Previews

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS STOKE

Stoke City are Chelsea’s final opponents of 2017, which has been another great year for the football club. Mark Hughes’ side has really struggled this season, which is unusual for a side that has constantly managed mid-table finishes since establishing themselves in the Premier League. The Potters face even more woes this weekend, having to deal with injuries to captain Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson and Bruno Martins Indi. Chelsea’s on-loan defender Kurt Zouma is also not eligible to play against his parent club. That should encourage Chelsea, who have won 14 of 19 Premier League games against Stoke and are now breathing down Manchester United’s neck in second place. Andreas Christensen should be back after missing the Brighton game through illness, meaning Antonio Conte will have a full squad to pick from, except for David Luiz, who is still recovering from a knee injury. An incredible…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS BRIGHTON

Chelsea face Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing day, a league fixture that last occurred all the way back in 1989, when the Blues won 1-0 in the old Division Two. The Seagulls currently sit in 12th place, six points above the relegation zone, and while they recently recorded a win against Watford, their run beforehand wasn’t great. They’ve only scored 15 goals all season, which is one of the worst record of any team this season, and you really struggle to find a real goalscorer in their team. All of that doesn’t matter, though, if Chelsea don’t take their chances, which once again was the case at Goodison Park. The Blues should have comfortably swept the Toffees aside, but poor finishing meant we only took a point back to London. That will hopefully change with the return of Alvaro Morata on Tuesday, who served a…

PREVIEW: EVERTON VS CHELSEA

Following last night’s draw at the Emirates, Chelsea have a great chance to open up a gap between themselves and the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal in the race for the Top 4. Chelsea face Everton for the third time already this season – a third time under a different manager – and with Sam Allardyce now in charge, the game on Saturday is bound to be a tough one. The former England manager has beaten Chelsea in his last two encounters and is known for his ’19th century football’, as Jose Mourinho once famously called it. While his teams don’t care too much about possession and attacking play, it is all about shutting up shop at the back. That could become a real problem for Chelsea, who have struggled to take their chances in recent weeks. In a game where clear cut opportunities will be…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS SOUTHAMPTON

With Manchester City now 14 points clear, all that realistically remains for Chelsea in the league this season is a fight for second place. A good response against Huddersfield in midweek lifted the mood amongst supporters after what can only be described as a shock defeat at West Ham, but one the Blues deserved. Southampton on the other hand were smashed 4-1 by Leicester, which reflects their disappointing league form this season. The team that excited neutrals only one or two seasons ago currently sit in 11th place, having only recorded four wins all season. It hasn’t really clicked for the Saints ever since Ronald Koeman left the club in 2016, when he joined Everton during the summer – a move he must now deeply regret. Not all is bad at Southampton, however, and with players such as former Blue Ryan Bertrand, Sofiane Boufal or Charlie Austin,…

PREVIEW: WEST HAM VS CHELSEA

A London derby awaits Chelsea on Saturday as they travel to Stratford to face West Ham United. On paper, this looks like another easy win for Chelsea, with West Ham sitting in 19th place, having recently sacked Slaven Bilic and only winning two matches all season. Just over a month ago, the same things were said prior to our game at Crystal Palace – and we all know how that went. Derby matches are always different and you always have to expect an upset. West Ham can play football if they want, which they showed towards the end of last season, when they effectively ended Spurs’ title hopes. Chelsea will once again be without Danny Drinkwater and David Luiz on Saturday, with both players picking up fresh injuries in training. For West Ham, Chicharito returned to full training this week and could play a part against…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS ATLÉTICO MADRID

Chelsea are aiming to finish top of their group with a win against Atlético Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. The away fixture in Madrid produced one of the club’s greatest ever European performances, but last the Spaniards know they need a win if they still want to qualify for the knockout round – and even then they will need Qarabag to beat AS Roma in the other fixture. Antonio Conte knows how crucial it is to top your group and avoid one of the big hitters in the next round, so he will have his side well-prepared and focused, despite already qualifying. That is also why it is very unlikely he will rest any key players, with Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Andreas Christensen all coming off with 10-15 minutes to go against Newcastle on Saturday. It beggars belief that Atlético, one of the…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS NEWCASTLE

Following a 1-0 win against Swansea, another home league game awaits Chelsea as Newcastle and former manager Rafael Benitez visit Stamford Bridge in the early kick-off on Saturday. With Manchester City looking unstoppable right now, it is crucial Chelsea put pressure on Manchester United in second place, and a win against Newcastle would do just that. The Magpies have been struggling lately, losing four and drawing one out of their last five games. With owner Mike Ashley looking to sell the club, Newcastle fans will be hoping they can finally move on from constant turmoil at the club and put themselves back amongst England’s best. Chelsea missed Eden Hazard a lot when he was rested in midweek, and with the Belgium likely to return to the starting XI, he will give a poor Newcastle defence plenty to worry about. Alvaro Morata was really unlucky not to…

PREVIEW: CHELSEA VS SWANSEA

The busy schedule continues for Chelsea as they prepare for a visit from Swansea City on Wednesday night. Following a tough game at Anfield on Saturday, the Blues have a very winnable run of fixtures between now and the New Year, making this a crucial period if they are to make up ground on Manchester City. Antonio Conte already indicated in his press conference on Tuesday that he would be making a handful of changes to his side, with squad depth playing a huge part during this part of the season. Swansea manager Paul Clement might be resting players for other reasons. His side has a crucial match against Bournemouth this weekend, and with the Swans desperately needing points, he is likely to prioritise that game instead. Their best player, Tammy Abraham, is also not eligible to play, as he is on loan from Chelsea this…

OPPOSITION VIEW: LIVERPOOL VS CHELSEA

After two impressive results against Manchester United and West Brom, Chelsea face another tough game on Saturday as they prepare to face Liverpool at Anfield. While the Blues comfortably beat Qarabag 4-0 in midweek, the Merseyside club crumbled in the second half against Sevilla, letting a 3-0 lead slip in the final minute of the game. This weekend’s clash is well poised, with both teams in fine form in the Premier League and just three points separating the clubs. Chelsea haven’t lost at Anfield since 2012 – a 4-1 defeat days before the Champions League final – but face a much tougher opposition than in previous seasons. Oliver Bond (@Oliver__Bond), founder of Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ), a multi award winning Liverpool blog, kindly gave us his thoughts on the season so far, Mohamed Salah, defensive issues and the game on Saturday. Chelsea HQ: First of all, what have…

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