Hazard leaving Chelsea? – Star set to go after top four failure

After a performance that has been heavily criticised by pundits, Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City has made finishing in the top four look extremely unlikely for the Blues. Champions League football is a must for attracting and keeping top players. Missing out could be a catalyst for Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea.

The Belgian is arguably one of the best players to represent the club. Since joining in the summer of 2012 he has been a key performer for Chelsea. But the possibility of him staying with the Blues for the long haul has been constantly questioned.

Hazard has made no secret of his admiration for current Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid. The temptation for any player to pull on that famous white shirt is enough to worry adoring fans that their current favourites could move at any time.

This summer seems the most likely yet that Hazard leaving Chelsea is a real possibility. Hazard is yet to pen a new deal. Now he may be looking to move on after six seasons in the capital.

When taking a look at Hazard’s Chelsea stats, his potential departure is a major concern for the club.

Is Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea?

It’s easy to see how influential Hazard is for Chelsea. He has been directly involved in 160 goals in his 287 games in all competitions. His two Premier League titles, Europa League and League Cup is an impressive haul of trophies so far.

Hazard has successfully completed 940 dribbles in the Premier League and European competitions since joining Chelsea. That is bettered by Lionel Messi (1045), but not Cristiano Ronaldo (388) or Neymar (861).

Hazard leaving Chelsea – Title defence failure

Although City have taken the league by storm this season, Chelsea’s title defence has been poor to say the least. It’s the second title defence in a row where Chelsea have not been up to the races.

For Hazard to continue his growth as a player and to be recognised as one of the elite he needs to be winning or challenging consistently for a league title every season. That is not happening for him at Chelsea, which will be increasing his frustrations.

Hazard leaving Chelsea – New challenge & Ballon d’Or

A new challenge may be on the Belgian’s mind. As mentioned, he has been with Chelsea for six seasons now. In the modern game longevity is becoming a less frequent feature of a career.

At 27, Hazard is now in his prime years and he arguably has six seasons at left in him at the very top of his game. He will want to be challenging to win the Ballon d’Or year-on-year during that time. While Messi and Ronaldo are still dominating European stats, Hazard is a name that is constantly thrown into the ring for those who are expected to hit the highest levels.

Winning the Ballon d’Or while playing in the Premier League is not a very frequent occurrence. The last time it happened was in 2001. So even with the domination of Messi and Ronaldo from 2008 onwards – it seems unlikely for anything to change any time soon.

Hazard leaving Chelsea – Champions League desire

Winning the Champions League is at the top of the list for every player in Europe. Hazard is facing the prospect of not playing in the competition for the second time in just three seasons. While Chelsea are still in the current round of the competition, they aren’t being backed by many to advance.

His desire to win the competition is natural. It’s all to apparent how difficult it is to win the Champions League while playing with the pressure of what is known as the toughest league in the world.

While doing no discredit to the strength of the remainder of Europe’s top leagues, they are seen as easier routes to having a better chance of winning the Champions League, which may be a factor in Hazard’s decision to move on.

Is Hazard leaving Chelsea this summer?

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Matic to Man Utd: Should Chelsea be selling him?

Matic to Man Utd: The Serbian midfielder is close to a reunion with Jose Mourinho, but are Chelsea making the right decision to sell him to Premier League title rivals?

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s for Chelsea

The reported fee for Matic to Man Utd is £40m. A similar amount to what Chelsea have paid for Tiemoue Bakayoko, meaning the Blues would break even in terms of transfer spend.

Antonio Conte is stamping his mark on his squad for the new season. He is signing the players he wants and allowing those he doesn’t want to leave the club. So if he is able to do so while balancing the books, he’ll be even happier.

Matic to Man Utd: Con’s for Chelsea

Chelsea are losing an established midfielder. At 28 Matic is in his prime with plenty still to offer. He’s also won two Premier League titles with Chelsea over the past three seasons.

Matic’s replacement is unproven in the Premier League. Bakayoko may need time to adapt to his new surroundings and has far less experience.

Chelsea’s squad depth will be tested unless they sign more midfielders. Conte has already allowed Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah to depart the club. With the demand of more games this season compared to last, Chelsea are going to need to ensure their squad can handle the busy schedule.

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s & Con’s for United

Signing Matic will work for United. He is a grafter and will free up the likes of Paul Pogba to have more of an impact on the game in the final third.

Matic registered seven assists for Chelsea in the Premier League last season, more than any other Manchester United player. This shows his creative edge even though his main job is to provide extra cover for the defence. Plus, Mourinho knows Matic well. The Serbian has played a total of 90 games under the Portuguese head coach in the past.

However, another midfielder gives Mourinho a selection dilemma. He has at least four players who can play in a similar role. So adding Matic to the squad could lead to some discontent among those vying for a place in the starting lineup.

Photos of Matic in Man Utd training wear have appeared online over the weekend, suggesting a deal is all but done. Although the legitimacy of these is yet to be stated, it certainly looks like Matic has played his final game for Chelsea.

Diego Costa staying? Chelsea’s striker crisis could be solved

Chelsea have shown little intent in the summer transfer window so far. The main talk has been about the future of their controversial striker. Antonio Conte has been looking to offload him, but is Diego Costa staying?

The Blues have struggled so far to bring in a replacement for Costa. They have seemingly missed out on bringing Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge. With the Belgian closing in on a move to Manchester United, so Chelsea are running out of options.

It is reported that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could be set for a U-turn on his decision to sell the Spaniard. If Diego Costa’s staying, Chelsea’s striker crisis could be solved. Chelsea’s preseason is days away and a solution before then would be ideal.

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Diego Costa staying: Positives

Costa is a two-time Premier League champion, he has proven his worth. His goalscoring record speaks for itself, with 58 in 210 appearances meaning he averages just under a goal every other game.

Chelsea’s number 19 has a great relationship with his teammates and the fans. Although no players have crossed Conte’s decision, they have spoken of their fondness of Costa.

With the possibility of Diego Costa staying, Chelsea do not have to spend money on a new striker. This means they can spend money elsewhere in the team and try to sign other players they need. And if he does stay for the rest of his contract, Chelsea won’t need to sign a striker until 2019.

Is Diego Costa staying at Chelsea?

Diego Costa enjoying his holiday. Via: @diego.costa on Instagram

Diego Costa staying: Negatives

Costa and Antonio Conte already have a rocky relationship. It will be difficult for them to see eye to eye and problems will more than likely happen again. If the pair clash midseason it would be impossible to see anything positive come from Diego Costa staying.

The Spaniard has already asked to leave Chelsea more than once since signing in 2014. He clearly feels he has unfinished business at Atletico. Once their transfer ban is over, Costa will probably look to force a move again. So this might leave Chelsea with the same problem of needing to sign a new striker in January.

Is Diego Costa staying? Would this be good for Chelsea?

Chelsea set to beat Spurs to PL title by 11 points if these results are anything to go by

The race for the Premier League title is continuing to keep fans guessing after Tottenham closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to just four points over the weekend. The two are set to face off for a place in the FA Cup Final this weekend in a huge game which will no doubt create even more talking points for who is going to end up winning the title.

Chelsea have a more favourable run-in on paper according to many fans and pundits alike and by looking into the results in the reverse fixtures, it is clear to see why that is the general consensus.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures:

Southampton (H)
Everton (A)
Middlesbrough (H)
West Brom (A)
Watford (H)
Sunderland (H)

There is no easy game in the Premier League but Chelsea play four of their six remaining games at Stamford Bridge. The reverse fixtures saw Chelsea take maximum points and while the title race is still in their hands, Antonio Conte’s side will want his side to get the job done as soon as possible.

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Tottenham’s remaining fixtures:

Crystal Palace (A)
Arsenal (H)
West Ham (A)
Manchester United (H)
Leicester City (A)
Hull City (A)

Spurs have been in incredible form of late, but there is no doubting they have some tough fixtures in their run-in. Unlike Chelsea, four of their last six are away from home, while their two remaining home games are against top four chasing Arsenal and Manchester United.

If Mauricio Pochettino’s side do not improve on their results in the reverse fixtures they have very little chance of winning the league. They drew against Arsenal, lost to Man United, drew at home to Leicester and won the other three games, giving them a total of 11 points from a possible 18.

While it is unlikely both Chelsea and Spurs will replicate the exact same outcomes in their remaining fixtures, it does give some insight into potential results. Chelsea would hypothetically finish the season on 93 points, if they picked up the maximum 18 on offer, while Spurs would stand to take 11 points, putting their final tally at 82.

Are Chelsea going to win their 5th Premier League title or will Tottenham pull off an incredible turnaround?

Do Liverpool hold the key in Hazard’s Chelsea departure with attempt to sign €80m Madrid star?

Liverpool could potentially play a key role in Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea at the end of the season as they are reportedly interested in signing Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez, so long as they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Colombian has been in and out of the Madrid side since joining for a whopping €80 million in 2014, but Los Blancos may well entertain offers for him this summer in a bid to fund a potential world-record transfer for Hazard.

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It’s no secret the Chelsea man is wanted by Real. Many have dubbed him a ‘Real Madrid sort of player’ and with the current state of the transfer market in mind this could be the first fee to reach over £100m.

Madrid have broken transfer records to land Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and are unlikely to hesitate doing the same thing to bring Hazard to the Bernabeu this summer.

Chelsea are not a club renowned for selling their top players but have been making a name for themselves with the business they’ve been doing over the last few seasons in terms of selling stars they no longer need for big money. While Hazard certainly doesn’t fall into that category it shows if the right price is offered they could agree to sell him.

An offer of the sort of value that is being spoken about would no doubt be tempting for any club, no matter how good the player is and it would provide Chelsea with the purchasing power to sign a like-for-like replacement and potentially break even.

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Jurgen Klopp looks set to be preparing for the possibility of life after Philippe Coutinho, who is heavily tipped for a move to Barcelona in the coming months, so the potential purchase of Rodriguez would almost definitely have a knock-on effect across Europe.

One thing is for sure, if Real Madrid want Hazard they will do everything possible to get him. They’ve got a history of splashing huge amounts of cash on players and would no doubt be willing to spend whatever it takes to get their man, even if they were to keep hold of Rodriguez.

Will Rodriguez join Liverpool? Is Hazard on his way out of Chelsea?

Should Mourinho be looking to replace Martial with this £40m Premier League champion?

Jose Mourinho will no doubt ring the changes at Manchester United this summer. His first season in charge has been steadily improving but he needs to bring more quality to the squad in order to compete for the title in 2017/18.

One man who has struggled more than most under the Portuguese manager is Anthony Martial. He’s struggled to make much of an impact throughout the current campaign and while he is still young, he has offered little to show Mourinho that he is the best winger for United next season. Fans and pundits alike know Mourinho is ruthless and if he sees the potential to cash in on an underperforming player, he’ll do it.

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Jesse Lingard has been included in the matchday squad more times than the Frenchman – 38 times to 36 – and considering the money spent to bring him to the club, that is a worrying statistic for Martial.

A potential replacement for the former Monaco man could be Chelsea’s Willian. The Brazilian has seen his game time limited this season at Stamford Bridge and has found himself second choice to the in-form Pedro. Mourinho is a huge fan of Willian and would no doubt love to sign him for United.

The 28 year old won the Premier League with Mourinho at Chelsea and would be an ideal fit for United. He is a set-piece specialist and would offer the Red Devils more than their current options for free-kick and corner duties.

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Willian’s is currently valued at just below £30 million by transfermarkt and United would have to pay a little over the odds for him from a rival club. An offer of £40m should be enough to secure his services if Mourinho can persuade him to leave and Chelsea to sell in the coming months.

Would Willian be an ideal fit for United? Is he a better option than Martial?

Are Chelsea set to take summer transfer market by storm by spending £244 million on just three players?

Chelsea look destined to win their fifth Premier League title but preparations for moulding next season’s squad will already be underway. Retaining silverware gets more and more difficult with each passing year becoming even more competitive at the top of the Premier League. These three players would require Roman Abramovich to provide Antonio Conte with a war chest of funds but would no doubt make the Chelsea squad one of, if not, the strongest in European football…

Neymar 

The Brazilian superstar is already one of the best players in world football and is making huge strides to potentially becoming the best to ever play the game. At just 25 he has won just about everything that has been on offer to him at club level and racked up and astonishing 500 career appearances.

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Abramovich is reported to have made a world-record offer for the Barcelona winger but a move to Chelsea would be a huge surprise considering he signed a new contact in October last year to keep him at FCB until 2021. His buyout clause is a staggering £180 million, which will eventually rise to £225 million. This means Chelsea would have to nearly double the current world-record fee to make a deal happen this summer.

Verdict: Unlikely to join – 4/10

Radja Nainggolan

The Roma midfielder has been a standout performer this season. He has attracted interest from football fans across Europe with some of his sensational long-range strikes as well as his ability to drive the team forward. Antonio Conte wanted the Belgian at Chelsea last summer but a deal failed to materialise.

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Roma look set to finish second in Serie A this season and it will be another year in which Nainggolan will have failed to land any major silverware. He could well be tempted by a move to Chelsea to be part of a squad that are continuing to make history in English football. His transfer value according to transfermarkt is just £30m, although Chelsea would surely have to offer more than that to force Roma to sell their key player.

Verdict: A deal could happen – 7/10

Alvaro Morata

The Real Madrid striker has seen his first team opportunities limited this season. Los Blancos have so many attacking options at their disposal and Morata is one of many players who has been rotated. The future of Diego Costa still remains uncertain and if he was to leave Chelsea this summer Morata would be a candidate capable of replacing him to lead the line.

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Conte has history with Morata after convincing him to join Juventus back in 2014 and has reportedly been in touch with the Spaniard during the last two transfer windows. A deal would cost Chelsea anywhere upwards of his £34m value, again according to transfermarkt, but the Blues certainly have the financial power to make a move possible.

Verdict: A transfer that is likely to happen if Costa leaves – 7/10

Chelsea are expected to busy in the summer transfer window and will have to strengthen their squad to be able to deal with the return of European football next season and keep pace with their rivals who will also improve their squads over the coming months.

Will Chelsea sign any of these three players? Are they likely to attempt to lure Neymar from Barca?

Chelsea star’s departure will pave way for return of Lukaku this summer

Everton fans are devastated at the news that Romelu Lukaku will not be signing a new contract with the club. The Belgian is looking to play at the highest level and is hungry for silverware. A return to Chelsea would provide Lukaku with what he is looking for in terms of elite football but it is only an option for him if Diego Costa departs the club in the summer transfer window. Lewis Addley explores the potential of a Chelsea return…

Lukaku was never given the chance to showcase his talent in his first spell at Chelsea but it is quite clear the goal-machine has exactly what it takes to thrive at the highest level. It would be a complete role reversal if Lukaku replaces Costa this summer, as his move to Everton in 2014 provided the funds and space for the Spaniard to make the move to West London.

Costa has netted 49 Premier League goals in 79 games for Chelsea, while Lukaku has scored 47 in 100 games across the same amount of seasons. It’s clear Lukaku has had better luck with injuries in that time and he could have potentially scored more if he had been receiving the same level of service as Costa from the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard.

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There isn’t much doubt Lukaku would be a success at Chelsea, he has a similar powerful approach to Costa, arguably more pace that all-important eye for goal.

But a move back to SW6 only makes sense if Costa does actually leave the club. Chelsea are quite clearly opting for just one striker and you only have to look at how limited Michy Batshuayi’s playing time has been this season to know Antonio Conte likes to keep his side settled.

A whole host of clubs across Europe will be battling to sign the 23-year-old forward but a Premier League move would be favourable, his style of play suits the league and he’s proven he can cause any side trouble.

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The Chinese Super League looks a likely destination for Costa if a new contract isn’t agreed with Chelsea but the trail has gone a little more quiet since the club were able to rebuff a world-record offer from Tianjin Quanjin in the winter window. Potential suitors will no doubt try to tempt Costa away from Chelsea in the summer, with his future far from certain at Stamford Bridge.

Would Lukaku move back to Chelsea? Should The Blues go in for him if Costa leaves this summer?

Chelsea still on course to be the greatest Premier League champions of all time

Chelsea took another huge step towards the Premier League title with an important win away at West Ham on Monday evening. The Blues are ten points clear once again after their title rivals closed the gap at the weekend, making the three points gained all the more impressive. With 11 games remaining are they on course to break the record for highest number of points reached in one season?

Back in the 2004/05 season, under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea swept all before them and reached an astonishing 95 points, losing only one game and conceding just 15 goals. The Blues are currently on 66 points and with 33 points left to play for they could actually end the season on 99 points.

Remaining Premier League fixtures

Stoke (A)
Crystal Palace (H)
Manchester City (H)
Bournemouth (A)
Manchester United (A)
Southampton (H)
Everton (A)
Middlesborough (H)
West Brom (A)
Sunderland (H)
Watford (H) (TBA)

Chelsea’s run in is far kinder than some of their title rivals. They have played all of their away London Derbies and their toughest trip on the road will be Man Utd. The standout fixture is City at home, but there are no guarantees they will win every game. We can expect every side to be out to cause Chelsea immense difficulty, while they face some fixtures against teams who will be fighting against relegation.

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Conte’s squad

Antonio Conte has just 11 different starting lineups this season, the lowest of any Premier League side and the consistency is there for all to see. Every player has been a top performer and it’s easy to see why the squad are enjoying themselves so much. Diego Costa netted his 17th league goal of the season against West Ham and Eden Hazard added his 11th in the league – the pair have been scoring freely. But a mention has to go to Pedro, who completes the attacking spearhead, his Premier League contribution has been seven goals and seven assists.

N’Golo Kante

Kante looks set to win back-to-back Premier League titles and, given his impact on a side, there aren’t really any surprises. There is nothing else to say about the Frenchman that hasn’t already been said, but he will no doubt be the key player if Chelsea are to rack up eleven more wins this season and break their record.

No European fixtures

Chelsea have benefitted from not having European fixtures all season, their rivals in the title race have had more games. The Blues have their full attention on the games against City and United, while the two have Europe as a distraction. Conte’s side are still in the FA Cup but extra fixtures have rarely interrupted their domestic campaign.

Can they do it?

Given their performance levels this season Chelsea are more than capable of winning every game until the end of the season. It is a huge task for any side to go on an unbeaten run, let alone a winning one, so while it would be nice for the fans, chances are they will not be too worried if they don’t break the record, considering it’s theirs anyway.

Will Chelsea reach 99 points?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Arsenal 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, February 4 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Arsenal 29/10

Match Preview 

It’s a huge game in the Premier League title race as Chelsea welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the standout fixture of the weekend.

If Antonio Conte’s side win this one they will be 12 points clear of Arsenal at the top of the league, which given Chelsea’s form, would almost certainly put The Gunners out of contention for the title.

Chelsea come into this one having drawn 1-1 away at Liverpool in midweek. It was a solid point but they’ll be ruing a missed opportunity to have extended their lead at the top of the table as results went their way on the most part. Diego Costa’s penalty was saved in the latter stages of the game, he’ll be looking to make up for that in this one.

There will be an added hunger for Chelsea to win this game as they were hammered in the reserve fixture, 3-0 early on in the season, many have dubbed that the game that won Chelsea the league, as it inspired Conte’s changes and sparked their tremendous winning run.

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Arsenal have to win this game. They lost in midweek at home to Watford a game which has dealt them a significant blow and they need a response.

Arsene Wenger’s side found themselves two goals behind in the first 15 minutes of that game, if their defensive struggles are repeated in this one they will be in for a long afternoon.

The Arsenal squad are going to need to step up here, they cannot afford to allow Chelsea to gain any momentum. What worked so well for them in the reserve fixture was a highly intense start, but they’re all too aware this is a different Chelsea side altogether.

Just five points separate second and fifth place in the table, if results go against Arsenal this weekend they could find themselves outside the top four.

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Team News  

There are no real injury concerns for Chelsea heading into this tie. David Luiz and Eden Hazard are expected to start the game despite picking up slight knocks in midweek.

Arsenal are expecting to be without Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debuchy and Aaron Ramsey through injury, while Grant Xhaka is suspended and Mohammed Elneny remains on international duty.

Key Points 

Chelsea’s form: W/L/W/W/D

Arsenal’s form: W/D/W/W/L

Key Stat: Chelsea have won their last eight home games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – The Belgian had a quiet game against Liverpool but if plays to his usual high standard he will cause the Arsenal defence problems.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal – Chelsea to come through a difficult week of fixtures unbeaten and land a heavy blow to Arsenal’s season. This has the makings of a tight affair and it is a game that has a history of boiling over as emotions run high.