Having arrived into a proverbial burning building, Thomas Tuchel has done his best impression of a football firefighter. Taking on a young squad laden with talent and ability, Chelsea were seen as one of the great underperformers in Europe upon his arrival. However, the German supremo has worked his magic, turning Chelsea from an expensive joke into one of the most well-structured teams in Europe. Previous coach Frank Lampard had found it hard to blend his unique squad together and faced the sack long before it arrived.

Since Tuchel arrived, though, numerous comments were made that he was simply the next in-line to be sacked in the near future. Having most likely guaranteed Chelsea UEFA Champions League football whilst reaching the UCL and FA Cup Finals, the German has turned a season of loss into one of genuine triumph and opportunity. So, with that in mind, the reports that Tuchel will be given a juicy new deal should surprise nobody.

The German is on the lookout for a new deal to arrive in the near future, with his work so far impressing everyone at the club. The speed in which he turned around a team of young underperformers from a team that looked lethargic and weak into a tactical powerhouse that has taken results from the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City (twice), and Real Madrid, shows a coach in his element with a squad who would go to war for him.

The news of a new deal, too, shows just how fast things can change. When he first arrived at Chelsea, the coach made clear that the length of his contract wasn’t an issue as the sack is always just around the corner in football. Now, though, he can likely feel some security.

Does Thomas Tuchel deserve a new contract?

Given the fact he’s only been at the club for a period of months, some worry this new extension might be too hasty. However, with the German in his best form as a coach this year, he looks like a ready-made fit for Chelsea. He is a cerebral thinker with the ability to connect with younger players, giving them a confidence boost whilst also keeping them well in-line in terms of tactics and formations.

He’s a man manager who also does not mind having control from above taken from him. Although he has famously had fallouts with the higher-ups at both Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain, it is clear that Tuchel can work as part of a wider setup. Given coaches are rarely given power away from the dugout and training ground, then, he should be the perfect fit for the modern system that Chelsea have developed.

Though some might worry that it could be a good period of success that soon fades, it would be hard to deny that Tuchel has been a genuine gamechanger in London. With no shortage of his ability as a coach, this could be the long-term appointment that Chelsea have hunted after for so long.

 

In what is one of the biggest domestic derbies in the capital, Arsenal versus Chelsea always gets fans excited. North London versus West London. Red versus Blue. Mourinho against Wenger. For years, Arsenal and Chelsea were total polar opposites in terms of their style and their way of working. Today, though? They are polar opposites in terms of ambition and potential.

The Gunners arrive in the western quadrant of the capital knowing their season is, for all intents and purposes, over. Chelsea arrive knowing a win against their old foe practically ties up UEFA Champions League qualification, setting them up for next season as well as leaving them able to focus on trying to win a cup double.

Chelsea news

The Blues have an FA Cup Final to look forward to at the weekend, which might see them change their starting line-up somewhat. However, with UCL football still not guaranteed, Thomas Tuchel might take precious few risks. They might look to give the likes of Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount, whilst giving their rotation options a chance to play in the domestic cup final to arrive at the weekend.

Thiago Silva might also sit this one out, though the loss of Andreas Christensen for this game might mean he has to play at least some part. Tuchel and co. are believed to want to keep as many players as they can fresh for the cup match without having to put their chances of winning the game at needless risk.

Arsenal news

The Gunners will be arriving at this game missing three players in Granit Xhaka, David Luiz, and Pablo Mari. All three have played in defence for the most part, leaving Arsenal short on defensive numbers. However, we should see a return to the starting eleven for the likes of Kieran Tierney, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martin Ødegaard, Hector Bellerin and Thomas Partey.

As five of the most important players for Arsenal, this should bode well for a team that has been lacking in numbers recently. However, expect Alex Lacazette to spend the games beginning on the bench. His recent return from injury means he is unlikely to be fit enough to be able to get back on the pitch without some more training time.

Verdict

With seven clean sheets in eight home games, Chelsea can feel pretty confident in walking out of here with a win. They will also know they are playing an Arsenal team with nothing to play for but pride. Only one defeat in their last sixteen points to a team in incredibly confident form. The Gunners, though, are undefeated in their five away games. Pair that up with a 10-match unbeaten run at home to Arsenal, though, and this game has all of the hallmarks of an intriguing tie.

Chelsea, though, have more to play for and we can see that desire to secure European football paired with a cup final place to earn giving them the edge in a game that Arsenal, if they were honest, would probably rather avoid.

 

Though Chelsea are currently in as good a place as they have been for several years, the Blues never stop looking for ways to improve. And one of the most interesting discussions at the moment revolves around the signing of summer attacking talent. Though there is much talk of the signing of a signature striker, the return to form of Timo Werner could see those plans shelved – at least in the intention to buy an out and out striker. Instead, Chelsea might look to bolster their attacking talent elsewhere.

A common complaint from some fans is a lack of true quality in the wide areas, at least consistently. The arrival of Jadon Sancho, then, would change that. The aggressive young winger, a Chelsea supporter, has been linked mostly with the Manchester clubs and Liverpool. However, with news that Borussia Dortmund might be lowering their price to a more palatable £80m, Chelsea might look to get in ahead of the pack.

A London boy, Sancho is rated as among the most exciting players of his generation. Though his stats have slowed down somewhat this year, his incredible production since breaking through at BVB was arguably unsustainable. Many see his drop in form as a sign of a player who has downed tools; it is more likely, though, that the player has simply been the subject of more strenuous marking than ever before.

His second half of the season has been hugely impressive when fit. With his contract running down and BVB keen to try and offset too many key player losses, though, they might instead look to make a fair deal for Sancho.

Why would Dortmund sell Sancho to Chelsea?

For one, the two clubs have done business in the past without any real disharmony. There is believed to be a good relationship there – unlike the relationship shared with other English clubs. The season long soap opera of Sancho going to Manchester United is believed to have seriously irked those at the top of Dortmund. Therefore, they might prefer to do their business with Chelsea.

Given it is the team that Sancho supports, and they could be reigning European champions, it might also be easier to see an agreement between all parties. Despite late rumours, it appeared last year that Sancho was not really committed to a move back to Manchester. Chelsea are on the upward curve and could use Sancho most weeks; add in a lifelong affection for the Blues, and his arrival would make a lot of sense for all involved.

With BVB potentially missing out on the Champions League for next year, they might need to make a sacrifice of sorts to help balance the books. With Sancho well proven in his time at Dortmund, all parties might agree that this is as good a time as any to say farewell to one another.

And for Chelsea, it could held them to land the most exciting English talent of his age group for a fee far below what might have been expected.

 

If you had told a Chelsea fan that this match-up with Manchester City would be a dress rehearsal for the UEFA Champions League Final, they would have laughed. An incredible run to the Final under new coach Thomas Tuchel, though, will see the two ‘other’ giants of the English game take on one another. Before that, though, a vital league game for the future of Chelsea awaits. Can they come to Manchester and claim a flagship win to put their marker down ahead of meeting up against one another in Istanbul?

With both teams arriving into this one in high confidence and great form, expect a bombastic game with both sides eager to prove their point.

Home news

City will be without John Stones, who was sent off in their last league match. However, outside of that they should be able to field close to a full first-team. This is a farcry from the skeleton side that Chelsea dismantled in the FA Cup Semi-Finals.

Rodri should come back into the squad, offering authority in place of the likely rested Fernandinho. Another key player who will come into the side is Aymeric Laporte, who has become an increasingly crucial figure again under Guardiola. We might see one of Phil Foden or Riyad Mahrez rested to help give the team some extra legs as they come to the most crucial part of the season.

Away news

The Blues will rock up to Manchester knowing they need to really make a big impression. A win is essential to both stop City winning the title and to also keep themselves in the UCL hunt. Thomas Tuchel will likely be without Cesar Azpilicueta, while Mateo Kovacic will also likely sit this one out after missing a lot of football.

Like City, Chelsea made short work of their UCL second leg, dismissing Real Madrid; only a gluttony of missed chances stopped this from being an utter rout. Tuchel might look to rest some players, though, especially after Jorginho and N’Golo Kante gave so much in midweek. Expect some changes to come into as Chelsea look to give some of their most regularly used players under Tuchel a bit of extra time to rest and recover. Expect Marcos Alonso and Reece James to get a start in the full/wing-back roles.

Verdict

This should be an exceptional game with two teams who are nearing full fitness and are utterly brimming with confidence. This will be a dress rehearsal for the Final, but a title can be won and UCL spots can be secured with wins for either team. Expect a game that is full of energy, rather than a chance for two big clubs to play out for a low energy draw.

Chelsea arrive to play a City team who have conceded a surprising number of goals recently, though, so should be confident in putting a bit of pressure on the City team. However, we cannot call a winner; this has score draw written all over it.

 

 

Having just come back from Madrid with a very credible 1-1 draw, Chelsea look set to qualify for their first UEFA Champions Final since victory in 2012. The Blues look in fine form, having moved on from a few shock results against West Bromwich Albion and Bright & Hove Albion to restore positivity around their season. At the moment, a successive run of impressive away results – including a clutch win at West Ham United – has left the Blues feeling pretty confident of success this season.

With an FA Cup Final to contest, too, the Blues need to overcome a ‘trap game’ against near-relegated Fulham. With the UEFA Champions League qualification race still too tight to call, Chelsea need three points at Stamford Bridge against an opponent they have not lost to in their last six meetings.

Chelsea News

Arriving a this game with a pretty impressive result in Spain, Chelsea will have one eye on the second leg. Expect some resting to take place, though core players will likely keep their position to build continuity as the season moves towards its crescendo.

Expect Chelsea to play an attacking line-up, though, as they will look to attack a fragile Fulham side who have a nasty habit of conceding ridiculous goals at clutch moments. If Chelsea can start with their usual aggressive streak, and with most of their fitness problems overcome, they should be able to make short work of a Fulham side shattered in terms of self-belief.

Fulham News

Losing one crucial game in the last minute can be demoralising – when it becomes your ‘thing’, though, it can become terminal. Fulham look bereft of belief when it matters most, often losing games in the most ridiculous fashion and with as little time as possible to react to the issue.

Although the squad looks fit enough to compete, awful individual errors and poor team defending – often leaving the opposition with clear-cut opportunities – makes it hard to see any kind of wining formula for the Cottagers. They concede crucial goals, they miss vital chances, and they have a habit of conceding in injury time.

Although fitness issues are beginning to slowly but surely solve themselves, there has been too much damage done in the previous months. Fulham look down, with booth consistency in both boxes making it hard to see any kind of positive result in the derby.

Verdict

As mentioned above, despite having a fit(ish) squad Fulham simply lack that clutch gene at the top level. They tend to give the ball away in bad areas, miss easy chances after working so hard to create them, and then give up the most ridiculously easy goals. For Fulham fans, arriving at West London to take on a resurgent Chelsea is probably the last thing they needed.

Key results have gone against Fulham both in their own games and in the resurgence of the likes of Newcastle United and Burnley. The chance to survive has likely gone, and we could see that rugged resistance finally meet a harsh end here against Chelsea.

 

This summer, Chelsea are eyeing a daring move for a young forward who can lead the line for years to come. Sound familiar? You might be thinking of 2020, when Chelsea agreed a deal to bring in German striker Timo Werner. Even alongside compatriot Kai Havertz, though, it is fair to say that Chelsea have yet to find the star striker they can build around. Typically, flagship Premier League forwards are more crunch than craft – and this could see Chelsea return to the summer market to buy a top striker.

Reports suggest they will move on from Olivier Giroud, with the 34-year-old unlikely to sign an extension and thus leave on a free. Academy forward Tammy Abraham has seen precious little time on the pitch since Thomas Tuchel arrived at Cobham. Therefore, he could move on to find first-team football, with various Premier League clubs linked with moves in the region of £30m-plus.

This would give Chelsea the salary and finance to go ahead and make a major striker signing. The two names being most linked will surely excite Chelsea fans. Who, then, are the two primary targets to lead the line next season?

Erling Braut Haaland

A name long linked with Chelsea, the Blues are set to do battle with most of Europe to land the precocious star. If current club Borussia Dortmund miss out on the UEFA Champions League, a fee in excess of £120m could see Haaland move on this summer as opposed to next summer when intended.

Despite his strong affection for Leeds United, it is likely that Haaland would see Chelsea as an ideal landing point. The Blues have an incredible team behind him who fit in with his age. Also, he offers the longevity they need to build around, and has the power, speed, and finishing to be a Premier League superstar.

While the fee might be huge, Haaland could be enticed given how Chelsea have performed in the UCL this year. Given his love and near-obsession with the top competition in Europe, Chelsea might find a Finals appearance, or a victory, might put them head of the table for the Norwegian.

Romelu Lukaku

Ex-player Lukaku, a lifelong Chelsea fan and seen by many as the natural heir to the Didier Drogba-shaped hole that has existed since his exit, is the other option. Though he has become a near-legend at Internazionale since arriving under coach Antonio Conte, himself a former Chelsea employee, an exit from Italy would be seen as a shock.

However, unlike Haaland, it comes down to off the pitch considerations as opposed to European qualification. Despite almost certainly winning the Italian Serie A title, ownership issues could see Suning have to sell players in the summer as they are unable to directly get involved as they could prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As such, Inter might be forced into selling their star asset. At a prime age and with two years of incredible personal and team success in Italy, could Lukaku decide to return to the league where he made his name? If he did, unfinished business at Chelsea would definitely be seen as an opportunity worth taking.

His first stint at Chelsea was a failure, and his failure to arrive under Conte was seen as a club blunder. Could it be third time lucky for player and club?

 

With the league season beginning to come to an end, there will be some major ties to be played. None, though, are arguably as big as this tie – West Ham United know that a win against Chelsea puts them in the driving seat for UEFA Champions League qualification. A loss, though, likely leaves the dream in tatters. Will pragmatist coach David Moyes look to push the button and attack?

Or will he be too worried about leaving an effervescent Blues attack with too much space to roam into? With this huge match-up, it’s hard to say what happens next.

West Ham news

The Hammers are beginning to rack up injuries at precisely the wrong moment of the season. Some major injuries have taken place, with the likes of Declan Rice and Michail Antonio out of the running – likely for most of the season.

The left-hand side of the team is a state, too, with both Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell both likely to be injured and thus likely to miss out on the match. Craig Dawson is suspended, too, which will leave West Ham scrambling around for solutions.

Fabian Balbuena might be brought back in for what would be his first start for Moyes since December. That’s quite the game to be dropped into, but needs must as West Ham look to try and make their staple back three formation work with limited numbers.

Chelsea news

Meanwhile, the Blues will arrive at the London Stadium without anything like the same injury woes. Thiago Silva is fit again, as are Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, and Ben Chilwell. As such, we should see a full-strength Blues side come into this match. Reece James might sit this one out, at least on the bench, as Callum Hudson-Odoi might offer a more penetrative solution from the right-hand side of attack.

Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic could also get involved in the game, with both potentially starting behind Kai Havertz at the tip of the attack. However, the improved run of form that Hachim Ziyech is on might see Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel look to try and fit the Moroccan back into the team as a reward for his sound form.

Edouard Mendy will likely return in-between the sticks, too, despite the impressive performance of Kepa for the Blues in their win against Manchester City and his decent showing in the home match against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Verdict

This should be an interesting match, with both teams knowing this could be define their season and next. In fact, it could even determine the success – or failure – of both managers. With the Blues losing only one of their last 13, though, they should arrive at London Stadium feeling good. That contrasts to West Ham losing just one of their last ten at home, though.

Expect a good game, but it might be one that does little for either club in terms of securing UCL football – giving others, such as Liverpool, a chance to steal in.

 

 

Having signed for Inter as their controversial head coach in 2019, Antonio Conte, a former Juventus captain and coach, brought a lot of demands with him. The former Chelsea coach arrived at the Giuseppe Meazza with a significant list of demands. Chief among those demands was a major renovation of the Inter squad, and this led to key signings such as Romelu Lukaku. However, despite being backed to the hilt in his first season, the season ended with a disappointing league campaign – finishing second – and a loss in the UEFA Europa League Final.

However, this season, Inter have been much better. Though they crashed out of Europe in disappointing fashion, they impressed massively in the league. At the time of writing, the Nerazzurri hold a nine-point lead, and the teams behind them make a habit of lacking consistency. As such, they hold a clear advantage that should see them win their first Scudetto title since Jose Mourinho was the coach in 2011. This marks a major revival, then, for the club – but coach Conte has already made clear he won’t commit without clear guarantees.

With the ownership situation at the club leaving Inter unable to spend as intended, thanks to Chinese government decrees to companies like owner Suning, Inter might not be able to build on their present success. This could be problematic for Inter, leaving the Italian giants with a difficult decision to make regarding squad development.

Talk of loans and other investment to help see the club through a tough spot until Suning can invest again has been commonplace. However, there are some concerns that Conte might not stick around if he cannot be promised the perpetual improvement that the high-intensity coach so clearly demands.

Will Inter need a new coach?

The talk of Conte leaving immediately is a challenging one. Given his incredible form – and the way he has transformed Lukaku into arguably the best player in the country – it is hard to see Inter giving up. They have invested hugely in Conte and built a team in his own image – to give up now as he builds Inter into a genuine success again would be a strange decision.

However, his comments after the 1-1 draw with Spezia were targeted at the ownership, as he said: “Do I see myself at Inter for a long time? Today we can only affect the present. We know that the club’s programs have changed for many reasons. At the end of the season we will have to clarify, this is inevitable. And the fans deserve it. If there is a clear project? Then yes”.

That shows a coach who is willing to make concessions, but only if there is the ability for things to progress. Talk of major sales in the face of lacking investment would likely see Inter back to square one. As such, there is a major uncertainty about what happens next for the likely league winners. In a period that should be celebrated wildly, this could see Inter lose momentum in their bid to return to the top of the Italian game consistently.

 

With the Blues set to continue a squad rebuild that started with some youth being injected under Frank Lampard, summer 2021 might bring the arrival of two proven Premier League players. The two names being linked have long played for rivals of Chelsea, and would perhaps take some getting used to for fans. The two names are Sergio Aguero of Manchester City, and Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool.

Both are league veterans with hundreds of appearances each, with Wijnaldum playing for Newcastle and Liverpool with some distinction. Aguero has been an all-time great at City, offering them a striker unlike any to have played for the club before or, likely, after. However, both players were heavily linked with moves to Italy and Spain – with Barcelona believed to be immensely keen on both, and both Juventus and Internazionale keen on a double swoop. However, recent reports suggest both players would rather stay in the competitive landscape in England.

This could see Chelsea net a double pick-up that would provide experience and tremendous value for money. In both players, they would be getting proven Premier League quality talent whilst simultaneously weakening two of their main title rivals.

What would both signings offer Chelsea?

For one, they would provide veteran experience that some suggest is now missing. The current Chelsea team lacks many trophies and medals, with much of the squad from the previously successful Antonio Conte days now moved on. This could see Chelsea look to inject some more winning habits around the squad in the form or two winners who have done it at the highest level.

For Wijnaldum, he arrives with both league winning experience and European success in his recent history. Aguero would arrive as a perpetual winner domestically and a lethal finisher at both domestic and European level. As such, there is a genuine interest that the two players could help to offer a gap in the consistency that has plagued the Blues all year.

With talk that Timo Werner could be sacrificed in the summer, too, there is a willingness to accept that change is coming at Chelsea. The arrival of both Wijnaldum and Aguero would offer nous, winning experience, and quality. Both players are good ages, and although injury issues would worry with Aguero in particular it is clear that neither player would be a problem or a luxury.

Both are talented winners with a great example to set in any dressing room. Their arrival at Cobham would offer Chelsea another two high quality additions who could add even more experience and knowhow into a dressing room that has become surprisingly young.

Although the likes of Thiago Silva are present, Chelsea could use some more winners and some more consistency. Given the youth movement that has taken place in the last few years, this could be what is missing from Chelsea if they wish to take that next step up from a youthful side to one that could win the league and more.

 

As one of the most decorated players in the history of FC Porto, Paulo Futre is an icon within Portuguese football. However, despite a normally mild mannered personality, the Portuguese has come out firing at his former clubs UEFA Champions League opponents, Chelsea. The Blues will meet the Dragões in a highly anticipated last eight encounter – the first time Blues have reached the last eight since 2014. However, the fury stems from reports that the Chelsea team celebrated and cheered as they were drawn with Porto.

Given the Portuguese outfit knocked out Juventus en route to the last eight, that might seem presumptuous. And football has a habit of teams who celebrate in such a manner being taught a lesson when matchday arrives. However, when speaking to Portuguese channel CMTV, Futre could not hide his anger at what he had heard had taken place at Stamford Bridge.

He was furious with the apparent happiness of Chelsea to draw his former club and gave an angry response when asked about it on TV. Given his previous success with Porto, Futre has often come out fighting in the media to defend Porto.

What did Paulo Futre say about Chelsea?

Futre was on TV when asked about his view of the draw, and he could not contain his irritation at the way the draw was reportedly received by Chelsea players. Speaking to CMTV, he said: “Chelsea players celebrated when they heard that they had drawn Porto. How did I know? It’s in the English press and I called later to confirm.

“FC Porto players have to run like never before in these two games. Do you know why? Because Chelsea think they have already won the tie. They celebrated!

“When I spoke to the source I was disgusted and I would give anything to play against Chelsea .

“FC Porto players now have to give their all on the pitch, because Chelsea think they are already in the semi-finals. They celebrated in the morning when they saw they got FC Porto. Porto can get through, but they have to sweat blood.”

The tie will take place on the 7th April, when the first leg will take place in Portugal. The second leg, at Stamford Bridge, will take place on the 13th April. Given Porto have a poor record of heading to England to take big results in the past, the pressure is absolutely on Chelsea to get the job done as soon as is possible.

The two clubs have a long history, with many players and coaches having enjoyed time at both clubs during their career. Previous matches, too, have often been tight and challenging affairs. The winner of the tie will have the chance to face off against one of either Liverpool or Real Madrid.

All four teams who could play against one another, then, will hope to be the ones celebrating come mid-April. For Chelsea, though, the objective is clear: don’t allow pre-match celebrations to become post-match sorrow.