, and has sanctioned his loan move to Watford to give him the chance to gain some more experience of life in the Premier League. Kennedy, who can play in the forward line or as a left-back, will be hoping to get his debut for the Hornets when top-flight football resumes on September the tenth. Watford go up against West Ham United, with the Hammers have suffered a stuttering start to the new campaign.

A statement on Watford’s official website said, “Watford FC is delighted to announce the signing of Chelsea’s Kenedy on a season-long loan. A versatile addition to Walter Mazzarri’s Premier League squad, the left-sided operator can play at full-back or in a more advanced midfield role”.

Patrick Bamford Swaps Stamford Bridge For Turf Moor On A Season-Long Loan

Patrick Bamford has left Chelsea to join Burnley on a season-long loan it has been confirmed.

Chelsea made a habit of signing young talent in the past and Bamford was brought in during this period. Signed for £1.5 million from Nottingham Forest in 2012, the striker had only played two first-team games at the time. Now 22-years-old, the forward is yet to play a first-team game for Chelsea since his decision to swap the City Ground for Stamford Bridge.

For the 2012-2013 season Bamford played for Milton Keynes Dons on loan, notching up eighteen goals in thirty-seven appearances. The following year he made twenty-one appearances for Derby County and scored eight goals. In 2014-2015 he lined up for Middlesbrough and was named the Championship Player of the Year as he went on to score seventeen goals in thirty-nine appearances.

Bamford spent the first part of the 2015-2016 season on loan at Crystal Palace, making six appearances, before moving to Norwich City for the second-half of the campaign. He appeared seven times for the Canaries and failed to register a single league goal with either team.

A graduate of Nottingham Forest’s Academy, Bamford is Burnley’s sixth major signing of the summer. They had already brought in Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Robbie Leitch, Jamie Thomas and Nick Pope when they signed Steven Defour for £8 million from Anderlecht two weeks ago. He will now hope he can resurrect his career with the Clarets under the tutelage of boss Sean Dyche, having been declared as surplus to requirements by Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte.

Chelsea’s Loic Remy Joins Palace On Loan

Chelsea striker Loic Remy has left Stamford Bridge in order to head to Selhurst Park and join Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace on a season-long loan, the club have confirmed.

The 29-year-old was signed for £10.5 million by José Mourinho in August of 2014. He was given a four year contract but failed to establish himself in the side of the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ during Chelsea’s double winning season of 2014-2015. He made 27 appearances in all competitions as the Blues went on to win the Premier League and League Cup. This was reduced to twenty appearances last season when Chelsea struggled to get any sort of momentum and Mourinho was eventually sacked.

Now he is re-uniting with Alan Pardew, a manager he worked with when he joined Newcastle United on loan during the 2013-2014 season. He scored fourteen goals that season and declared that the chance to work with Pardew again was a big part of the reason he chose Crystal Palace over other options. He said, “It was very important to know Alan Pardew as he is a very good manager and I am happy to be here”.

For his part, Pardew confirmed that he has been chasing the France international’s signature all summer. He said, “Loic has been a target of mine throughout this transfer window and I’m delighted the deal has been done. I brought him to Newcastle so I know what he is capable of and I am convinced he will be a quality addition to our squad as we evolve”.

The Crystal Palace manager believes that Remy’s experience will help the Eagles to re-find the form that they displayed under his management during the early stages of his time at the club. He said, “Loic has international and Champions League experience as well as being a Premier League title winner and is the latest example of the high calibre of players we have brought into the club during this transfer window”.

Remy has gained 31 caps for France so far in his career. His previous clubs include Lyon, Lens, Nice and Marseille. Though he failed to establish himself as a regular player under Mourinho in the 2014-2015 Premier League season he joins Palace with a personal honours list that includes two French Cups, a League Cup and a Premier League winners medal.

Chelsea 3-0 Burnley Match Report – 27th August 2016

Chelsea cruised to a comfortable win over Burnley as they kept up their 100% start to the season. Goals from Eden Hazard, Willian and Victor Moses gave them the most comprehensive win of Antonio Conte’s tenure. The Italian seemed delighted with the win, but that didn’t stop him from repeating his need for new signings after the game.

Conte switched back to his strongest team for this clash. He had rested several stars for the Bristol City game in midweek. There was no place for Michy Batshuayi, who had hit three goals in his last two games. The usual back four started behind N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic. Oscar started ahead of Cesc Fabregas, while Diego Costa was the lone striker.

It took just nine minutes for the Blues to get ahead here. Hazard picked the ball up deep and sensed an opportunity to attack. He eased towards goal with little resistance from the Clarets. The Belgian swept the ball home from outside the box and it was the type of goal he scored regularly in 2014/15. If he’s back to his Player of the Year form, he could fire his side back to the top.

Having put on a fantastic early show, Chelsea were 2-0 ahead before the break. Some great interchanging between the forwards had Burnley penned back in their own box. Willian picked the ball up and stepped into the penalty area and he somehow jinked free to fire off a shot in to the far bottom corner.

With the game basically won, Conte introduced Moses, Batshuayi and Pedro for Willian, Costa and Hazard. The Nigerian winger made the most of his cameo, as he slid in to score the third goal with just a minute to go. The former Crystal Palace man has been welcome back into the fold after two seasons out on loan, and he’s made an impression already.

The manager was full of praise for the performance after the game. “We created a lot of chances and kept a clean sheet – this is important because after 13 home games without a clean sheet this helps the confidence and shows the hard work is paying off.”

He also singled out Hazard for praise, with the Belgian looking close to his form from two seasons ago, “Eden Hazard must be this decisive in every game, and I am pleased because I saw it today, but we must work to improve more.”

Despite Hazard’s return to form, the former Juventus boss is still chasing signings. However, they’re cutting it fine with the deadline fast approaching, “We are working close together, the club and I, and we are trying to find the right solutions to improve this squad. We have four days to find this, but I am pleased to work with the squad I have.”

LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard

Hazard Is Back To His Best According To Alan Shearer

Former Newcastle and Blackburn Rovers striker Alan Shearer believes that Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is back to playing the best football of his career.

The ex-player is now a pundit on the BBC’s Match Of The Day show and knows a thing or two about watching good attacking football. He was impressed by Hazard’s performance in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Burnley at the weekend and believes that the Belgian is getting back to playing the sort of football that saw him crowned as the PFA Player Of The Year in 2015.

Hazard scored thirteen goals for the Blues during their title winning campaign of 2014-2015 and swiftly became one of the most important players of former boss José Mourinho’s team. He struggled for form at the start of the 2015-2016 campaign, however, and became the subject of hate for some Chelsea supporters as Mourinho came under pressure as manager.

Some sections of the fanbase felt that Hazard was not putting in maximum effort under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ and took against him when the Portuguese manager was sacked by the club’s owner Roman Abramovich in December last year. Hazard began to re-find his form towards the end of the campaign, however, as interim manager Guus Hiddink led the club to a tenth place finish in the Premier League.

Shearer feels that he’s taken that form through the European Championships and into this season, with his goal in the match against Burnley at the weekend combined with his general all-round display proof that he’s back to his best. He said, “We are seeing that guy from two years ago. The first thing manager Antonio Conte realised he had to do was get him on side. He knows he’s the match-winner”.

former Chelsea player Ruud Gullit agrees with Shearer’s opinion on the Belgian.The Dutchman, who won the FA Cup as the Blues’ player-manager in 1997, feels that the 25-year-old has re-found his impressive form under the new manager. He said, “This was Hazard at his best, when he’s facing players one-on-one. This is Hazard when he has fun. I don’t want him to chase back”.

Gullit is another ex-player who understands the importance of strong attacking football. He won the Ballon d’Or and was named Dutch Sportsman Of The Year in 1987, was Chelsea’s Player Of The Year in 1996 and also won the European Championships with Holland in 1988.

Gullit believes that the signing of N’Golo Kante from the defending Premier League champions Chelsea has given Hazard a new lease of life. Kante, who was brought in for around £30 million in July, is an out-and-out defensive midfielder. According to Gullit this means that Hazard can focus on what he’s best at – attacking.

The Dutchman even compared Kante to a former Chelsea midfielder. He said, “Kante is like Claude Makelele. He’s always there when you need himHazard doesn’t need to track back anymore”.

The Belgian only netted six times in all competitions last season, with just four goals coming in the Premier League. He’s already notched up half of that tally this season and he’s only played in three games. It has led his team-mate Branislav Ivanovic to declare that he could well be the difference as the Blues look to secure another title win, this time under the management of the former Italy national manager Antonio Conte.

Speaking to FourFourTwo magazine the defender said, “Eden Hazard is for many people one of the best players in the world…Everyone can be looking to Eden sometimes, including the last month. And in my opinion he is the player that can decide the league, everything – and every game we play”.

Hazard has joined up with his Belgian team-mates as they look to banish memories of their poor performance at the UEFA European Championships in France this summer. Though Hazard himself had a good tournament the Red Devils were knocked out of the competition by Wales at the quarter-final stage and it led to the sacking of the then manager Marc Wilmotts. Former Everton boss Roberto Martinez has come in to replace him, bringing former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry in as his assistant manager.

Ivanovic hopes that Hazard can learn a thing or two from the former Gunner and feels that Chelsea could well go on to do something special if the Belgian is back to his best. He said, “Everyone hopes we continue get his performances from two years ago and with that we can do incredible things”.

No Fall Out With Conte, Says Fabregas

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has denied that he’s had a falling out with the club’s new head coach Antonio Conte, with rumours emerging that the Italian would be willing to let the Spaniard leave the club before the transfer window slams shut on Wednesday night.

Fabregas, who arrived from Barcelona for a fee believed to be in the region of £30 million in 2014, has so far made 97 appearances for the Blues in all competitions. He has yet to start a Premier League game under Conte, however, begin an unused substitute in the club’s 2-1 win over West Ham on the opening day of the season as well as during this weekend’s 3-0 win over Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

The former Arsenal man did start the West London club’s 3-2 win over Bristol Rovers in the EFL Cup last week, having come off the bench to supply Diego Costa for the club’s winning goal against Watford a few days before. His return to the bench for the visit of Burnley, combined with the fact that he wasn’t used during the match, has led some pundits to speculate over his future under Conte.

The 29-year-old was quick to dismiss the rumours, however, taking to social media to re-affirm his commitment to the club and to ensure people realise that he has a good relationship with his new manager. Posting on his Instagram account, cescf4bregas, the midfielder wrote, “Contrary to what has been written, the manager and I have a good relationship and he has NEVER told me that I can leave. He said that he counts on me, as I count on him. I will continue to fight for this club until the very end and when called upon I will always give my very best. I’m fully committed to @chelseafc and my only goal is to help them win more trophies. #ChelseaFC”.

Whether the Spaniard’s message will put exit rumours to bed remains to be seen. The transfer window doesn’t close until 11pm on Wednesday night and Conte will still be hoping to make a few changes to his squad before then. So far he’s only made three signings. Michy Batshauyi arrived from Marseille for £33 million at the start of July and N’Golo Kante arrived from defending Premier League champions Leicester City for around £30 million later in the same month.

33-year-old Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo became the club’s third signing since Conte was installed as Chelsea’s first permanent manager since José Mourinho. An undisclosed fee was paid to Dinamo Zagreb for his signature and he signed a one-year contract with the West London club. That is unlikely to be enough for the Italian to feel as though he’s put his own mark on the starting XI and Fabregas could yet make way in order to fund moves for other players.

Having been capped by Spain over one hundred times, including games that helped his home nation to win the FIFA World Cup in 2010, Fabregas may well be sort after should the rumours be true that Conte has told him he’s surplus to requirements. He was used regularly by Mourinho in his first season at Stamford Bridge, with the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ considering him to be an integral part of his squad.

Whether Fabregas will still be at the club on Thursday remains to be seen. As an experienced player with belief in his own abilities, however, he may not be so keen to dismiss rumours linking him with a move away from Chelsea if he is not used more in between now and the transfer window re-opening in January.

Chelsea Sign Dinamo Zagreb Goalkeeper

Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte has made his third signing of the transfer window with the capture of Eduardo from the champions of Croatia for an undisclosed fee.

The Blues have so far only been able to make two signings, despite the Italian manager hoping to bring in more new faces to bolster the ranks at Stamford Bridge. Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante have been signed from Marseille and defending Premier League champions Leicester City respectively for combined fees of more than £60 million.

Now 33-year-old Portuguese international Eduardo has also arrived, offering some competition to the Blues’ current goalkeepers. Thibaut Courtois is Chelsea’s first-choice shot-stopper and Asmir Begovic is the club’s number two, but Eduardo is not coming to West London merely to make up the numbers. He told the club’s official website that he intends to fight for his place in the side, “I respect all the choices but I would be saying it wrong if I wasn’t saying I will do my best to get my opportunity and fight every day for it. That is the way we should be – have respect for everybody and fight for a place. That is what professionals do”.

The experienced shot-stopper already knows some faces at Stamford Bridge, having played with the club’s combustible striker Diego Costa during his days at Braga. The goalkeeper confirmed that the forward maybe a little bit older but he’s still the hungry player that he was when he was a kid. He said, “Of course he has developed a lot but his way of playing, he was always the same. He fought for every ball, he wanted to win and if there was a ball you let go he was always there. Now he is a big player with a big talent but I see him out there and he reminds me a little of our past when we were kids. His personality and the way he plays the game was already there. Of course at that age it was impossible to predict what you are going to achieve but he was talented and fortunately for him he is now on this level and he can develop more and more”.

Eduardo also worked with the club’s goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli when he was at Genoa and praised him for the help he gave him in developing his game. He said, “He is a tremendous coach. He always looks for new ways of training and learning and he is very concerned about the goalkeepers not just professionally but personally. He helped me a lot at Genoa and we have been friends since then, so it is a privilege to work with him and earn his trust”.

Eduardo isn’t the first player from Portugal to line-up for the Blues and he said that conversations with international team-mates who know Chelsea from their past helped to sway his decision. He said, “I still play with Ricardo Carvalho in the national team and he and Paulo Ferreira proved the talent they have when they were here. They are fantastic people and examples in Portugal. Of course I know Hilario. I saw him play in Portugal and we were colleagues in the national team and I know him personally. He is a fantastic person. He is an example for me and when we talked he said coming to Chelsea was a good opportunity for me. I spoke to the Portuguese who played here and they all say the same, it was an amazing experience and the opportunity to come here was a great moment in their careers”.

The 33-year-old was part of the Portuguese team that won the European Championships in France this summer and claims that the victory has given him a new lease of life as a player. He said, “They are moments of happiness and that is the best feeling so I am very happy with what happened. It was a brilliant moment in my life and career but I hope it won’t stop. I hope we will achieve even more”.

AC Milan Reject ‘Significant Bid’ From Chelsea For Romagnoli

Italian club AC Milan have released a statement on their website and Twitter confirming that they have rejected a ‘significant bid’ from Chelsea for their 21-year-old defender Alessio Romagnoli, re-affirming that the player is not for sale.

Earlier in the week the Blues reportedly offered £30 million for the centre-back, an offer that was quickly rejected by the Rossoneri. The youngster only arrived from Roma last summer in a deal believed to be around £21.25 million.

Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte is determined to add to his Chelsea team, having only brought in two signings so far. Despite spending over £60 million on transfers the former Italy national manager has only signed Michy Bashuayi from Marseille and N’Golo Kante from defending Premier League champions Leicester City.

That is the context in which the Italian have the go-ahead for an improved £35 million offer for the Italy Under-21 international. He made his debut in Serie A as a seventeen year old and has so far made 77 appearances for Sampdoria, Milan and Roma. AC were quick to rebuff the London club’s advances, however, stating on their website, “The player is not for sale, therefore this negotiation will not continue”.

Milan’s directors have declared that the player is unsellable, with the club’s Twitter account sending a message to its followers saying, “#ACMilan has received a significant offer for its player Alessio Romagnoli from @ChelseaFC, but the player is not for sale”.

The youngster made 34 appearances for AC last season and some members of the Italian press have compared him to Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta. It is unclear whether the Milanese club are definitely unlikely to sell the defender, however, or whether some of this is part of the bargaining process. After all, Chelsea’s bid was only increased with add-ons rather than being an increased cash offer.

Antonio Conte is looking to strengthen his backline owing to the ageing nature of some of his main players, such as John Terry, as well as the long-term knee injury suffered by Kurt Zouma. In the aftermath of Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Watford at the weekend the manager said, “If you look now at our squad, we have only five defenders – four that started today and an academy player Ola Aina. Ola is very good – he has great potential – but with any young player you must work to put them in the first team. Sure, he has a good future. If one defender is injured or banned, then we are in trouble, but the club and me we know this and we are talking every day to improve the squad”.

It’s believed that Conte turned his attention to Romagnoli after the Blues had a £38 million bid for Kalidou Koulibaly turned down by Napoli towards the end of last month. Now he has just six days to find a suitable addition to his backline before the transfer window slams shut.

Moses Hopeful His EFL Cup Goal Will Save His Chelsea Career

Chelsea forward Victor Moses is hopeful that the goal that he scored against Bristol Rovers in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night will bring him to the attention of the club’s new head coach Antonio Conte and revive his flagging career with the Blues.

The Nigerian forward impressed during his first season at Stamford Bridge, making 43 appearances in all competitions and scoring ten goals. He was marginalised when José Mourinho returned to the club, however, spending loan spells firstly at Liverpool before then going to Stoke and West Ham United.

Signed from Wigan for £9 million in 2012, Moses never hit it off with the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ but is hoping that he will be able to impress former Italy national coach Conte enough to be considered for a regular starting berth. The Italian’s faith in the 25-year-old was rewarded with the second goal in Chelsea’s tense 3-2 win over Rovers in the EFL Cup, his first goal for the club since 2013.

Now Moses believes that it’s important he pushes on and makes sure the manager is aware of his talents. After the game he said, “I was excited to get on the scoresheet, it was important for me as well as for the team. I’ve always believed in the ability and the talent I’ve got and I’d like the fans to know there’s still a lot to come from me”.

The forward feels that he will benefit from Conte coming in and giving everyone a clean slate. Despite having performed well in previous pre-seasons he didn’t feel he got a fair crack of the whip with Mourinho in the hot seat but reckons that the former Juventus player and manager is giving everyone a chance. He said, “We’ve got a great manager here who gives the lads a chance to express themselves. I’m pleased to be playing this season and I just want to keep working hard. Every pre-season I feel I’ve done well and it’s just about being given a chance. That was the thing that was missing. I’ve got that with this manager now”.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek echoed Moses’ thoughts about everyone feeling more confident under the new manager. Despite not having European football this season the youngster, who impressed against Rovers out of position just behind the main striker, believes that cups are still on offer for the Blues. He said, “There is no Champions League this season but we want to win trophies. We can concentrate on the Premier League and the cups as well. It’s a minus not being in the Champions League but it is a plus in a way that we can focus on these two cups”.

For Moses, though, the chance to impress at his parent club is of paramount importance. He said, “The most important thing for me was coming back to my main club. After all the loans I want to be here and help the club I belong to go as high as we can in the table…There’s still a lot to come from me for the club. There’s still a lot I want to do for the club…I want to do the right thing and also to enjoy myself on the pitch. I just want to keep on going. Now I’m here I’m happy and I just want to keep on enjoying myself. As long as we are winning games I’m happy.