Author Archives: leighc10

Is it the end of an era for this Manchester City squad?

Will the City flag by flying high again in 2020-21?

Despite a comprehensive 6-1 hammering of struggling Aston Villa, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City still find themselves an eye-watering 14 points adrift of Liverpool at the summit of the English Premier League (EPL). There were certainly signs that City were getting back to their best at Villa Park, with the incisive interplay and intensity setting a benchmark for the remainder of the season.

Nevertheless, many pundits and reporters believe that there will be significant changes afoot at the Etihad in the summer; particularly if City end up trophy-less and Merseyside is dancing to Jurgen Klopp’s tune.

Although City recently overcame their bitter Manchester rivals in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie, Guardiola is still said to have been unhappy with the way his side played at Old Trafford. Despite the fact they are still highly likely to finish second in the Premier League, battling on both Carabao and FA Cup fronts, and are the outright contenders to win the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, there is a feeling that this squad could get a major overhaul in the close season.

There could be up to half-a-dozen new faces in the City squad next season

There are still voids to be filled in the City squad, particularly since the departure of legendary centre back Vincent Kompany. Meanwhile, Argentine striker Sergio Aguero is now 31 years of age and the club will be keen for Guardiola to look longer term and find a replacement for a player who has recently become the EPL’s highest-scoring foreign player in the history of the league.

With City’s riches and rapidly advancing off-field infrastructure, you would be forgiven for thinking that Guardiola would be looking forward to being active in the summer transfer market. However, when pressed on the likely overhaul, Guardiola admitted he wasn’t relishing the prospect, adding that the club would have to build a new squad again “but in an absolutely different way”.

Why Guardiola is anxious about a summer rebuild

Arguably Guardiola’s greatest attraction to Manchester was the opportunity to build a new successful squad for City supporters to enjoy. Their historic domestic treble achieved last season was the pick of the bunch in terms of their most successful period.

However, Guardiola appears to be fearful that some of his most valuable players may decide to move on at the end of the season, particularly given that the club has a desire to start a new

chapter and challenge Liverpool in 2020-21. Guardiola admitted that some players he “believes want to stay might knock on the door and say, ‘I want to leave’.”

Aside from replacements for Vincent Kompany and a long-term solution for Sergio Aguero, City also look set to bid a fond farewell to stalwarts such as David Silva this summer. Fernandinho’s future is also still up in the air, with his contract expiring in June. Both players have played a key role in cementing City as one of the most feared club sides in Europe, but are getting to the age now where new blood is needed. Winger Leroy Sane is also in high demand in Germany, with Bayern Munich keen to reunite him with his homeland.

Replacements in the back line are much-needed

Guardiola has been without number-one centre back Aymeric Laporte for much of this season so far due to injury. Although he is inching closer to return, his absence has made it clear the fragility of the rest of the backline, with the likes of John Stones struggling for consistency in the last 12 months. Promising centre halves Pau Torres from Villarreal and Ruben Dias of Benfica are two starlets that are very much on Guardiola’s radar, but he could face competition for their services from the likes of Barcelona.

Guardiola has battled valiantly to stick plasters over the selection issues at left back in the last two campaigns. However, injury issues with Oleksandr Zinchenko, along with Benjamin Mendy’s inability to settle in the north-west of England, means that a left back will also be a priority in the close season.

Leicester City’s technical full back Ben Chilwell is high on the list of replacements, but his fee would be astronomical given the Foxes are themselves trying to build a side that can compete for the title again.

One thing’s for sure, the break-up of this season’s time will be a poignant moment for most City fans who waited decades for a team like this. However, if Pep can successfully build a second squad, he would cement himself as one of the best European coaches of all time, given that even the likes of icon Jose Mourinho have struggled with creating long-term dynasties.

A Brief History of Jose Mourinho


Caption: Camp Nou, where Mourinho worked under Bobby Robson

Few football managers are able to consistently make as many headlines as the players they coach or the clubs they manage. Jose Mourinho certainly does, and even if those headlines are not always complimentary, he has become part of the footballing landscape in England and Europe, in much the same way that Sir Alex Ferguson was and indeed still is, albeit from the side lines.

Now the self-proclaimed Special One has taken over at Tottenham, a club where just a few weeks ago all seemed lost in the EPL and in the Champions League. However, if there is one competition Mourinho knows more than any other, it is the Champions League. Spurs fans can be forgiven for suddenly having raised expectations for Europe’s most prestigious cup competition and looking to free bets and deals. It also seems a perfect time to look back at Jose’s career so far.

Early days and his big break

Mourinho is one of a number of modern coaches who did not enjoy success or indeed any career as a professional player. His first strides on the touchline took him to Vitória de Setúbal, his hometown club where he became youth team coach, before moving to the assistant manager’s role at Estrela da Amadora. In 1992 he would get the opportunity that would change his career, and his life, and it came from an unexpected route.

Bobby Robson was appointed manager at Sporting Lisbon and, not knowing the language, needed an interpreter, one who understood football and coaching. Mourinho got the job, and when Robson was sacked the next year, moved with the ex-England manager to Porto. In his role as interpreter, he would discuss tactics and coaching methods with Robson, and carry the message to the players.

Their time at Porto was incredibly successful and when Robson was appointed manager at Barcelona, Jose moved with him, where he was taking a more and more prominent role. Robson would concentrate on the attacking aspects, while Mourinho dealt more with the defensive side, something that would stick with him throughout his career. Robson moved on after a successful spell, but Mourinho stayed with his replacement Louis van Gaal, to continue in his assistant manager’s role.

Benfica and União de Leiria

September 2000 saw Mourinho move into management proper, when he was offered the job at Benfica. He stayed only 9 games however, after a change in the club’s presidency soured his relations with the hierarchy. That summer he moved to União de Leiria and, though he was only there for half a season, he achieved success, guiding the side to an impressive 4th place before he left.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Benfica                 11                      6                      3                     2                54.5

União deLeiria    20                      9                      7                     4                45.0

Porto

Mourinho was at Porto for two and a half seasons, and in that time the club enjoyed unprecedented success, winning six trophies, including the Primeira Liga twice, the UEFA Cup and most notably the Champions League.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Porto                   127                    91                      21                  15              71.7

Chelsea (Part 1)

Mourinho’s move to the EPL would define his career, and his Chelsea side became a real force in English football. Star signings included Didier Drogba, and Chelsea won the league in consecutive years, plus the FA Cup. He didn’t, however, manage to repeat his Champions League success. Mourinho left in September 2007 after a series of disagreements with owner Abramovich.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Chelsea               185                  124                     40                  21               67.0

Inter Milan

Initially, domestic success was not matched in Europe by the Italian giants, and with an increasingly spiky relationship with fellow managers and the press, his time at the San Siro looked like it may be short lived. The following season though, Inter won the Champions League, and in doing so Mourinho became the first manager in Italy to complete the treble.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Inter Milan         108                    67                      26                  15               62.0

Real Madrid

Mourinho’s next club was Real, and though he did improve the side from their current situation, winning the league, he never enjoyed the full backing of the fans or players, and was involved in several unsavoury incidents. After three seasons he once again moved on by mutual consent.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Real Madrid       178                   128                    28                   22               71.9

Chelsea

His second spell at the West London club was a mixed affair. Mourinho led Chelsea to wins in the league and the league cup, but failed to see out his four year contract, leaving by the now familiar mutual consent in December 2015 after a disastrous start to the season.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Chelsea               136                    80                     29                   27               58.8

Manchester United


Caption: Old Trafford

In his first year at Old Trafford, Mourinho’s United side won the League Cup and the Europa League, maintaining Jose’s 100% record in European finals. He was not able to build on that start however, and in the summer of 2018, he was cutting a more and more disconsolate figure in press conferences. The season started badly, with high profile rifts between Mourinho and his players, and he left in December.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Man United        144                   84                      32                  28               58.3

Tottenham

It is early days at Spurs, but the club has got off to a bright start under his tenure in the league and Champions League. There is no doubting this Tottenham side has the potential to win trophies, the main question is how long will Mourinho be around to see that happen?

Beginners Advice on Taking on the Bookmakers

Football betting can be an enjoyable pastime

There are so many aspects to being a football fan. From travelling up and down the country following your team to playing every Wednesday night with a group of mates, trying to recreate the goals from Match of the Day. From displaying your support for your team in the form of a leather wallet embossed in team colours, to screaming at them until you are hoarse on the terraces. Sports betting and in particular football betting is another incredibly popular way to get involved with the beautiful game, and as long as you bet within your limits and are aware of how much you are spending, it can be a fantastic pastime.

Knowledge is Power

You may think you know a lot about football, and want to turn that knowledge into cold hard cash. The thing you need to understand about betting is that it is ALL about knowledge and information (and a little bit of luck). The more information you have the better you’ll get. Even more important is the relative amount of information you have compared to the person you are making the bet with .i.e. the traditional bookmakers, or the betting exchanges if you are going down that route.

There are many places to get that information, some from unexpected sources. The obvious one is to watch and read as much about the game as possible, and do it with a critical eye as to strengths and weaknesses. Another great source of information comes from the actual bookmakers themselves, who often feature weekly accumulator tips on their sites. If you have friends, colleagues and family members who are also interested in football and the betting side of it, a good idea is to set up a WhatsApp group where everyone can share information and tips.

Even up the Balance

Studying non-league football could be a route to success

Realistically, no matter how much time you spend watching and reading about football, unless you are able to spend all day doing it, you are going to be at a disadvantage against the bookmakers, who do of course spend all day doing just that. But only up to a point. Bookmakers are businesses, and as a consequence, they dedicate most of their resources to where the most money is likely to be made or lost. In the UK, that is the EPL, which is by far the biggest betting market. Tempting though it may be, it is best to avoid it altogether, or at least add other strings to your bow in the form of lower leagues.

Take the time to study the clubs, players and form of Leagues 1, 2 and below for example. The amount bet on these is a tiny fraction to that wagered on the bigger leagues, but your potential to win is the same. The bookies will devote the amount of time and effort proportionate to the money bet, so that inequality in knowledge is suddenly not only reduced but can actually work in your favour.

Types of Bet

There are many different types of bet you can make, both in terms of what you are actually betting on, and the types of bet you make. There is also in-play betting which takes place during the game itself. In terms of the type of bet, there are numerous ones offered of various complexity. In very basic terms, you can have a single bet which is betting on the outcome of one event, for example, the first goal scorer, the match winner or the winners of the EPL. Then you can have doubles and trebles which involve two and three events respectively, all of which need to come in for you to win. Accumulators or accas as they are often known as are simply a number of events such as the winner in six matches, all of which you need to be correct for you to be successful.

The Championship Midfielder Spurs Must Target in the January Transfer Window

As a host of teams hunt promotion from the Championship, one of the players who will surely be a Premier League player next season is Blackburn Rovers midfielder Bradley Dack.

Blackburn are unlikely to be in the top flight. They instead look set for a season of consolidation in the second tier, but the 24-year old attacking midfielder is almost certain to be there without them.

He’s been attracting interest from the very best clubs in the country, with West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Spurs amongst those coveting the skilful playmaker.

Dack began his career with Gillingham, suitably impressing in a five-season stay at Preistfield to earn a £750,000 move to Blackburn Rovers. In his first season, he helped fire them to the Championship.

He’s now in his second season at Ewood Park and has adapted quickly to the rigours of the Championship, providing goals and assists as Tony Mowbray’s side has settled into the middle of the pack.

Tony Mowbray – By Новикова Юлия – http://www.soccer.ru/gallery/14349, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The former Celtic boss has intimated he’d like to see Dack remain at Ewood Park and there’s been talk of a new deal, but that would do the midfielder a disservice. He’s got composure and drive, something lacking in many players in the second tier and something highly sought after in the top flight.

Greenwich-born Dack would surely favour a move to West Ham or Spurs but a revamped White Hart Lane would be the perfect place for him to continue his development.

He only has to look at the success of the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane to see what an ambitious and talented young Englishman can do under Pochettino. Alli has quickly risen from League One to be an England regular and Kane has also developed under the manager with plenty of game time.

If Dack is to move up – and he will – then he must move to a club who will give him the support and game time he needs to show his talents. He is a similar player to Alli in that he likes the ball at his feet and to watch the game unfold ahead of him, but he’s also comfortable as a second striker, arriving late into the box.

This season he’s been playing behind Danny Graham for Blackburn, giving him the scope to play a similar role for Spurs. Indeed, he could be a long-term successor for Christian Eriksen.

FC Groningen 0-2 Ajax Amsterdam! Ajax finishes well this season by a great victory away. Christian thanks you all for…

Posted by Christian Eriksen on Sunday, 12 May 2013

 
Christian Eriksen on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/christian.eriksen.page/photos/a.278966032192864/448419738580825/?type=3&theater 

The transfer fee is certainly going to be a stumbling block. Blackburn are not going to accept anything less than £20m for the player they paid a fraction of that price for, but with West Brom prepared to pay that in the Championship, it’s a realistic figure.

Rovers are not looking like they’re going to get promotion. They’re priced as wide as 25/1 in the latest Championship betting odds, but they could seriously improve those chances with a huge war-chest courtesy of a transfer fee.

Spurs missed out on players in the January window, something they’re not likely to do this winter. With a Champions League assault still pending and the fight for a top four finish in full flow, they’re going to need to recruit decisive in January.

They must make Dack their number one target.

Chelsea FC Europa League Win

PAOK v Chelsea: Europa League Preview and Tip

Winners of the Europa League as recently as 2013, a perfect four-game start to the 2018/19 Premier League season has seen Chelsea’s stock rise after a poor 2017/18 campaign that saw thirteen league defeats.

While the Europa League gives Chelsea a double shot of regaining their place in the Promised Land, the amount of respect Mauricio Sarri gives this competition remains to be seen.

PAOK have only lost at home on two other occasions this calendar year. While that in itself is impressive to a finite degree, the fact that those home defeats to nil came against two of their peers in the top three indicates that there is a psychological block at inopportune times.

Adding to the fact that Chelsea are three weeks fitter than PAOK, this should be a stroll in Thessaloniki. However, a full-strength starting XI, with the possible exception of Hazard and Alonso, is an absolute must.

Chelsea win the Europa League in 2013.

Barkley one to watch

The fact that current football betting odds for the Europa League deem Chelsea as one of the Europa League frontrunners will add pressure on Sarri’s men, but it is nothing they aren’t accustomed to.

Yet, if Sarri truly does want his Chelsea side to flourish, and make good on their status as one of the outright favourites, then underestimating PAOK on the first matchday would be foolish in the extreme.

PAOK were recent 4-1 losers at home to Benfica in the Champions League playoff round, but showed their credentials to take on stronger opposition, escaping the Estadio da Luz with a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

One Chelsea player aiming to finally establish himself as a threat to the ultra-competitive Chelsea midfield is Ross Barkley.

With the ex-Evertonian only ever completing 90 minutes for Chelsea in the Community Shield, the opening matchday is a personal ‘do or die’ scenario for the man who once made marauding runs and scored spectacular goals for his old club.

With Sarri playing a 4-3-3 to good effect in the league thus far, Barkley’s natural role as a number ten is ill-fitted to the usual setup, and thus his true versatility as a professional could be tested to the limit in this Europa League match if he plays the full 90.

Danger men

The men from Thessaloniki will likely stay true to that which has worked. When faced with an in-form Chelsea side, dropping deep will do nothing.

PAOK will be expected to attack and go for the first goal, while then shutting up shop and doing everything possible to hurt Chelsea. Greek top-flight games often throw up a much higher average number of red cards, and PAOK ending the night with ten men is a potentially shrewd outcome to back as desperation seeps in – as surely it will, whether PAOK are winning or losing in the latter stages.

The hosts’ most dangerous player is unquestionably Vierinha, who was plying his trade in the Bundesliga – with a title-contending Wolfsburg – as recently as 2014.

The Portuguese attacker’s ability to play off point striker Aleksandar Prijovic is one of several reasons that PAOK were able to finish second in the 2017-18 Greek Super League, and fall just six points shy of the club’s first title since 1985.

Prediction: We’re going for a straightforward 2-0 Chelsea win, with bet365 currently offering 15/4 on any winning margin of exactly two goals.

Impressive start for Chelsea but Sarri says there’s more to come

Chelsea underwent a summer of change, with Antonio Conte replaced by new boss Maurizio
Sarri who joined from Italian Serie A big-guns Napoli in July.

His reign didn’t start the way he had hoped, with the Blues beaten 2-0 by Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

The Londoners have hit the ground running in the Premier League, however, as they aim to
improve on last season’s bitterly disappointing fifth-place finish.

At least one year dealt out of the Champions League riches is a catastrophe for a club of Chelsea’s size but they’ll be planning to use the extra time on their schedule to put pressure on defending champions Man City.
 

Source: Today’s Footy News via Twitter

All eyes were on Kirklees Stadium to see how Sarri’s side would line-up and fans were
pleasantly surprised to watch their heroes record a comfortable 3-0 win over a stubborn
Huddersfield on week one of the schedule.

The opening goal of the campaign came from an unlikely source, a volley from N’Golo Kante breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes and new signing Jorginho netted a debut goal
from the penalty spot before the break, Marcos Alonso fouled in the box by Christopher Schindler.

Easy street and by the time Pedro added a third 10 minutes from the end the game was long since over as a contest.

The final match stats showed the victors finished with 63% of the overall possession and 13
shots at goal. They managed to put just four of those on target – something for the coaching
staff to work on at their Surrey training base – but three of those four did hit the back of the net.

Despite a show of dominance from beginning to end, Sarri told the media at full-time it could
take his side anything up to two months before we see their full potential. That may have had
a few fans scratching their head, but it also got them excited for the future.
 

Source: The Blues via Twitter

Chelsea have won the Premier League title six times, first in 1955, and they have been hugely
successful in recent seasons, clinching the top prize in English football three times in the last
eight years – 2010, 2015 and 2017. Will 2019 be the year they add another medal?

The betting doesn’t think so and traders at Betfair have win number seven priced at 14/1 in
the outright Premiership betting.

Such big odds is sure to attract the attention of club fans and punters on the lookout for value, eager to oppose Man City’s odds-on price with something a bit more interesting.

If Chelsea don’t win the league this season the board will demand a quick-fire return to the
top-four and that seems more likely.

Qualification for the Champions League through a Premier League finish is 4/7 and that places them third in the pile behind The Cityzens and Liverpool who have been priced as close to guarantees as you’re likely to find at this early stage of the season.

Is this Tottenham Team a Step Away from the EPL Title?

Mauricio Pochettino has transformed Tottenham from a mid-table overachiever into a regular Top 4 and title contender. This year they were written off from the title race, but that is not something that they should lose sleep over as almost everyone has been blown away by Guardiola’s magnificent Manchester City side.

In the last couple of years Tottenham have been making a steady progress and right now they are favourites to win 80% of the matches they play in. This wasn’t something that you could have said a few years back when they were sinking into mediocrity and couldn’t win even if their lives depended on it.

This last couple of seasons however, they have been the punters’ favourite team and they have been backing them to win against all sorts of opposition. Punters have even started exploring different Betting Strategies which could maximize their winnings as they are now absolutely sure that Spurs can win matches easily and betting enthusiasts are trying to find a way to make that more profitable for themselves.

But can this Tottenham team make the ultimate step forward and win the league in the next few years? We think that they can and here is what they have got going for them.

World Class Manager

Mauricio Pochettino is on the shortlist of all top clubs in Europe right now. Teams such as Real Madrid and PSG are fighting over his signature and are reportedly willing to do anything they can to lure him.

This is because the Argentinean is a master tactician, a big man motivator and also has a good nose for a top quality player. He can win a match with a tactical change easily and his substitutions are always spot on.

Furthermore, many people credit him for assembling this Spurs squad and for how he has managed to keep everyone happy, performing at the top of the game, and ready to give their best when called upon.  

Harry Kane

Kane is arguably the best striker in the world of football. Just like his manager, he is highly sought after and teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Barcelona have all been linked as his likely destinations next season.

However it seems that the Englishman is perfectly happy to stay at Tottenham, and not just that, but to stay there for what could be his whole career.

This could be a huge boost for Spurs and if their top scorer stays then it is very likely that their trophy cabinet will start running out of space very quickly, something that Spurs fans just couldn’t wait to happen.

Magnificent Midfield

Spurs have had the luck of owning one of the best all round midfielders in the world at the moment and his name is Mousa Dembele. The Belgian is a force to be reckoned with and he will be an asset for any top club. He is perfectly complemented by his creative alter ego, Christian Eriksen, and together they make Spurs’ midfield outrageously good.

 

Conor McGregor

Could Conor McGregor be preparing for a football crossover?

In 2017, Conor McGregor crossed over from his native sport of mixed martial arts in the UFC to fight the then 49-0 Floyd Mayweather Jr in a licensed boxing match.

It was a much-hyped event that had people rushing to the bookmakers to back any chance that the Irish UFC world champion could defeat the undefeated American.

The fight finished with Mayweather pacing his way to a composed victory over the exhausted McGregor in the tenth round. The media and advertising companies massively overhyped the event, but it did manage to peak the interests of sports fans not traditionally supporters of boxing or mixed martial arts.

In the first month of 2018, two sports superstars have crossed over. Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey made her debut in the WWE, and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt has been trying out his football skills. The Jamaican speedster has been training with the Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa and is set to have a trial with Borussia Dortmund.

The crossover event into boxing was a cash-cow for Conor McGregor, and he took quite a beating, so there’s no wonder why he hasn’t stepped back into any combat sports just yet. In fact, his last legitimate fight was all the way back on 12th November 2016. Now his UFC division looks to be blocked off from him, so perhaps another familiar crossover is in the works.

McGregor may not get immediate title shot

Source: Fight Haven, via Twitter


When it came to his first professional boxing match, Conor McGregor was – rightfully – the heavy underdog. But in the octagon, McGregor has been a heavy favourite to win almost all of his most recent fights, despite moving division.

In his last fight, against Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, McGregor didn’t even need two rounds to stand victorious in the fight that the bookies favoured him to win.

In the fast-moving world of the UFC, there’s now a newish, incredibly dangerous contender in the lightweight division. Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to fight Tony Ferguson on 7th April, and the Russian has already outlined his plans as the champion.

Nurmagomedov is heavily favoured to win the fight at 2/5, so if you check out these UFC free Betting offers, he’d be a good use of the offer. If, or more likely when, Nurmagomedov does win, he would certainly give McGregor a run for his money in the betting odds, if he even lets him fight.

‘The Eagle’ says that when he’s champion, he’ll fight those who have proven themselves to be real contenders in the division with win-streaks, rather than allow McGregor to suddenly get a title shot, again.

If McGregor and Nurmagomedov were to meet in the octagon, it would be a tough call as to who would come out on top, and the Russian would certainly be able to upset the odds.

Perhaps a return to the octagon isn’t on the cards

Source: World Boxing News, via Twitter


McGregor made a huge amount of money from his boxing match and given his superstar status in the world of sport; other sports would certainly be willing to bring him in for a potential crossover.

Going to the WWE seems like the natural progression for McGregor, but perhaps going back to his sporting roots would be the way forward.

Conor McGregor played a lot of football as a younger man, deciding later to focus on mixed martial arts. Said to have been a good young player, potentially even a potential professional footballer,

McGregor’s high-level of athleticism and natural talent in the sport could see him crossover in a similar way that Usain Bolt has been trying. Like Usain Bolt, McGregor is also a Manchester United fan.

Right now, the Red Devils boast two players who did the opposite to McGregor and went from martial arts into professional football. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a black belt in taekwondo – often showing off the skills that he developed in the discipline while striking the ball acrobatically – and Chris Smalling was a young judo champion.

The most news that has been revealed about an upcoming fight for Conor McGregor is a video of Floyd Mayweather stepping into an octagon in a viral video. The hype has been about a comeback fight, but perhaps a crossover to football would be more lucrative knowing that he could walk back into the UFC whenever he wants. 

Antonio Conte

Chelsea’s Management Set up is the Problem for Conte

Chelsea is in another situation where it seems more like a repeat of what happened under Jose Mourinho after winning the league as it did happen under Carlo Ancelotti. Chelsea’s reoccurring problem after every successful stint calls for worry by fans and board.

This is a system that has to be changed if the club wants to attain a consistent level of success not a sinusoidal success.

The current Premier League champions have to look inward to solve their lingering crisis. The club owner has to find a way to make things work beyond every manager and still keeping the club at harmony.

Wherever there is a problem at a club, the manager is always the one whose head is called for. It is understandable because that’s how the sport is set up.

Antonio Conte can’t be excluded from this problem in all sincerity. The Italian has also had issues with the way he managed things at the club.

The sale of Diego Costa is one that always comes to mind easily. After chasing your highest goal scorer in a league winning season makes it an extremely difficult and daunting task for whoever his replacement to not be compared to him especially if he’s not living up to the expectation.

Alvaro Morata has not had a perfect start to life in England and has he has dropped form; it becomes more difficult not to compare if Costa was there he wouldn’t do better.

The tactical rigidity that Conte has stuck to makes it difficult when the players that suit that style are off form. Hazard and Morata have not been in their best form recently and this is a big worry for the manager.

Now selling Batshuayi for a second striker at another club Olivier Giroud, to come and become a second striker at your club begs the question, why is he not willing to trust Batshuayi in the first place?

All these cannot make him be excluded from the problem at the club which most likely is a reason he won’t be at Stamford Bridge next season beyond just scoring once and conceding seven against two clubs struggling in the league in their last two outings.

At Chelsea, every time a manager comes in and things start going south, the rebellious act by some set of senior players at the club does not help matter and the club management seems not to find a problem with it.

Starting from Mourinho’s first stint at the club to AVB and Benitez, the likes of Lampard, Terry and Drogba seems to always find a way to divide the dressing room when they don’t have it their way.

Even during the time of Ancelloti who won the league and is just six points off the leaders, sitting second on the log, he started having issues with players and board and was just able to finish his second year at the club.

If the management seems not to see a problem with this, then they should brace up for a repeat when a new manager comes in next season.

There should be this aura that a coach has control over the club and can always have the final say on many issues. The players will start having a different orientation in how things work at the club.

With Luis Enrique likely to be the replacement to Conte, how will the management react whenever results doesn’t go his way? The Chelsea need to realise the problem lies more with the club than the managers.

On the other hand, Chelsea will be entertaining West Brom at the Stamford Bridge Stadium, and visit NetBet for some decent gambling odds will make a lot of sense, as they’re offering some high numbers at the moment.

Chelsea’s Latest Hunt for a Veteran Striker and the Logic Behind It

Chelsea FC Goal Celebration
 
Premier League teams, quite unsurprisingly, create buzz and spark headlines during the permitted player transfer windows.

These headlines are not always created based on the news of actual transfers but are usually created based on predictions and hype, as teams keep information regarding transfer negotiations hidden till the last minute.

Still, others cannot make out the actual decisions of a team till final confirmation regarding transfer is given out. It is similar to a poker game situation in which a player may not be able to make out if another is bluffing or not.

The 2018 winter transfer window is not much different either.

This time around, one of the major teams is hitting the headlines for a rather interesting reason. Chelsea F.C. is learnt to be looking for a striker.

The interesting factor here is that it is looking not just for a good striker but rather for a ‘veteran’ striker, preferably tall. It is quite evident from the list of strikers Chelsea is actively considering, which includes Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch and Ashley Barnes.

Most football fans have yet to read Antonio Conte’s mind and understand the logic behind the demand for a veteran striker rather than a good striker.

Reading Chelsea’s plan and intentions is not as easy a task as playing Omaha Hi-Lo. At first look, the search for a veteran striker seems like a mere short-term measure. But when you analyze further, Antonio Conte’s search for a veteran striker is not without reasons.

While we are not sure about Conte’s calculations, his thoughts and intentions can be guessed with a degree of reason.
 
Antonio Conte
 
First, Chelsea, at least in the short term, are looking to consistently maintain a couple of strikers who are firing and have enough experience under their belts.

They are desperately trying to prevent the creation of a hole in the striking department, in the eventuality of Michy Batshuayi going out, at least on a temporary basis. And it seems like Chelsea’s scheme of things needs a credible player upfront, which is not ill-founded.

But what defines the credibility of a striker? Let’s consider the case of poker. No matter how skilful a player is, it is that poker player’s success story that ultimately gives credibility to him or her. And similar is the case with football as well.

A credible player upfront will always be an inspiration to the entire team, as the team will be motivated to play forward and pass on the ball to their trusted player.

So, apart from the physical skill and support a credible striker adds to the team, they will have a psychological impact as well. Ultimately, this will benefit the entire team positively.

Hence the reason why Chelsea are looking specifically for a credible striker. But this is not the only reason. Conte is learnt to be having more faith in keeping a striker as a point of reference and weaving the game around him.

Such a theory is supported by the information that Chelsea are considering veteran strikers who are tall. Thus, without doubt, Chelsea’s hunt for a tall veteran striker is real and is based on a plan.