Liverpool vs Chelsea Premier League Preview

Liverpool vs Chelsea Preview: Can the Reds avoid the Hazard in the road?

Liverpool vs Chelsea. Is any game more loaded with significance for title challenges? Five years ago, Steven Gerrard fell over after receiving a pass, allowing Demba Ba to give the Blues the lead at Anfield. It was ‘the slip that shook the world’, or at least it was based on the amount of fans of other clubs who still go on about it.

Half a decade on, and the Reds are in a far better place than they were then, whether they win the league this year or not. A victory here and they’ll reach 85 points, which is one more than they finished 2013/14 with, despite having four games left to play. But winning won’t be easy, as they’ll be taking on arguably their arch nemesis. No, not Demba Ba. Read More

Manchester City vs Chelsea

Manchester City vs Chelsea Preview: Jesus’ turn to shine?

If the title race was back on after City beat Liverpool, it’s dangerously close to swinging in City’s favor now. Thanks to victories over Arsenal and Everton, City are once again on top of the Premier League, though Liverpool will have a chance to wreck that before City’s match with Chelsea kicks off on Sunday.

This is one of City’s three remaining games against top six sides, and of course the reverse fixture of one of City’s few losses this season. In that game, a delightful long ball from David Luiz releasing Pedro led to Kante eventually scoring and a Luiz header from a corner polished off the win.

Assisting both of those goals was one Eden Hazard. Chelsea’s leader in Twelve’s rating, he also somehow both tops the team in progressive passes and runs made and progressive passes received. Another way to highlight his involvement is his Usage Rate, where he is by far the top player for Chelsea, using (that is, involved in the final action of) 18% of his team’s possessions. Read More

Chelsea vs Huddersfield Town

Chelsea vs Huddersfield Town preview: Tough London trip for the Terriers

Huddersfield Town began this Premier League campaign in the worst way possible. Match day one spelled defeat as David Wagner and his wards were soundly beaten 3-0 in front of their home crowd. Chelsea did the inflicting. For match day 24, the Terriers travel to west London to face the same foe. For more reasons than one, this isn’t a trip that sparks excitement for the west Yorkshire side. More likely the exact opposite.

If Huddersfield could pick and choose fixtures to play at this moment, they surely wouldn’t choose to play a top-six Premier League side, desperate for a top-four finish. Confidence levels in Jan Siewert’s side are at an all-time low.

Since the start of the season, the Terriers have looked a shadow of themselves from last term. At this point in 2017/18, they were 14th in the League with a real chance of beating the drop, which they did. They’re currently bottom of the league without a glimmer of hope of staying in the top-tier beyond May 2019. Read More

Bournemouth vs Chelsea Preview

Bournemouth vs Chelsea Preview: The same, but different

Chelsea will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they take on an inconsistent Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday night. The Blues overcame Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, but lost 2-0 at Arsenal in their last Premier League clash on January 19 to leave themselves vulnerable in the top four.

Indeed, from being comfortable in the Champions League spots, Chelsea are now facing pressure from the teams behind them. Sarri’s side go into match week 24 in fourth, but they are just three points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United. As that duo have home games with Cardiff and Burnley respectively on Tuesday, there’s every chance they will be level on points with the Blues when they kick off on the south coast.

This latest Bournemouth vs Chelsea clash will be the 15th meeting in all competitions. The Blues have won 11 of the previous 14, while there has never been a draw between the two teams. Never a draw! Amazing, isn’t it?

Maybe that’s because both sides love possession. Chelsea have 696 passes on average per match, while Bournemouth have 424. Eddie Howe sets his teams to play possession based football, moving the ball around in a dynamic and expansive manner. Similar to Sarri, but also different. Read More

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview: Emery’s side need more creativity

At the start of the season, if you had been told that by January Mesut Ozil would not be in the Arsenal starting line-up and Aaron Ramsay had agreed a deal to join Juventus, you would have assumed that Unai Emery had been able to forge ahead and enjoy a hugely successful first five months at the Emirates stadium.

Alas, you would be very wrong indeed.

Despite Arsenal casting aside two of their most talented players, they are currently stranded in fifth place, 16 points behind the leaders Liverpool. After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham last Saturday there were even ridiculously premature murmurings of ‘Emery Out’ among some frustrated Arsenal fans. The Spanish manager can sense this growing dissatisfaction, and addressed it this week.

“When a club changes manager, it is because they want something new,” he said. “The challenge is to identify the good things, but also obviously, there were lots of things to change and improve here.”

Ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the Emirates on Saturday evening, one of the most pressing issues Emery needs to improve is the lack of creativity in his side. Read More

Chelsea vs Newcastle

Chelsea vs Newcastle Preview: Can depleted Magpies’ shock the Blues?

Newcastle United fans are used to managing expectations, but their manager, Rafael Benitez certainly isn’t. Not to this level, anyway. It should never be underestimated how surprising it is to see a Champions League-winning manager, somebody who has worked with some of the best players and clubs in the world, battling on even though he knows avoiding relegation is probably the best he can achieve this season.

Sitting just two points above the drop zone with injuries piling up, Newcastle travel to Chelsea on Saturday evening. Benitez can only look on in envy at the squad his opposite number, Maurizio Sarri, has at his disposal, but he continues to get on with his job.

The Spaniard has a self-imposed embargo on his head when it comes to discussing transfers, so most fans are being left in the dark. The inference, though, is that nothing is close to happening, and judging by the previous actions of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, that does seem about right.

The Magpies are particularly short on central midfielders for the game at Stamford Bridge; given that most games at the top level hinge on the battle in the centre of the park, that is particularly bad news. Read More

Chelsea vs Southampton

Chelsea vs Southampton Preview: Can Saints keep out injury-hit Blues?

Chelsea laboured to a one-nil win away at Crystal Palace in their last match. In the aftermath of that win, the Blues were left with six first-team players injured.

If you saw the game, you’d have noticed Olivier Giroud hobbling off with an ankle problem in the 76th minute. Maurizio Sarri said his side suffered three injuries in 10 minutes to Cesc Fabregas, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Drinkwater a day prior to the Palace trip.

With injury concerns to Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Sarri opined his team is in trouble with the January fixture pile-up. Read More

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea Preview: Frontmen form makes it hard to predict

Chelsea are aiming to keep hold of fourth place in the table as they head to south London to face Crystal Palace on Sunday. Eden Hazard’s brace sank Watford on Boxing Day to send Maurizio Sarri’s Blues above Arsenal into the Champions League qualification places with half the season gone.

As for Palace, Roy Hodgson’s Eagles have climbed to 14th with seven points from their last three games, and a 3-2 win at champions Manchester City will serve as a warning for this London derby. This lad likes surprises.

Looking at Twelve’s leader board between both sides, we have a top five of Chelsea players. Of course Hazard is the leader, but after him, it’s a little bit surprising – at least to me – that defensive players are leading the Blues’ best performances. Read More

Chelsea vs Leicester

Chelsea vs Leicester Preview: Good times for Blues, pressure on Foxes

After losing 3-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates, Leicester City embarked on a six-game unbeaten run. It ensured they remained inside the Premier League top 10 up until match day 15. But two consecutive defeats have sent the Foxes reeling. They’re now 12th in the table and could sink further with another defeat here.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are beginning to breathe some fresh air. They got hounded by Wolves on match day 15 but bounced back remarkably to end Manchester City’s unbeaten streak with a 2-0 victory. It was followed by a trip to Brighton that saw them return with all three points.

Leicester must know what to expect when they travel to Stamford Bridge: they won’t see the ball too often. Maurizio Sarri’s system depends on steady buildup and smooth passing. It’s why the Blues are second behind Manchester City in terms of passes completed, with 11,718 passes, and why five Chelsea players are among the Premier League’s top 10 passers so far. Read More

Brighton vs Chelsea

Brighton vs Chelsea Preview: Just another ordinary match?

Brighton will look to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Burnley when they host Chelsea at the Amex on Sunday. The Blues drew in Hungary against Vidi FC on Thursday, but Maurizio Sarri is seeking to consolidate their place in the top four.

Chelsea won 4-0 at Brighton last season, when Eden Hazard produced a sparkling individual performance. Looking forward, everything leads to an easy win for the Blues once again. The Seagulls are looking for their first victory over Chelsea in any competition since January 1933, when they won 2-1 in an FA Cup third-round tie.

The last match at home for Hughton’s boys was a possession nightmare. Against Crystal Palace, Brighton had 21% of the ball possession with only 5.7% in the attack field. Clearly they don’t like to build-up chances from ball possession, and that will be strongly marked against Chelsea, a team crazy about retaining possession. Read More