Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted that summer signing Alvaro Morata is improving a lot in terms of his physical condition.
The Spain international scored on his league debut for Chelsea earlier this month as he came on as a second-half substitute in the 3-2 defeat to Burnley.
Owing to his impressive performance, Conte handed him his first league start against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and he put in a commanding performance, although he missed a glorious opportunity to score in the first period.
Prior to the Everton game, Conte spoke about the positives of his summer signing, who he still believes is adapting to Premier League football, he said: “Morata is improving a lot. Also Bakayoko is working with us for only 10 days. To go into a different style of football is not simple. You have to understand the movement, when you attack the space, whether you stay to receive the ball, there are many situations to understand. Morata is improving a lot in physical condition and is also adapting to the football.”
In the absence of Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas (both suspended) and the injured Eden Hazard, the Blues put in a strong performance against Spurs, who succumbed to yet another defeat at the Wembley Stadium. Chelsea host Everton in their next league outing on Sunday, and they will go with a bit of positivity into the game, having not lost at home to the Toffees in their previous 22 outings. Continue reading
Chelsea eased into the Champions League quarter finals after beating Galatasaray 2-0 in the second leg of their last sixteen tie at Stamford Bridge yesterday evening.
With the sides having drawn 1-1 in Istanbul three weeks ago, it was the Premier League leaders who made the breakthrough through Samuel Eto’o after just four minutes.
Gary Cahill doubled the hosts’ advantage three minutes before the break, thumping in after John Terry’s initial effort was saved by Fernando Musilera.
Didier Drogba, who was given a rousing reception by the home supporters on his first return to Stamford Bridge since leaving the club at the end of the 2011/12 campaign, had a chance to pull one back for Roberto Mancini’s side late on which he failed to convert.
The Blues will discover who they will face in the last eight of the competition on Friday, twenty-four hours before they return to domestic action with their top of the table clash with Arsenal.
Manager Jose Mourinho has told Sky Sports that “it doesn’t matter who” the club are drawn against in the quarter finals.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and holders Bayern Munich are already in the hat for the draw along with the Blues, and they will be joined by either Manchester United or Olympiakos and Zenit St Petersburg or Borussia Dortmund, with the final round of last sixteen ties taking place this evening.
Tags: Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Didier Drogba, Galatasaray, Gary Cahill, Manchester City, Manchester United, Olympiakos, Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Samuel Eto'o, Zenit St Petersburg
Aston Villa are keen to secure a permanent deal for Ryan Bertrand when his loan spell is complete, the Mirror understands.
The England full back swapped London for Midlands back in January, joining up with Paul Lambert’s side for the rest of the season.
He has made seven Premier League appearances since arriving at Villa Park, having made just ten in the whole of 2013 for Chelsea, just one of which coming since Jose Mourinho returned to the club.
The 24 year old has two years left on his contract with the Blues, but is understood to be open to the idea of moving on.
He is unable to feature in the game against his parent club this weekend, but is confident that he can help the side achieve a top half finish for the first time in three years, according to Sky Sports.
Meanwhile, the Daily Star understand that the club are yet to open talks with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois regarding his future, according his father.
The Belgium international is currently enjoying a third successive season with La Liga title challengers Atletico Madrid, and is reportedly wanted by both Atleti and their city rivals Real on a permanent basis.
Brazil international Oscar scored a stunning free kick as Chelsea booked their place in the fifth round of this season’s FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge yesterday afternoon.
The midfield’s curled effort from twenty-five years was enough to see the Blues through to this stage for the fourteenth time in fifteen seasons.
However, they could hardly have been handed a tougher challenge, being picked away at favourites for the competition Manchester City, who they will face on the weekend of February 15/16.
Meanwhile, the club have completed the signing of Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from Basel for a fee believed to be in the region of £11m, the Mail Online understands.
The 21 year old, who will wear the number 15 shirt vacated by Kevin De Bruyne, becomes Jose Mourinho’s second signing of the month following Nemanja Matic’s return from Benfica.
Elsewhere, Michael Essien is set to complete his transfer to AC Milan, according to the Independent.
The Ghana international has been used sparingly by Mourinho this season, making just nine appearances in all competitions since returning from Real Madrid, where he spent the majority of the last campaign on loan.
Chelsea have accepted Manchester United’s offer of £37m for midfielder Juan Mata, the Telegraph understands.
The Spain international, who been used sparingly since Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge, is now free to discuss terms with the Premier League champions, who lost their League Cup semi-final with Sunderland on penalties at Old Trafford yesterday evening.
Should the deal go through, the 25 year old will become the most expensive player in Manchester United’s history, while the fee would also be the highest the Blues have ever received for a player, far eclipsing the £24m that Real Madrid paid for Arjen Robben in 2007.
Mata was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year in both of his full seasons with the club after scoring thirty-three goals and making fifty-eight assists in one hundred and thirty-five games in all competitions, while in terms of honours, he helped the club to success in the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League.
His last appearance for the club came in the 3-0 win over Southampton on New Year’s Day, where he was substituted in the 53rd minute.
He didn’t hide his frustration as he left the pitch, and had to be calmed down by his teammates after he kicked a plastic chair in the technical area.
Xabi Alonso has ended speculation that he could be set to reunite with Jose Mourinho by penning a new deal at Real Madrid, according to the Independent.
The 32 year old was due to be out of contract at the end of the season, but has now extended his contract with the La Liga giants to 2016.
The Spain international, who announced the news on Twitter by posting a picture of him and Real president Florentino Perez holding a shirt with ‘Alonso 2016’ on the back, is currently in his fifth season in the Spanish capital, having previously spent five years in the Premier League with Liverpool.
Staying in Madrid, Thibaut Courtois is keen to resolve his future quickly, ESPN understands.
The Belgium goalkeeper, currently in his third season on loan from Chelsea at Atletico Madrid, is keen to know where he will be playing his football next season.
The 21 year old former Genk man has excelled in his time in Spain, winning the Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Copa del Rey, while this season they are currently joint on points with La Liga leaders Barcelona and qualified from their Champions League group in first place.
Real Madrid have joined the race to sign Juan Mata from Chelsea, according to the Daily Star.
As he was in the summer, the Spain international has again been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge after failing to hold down a first team place under Jose Mourinho.
The two times Blues Player of the Year displayed his frustration after being substituted in the New Year’s Day victory over Southampton, and now Mourinho has opened the door for his possible departure.
Should Mata move to Real, it could pave the way for Angel Di Maria to secure a move to the Premier League, with both Arsenal and Manchester United reportedly keen on signing the Argentina international.
Meanwhile, another midfielder who could be on his way out of the Bernabeu is former Liverpool man Xabi Alonso, who could secure a cut-price return to England this month, the Mirror understands.
The 32 year old is yet to sign a new deal with the La Liga giants, and has been linked with both a return to Anfield and a move to Stamford Bridge, where he would again link up with the man he played under for three seasons in Spain.
The Express understands that Borussia Dortmund have joined both Chelsea and Arsenal in the race to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.
The two Premier League clubs are reportedly on the lookout for a new forward with the Gunners lacking in numbers in that area, and the Blues current selection of attackers somewhat misfiring.
However, Dortmund are said to have thrown their hat into the ring as they look for a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, who is set to leave last season’s Bundesliga and Champions League runners up at the end of the season, if not sooner.
Costa is currently the top scorer in La Liga with nineteen in seventeen appearances, ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo by one goal.
Meanwhile, Inter Milan are keen on securing the services of Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata when the transfer window reopens, according to the Mirror.
The two time Blues player of the year has scored just one goal in all competitions this season, though he has largely played second fiddle to the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar under Jose Mourinho.
The 25 year old is unlikely to be allowed to move to another club in England, so a move abroad would be necessary as he seeks regular first team football ahead the World Cup finals.
Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has been praising Jose Murinho for helping develop his career, ESPN understands.
The Blues boss made the Ivory Coast international one of his first signings during his first stint at Stamford Bridge, and together they won two League Cup, and FA Cup and two Premier League titles.
The 35 year old has said that even after Mourinho left the club in 2007, the winning mentality which he created remained – something that was reflected by the clubs ability to continue clinching major titles, not least the Champions League, in which Drogba netted the decisive penalty in the shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich in May 2012.
Drogba will face Chelsea for the first time since leaving the club eighteen months ago as his current side Galatasaray were drawn against his former employers in the last sixteen of Europe’s top club competition.
Meanwhile, the club’s chances of signing Sami Khedira appear to have ended after the Germany international signed a new deal with Real Madrid, according to the Daily Star.
The 26 year old, who is likely to be out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, has extended his contract at the Bernabeu by a further three years.
Chelsea will be without Brazilian midfielder Oscar for this evening’s trip to Sunderland.
The 22 year old injured his ankle in Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 win over Southampton, and joins international teammate David Luiz on the side-lines, though Samuel Eto’o could feature after returning to training following a hamstring problem.
The Blues have are unbeaten in their last three league games, and have lost just one in their last nine. Three points here will keep the pressure on leaders Arsenal, who host Hull City this evening.
This evening’s match begins a run of three matches against teams currently in the bottom five of the Premier League for Jose Mourinho’s side.
They travel to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon before facing Crystal Palace seven days later.
Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois is set to hold talks with the club regarding his long term future, Sky Sports understands.
The Belgium international is currently in his third season on loan with Atletico Madrid, where he has established himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in world football.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the 21 year old, who is yet to play for Chelsea since signing from Genk in 2011.