How will Chelsea’s Transfer Ban affect their Season?

Chelsea might have finished third in the Premier League last season, picking up European honors along the way, but it was far from a success in the eyes of some supporters.

27 points separated them and second-placed Liverpool, meaning manager Maurizio Sarri’s first ever trophy wasn’t enough to keep him in a job. They’ve turned to Frank Lampard- from Derby County- who is a Blues legend following his success on the field with the club.

If he wants to be the same off the field, he has a huge job. The BBC reported how they failed to overturn a two-window transfer ban, effectively condemning them to pretty much the same squad this season as the last one. Couple that with Eden Hazard’s departure for a fee believed to be around $108m, and they’re arguably weaker than last season.

Can they still be a success, despite the obvious obstacles they face? Or will they continue in the pattern of the last couple of years?

There are plenty of positives; one of Sarri’s main faults was his reluctance to hand first team experience to Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The latter won’t be able to help for much of this season, as he ruptured his Achilles tendon in a friendly and won’t be back until at least November, according to Football London.

However, there is plenty of youth waiting to impress this season and are expected to get the chance due to the ban on incoming players. Tammy Abraham has impressed in loan spells with Bristol City and Aston Villa, with his time at Villa Park last season a raging success. His goals have been credited with firing them back to the Premier League and he looks ready to take on the top flight.

Lampard will be expected to attack much more than Sarri and Conte before him, which might be a big ask without one key man.

They’ll miss Hazard’s creativity, but in Mason Mount they might have a home-grown alternative who can break through as well. He was on loan with Derby last season and had a whole year to impress his new manager.

He even earned an England call-up from Gareth Southgate whilst in the Championship. Southgate has a good eye for spotting young talent; in Coral’s guide to last year’s World Cup managers, they note how he had three years of experience with the Under 21s before becoming England manager.

If Lampard shows belief in promoting players from Under 21 to senior football, he could be rewarded. Mount is much like Lampard was as a player; how the Blues could do with him to have the same input.

They will also be able to call on 20-year-old United States international Christian Pulisic, who was bought from Dortmund in January and loaned back for the rest of the season. He’s a new face, something different to add to the squad. He’s a winger who will likely be Hazard’s replacement, although he’s got a lot to prove at such a tender age.

Chelsea of 2019/20 will be youthful; they’ll be fighting against the odds and playing the underdog. In truth, they could be about to reap the rewards of their previous policy of loaning out lots of their players.

There isn’t a good reason why they can’t be back in the top three come May, not with the collection of talent they’ve amassed over the last couple of seasons.

A week to forget for Manchester City

Let’s face it, it’s not been the best week for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. Their Premier League Asia Trophy final loss to Wolves topped off a dismal time in China as part of their pre-season tour which looked destined for failure from the get-go, with the performances of Kevin de Bruyne and new signing Rodri the only things to shout about. Continue reading

Real Betis to break transfer record for Borja Iglesias

Borja Iglesias

Real Betis fell away from the European places last season primarily due to a lack of firepower and a blunt attack in the final third. The striking position was earmarked many months ago for being their primary area of concern this summer with the aim of landing a minimum of one prolific player.

A multitude of reports now claim that the club are prepared to break their 22-year long transfer record to land Espanyol striker Borja Iglesias. The hitman has a €28m release clause at the RCDE Stadium and that would trump the signing of Brazilian winger Denilson, in then (1997) a world record transfer which brought Betis into global headlines. Continue reading

Rodri the signing Manchester City need

Just days after Manchester United spent £50 million on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, it appears as though neighbours Manchester City are about to land their first multi-million-pound transfer target in Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri. Although not yet official, Atletico practically confirmed the deal after unveiling new signing Marcos Llorente in Rodri’s No. 14 shirt. Continue reading

Pep Guardiola’s strive for greatness brings the best out of Raheem Sterling

“The boy who grew up in the shadow of the Wembley arch.” A tattoo on his left forearm depicts a young Raheem Sterling wearing his favourite No. 10 shirt, holding a football and looking at the famous Wembley arch. To the Englishman, this place has always been home. It’s only fitting that Sterling bagged a brace in his first FA Cup final for Manchester City. Continue reading

EPL: Premier League Predictions for Week 30


The Premier League race is hotting up as champions Manchester City have just a 1 point lead at the top over Liverpool and either team can still win the title with just 9 games left to play. The top 4 is being disputed too between 3rd place Tottenham and 6th place Chelsea there is just a 5 point difference and Chelsea have a game extra to play. Below we look at the predictions for the 10 games over the weekend and who might just come out on top.

Crystal Palace v Brighton

Palace are in good form with just one loss in their past five games, they are 8 points clear of the bottom three and look safe. Brighton beat Huddersfield last weekend to record their first win of 2019, but look in free fall. Palace Forward Wilfried Zaha collected 4 pts in his last game and is in form and should be the difference between the sides. Crystal Palace to win

Cardiff v West Ham

West Ham have gained 7 points from their last 12 but away from home they have lost 50% of their games and have no wins on the road for over 3 months. Cardiff have lost 3 games in a row and could be relegated if they don’t pick up points soon, this game is very equal. Draw

Huddersfield v Bournemouth

Huddersfield are bottom of the league and 13 pts from safety and will almost certainly be relegated. They have lost 4 matches from their last five. Bournemouth have one of the worst away records where they have lost 11 games from 14, and Huddersfield can upset them. Forward Steve Mounie has 11pts but most have been picked up recently and he could get on the scoresheet again. Huddersfield to win

Leicester v Fulham

Leicester have been in poor form and Brendan Rodgers first game as manager ended in defeat, but they have a great opportunity to beat Fulham at home. Fulham will be going down and are 10 pts from safety, they have lost 20 of their 29 games. Jamie Vardy has 39 pts and has been very consistent this season, he will be up against a leaky defence that has conceded 65 goals, the highest in the league. Leicester to win

Newcastle v Everton

Newcastle are just 6 pts clear of the bottom three but should be fine based on their home performance where they have won their last 4 games in a row. Everton are 6 pts ahead of The Magpies but have lost 50% of their away games. Newcastle’s defence has conceded just 1 goal in their past four home matches headed by Paul Dummett who has the most points in the back four with 26. Newcastle to win

Southampton v Tottenham

Southampton have won 1 game in their past four and are just 2 points from the relegation zone. They gave Man Utd a fright in a 3-2 loss and will want to carry that over to this game. Tottenham have no wins in 3 games but should put that right here. Harry Kane is back on form from injury and has 16 goals and 67pts, the 3rd best record in the fantasy EPL standings. Tottenham to win

Manchester City v Watford

Manchester City are top of the league by 1 point and could go 4 clear. They will be the clear favourites to win this game and have won 42 pts from a possible 45 at home. Watford were beaten 5-0 by Liverpool away and do not travel well against the better sides. Sergio Aguero is the leading goal scorer in the EPL  with 18 goals. Manchester City to win

Liverpool v Burnley

Liverpool are just 1 point behind Manchester City but have drawn 2 of their last 3 games and fallen behind slightly. Liverpool have the best defensive record at home with 7 goals conceded and goalkeeper Alisson has not conceded for almost 400 minutes, he has 113pts in EPL fantasy and is top. Burnley will not be able to cope in this game. Liverpool to win

Chelsea v Wolves

After back to back wins Chelsea look back on track for a top 4 place and coach Maurizio Sarri’s job looks safe. Forward Gonzalo Higuaín has scored a few lately and should be looked into adding to his fantasy points. Wolves have won just 1 game in their past four and have won just 35% of their games away from home. Chelsea to win

Arsenal v Manchester United

Arsenal are in form but struggling this season to beat the best teams. They need a win here because they could drop to 6th place. Manchester United are in fantastic form. Both clubs could be tired after having played in Europe in midweek. Romelu Lukaku has scored 4 goals in his last two games and has 44pts. Draw

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Will Mourinho last the season as Man Utd manager?

For a short while it looked – on paper at least – as though Manchester United had recovered from their poor start to the new season and Jose Mourinho was back on track. Wins in tricky matches, such as the 2-1 at Bournemouth before the international break and a 2-1 win in Turin against Juventus, had the hallmarks of vintage Mourinho.

Successive league games without victory, along with a wholly unconvincing last-minute win against Young Boys, has reopened the debate. It should never have been closed.

Mourinho’s complaints against his own players and general hostility in the media have long portrayed a man desperately trying to preserve his own image rather than protect the club or its players. A few wins should not have stopped pundits from questioning his methods and certainly should not have made anyone assume the Portuguese had the support of the United players.

Even when winning United have been unconvincing, their performances coming in bursts of quality or emotional comebacks – a sure sign the players are not being coached effectively. There is far too much volatility within each 90 minutes for the dressing room to be feeling genuinely affectionate towards their manager. And why should they? Mourinho has thrown his players under the bus countless times over the last two years with no clear game plan. It hasn’t worked.

Man Utd are lucky to be as high as seventh in the Premier League table. Having started matches so poorly and rarely (if ever this season) looking like the better team, it was only poor opposition finishing that prevented them from losing several matches they ultimately won – including Bournemouth, Watford, Everton, and Leicester. It is simply good luck that separates their points tally this season from Chelsea’s abysmal points tally in 2015/16.

But this is a results business – and Manchester United is increasingly little more than a business. The owners won’t care about performances until it begins to affect their commercial revenue, which is why Mourinho’s tediously dull football is tolerated – for now. Surely eventually, and sooner rather than later, the monotony of their football matches will impact how the club is viewed globally, negatively affecting their commercial interests.

That’s the main reason why pundits assume Mourinho won’t last beyond the current campaign, something the manager also seems to think (judging by his self-preservation tactics after every United game). However, it is certainly possible Ed Woodward will pull the trigger much sooner.

United currently sit seven points off the Champions League places. That is the one fact that Woodward will not be able to ignore. Mourinho would be due a huge compensation package should he be sacked this season, and yet this financial loss pales in comparison to the money they would lose from failing to qualify for Europe’s premier competition. Money governs everything United do these days – and Mourinho could be about to cost them tens of millions.

Anything less than victory at Southampton will pile the pressure on Mourinho and onto Woodward to act. Should the gap between United and the top four widen between now and Christmas then it seems unlikely Mourinho will last the whole season.

There are lots of people at Man Utd to blame for the malaise since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and yet Mourinho must take the brunt for a dreadfully dull couple of years at Old Trafford. His time is surely coming to an end.

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