Five MLS clubs set to battle for signing of former Liverpool and Chelsea star – report

Five Major League Soccer teams are set to fight for the signing of Spanish striker Fernando Torres this summer, according to Marca. The 34-year-old forward will be a free agent once his contract with Atletico Madrid comes to an end in June, leaving the former Liverpool and Chelsea star free to negotiate what will surely be the final move of his career.

Torres has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but it’s understood he is not keen on making the move to Asia. He rejected the chance to join CSL side Dalian Yifang in February and would reportedly prefer a move to the United States.

With no La Liga sides making Torres an offer at this point, and just a month left of the season in Spain, Torres is looking to MLS. The five clubs who are reportedly interested in bringing him to the league are Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact, New York City FC, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

A move to NYCFC would allow Torres to link up with former international teammate and good friend David Villa. The pair fired Spain to Euro 2008 glory as well as the 2010 World Cup title. New York City FC do not currently have a Designated Player slot free though, so Torres would need to accept being a TAM signing to move to the Big Apple.

Chicago and Montreal are the only sides of the five linked that have a DP slot available. It’s not certain that Torres would need to fill a DP slot, particularly at 34 years of age. But it will certainly help negotiations having that option.

The Fire are a particularly interesting option, given the fact that Torres played with Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic during his first spell at Atletico Madrid. The pair spent two seasons together in 2003/04 and 2004/05.

On top of that, Chicago own the discovery rights to Fernando Torres if he does indeed move to MLS, according to league sources. The Fire have opened the 2018 season with just four points from their opening five games. They’ve scored seven goals but could undoubtedly benefit from partnering Torres with 2017 Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic up front.

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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?

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic action returns, North London Derby the standout fixture

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic football is back following the international break. Many fans will be delighted that there are no more interruptions until March.

The top six are all in action on Saturday, with the North London Derby kicking things off at 12:30. League leaders Man City travel to Leicester, while Chelsea are also on the road at West Brom. Liverpool and Man United return with home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

Just the one game on Sunday as Watford and West Ham face off in another London Derby. Week 12 is finished off on Monday evening when Brighton host Stoke.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 12 could see plenty of change at the top…

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Easily the biggest game of the weekend. The North London Derby usually doesn’t disappoint. Arsenal put in a poor display against Man City before the international break, losing 3-1. Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players, a loss to their bitter rivals could see them slip down to 7th. Spurs won 1-0 at Wembley against Palace last time out. A result that in years gone by they may not have been able to grind out. They look a strong force at the moment and confidence is high. Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be refreshed following his exclusion from international call ups, expect them to be at the forefront of the Spurs attack.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

The Premier League’s bottom side welcome out of form Everton to Selhurst Park. Palace fans may well have been looking forward to the international break in hope of their side having a chance to rebuild and get ready to face Everton. The Toffees really haven’t had anything to shout about. Their loss to Watford last time out meant that they have now conceded as many goals as Palace (22) this season. Both sides are desperate for a win, a scrappy score-draw could be on the cards.

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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Jurgen Klopp’s side have got their season on track again. They are sitting 5th in the league and that 4-1 thumping against Spurs seems a long time ago now. However, they are going to have to make sure they do not slip up this weekend. Sadio Mane is ruled out through injury once again, so the pressure for the inform Mohammed Salah to deliver has increased. Southampton have hardly set the world alight so far this season. Their home loss against Burnley before the internationals has left them loitering just four points above the relegation zone. A home win looks likely.

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Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in desperate need of a run of form. They have been unlucky in stages so far this season but it cannot be used as an excuse for their league position. The Cherries are just one point outside of the relegation zone and if results were to go against them this weekend they could be second bottom by Sunday evening. Huddersfield are still progressing well. They won 1-0 before the international break and are more than worth the place bang in the middle of the table. They will no doubt see this as a winnable fixture so expect an energetic game. Score draw.

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Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester City may think they were unlucky not to take all three points last time out. But it’s the same inconsistency that cost them. They are creating plenty of chances but are not clinical enough. They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, so there is reason to be optimistic ahead of this game. Man City have looked on a completely different level to the rest of the league so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are already being spoken about as one of his best ever sides and there is even talk about whether they can go the season unbeaten. Goals are free flowing for the Citizens, so don’t expect anything less this weekend.

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West Brom 1-3 Chelsea

West Brom are in trouble. Tony Pulis reportedly has two games to save his job. One of those is at home to the reigning champions here. The other sees the Baggies head to Wembley to take on Spurs. If the West Brom squad want to show they are behind the manager, now is the time. But they haven’t won in nine-straight league games and have slipped to 16th in the table. Chelsea impressed in their 1-0 win over Man Utd before the international break. Now Antonio Conte’s men need to kick on and keep the pressure on the three sides above them. Expect the Blues to prove too strong.

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Burnley 1-0 Swansea

Swansea have a 100% record against Burnley in their four previous Premier League meetings. But don’t expect that to continue beyond the weekend. Burnley are flying and Sean Dyche’s men are picking up plenty of plaudits for their strong start to the season. The Swans are 19th and seem to be struggling for goals and creativity. Paul Clement will find himself under serious pressure if results don’t improve, but they are unlikely to find at joy at Turf Moor on Saturday in what should be a tight game.

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Man United 2-0 Newcastle

This is a big game for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They could be 11 points behind Man City by the time they kick off on Saturday evening and they will have to get that gap back to eight, if City indeed win. They failed to score at Chelsea without properly threatening over the 90 minutes but they will have to take the game to Newcastle here. Rafa Benitez’s men will be setting up to contain the hosts and try and hit them on the break and from any set-pieces. It might not be pretty, but United should be able to get it done.

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Watford 2-2 West Ham

David Moyes starts life as West Ham manager with a tricky trip to Watford. Hornets boss Marco Silva looks like he’ll be staying put for now, and that’s a major boost for the home side considering their impressive start to the season. It’s unclear how much the speculation will have got to the Watford players but they’ll have a chance to show they are focused when the Hammers arrive on Sunday. Moyes has a tough job on his hands but he’ll set the visitors up to be solid and try and play as a unit. If they try and impress the new manager they could well come away with something positive.

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Brighton 1-1 Stoke

The fact that Brighton come into Monday night’s game three points ahead of Stoke highlights what an excellent start to the season they’ve made. Chris Hughton’s men have established themselves and have made the Amex Stadium a bit of a fortress so far. They’ve picked up eight points from a possible 12 since losing to Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign. They will fancy their chances here, especially with the whole nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football. Stoke showed signs of much-needed improvement before the break, beating Watford away before drawing 2-2 at home to Leicester. Mark Hughes has a talented squad of players but is not getting the best out of them. If they show up, they can cause anyone problems, but Brighton will be resolute and hard to break down.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – 2nd vs 3rd as Man Utd take on Spurs, while Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool expected to win

Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – The Premier League weekend kicks off with an absolutely huge clash. It’s 2nd versus 3rd as Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford. Expect plenty of goals across the ten fixtures this week, while there is the potential for upsets in must-win games for the top sides.

The three o’clock action comes thick and fast after the early kickoff. Struggling Crystal Palace face off against West Ham in the only London Derby of the weekend. Pace-setting Manchester City travel to West Brom, while Arsenal and Liverpool have home ties. Chelsea complete Saturday’s action with the late kickoff away at Bournemouth.

Sunday has a couple of interesting fixtures, Brighton welcome Southampton, before Claude Puel begins his reign as Leicester City manager at home to Everton, who have recently sacked Ronald Koeman. The weekend’s action is completed with Monday Night Football as Newcastle visit Burnley.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 10 will be an interesting one…

Manchester United 2-2 Tottenham 

Easily the biggest fixture of the weekend. Man Utd vs Spurs has provided some classic fixtures through the years. Both sides are coming into this one needing to bounce back. United’s loss at Huddersfield last weekend was a shock result and Jose Mourinho needs a reaction like his side showed in their midweek Carabao Cup clash. Spurs were emphatic last time out in the league. Their 4-1 win over Liverpool sent out a message to the rest of the league, however their dismal loss against West Ham in midweek was unforgivable and they owe it to their fans to pick up a positive result here. Expect goals as Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku go head-to-head.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 West Ham

This is a big game. Make no mistake about that. Some reports suggested that failure to win this one would result in the sacking of Slaven Bilic as West Ham manager. However, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Spurs may change that. Either way, Premier League points are the priority for both. Palace have struggled but did win their last home game. Another home win here would be a major boost. However, they haven’t scored in 9 of their last 10 games, losing each. West Ham haven’t been much better, failing to win 11 of their last 12 away games. Don’t expect this to be pretty.

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West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Tony Pulis, like every West Brom fan was devastated not to have picked up at least a point last weekend. However, they have to hold their hands up to accept losing at the hands of one of the goals of the season. West Brom are sitting in and around mid table but they won’t be looking forward to a visit from league leading Man City. Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have it all their own way in midweek, yet they sealed their place in the next round of the Carabao Cup, despite his displeasure of the ball. Normal service resumes with a ‘normal ball’ here and we expect City to continue their early title charge.

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Watford 2-0 Stoke

They might have lost 4-2 at Chelsea last weekend but Watford are undoubtedly this season’s surprise package so far. The Hornets are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the top flight. They beat Arsenal in their most recent home fixture and should prove too strong for Stoke here. The visitors are in trouble. Last week’s home loss to Bournemouth left them down in 17th. They’ve not won away from home yet this season. Don’t expect that to change here.

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Arsenal 3-0 Swansea

Arsene Wenger & co. have reason to be in high spirits. They took apart a very sorry Everton side last weekend keeping them at pace with the top four. Following up from that a much changed side secured progression in the cup in midweek. Arsenal should be looking to take three points in what has the makings of a routine home game this weekend. Swansea are sitting 15th but are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They cannot afford to take a drumming here as we all know how important goal difference can be in the Premier League. A win to ‘nil looks likely for the hosts.

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Liverpool 2-1 Huddersfield

The fact that Liverpool come into this game just one point ahead of Huddersfield tells you all you need to know. The Reds have been inconsistent and have not solved their defensive problems. Last week’s 4-1 loss to Spurs further highlighted their vulnerabilities and they now need to bounce back. They will fancy their chances at home, but the visitors are riding high in confidence. Their 2-1 win over Man Utd was arguably the shock result of the season so far. Don’t rule out another surprise result at Anfield, although Liverpool should edge it.

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Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

Bournemouth remain in the bottom three. They picked up a much needed win last weekend away against Stoke and made it a week with plenty to cheer about having progressed in the cup. This is going to be another big test for them but they’ll be relishing a visit from Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side are coming through a rough patch with promise. Despite being a way off the top of the Premier League their squad depth stood the test of three games in a week. Last weekend’s win at home to Watford showed they have the resilience to fight back and if they go behind here, don’t expect them to let it phase them. Narrow victory for the Champions.

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Brighton 2-2 Southampton

Neither of these sides have really set the world alight yet this season. They have showed some signs of promise but inconsistency has prevented either side from making a statement. Brighton will be pleased with their start to life in the top flight. They are unbeaten in three-straight home league games and will now hope to keep that form going. The Saints picked up a first league win in four last weekend. It’s hard to tell which Southampton side will turn up. But goals could be on the cards here.

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Leicester City 1-1 Everton

The battle two sides who have recently sacked their managers. Leicester have acted promptly to replace Craig Shakespeare with Claude Puel. They picked up an impressive win away at Swansea last weekend and also reached the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup in midweek so things are on the up. Everton’s woes continue, they sacked Ronald Koeman after being demolished by Arsenal last weekend and were knocked out the cup by Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Their poor run of form has to come to an end soon, but we don’t expect them to win here. Score draw.

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Burnley 1-1 Newcastle

The weekend is rounded off with an intriguing matchup. Burnley have been a better side away from home so far but will still see Monday’s game as one they should be winning. Their only home win so far this term came against Palace. For Newcastle, they’ll be looking to keep picking up points. They’ve only lost one of their last seven and look like they’re all pulling in the same direction as Rafa Benitez. It might not be the most entertaining game, but expect it to be interesting.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Expect a one-sided affair as Liverpool host Man Utd, while Man City should keep on rolling

Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Premier League action returns after the international break. Liverpool and Manchester United face off to get things going on Saturday lunchtime in what is the standout fixture of the weekend. Two games take place on Sunday, while Monday night rounds off what should be an action-packed weekend.

The remainder of the top four are in action on Saturday. Man City welcome Stoke, Spurs host Bournemouth and Chelsea travel to struggling Palace. Arsenal complete Saturday’s fixtures with a cross-London trip to Watford in the late game.

Brighton take on Everton, while Newcastle have the trip down south to Southampton in the Sunday double-header. The final fixture on Monday night sees Leicester face West Brom.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 8 marks the anticipated return of domestic football…

Liverpool 0-3 Manchester United

The latest instalment of the historic fixture. Jose Mourinho’s United have been in fantastic form this season, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have struggled defensively. Both sides have been hit with injuries of late, Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane, while Paul Pogba remains out for United. Given how free-scoring United have been and that Liverpool have just a +1 goal difference, we predict a healthy win for the Red Devils.

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Burnley 2-2 West Ham 

Burnley are high-flying in sixth place. Sean Dyche’s men picked up three points away at Everton before the international break and they will be looking to continue their great run of form here. West Ham’s struggles have been all too apparent, but they steadied the ship last time out with a 1-0 win over Swansea. This is going to be a tight one. Score draw.

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Manchester City 4-0 Stoke

Pep Guardiola would not have wanted the international break to come after his City side put in an outstanding tactical performance to win away at Chelsea. The Citizens are league leaders on goal difference and will be praying results go their way to open a gap at the top this weekend. Stoke also picked up three points heading into the international break, but this is going to be a huge ask for them. Expect goals from City.

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Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 

Negative runs have to come to an end at some point. Crystal Palace are yet to even score a goal this season, so what better way to do it this weekend against the Champions. Chelsea are without a few key faces, N’golo Kante and  is sidelined, while Alvaro Morata also continues recovery from a hamstring injury. Antonio Conte’s squad depth will be tested but in all honesty, anything less than three points and a clean sheet will be a failure for Chelsea fans here. It couldn’t happen, could it?

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Tottenham 2-0 Bournemouth

The end to the Wembley hoodoo for Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have to pick up three points this weekend and with the goalscoring form of Harry Kane they should do. That said, Spurs cannot be too reliant on their Ballon d’Or nominee. Bournemouth are sitting second bottom and will not be looking forward to an away tie off the back of the international break. Spurs to win to nil.

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Swansea 1-1 Huddersfield 

The Premier League can be a cruel animal and Swansea are experiencing how tough things can be. They are without a league win since August and are going to need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later. Huddersfield have been giving a good account of themselves since so far this season. They’re only four points outside the top four, however as the games roll on they may quickly find out how quickly things can change. An away point will seem a better result for them than the hosts this weekend. 1-1 draw.

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Watford 2-2 Arsenal 

Arsenal’s early-season problems seem to be behind them. Contract sagas remain ongoing but on the field, the Gunners have won six of their last seven in all competitions. The only exception was that 0-0 draw at Chelsea. But Watford have impressed and the fact they come into this game just a point behind Arsenal is testament to their strong start. Marco Silva’s men lost 6-0 to Man City in their last home game and will be hoping to show more fight against one of the top sides this time around.

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Brighton 1-1 Everton

Both sides come into Sunday’s game tied on seven points from seven games. Brighton will be content with that. Everton will not. The Toffees have failed to get going, despite heavy summer investment. Ronald Koeman is under pressure and needs to get a result here. However, Brighton are tough to break down. They beat Newcastle in their last home game and will be hoping to secure at least a point here.

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Southampton 1-1 Newcastle

Southampton have really struggled to get going so far. They are short of goals and have lost three-straight home games in all competitions. They need to avoid defeat here but come up against a resolute Newcastle side. The Magpies seem to be growing in confidence. They battled well to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool before the international break and could add to their points tally with another strong showing here.

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Leicester 2-1 West Brom

Leicester come into the weekend outside the relegation zone on goal difference only. They could be in the bottom three by Monday night, depending on results and need to win this game. They have only won one league game all season so far but have enough quality to get three points here. West Brom are winless in five league outings themselves. The fact they are on the road here further limits their chances, so the Foxes should just edge it.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 5 – Spurs to get Wembley win, Chelsea to pile misery on Arsenal

Premier League Predictions: Week 5 – The fifth weekend of action is set to be a good one. It might be early in the season but some real six-pointers are set to be played out over the weekend. All the action begins on Friday night as Bournemouth – who are still looking for their first points of the season – host Brighton.

Then Crystal Palace start life under Roy Hodgson at home to Southampton in the lunchtime kickoff on Saturday. The Eagles are desperate for points after a dreadful start to the campaign. Spurs will hope to finally get their first Premier League win at Wembley when they face Swansea in the evening fixture. Tottenham have impressed on the road but have dropped five points in two games at Wembley already.

Then all eyes will be on Sunday’s mouth-watering double-header. Chelsea host Arsenal in what should be another thrilling game, before Manchester United welcome Everton to Goodison Park.

Read on below for all this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 5 should be a good one…

Bournemouth 1-1 Brighton

The home side are yet to pick up a point so far this season. That said, they have had some difficult fixtures to contend with. Eddie Howe’s side have no reason to panic, but they do need to get off the mark sooner rather than later to avoid a losing streak dragging on. Brighton have given a good account of themselves in their opening four games. Their four points sees them sitting mid-table and they will feel they have a good chance of getting a positive result this weekend.

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Crystal Palace 0-0 Southampton

Roy Hodgson makes his Premier League return on Saturday as he takes charge of his first game since being appointed Crystal Palace manager. Frank De Boer’s reign lasted just 77 days, as the Eagles have failed to score a goal – let alone pick up any points – so far. They look to be in trouble and although Hodgson will steady the ship, they are unlikely to spark into life this soon. Southampton have been underwhelming themselves and have failed to score in three of their four games. All signs point to a dull draw.

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Huddersfield 1-2 Leicester

Huddersfield’s unbeaten start came to an end on Monday evening and now they face the tough challenge of bouncing back. The Premier League can be cruel to newly promoted sides, but a good opening three games for Huddersfield has silenced many of their doubters. Leicester City were unlucky not to pick up a point against the champions last weekend and they’ll be expecting to get at least a point here.

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Liverpool 2-1 Burnley

Burnley have already stunned Chelsea and Spurs in their two away games so far. They will arrive at Anfield looking to take points off Liverpool here too. They are set up to frustrate teams and will make it hard for the Reds to get in behind. Jurgen Klopp’s men have the added problem of being without Sadio Mane. It is unclear whether Philippe Coutinho will be brought back into the side at this stage, though Liverpool should still find enough to edge this one, with or without the Brazilian. Wednesday’s draw with Sevilla was disappointing but the Reds should be able to narrowly get past a Burnley side that will miss Tom Heaton.

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Newcastle 2-2 Stoke

The Toon Army have had a lift with back-to-back wins and now they need to capitalise on their recent form. They’ve not conceded in their last two but Stoke are going to cause any side problems defensively this season. The mood around St James Park will be as buoyant as ever ahead of this one. Stoke’s dramatic comeback against Man Utd along with their win over Arsenal shows they’re not to be reckoned with. Score draw.

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Watford 1-3 Man City

Watford have impressed under new boss Marco Silva so far this season. They sit fourth coming into the weekend, just two points behind joint-leaders Man City. They showed great spirit to earn a 3-3 home draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend and will be hoping for a similar result here. However, City look like they’re starting to find their feet. They annihilated a ten-man Liverpool team last weekend and have an incredible array of attacking options to choose from. Watford will try and make it difficult, though the visitors should prove too strong.

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West Brom 1-1 West Ham

West Brom have surprised many with their positive and attacking start to the new campaign. They’re sitting 9th having lost just one of their four games but anything other than a win will more than likely see them drop into the bottom half. West Ham have finally got off the mark and they must now climb the table. A draw wouldn’t be the worst result for either side but it’s one that doesn’t do a lot for them.

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Spurs 3-0 Swansea

If Spurs weren’t at Wembley this season, there’s a good chance they’d be coming into this game at the top of the table. They have won away at Newcastle and Everton without conceding a goal. But they’ve dropped five points in two games at Wembley against Chelsea and Burnley. Mauricio Pochettino is adamant Wembley isn’t to blame for their stuttering start to the campaign. And their impressive showing against Dortmund did show they can play there. But the longer they go without winning at home in the league, the more of a problem it will be. Swansea don’t look set to upset the hosts here though. They have only scored two goals this season and lost 1-0 at home to Newcastle last weekend. Spurs should prove too strong here.

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Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

The Champions have silenced any talk of a repeat of their dismal title defence of just one year ago. They have won three on the spin in the league and have found their goalscoring touch. Arsenal’s problems have been well documented, however they do have a habit of picking up a result to get them going again when things have been tough. A win at the Bridge would be a huge result for Arsene Wenger & co, but Antonio Conte will have his side as well-drilled as ever. Expect a narrow victory for Chelsea.

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Man Utd 3-0 Everton

Everton couldn’t have been handed a tougher start to the season. They’ve already faced Man City, Chelsea and Spurs and now have a trip to Old Trafford to deal with. Add on the fact that Man Utd will have had two extra days to prepare for the game, and it’s difficult to see anything other than a home win. Jose Mourinho’s men have looked solid. They will have been disappointed with the 2-2 draw at Stoke last week, but they have the players to bounce back here. Everton struggled badly against Spurs and look set for another long afternoon on Sunday.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Tottenham vs Chelsea

Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea FC

Wembley Stadium – Sunday, August 20 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Spurs 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 5/2

Tottenham vs Chelsea: Preview

Tottenham host Chelsea as they take to the field for their first Premier League game at Wembley this season. The home side will need to try and make the national stadium a fortress for the 2017/18 campaign, while work is finished on their new stadium.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men got off to a winning start at Newcastle last week. That 2-0 victory was fairly straightforward in the end, although it was certainly a closer game before Jonjo Shelvey’s red card.

The worry for Spurs is that they were so poor at Wembley last season, compared to White Hart Lane. They didn’t lose a single home game in the top flight last term. They only won one of five at Wembley in cup competitions.

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The fact is, if Spurs could have hand-picked an opponent for their home opener at the national stadium, it wouldn’t have been Chelsea. They’d have been a long way down the list. But this game also serves as the perfect chance for Tottenham to lay down a benchmark.

Chelsea will be desperate for a positive showing after last weekend’s shambolic defeat to Burnley. The Blues lost at home on the opening day for the first time in 24 years. They were a man down and three goals down at halftime before some parity was restored in the second half.

Although Cesc Fabregas was also sent off late on, leaving Antonio Conte with a selection dilemma ahead of their trip to Wembley. The Italian manager does not seem impressed with the club’s transfer business this summer. Things are not looking rosy for the reigning champions, but they still know how important a game this is.

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If the Blues can bounce back and defeat Spurs on Sunday, many will have forgotten about their horror start to the campaign. But a second successive defeat would leave Conte with a lot to think about, and very little time to make any transfers.

The two London rivals met three times in total last season. Chelsea came back to win 2-1 in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge in November. Before Spurs won 2-0 at White Hart Lane in January. The Blues then emerged as 4-2 winners in their FA Cup Semi-Final clash at Wembley in April, going on to face Arsenal in the final.

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Tottenham vs Chelsea: Team News

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns ahead of their first home game of the season. Kyle Walker-Peters picked up man of the match on his Premier League debut last weekend. He should keep his place at right-back, with Kieran Trippier still injured. Moussa Sissoko might make way for Heung-Min Son in the starting lineup. Danny Rose, Erik Lamela and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou remain out injured.

Chelsea have a potential crisis on their hands for their second outing of the campaign. The Blues are without the suspended duo of Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas. Both picked up red cards in the 3-2 loss to Burnley and will miss out here. Diego Costa is still out in Brazil. Pedro should be fit enough to start. While Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko both played in a secret friendly against QPR U20s on Thursday and might be in contention. Andreas Christensen might be called into start, if Antonio Conte remains with such a dilemma on his hands.

Tottenham vs Chelsea: Key Points

Spurs’ form: W

Chelsea’s form: L

Key Stat: Tottenham won one of just five home games at Wembley last season. While they failed to keep a single clean sheet at the national stadium in their five outings in 2016/17.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Spurs star has still never scored a Premier League goal in the month of August. He hit the post against Newcastle last week and looked sharp, despite not finding the back of the net. The visit of Chelsea means he is in for a tough afternoon, but he has scored four goals in eight games against the Blues.

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Tottenham vs Chelsea: Prediction

Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea – Chelsea are unlikely to be as poor at the back as they were against Burnley last weekend. Bad ill discipline cost them and they can’t afford to make similar mistakes here. Spurs got off to a good start against Newcastle without really impressing. However, they will be desperate to get off to a winning start at Wembley. And given the current state of both teams coming into Sunday, it’s hard not to see the hosts winning.

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 ÂŁ40m. 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?

Ashley Cole talks up bright future for MLS as he eyes Chelsea return

Chelsea legend Ashley Cole believes Major League Soccer is heading in the right direction. The former Blue talked up the league but is looking ahead to a Chelsea return, as a coach or scout.

Cole told FourFourTwo that MLS has a promising future and he’s enjoying his stateside career. Although he admits that life is tougher as an older player.

Ashley Cole – ‘It will be a very big league’

“The league is definitely growing,” he said. “MLS is demanding. You have to travel a lot, which is the main problem for older guys.

“You’re on the plane for five to seven hours and it’s not easy. But the younger guys are learning from the marquee players. In five or six years it will be a very big league.”

Photo of Ashley Cole by Ashley Marshall – MLSGB

The 36 year old has his heart set on a Chelsea return but insists he is not finished yet: “I would like to go back to England and work for Chelsea in some capacity if I could, so that would be my first choice.

“Coaching or being a scout is something I’ve always considered and enjoyed while watching games. I try to nurture young players coming through, so it’s something I have in the back of my mind for after I finish playing. But I want to play for as long as I possibly can, because once you finish playing, you are done for life.”

Cole isn’t the only ex-Chelsea player who has talked about returning to the club. Recently departed John Terry has highlighted his ambition to one day manage the Blues. The two former England internationals could find themselves spearheading the future of the club.

If Cole is true to his word on playing for as long as he can, he could potentially lineup for Galaxy for two or more seasons. With the likes of 38 year old Andrea Pirlo – who is two years his senior – still playing in MLS.

Will Ashley Cole return to Chelsea as a coach? How much longer will he play for Galaxy?