Antonio Conte doubts Chelsea will have advantage over Barcelona

Antonio Conte

 

Antonio Conte says Chelsea’s Friday night fixture will not have an advantage in the Champions League game because they will also be playing against tough competitors between the two legs against Barcelona.

Conte will play against Manchester United on February 25 and will be followed by a game against Manchester City on March 4.

“I think to play of Friday is good for us,” Conte said.

“Three days to try and prepare the game against Barcelona.

“At the same time, between these fames, we have two strong games in the league: Manchester United and Manchester City, both away.

“If we were lucky to play on Friday, we were very unlucky to have this schedule between the two Barcelona games.

“This schedule is not very interesting for us. Maybe it is for someone else. I hope for no replay (against Hull). We had one against Norwich, but I hope to try and win this game and go through without a replay.”

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte credits Olivier Giroud after win against West Brom

Olivier Giroud

 

After a series of disappointing losses, Chelsea beat West Brom 3-0 and Olivier Giroud was deservingly praised for his great play.

Eden Hazard was the star performer of the game, but Antonio Conte showered praised on new signee Giroud who also made a sensational fulltime debut for his side.

Chelsea made three points from their game against West Brom with the help of Hazard and Victor Moses. The victory also eased pressure on Conte who had a series of unfortunate losses against Watford and Bournemouth.

“We must be pleased for Giroud’s performance. It was the first time he has played from the start for us.”

“Giroud is coming back from a muscular problem so it’s important he goes into our idea of football, into the right position. The first goal was a clear example of our idea.”

Hazard was still the man of the match as he was able to score in the 25th minute from Giroud’s pass and scored again in the 71st minute when he capitalized on a ball from Morata before curling it past the goalkeeper.

Eden Hazard named the Best Belgian player in a Foreign League for 2017

Eden Hazard

 

Eden Hazard from Chelsea was named the Best Belgian player in a Foreign League for 2017, edging Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City and Dries Mertens from Napoli.

Hazard defeat De Bruyne by 11 votes with 326 while Mertens was 56 voted behind.

De Bruyne had won the award for the past two years and even topped the second round of voting while Mertens won the first round.

But this was not enough to upstage Hazard at the gala ceremony on Wednesday in Belgium where he received the most points for his maiden honour in his home country.

“My first prize in Belgium and certainly not my last one,” Hazard said.

Hazard has scored nine goals and two assists for his club Chelsea.

Premier League club fight to sign Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij

Stefan de Vrij

 

Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij has been linked with a move away from Italy for over a year now as his contract is set to expire on June.

Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are in for another race to sign the 26-year-old.

Lazio, however, are confident that they will be able to give a new contract to De Vrij which will also contain a release clause of around £20 million.

In the current market, the fee is a good bargain and the top Premier League clubs are all to chase the striker.

There is news though that the Premier League trio are also aware that De Vrij is likely to agree to the new contract Lazio will give him in the coming weeks.

Stefan de Vrij is also attracting Juventus but prefers a move to England instead.

 

Chelsea suffered humiliating defeat by Watford and it was the worst said Rooney

Antonio Conte Chelsea vs Watford

 

Chelsea suffered a humiliating defeat by Watford FC and Wayne Rooney said that Chelsea’s display at Vicarage Road on Monday was their worst he has seen them “for a long, long time.”

Antonio Conte’s side suffered a 4-1 lost which leaves Chelsea 19 points behind Manchester City and the manager’s job may be in danger.

The Italian manager has been in a war of words with the Chelsea board and Rooney suggested the club’s off-field issues could be having an impact on results.

“You’d like to think the problems with the board aren’t affecting players but that is not Chelsea,” Rooney said after the game.

“That is as bad a Chelsea performance I’ve seen for a long, long time.

“Chelsea are usually a clever team, tough to beat, you have to take your chances against them and they manage the game well. But tonight Watford were getting through so easily.’

“There’s a good chance he (Conte) could go before next MNF (Monday Night Football) because of Chelsea’s history of changing managers when they fear they won’t make the Champions League,’ he said.

“Conte said before he wants the owner and board to back him but Roman Abramovich hasn’t said anything since owning the club and it certainly won’t happen after tonight.

‘They’ve been found wanting – to lose 3-0 to Bournemouth and 4-1 to Watford is a shambles.

“Watford were by far the better team when it was 11v11. Chelsea never looked like scoring in the second half.

“It is nothing you associate with Conte teams. Is there discord between the manager and the players?”

 

Antonio Conte defends himself and says he is not over-working his players

Antonio Conte

 

Antonio Conte dismisses accusations that he is over-working his players as he pointed the relatively low number of Chelsea players who are injured.

The Italian boss will also have a difficult selection during their Watford game tonight as Alvaro Morata will not be able to play and new signee Olivier Giroud is not yet ready.

Chelsea have four players out compared to the 19 Premier League clubs that have more absentees.

“If you compare to the other clubs, we have fewer injuries,” Conte argued.

“The only problem is that, this season, we are playing a lot and our squad wasn’t big enough to give them the right rest. We are working less, less than last season. A lot less.

“But, for sure, you have to change your plan, your work. When you play every three days, it’s impossible to give intensity in these two days between one game and another.

“Sometimes, when I had the possibility, I tried to give the opportunity… a little window of work for the players I decided to rest. But, in this country, with a lot of competitions – four competitions, and with the intensity of every game – you have to face a season with a big squad. This is very, very important.

“I think it’s very important to try to understand and find the best solution for the future.”

Antonio Conte

 

When asked how long it would take Chelsea back to the top as they are 18 points off Manchester City.

“I don’t know this. Also because you can see the other teams are working very hard, very strong to improve their squads. It’s not simple, not simple. I think a club like Chelsea must have more patience than other teams.

“If you compare it to the past, the situation has totally changed. Yes. But especially for this reason, you have to understand that only through great work, big work, can you go and try to be closer to these teams who maybe don’t have this type of financial problems.

“In this case, the value of the coach is important. We have a lot of young players. Our average age is very low now, don’t forget.

“Whoever knows football understands very well that, now, we need a lot of patience, to understand a new situation and not complain, but only be realistic. And be strong and to work, work, work. Only through work can you solve problems. Not by complaining or just by buying.”

Olivier Giroud revealed his disappointment with Arsene Wenger

Olivier Giroud revealed that he was disappointed with Arsene Wenger as he had a difficult half-season at Arsenal.

Olivier Giroud

 

Giroud fell down the pecking order following the signing of Alexandre Lacazette last summer.

The striker also revealed that with the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it would have reduced his playing time at the Emirates if he stayed with them.

Giroud has now moved to Chelsea and admitted that he was unhappy with the events that led to his move away from his club.

“The fact is that the coach wanted to recruit a new striker and with Aubameyang’s signing at Arsenal, there were three top strikers, and that’s why I decided to leave,’ the 31-year-old said.

“It made sense for me to take a new direction in my career.

“There was a bit of disappointment, even though I spent five wonderful years there.

“I could have stayed, but I needed a solution to get back in.

“I wanted to stay in the Premier League and Chelsea was a great opportunity for me.”

Transfer news update: Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool

Lucas Moura transfers to Tottenham

 

The January transfer window is almost over and clubs are in a hurry to sign their transferred players.

Chelsea are setting a deal with Arsenal to move Olivier Giroud for almost £18 million.

Manchester City have already signed Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte and has sealed the deal by paying £57 million for his release clause.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang expected move to Arsenal may be considered the biggest move of the January transfer window as he replaces Alexis Sanchez who already transferred to Manchester United.

And to end the Premier League transfer window, Tottenham are closing in on an agreement for Lucas Moura.

 

Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud to join Chelsea for £18m

Olivier Giroud

 

Chelsea are set to move Olivier Giroud for £18 million which would allow Arsenal to transfer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Blues have managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations and is set to make a switch which will allow Arsenal to complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday.

The Borussia Dortmund will move to Arsenal as he is thought to be putting the finishing touches to his move.

Arsene Wenger also admitted last week that he did not want to lose Giroud but if he finds a suitable replacement, then he could.

“I want Olivier to stay,” Wenger said.

“If nobody comes in, nobody goes out.

“Maybe one or two young players out on loan but the experienced side of the squad stays.

“I have a consistent exchange with him. We speak about it a lot.

“He has played a lot of games and scored important goals.

“He is an important player and every player has a lot of respect for him.

“He will get more games and can only leave if someone else comes in

“To lose him [Theo Walcott] and Olivier, without bringing anyone in, would be too many.”

Batshuayi may go on loan as double strikes fail to impress Chelsea boss

Michy Batshuayi

 

While Michy Batshuayi scored his 18th and 19th goals in just 18 Chelsea starts and his 10th in 10 this season, Antonio Conte still considers the striker just an alternative and with no place for regular team.

With just three days before the end of the January transfer window, Batshuayi must decide on whether he would want to go on loan or stay at Chelsea as Conte declares it is up to the player if he would want to leave.

Batshuayi is desperate to play regular football as he aims to secure a place in Belgium’s World Cup squad.

However, he was not able to impress Conte in trusting him to lead the line in his side’s games as he preferred Eden Hazard up front where they were defeated by Arsenal in the semi-final.

“If the club decides to add another player then I don’t know if Michy wants to stay or to go on loan. In this case, it would be a player decision, not my decision,” Conte said.

If Batshuayi stays at Chelsea, he might not even start on Wednesday’s Premier League game against Bournemouth since Alvaro Morata would resume training following his back injury.

It is yet to see if Batshuayi will go on loan or he would just stay at Chelsea where he might not play regular football and not play at the World Cup too.