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
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.
The Mail Online understands that Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal that will see Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic return to Stamford Bridge, two-and-a-half years after he moved in the opposite direction.
The 25 year old was initially used as a makeweight in David Luiz’s transfer to Chelsea, and now looks set to return to West London with a medical expected on Tuesday.
During his first spell with the Blues, he made just three substitute appearances before spending a season on loan with Vitesse Arnhem – the Dutch club that currently has no fewer than five Chelsea players in their first team squad.
The Serbian international was part of the Benfica side that lost 2-1 to Chelsea in last season’s Europa League final, while he won the Portuguese League Cup the previous year.
Elsewhere, the club are set to partly finance their move for Matic with the funds they are due to receive from Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne, according to the Mirror.
The Bundesliga side are set to complete ta £17m move for the Belgium international in the next few days.
De Bruyne has made just two starts for the Blues, having spent last season on loan with Werder Bremen.
Second half goals from Jon Obi Mikel and Oscar secured a 2-0 win for Chelsea in their FA Cup third round clash with Derby County at the iPro Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The Rams, who were statistically a match for their opponents in all areas bar the goals, kept the Blues at bay for the first half, before Mikel scored only his fourth Chelsea goal on his three hundredth appearance twenty minutes into the second half.
Oscar scored his eighth goal of the season just five minutes later to seal the victory, while eighteen year old Lewis Baker was introduced three minutes from time to make his professional debut.
Jose Mourinho’s men will now face Stoke City at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the competition later this month.
Meanwhile the Metro have reported that Kevin De Bruyne’s agent has been pictured at a Wolfsburg training session amid reports that the Belgium international is set to join the Bundesliga club.
The 22 year old has long been linked with a return to Germany having spent a successful season-long stint there with Werder Bermen before returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
The former Genk man has made just nine appearances under Jose Mourinho in all competitions.
Chelsea will be hoping to return to winning ways as they take on West Ham United at Upton Park in tomorrow evening’s late kick off in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho’s men have dropped five points in their last two games, and needed a late penalty to salvage a point against West Bromwich Albion a fortnight ago.
Ashley Cole is a doubt with a rib injury, though Fernando Torres could return after sitting out of the clash with the Baggies with a muscle problem.
The Hammers ran out 3-1 winners in last season’s fixture, though the Blues made a mends with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge back in March.
Victory here could see Chelsea rise to second place in the division, depending on results elsewhere though defeat could see them slip to seventh.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg have joined the race to sign out of favour Blues midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.
The Belgium international has been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge after failing to make a real impression on the first team since returning from a year-long loan spell with Werder Bremen.
Atletico Madrid, who currently have Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in their ranks, have also been linked.
Chelsea midfielder Ramires has admitted that he is unaware of any interest in him from other clubs aside from what is written in the media, according to Sky Sports.
The Brazil international, who has not missed a minute in the Premier League for the Blues so far this season, is reportedly a target for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but has insisted that his sole focus is on succeeding at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have joined the race to sign Blues out of favour midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, the Mail Online understands.
The 22 year old has barely featured under Jose Mourinho, and has been linked with a host of Bundesliga clubs having impressed on loan with Werder Bremen last year.
Atletico, who are currently second in La Liga, three points behind Barcelona, already have a Chelsea player with them on loan in the shape of De Bruyne’s international teammate Thibaut Courtois.
Elsewhere, Davide Santon has insisted that he is happy at Newcastle United in the wake of speculation linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge, according to the Metro.
The right-back, who is also reportedly a target for AC Milan, has featured in all but one of the Magpies Premier League games this season.
Tags: AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Davide Santon, Kevin De Bruyne, Newcastle United, Ramires, Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois, Werder Bremen
Reports in Italy are suggesting that Ligue 1 big spenders Paris Saint Gemain are ready to renew their interest in signing Juan Mata.
The Spain international, who is in line to win his thirty-second cap in a friendly against South Africa this evening, has been used sporadically by Blues manager Jose Mourinho since he returned to Stamford Bridge despite the forward winning back to back Player of the Year awards at the club.
Of his seven Premier League appearances, two have come from the bench, and he has been taken off in each of the five games which he has started.
The 25 year old was linked with a move away from the club in the summer, and PSG appear to be leading the race to secure his services when the transfer window reopens in January.
Meanwhile, Eden Hazard has urged Keivn de Bruyne to leave Chelsea in order to ensure he is involved in next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
De Bruyne has started just twice in both the Premier League and Capital One Cup this season, and has been strongly linked with a return to the Bundesliga, where he spent the whole of last season.
Both he, Hazard and Thibaut Courtois are in the Belgium squad for their friendly against Japan this evening.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has urged Kevin de Bruyne to seek regular first team football away from Stamford Bridge, Sky Sports understands.
The midfielder has barely featured for the Blues since signing almost two years ago, spending the second half of the 2011/12 campaign back on loan with Genk, before joining Werder Bremen for the entirety of last season.
Since returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer, he has made just three league appearances under Jose Mourinho, and his international coach believes that a move would be hugely beneficial to him.
Schalke are reportedly interested in signing the 22 year old, who is in line to win his eighteenth cap for Belgium against Colombia tomorrow evening.
Meanwhile, Demba Ba is considering a move to Turkey as he seeks more game time, according to the Express.
The Senegal international has made only a handful of appearances for the Blues since Mourinho’s return to the club, and has scored just twice in the league since signing from Newcastle United.
Finally, former Blues defender Dan Petrescu is the latest name to be linked with the vacant manager’s post at Crystal Palace.
Petrescu made over 200 appearances in a five year stint with the club towards the end of the last Millennium, and won the FA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
Gary Cahill has told The FA’s official website that he is looking forward to this evening’s crucial World Cup qualifier at Wembley, where England take on Poland.
The Chelsea defender is in line to win his 21st full international cap this evening, and is set to come up against one of the hottest properties in European football – reported Blues transfer target Robert Lewandowski.
Over the past six England games, Cahill has formed a solid partnership with Everton’s Phil Jagielka, keeping clean sheets against Ukraine and Moldova in that time.
Another shut out tonight will give Roy Hodgson’s men the chance to grab the three points needed to guarantee their place at the final’s in Brazil next summer.
If England fail to win, they will almost certainly have to go through the play-offs with second place Ukraine facing Group H whipping boys San Marino.
Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne has insisted that he is not on the verge of moving away from Stamford Bridge, ESPN understands.
The Belgium international has been linked with a return to the Bundesliga, where he enjoyed a successful stint last season, after being frozen out of Jose Mourinho’s first team following a poor performance against Swindon Town in the League Cup last month.
Fernando Torres has admitted that he needs to do more to justify his price tag, Sky Sorts understands.
The Spain international has scored just 37 goals in 139 appearances since switching from Liverpool half-way through the 2010/11 campaign.
He was the clubs to scorer last term with 23 goals, though he has just scored twice this time around, and has failed to find the net in any of his five league appearances.
The 29 year old, who is currently side-lined with a knee injury, has admitted that his return in the 2012/13 campaign ‘should be the minimum’ before adding that he believes the criticism which he has received have been over the top.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg have confirmed their interest in signing out of favour midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, according to the Metro.
The Belgium international has been somewhat cast aside by manager Jose Mourinho since turning in a poor performance against Swindon Town in the third round of the League Cup.
He impressed in a season-long spell in the Bundesliga last term, scoring ten goals in thirty-four appearances for Werder Bremen.
Last season’s Champions League runners up Borussia Dortmund were also linked with the 22 year old but this week withdrew their interest.