David Moyes and Manchester United have apparently confirmed they are ready to make Southampton left back Luke Shaw the most expensive teenager in the English game. Shaw has made a huge name for himself playing up and down the left flank for the Saints which deservedly honoured him his first England cap in a recent 1-0 victory over Denmark at Wembley.
The search for a gifted left back is a difficult position to fill, with Manchester United looking for a long term replacement for the aging Patrice Evra. Chelsea are also said to be on the hunt to replace Ashley Cole, whose game time has been limited this season.
Further interest has seen Tottenham Hotspur making enquiries but it seems the tussle for the south-west London born teen may be too hot for the Lilywhites to handle.
Preview: Spurs hoping to end 24 year winless streak at Stamford Bridge
Last time Spurs emerged victorious in an away encounter against Chelsea was back in 1990 when a late goal from Gary Lineker earned the North London side all three points against the Blues.
Tottenham have since then failed to get the better of their London counterparts and Tim Sherwood will become the latest manager to try to bring an end to this disruptive streak. However Jose Mourinho’s home record has been impeccable and it will only take a sublime performance from Sherwood’s men to get anything out of the match.
Preview: Can Mourinho’s attackers break down Magath’s Fulham?
Felix Magath was only a few minutes away from seeing his side earn three points in the previous weekend. Nonetheless, he took a point from that match and he will perhaps be satisfied with the outcome. Magath has demanded at least six wins from his team in the remainder of the campaign. This is surely not one of the matches he looked at when he was trying to plot the wins he feels the side needs.
Fulham will be without the services of Kostas Mitroglu, Fernando Amorebieta and Damien Duff. Matthew Briggs’ availability is doubtful. Chelsea will be without Marco Van Ginkel. David Luiz is a slight doubt. Chelsea will be coming into this one on the back of a rather uninspiring (at least as far as the second half is concerned) performance against Galatasaray in midweek in the Champions League. Magath knows that Chelsea will be tired. He coached plenty of Champions League sides and he reminded the press of his experiences, according to Sky Sports:
Preview: Drogba set to face former team for the first time
Having spent eight glorious years at Stamford Bridge the Ivory Coast international will now go against his former club for the first time. The 35 year old has established a legendary status at the Stamford Bridge having amassed an impressive 157 goals in 341 appearances for the Blues. His farewell to the club was nothing less than a fairy tale with Drogba winning the Champions League for Chelsea with his last touch after he scored the winning penalty in the final against Bayern Munich.
Preview: Can Everton win once again against Chelsea?
A goal in the middle of the match by Steven Naismith saw Chelsea succumb to an excellent Everton side earlier in the season. Everton has produced against the teams ahead of them in the table this season, barring the recent loss to Liverpool of course. However, they have been off form as of late, if a win against Swansea in the FA Cup is excluded. A 1-0 loss to Spurs relegated them to sixth and pushed them behind fourth placed Liverpool by eight points.
Table topping Chelsea is the last side to remain unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season. Personally, Jose Mourinho has gone 73 home games unbeaten in the English Premier League. As manager of Chelsea he has never lost a home game. He will welcome John Terry back into the team but David Luiz is set to miss out due to a muscle problem. Marco Van Ginkel is also still out.
Preview: City looking for revenge against league leaders
Mourinho outsmarted his Chilean counterpart last time the two sides met as Chelsea raced to a 1-0 victory over Man City and thus becoming the only English side to beat the Citizens at their own backyard this season. Now the Blues will look forward to achieving the feat for the second time within a span of a month as the two sides lock horns at the Etihad once again.
It took a ferocious strike from Branislav Ivanovic to clinch all three points for the Blues as the Serbian full back scored the only goal of the match.
Preview: Chelsea hoping to extend lead at the top
With Arsenal set to be involved in another difficult fixture as they go against defending champions Manchester United, Mourinho and Chelsea will be hoping to take advantage by further extending their lead at the top. With both the second and the third team in the Barclays Premier League set to play on Wednesday, a victory tonight could see the Blues distance themselves from their title rivals by four to five points.
Last time out a rampant Chelsea side scored an impressive victory over Newcastle United subjecting the magpies to a 3-0 defeat. The victory at Stamford Bridge came a week after Chelsea became the only English club this season to defeat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The standout performer during that night was Belgian star Eden Hazard who followed his impressive showing against the Citizens with a hat trick against Newcastle.
A beating at the hands of Liverpool might just be the start of the end of what promised to be a successful season for the Gunners, one which would bring an end to their barren trophy less run. 24 matches into the season Wenger’s cavalry looked strong, the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny had not lost a single match for over a year and looked defiant to keep their record intact.
Within 20 minutes of their 25th league match of the season, the Arsenal side seemed a mere fraction of the team they had been all season long as the Reds steamrolled them scoring four goals in quick succession.
Preview: Little Horse, Big Horse, Rich Horse
Jose Mourinho is either very superstitious or he simply likes to play mind games. His declaration that Chelsea is only a little horse in the title race left everyone amused.
“The title race is between two horses and a little horse that needs milk and needs to learn how to jump.” (BBC)
He indicated that Arsenal, a team that has not won a title for almost a decade now, and Manchester City, a team that his side beat using superior tactics, are the big horses. Manuel Pellegrini seems to have found Jose’s comments laughable and reminded Jose about the unlimited funds available to him according to the Guardian.
Preview: Title race mission at the Etihad
This match is of great importance for three sets of fans in particular. Supporters of the two teams involved – Man City and Chelsea – are not the only ones that will be on the edge of their seats all night. Gooners will also follow proceedings at the Etihad very closely, since Arsenal’s status as English Premier League leaders is under threat.
The Gunners returned to the summit thanks to their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday but the Citizens will leapfrog them at the end of Matchday 24 should they defeat the Blues. As it stands, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are sandwiched between Arsenal and upcoming opponents Chelsea.
Preview: Can Chelsea overtake London rivals Arsenal in the table?
If Manchester City fails to beat Tottenham and Chelsea wins their match by a margin of two goals, the Blues will find themselves heading the Barclays Premier League tomorrow. Standing in front of them will be Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United. Most perhaps feel that West Ham do not have a chance against Chelsea. However, Spurs has already won one London derby this season when they beat Tottenham.
Winston Reid is not match fit while Mohamed Diame and Joe Cole are both doubtful for this one for West Ham. Andy Carroll is finally fit enough to feature for West Ham and might do so against Jose Mourinho’s side. Marco Van Ginkel and Fernando Torres are out for Chelsea. Allardyce knows about the challenge ahead of him and his side but is not ready to surrender just yet according to Sky Sports.
Preview: Stoke looking to get the better of Chelsea again
Juan Mata’s imminent departure to fellow Premier League club Manchester United has grabbed all the media attention, but Chelsea will be hoping to keep that at the back of their mind when they face Stoke in a FA Cup encounter.
The Potters scored a 3-2 victory over the Blues last time the two sides met earlier in the season. An injury time winner from Liverpool loanee Oussama Assaidi gave Stoke all three points who will be fancying their chances when they visit the Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
FC Basel manager, Murat Yakin must be given a lot of credit for discovering the talent of a player who would now become the latest addition to the English Premier League. 20-year-old Mohamed Salah was impressing with Egyptian Premier League side El Mokawloon and it was the former Swiss international who unearthed this gem of a player who in the 2012 CAF Awards, was named African football’s Most Promising Talent.
Given just a seven day trial with the Swiss giants, Salah had done enough to convince of his talents and secure a professional contract with the Swiss giants.
Now, the youngster is again on the move. This time, he is moving to London to don the colors of Chelsea who are going to pay around 13 million pounds for his services.
Juan Mata is on the verge of securing a move to Old Trafford in an agreement that leaves all parties involved happy but could have some dire consequences for the Blues in the long term. The Spain international has been Chelsea’s Player of the Year in the last two years but the second coming of Jose Mourinho changed his role to a luxury on the bench the Portuguese was never so keen on utilizing often.
During his two-year sojourn in London, Mata became a fan favorite and played an instrumental role in helping Chelsea win their first Champions League title and then last season, rallied them to a Europa League triumph.
After a lot of rejections and failures, it appears that David Moyes will finally be able to get his hands on a player who he feels will have enough about him to turn around the fortunes of a club the Scot inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson last year.
With continuing their reign as the champions of England out of the question, the most pressing matter for Manchester United is now to go for a top four finish which seems to be a very tough ask considering the form of the teams above them.
However, the club has got to try but with the players their manager has at his disposal, it might not happen.
Preview: The Special One vs the Chosen One
Arsenal and Manchester City’s unstoppable form means that Chelsea remain under pressure to grind results. The Blues had a shaky start in the Premier League but they could now bag their fifth consecutive win. Since their shocking 2-0 loss away to Newcastle United in November 2013, they have also won eight out of 11 EPL matches.
Eden Hazard has netted nine league goals. Having been widely tipped to achieve Cristiano Ronaldo’s status at the highest level, the young Belgian star is expected to make more noise in the media by stealing the show at Stamford Bridge.
Three years back, Serbian international, Nemanja Matic was transferred to Portuguese giants Benfica along with 24 million euros in a swap deal for David Luiz. Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho had already identified central midfield as an area that needed some strengthening following the long-term injury to Marco van Ginkel.
The Portuguese tactician was desperate to have an imposing presence in the middle for his team and Nemanja Matic, at 6ft 4inch fits the profile perfectly.
The Serb is likely to pair up with Ramires in the centre of the midfield which will give the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian freedom to express themselves more on the field.
Preview: Hull hoping to maintain fine home record
The Tigers have conceded just six goals at home in the league this season, the same number of goals Arsenal have conceded at the Emirates and Manchester City at the Etihad. The newly promoted side have lost just twice in the ten matches they have played at their own turf and manager Jose Mourinho will have to come with a plan if he wants to get anything out of the match.
However the Portuguese is one of the most astute managers in the world of football right now and knows how to get the best out of his players in any given situation.
Preview: Easy win expected for Jose Mourinho’s side
The Portuguese tactician won the FA cup with Chelsea in his last full season with the Blues during his first stint at the Stamford Bridge. After 90 minutes without a goal, Didier Drogba scored in injury time to allow Chelsea to lift the trophy at the expense of Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
The FA Cup victory in 2007 meant that Jose Mourinho had won all domestic titles within his vicinity, however the celebration was short lived with the Portuguese leaving the club by mutual consent in September the same year. Upon his second coming the ‘special one’ will be hoping to continue where he left from and win the illustrious tournament for the second time.
Preview: Can Chelsea continue winning with underperforming strikers?
Samuel Eto’o’s strike against Liverpool which turned out to be the winner was a welcome one for Chelsea. This is because Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and the Ivorian have scored only six goals together. Luis Suarez has alone grabbed 19 while Sergio Aguero has blasted past the keeper 13 times.
At least, they are not injured. Arsenal has relied on one striker throughout the season and he is injured for the upcoming clash against Cardiff. Marco Van Ginkel and Ryan Bertrand will miss out due to injuries for Chelsea while David Luiz is suspended. Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard both picked up knocks against Liverpool and are doubtful.