In one corner, an under-performing side with a manager under increasing scrutiny and appearing to be living out the final days of his tenure. In the other, a side enjoying the elixir of a new manager showing some renewed resolve but not exactly pulling up trees in an attacking sense, as Chelsea take on Real Madrid live from the USA.
If certain reports are to be believed, this may well be Jose’s last stand as Chelsea’s manager. As such one should expect a backs-to-the-wall gameplan to help an ailing defence which has conceded a whopping nineteen goals so far this season.
It seems inconceivable that a Jose Mourinho managed team would only keep two clean-sheets in the opening ten games of any given season, but then again it hardly been a regular season down the ‘Bridge. They have, after all, lost twice at home so far this campaign, having never lost once in Mourinho’s previous 99 League games at Stamford Bridge.
And it isn’t only the Chelsea hierarchy concerned with their current malaise – fantasy football managers across the world have bemoaned the lack of form from some of the champions’ key players. The chief culprits have been Cesc Fabregas and last year’s Player of the Season Eden Hazard, but even the likes of Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and summer addition Pedro are suffering from a crisis in confidence.
For those considering avoiding any of the Blues’ players in their fantasy line-ups this weekend, they may not be a beaten flush just yet.
One source of hope exists in the guise of Willian. The Brazilian has stepped up to the breach manfully in the last few gameweeks, scoring two and assisting one in his last four games. His endless work-rate and under-appreciated skill makes him the one undroppable player in the team at present. He may be worth considering, as he is currently valued at a reasonable £6.8 million and has been selected by only 3.1% of FPL managers.
In surroundings where everyone else is sinking around them, Willian is keeping his head above water.
Another player that may well get more game-time than he is currently enjoying is Loic Remy. Doubts surround Diego Costa owing to a rib injury sustained in their Capital One Cup exit to Stoke City, and indeed with the overall fitness of Radamel Falcao. Therefore, the Frenchman could be thrust into action to lead the line on Saturday.
Remy scored against Stoke City in that game mid-week, and while his Premier League minutes have been limited to just substitute appearances (he has only completed a total of 88 minutes so far), he has shown previously that he can be relied upon when called on.
In a similiar backup role last year, he scored 7 League goals in 853 minutes of action, representing a goal every 120 minutes. Much like Willian, his £7.1 million pricetag is appealing – as is the fact he has only being picked by a paltry 0.4% of managers. He is also less likely to get involved in the silly stuff than the temperamental Costa, meaning there is minimal chance of him accumulating negative points for ill-discipline.
Chelsea to return for Spurs superstar with increased bid
Roman Abramovich could be ready to get his chequebook out once again in January and make an incredible £52m offer for Tottenham playmaker, Luka Modric.
The Blues have bid for Modric in the past two transfer windows but any fee they have submitted has been deemed unworthy by Spurs so far. Last January also saw the Chelsea FC owner write a cheque out for £50m to bring Liverpool striker Fernando Torres to Stamford Bridge and it is believed the Russian owner will now at stop at nothing to get his man.
The Croatian playmaker is believed to have been subject to three offers from Chelsea over the summer, the largest of which is thought to have been worth £35m. Despite the big money bids and the midfielder actually handing in a transfer request, he was not permitted to leave the club and will now remain at the club until January at least.
Harry Redknapp has been striving to tie the maestro down to a new long-term deal, however Modric is reluctant to sign an extension as he looks to keep his hopes of a move away, alive.
Daniel Levy played a key role in keeping Modric at White Hart Lane and apparently made the decision to reject the player’s transfer request.
However, one would think that with a bid of £52m on the table, even Levy will find it difficult to keep his star midfielder in the side.
Arsenal considering shock bid for Chelsea veteran
The striker has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge for some time now, with the likes of Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Nicolas Anelka to contend with.
The Ivory Coast international is also at the ripe old age of 33 and the Portuguese boss could be tempted into cashing in on the forward.
News is circulating that Marouane Chamakh could be on his way back to France sometime soon, with PSG apparently showing interest in acquiring his signature after the striker has endured a disappointing two years at the Emirates Stadium.
Drogba could turn out to be a sound asset for the Gunners, providing an experienced mind who has played in the Premier League for seven years now, and still has the potential for brilliance.
Given his low resale value and that he is in the last year of his contract, the forward, who has netted almost 100 times for the Blues, could be available for a pittance and would relieve some of the pressure from Robin van Persie in his sole central striker role.
Arsenal face West Ham with live streaming from the Premier League
Arsenal are planning a double raid in January for two players whos contracts currently come to an end next summer and will look to make a two bids worth a combined £14m.
First on Arsene Wenger’s list is that of Bolton Wanderers centre-back Gary Cahill for whom the side were reported to have had a bid rejected in the last few days of the summer’s transfer window.
With it unlikely that Bolton will extend the 25 year old’s current deal, and with Cahill himself suggesting he wants to get involved in European competition, Arsenal will remain one of his top destinations.
Arsenal will face competition for the England defender though. Most notable competitors for his signature are those of Tottenham Hotspur – who were rumoured to be close to a deal this summer – and Chelsea, who feel the defender could be a long term solution to the aging John Terry.
Arsenal’s second target is that of 26 year old Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo.
The Italian’s current deal also ends next summer although the Serie A side still remain hopeful that a new extension to the his contract could go ahead before January.
Should it not, the side will look to sell for obvious reasons, mainly the risk of allowing him to sign a pre-deal in January and risk losing the talented player for nothing.
Whilst it is still early days in the season, Arsenal already have certain players marked for attention and with Cahill and Montolivo pencilled in for a possible January acquisition, Wenger will be hoping any new players in January will be enough to push them on for the second half of the season.
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