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Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’

A bit of a hullabaloo has broken out at Chelsea over a potential move by Diego Costa to China. According to reports circulating in the media (see e.g. here), the Chelsea striker has been offered some £30 million a year (about 34 million euros) to go and play for Tianjin Quanjian (no, I’ve never heard of them either). Already, the highest paid footballer in the World, Carlos Tevez, is playing in China. Clearly, China want to attract some of the World’s best football talent by paying them huge sums of money.

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Rumours are circulating that Diego Costa has been offered £30 million a year to move to play in China, leading to his falling out with Chelsea coach Antonio Conte.

Despite whatever problems are going on between Costa and Conti (it sounds like a double-act), Chelsea are still continuing to play sublimely under Conti. They beat Leicester City, the defending champions, 3-0 on Saturday, and are now sitting 7 points clear at the top of the Premier League. Manchester City continue their bad run of form; on Sunday they fell apart and were thrashed 4-0 by Everton. Liverpool and Manchester United both did Chelsea a favour by battling to a 1-1 draw. So, one has to ask, do Chelsea even need Costa to stay? If Conti feels not, he’ll be on his way to China sooner rather than later. 

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Yesterday (Sunday 23 October) former Chelsea manager José Mourinho made his first return to Stamford Bridge since he was sacked last December. His Manchester United team were thrashed 4-0 by a rampant Chelsea, with the first goal being scored after only 30 seconds.

By half time Chelsea were 2-0 up, and by 62 minutes it was 3-0. Mourinho’s humiliation was complete when Chelsea made it 4-0 in the 71st minute. The win takes Chelsea up to 4th place in the table, just one point behind leaders Manchester City. Manchester United stay in 7th place.

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José Mourinho’s Manchester United were thrashed on his first return to Stamford Bridge since being sacked by Chelsea last December.

Manchester City have not registered a win in a month, after flying out of the blocks in their first 6 games they have hit a speed bump. Arsenal and Liverpool are equal with them on points, leaving the title wide open with a quarter of the season gone. It is all to play for!

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The rumours seem to have been true. José Mourinho is going to be at Old Trafford next year. Or, at least, that is what the BBC is saying. But both Manchester United and José Mourinho are, so far, refusing to confirm what now seems inevitable.

 

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José Mourinho looks set to replace Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United, although no official announcement has yet been made.

 

As a number of people have been saying with tongue in cheek, what could possibly go wrong?! We shall see, but having the special one back in the English Premier League certainly adds to the entertainment value; his press conferences are usually great listening. His success will be determined by whether he can return Man U to their former glory, particularly in the Premier League and the Champions League.

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Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, Chelsea played Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup. They thrashed a below-strength Man City 5-1, and so still have a chance to win some silverware this season. Quite a turn around after a disasterous start to their season, which saw José Mourinho sacked after players mutinied against him. 

 

It will be interesting to see whether there are any complaints or investigations into Manuel Pelligrini’s decision to field an under-strength team for this FA Cup clash. Certainly the Premiership takes a very dim view of such things, but maybe the FA accepts that the FA Cup is not a top team’s priority these days. 

Man City, of course, have their sights set on winning the Premiership and progressing in the Champions League. And, with Pep Guardiola set to replace Pelligrini in the summer, it is likely that they are a team which has a golden few years to come. Chelsea, meanwhile, have very little chance of finishing in the top four, so winning the FA Cup can provide some joy at the end of a tempestuous season. 

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Chelsea beat title rivals Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad last night to go even on points, and end Man City’s 100 percent home record. As of last night, Arsenal are top of the English Premier League on 55 points, Man City are 2nd on 53 points, and Chelsea are 3rd, also on 53 points but with an inferior goal difference to Man City.

Prior to last night’s game, Man City had won 11 games from 11 at home in the English Premiership, which included home victories against Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Spurs. In fact, all the top clubs bar Chelsea. But Mourinho’s men held on for a well deserved 1-0 victory after going ahead from a goal by Serbian defender Branislav Ivanović in the 33rd minute. to lay down an important marker against the team Chelsea’s manager sees as the side most likely to win this year’s title.



Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad last night, ending Man City's 100% home record.

Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad last night, ending Man City’s 100% home record.



Had Man City retained their 100% home record they would have gone back to the top of the Premiership, leapfrogging Arsenal who have been top for most of the season. But, Chelsea’s victory now leaves the title wide open between the top 3 teams. Mourinho insists he is not expecting to win the EPL in his first year back at Stamford Bridge, but I suspect this is as much mind games as anything else.

The result is also important for the FA Cup 5th round, with Chelsea having drawn Man City at the Etihad, as I mentioned here. That fixture is in less than two weeks’ time, and last night’s victory should still be fresh in both teams’ minds when they take the field. Before then, both Chelsea and Man City have what appear on paper to be relatively easy EPL games. Chelsea have Newcastle at home and then West Bromwich Albion away, whereas Man City have Norwich away and then Sunderland at home.

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***WARNING – THIS BLOG CONTAINS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE***

When is calling someone a “fucking black cunt” not a racial insult?

Apparently, when your name is John Terry, current Chelsea captain and ex-captain of England. In what I find to be an extraordinary decision by Justice Howard Riddle, yesterday (Friday the 13th of July) John Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers.



The headlines from Saturday’s Guardian newspaper.



The incident that led to the trial took place during a football match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers in October of 2011. There was some “banter” (insulting) going on between Terry and Ferdinand and, by Terry’s own admission in court, he said to Ferdinand “fuck off, fuck off … fucking black cunt. Fucking knobhead”. Except, according to Terry and his legal team, he did not say “fucking black cunt”, but said “fucking black cunt?”.

The question mark apparently makes all the difference!

Terry’s defence was that he was questioning Ferdinand, because he thought Ferdinand had called him a racist. The judicial magistrate Justice Howard Riddle said he did not believe Terry’s account to be credible, and yet he still found him not guilty of racial abuse! Mr. Justice Riddle said

Mr. Terry’s explanation is, certainly under the cold light of forensic examination, unlikely.

The words Terry had used were caught on TV, and so Terry could hardly deny saying them. A team of lip readers had pored over the footage so there was no doubt what words were used. What was in doubt, and this is where Terry’s expensive team of legal experts saw their chance, was the tone with which Terry said the words. This cannot be determined from lip reading, so Terry’s defence was that he was saying the words as a question.

John Terry caught on TV calling Anton Ferdinand a “fucking black cunt”.

As David Conn, writing in today (Saturday’s) Guardian newspaper wrote, Justice Riddle summed up his position thus:

Ultimately there was not sufficient proof, Riddle judged, to decide by the standard to which all British citizens are entitled, beyond reasonable doubt, that Terry said “fucking black cunt” as an insult. “In those circumstances, there being a doubt, the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty.”

Since this extraordinary judgement, many commentators feel it has set the cause of eradicating racism from football and sport back at least 10 years. It also makes me feel that there is one rule for the John Terrys of this World, and another for the rest of us. If any normal person referred to a work colleague or a client as a “fucking cunt” or a “fucking black cunt” we would be dismissed.

I can only hope that the Football Association act with boldness and give Terry either a permanent ban (unlikely) or a long ban from playing. I also hope he gets a very substantial fine, but for someone earning £140,000 a week, I cannot see how any fine could dent his bank balance

I feel this is a really sad day for football, and a really sad day for the English legal system.

The full judgement can be read by following this link :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/interactive/2012/jul/13/john-terry-trial-full-judgment?intcmp=239

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Tomorrow (Saturday), my team Chelsea are playing in the UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich (Bayern Munchen). The annual Champions League final is the biggest game in football next to the World Cup Final. For the team who wins, it represents a bonus of some £50 million in increased revenue.

For English teams, if they finish in the top 4 of the domestic English Premiership, they qualify for the following season’s Champions League, a huge fillip to their revenues. This season (20011-12), Chelsea have failed to finish in the top 4, for the first time in quite a few years. However, should they win the final tomorrow, they will be allowed to defend their title next season, meaning Tottenham Hotspur, who finished 4th in the Premiership, will not qualify. Needles to say, Spurs fans are willing Bayern Munich to beat Chelsea.

The final standings in the English Premiership (2011-12 season)

Why do I, someone who grew up in Pembrokeshire, support an English club based in London? It’s all because Chelsea happened to win the 1970 FA Cup final, which was the first one I remember.

Chelsea Football Club

Within a few months of this win, my parents had bought me a Chelsea football kit, which I used to wear when I played my “fantasy” games outside in the back garden. My heroes of the 1970s team were Peter Bonetti, the Chelsea goalkeeper, and Peter Osgood, the centre forward. This might indicate my schizophrenia over my preferred footballing position, sometimes I wanted to be a goalkeeper and sometimes I wanted to be the one scoring the goals!

Chelsea didn’t enjoy a huge amount of success between 1970 and 2003, but that all changed when the club was bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abromovich. In addition to spending hundreds of millions of pounds on new players, he brought in José Mourinho, the manager who had taken Porto to the Champions League title in 2004. Under Mourinho, Chelsea enjoyed their most successful period in their history, winning the Premiership back-to-back in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, the FA Cup in 2007 and the League Cup in 2005 and 2007. Mourinho left under suspicious circumstances in September 2007, and since then Chelsea have not kept a manager for more than 1 season. This season started with André Villas-Boas as the new coach, but he was sacked in March of this year, to be replaced by the “interim” coach Roberto Di Matteo. The switch of manager seems to have turned Chelsea’s season around, they went on to win this season’s FA Cup, beating Liverpool in the final, and have made their way to the final of the Champions League, the biggest prize in club football.

Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who bought Chelsea F.C. in June 2003

This is the second time Chelsea have reached the final, they lost to Manchester United 6-5 on penalties in 2008. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can win it this time around, I will be glued to the TV tomorrow evening, hoping all the money Abramovich has spent in the last 10 years can finally see Chelsea claim the ultimate prize.

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