Eden Hazard backs Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte

Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard has stressed that the team are right behind manager Antonio Conte despite their recent wobble in the Premier League. The Blues have experienced an average run since the turn of the year, and this also saw them bow of the League Cup in the semi-final stage.

In an interview with Telefoot, Hazard was fully supportive of Conte, who has received plenty of sticks from a section of the fans, he said: “We win together, we lose together. Everyone is behind him (Conte). All we want is to climb the table – and give everything against Barcelona. We will see what happens after.”
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Olivier Giroud’s agent hints at potential winter exit for Frenchman

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud could reportedly pursue a fresh challenge away from the Emirates in January, agent Michael Manuello has claimed. The France international has been sparingly used by Arsene Wenger in the Premier League with just one start during the course of the current campaign.

Speaking on FootMercato, Manuello hinted that his client could seek a fresh challenge in the New Year but a return to France is not on the player’s mind, he said: “Olivier will not come back to France. Unless there is a change in his state of mind, to date the intention is not to return to France. There has been no new approach from Marseille. I have no information that Marseille was trying to contact us. Now, depending on the offers, we will sit around a table and talk. The most important thing is to know what will be offered or not this winter, to find a better project.”
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Antonio Conte defends Michy Batshuayi’s omission after Everton draw

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said that he does not need to explain why Michy Batshuayi did not start during Saturday’s goalless draw versus Everton. The Premier League holders dominated the proceedings at Goodison Park with more than 20 shots at goal, and they could not find a way through a resolute Toffees backline.

Speaking after the game, the Italian had no regrets starting the Belgian off the bench despite not possessing the services of Alvaro Morata, who was suspended after receiving his fifth yellow card of the domestic campaign, he said: “I think there is nothing to explain why I decide to [play] with Hazard, Willian, Pedro. It is not the first time. I have to make the best decision for my team and today I made the best decision. Don’t forget our striker Morata was out and I think this player is very important for us, but at the same time we played with second options, with three number 10s – Willian, Pedro, Hazard – and we created many chances.”
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Wright feels Pedro, Willian should be picked ahead of Bakayoko

Arsenal legend Ian Wright feels Chelsea’s summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko has not done enough to warrant a starting spot ahead of the likes of Pedro and Willian. The France international has cemented his spot at the heart of the Blues’ midfield following his move from AS Monaco last summer.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Wright is still unconvinced over Bakayoko’s abilities and feels one of Pedro or Willian deserve the starting role, although they play in a different position altogether, he said: “Just a quick one on Bakayoko, because I have to get it out otherwise I’ll forget. I’m not having him yet, I’m sorry. I can’t understand how he can get in the team before Willian and Pedro at the moment. Especially, when he played further forward. I need to see a lot more from him, that’s all I’m saying.”
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Antonio Conte: Chelsea prepared for Atletico Madrid challenge

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is excited by the prospect of facing Atletico Madrid in the Champions League group stage game on Wednesday night.


The Blues looked to have made a poor start to the campaign following defeats in the Community Shield and the Premier League opener versus Burnley. However, they have since recorded four victories in five league games with their only drop in points being in the goalless draw against Arsenal this month.

Speaking in his press conference, Conte admitted that the Blues have a task in hand against Atletico Madrid, who have made the Champions League final in two of the last four seasons.

He said: “I think Atletico is a really good team with a great experience in this competition. They always play a great competition and to reach the finals of the Champions League is not simple, it means you are strong and able to have a good tournament. They have a good team, coach. Chelsea last year didn’t play this competition, we are excited to play and tomorrow we know we have to face a really good team.” Read more

Ryan Giggs likens Marcus Rashford to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs feels Marcus Rashford has the potential to develop in the mould of former Arsenal great Thierry Henry.


The Welshman has watched the 19-year-old play out wide under Jose Mourinho this season but sees him more in a centre-forward role as he progresses further in his career.

Speaking to ITV, Giggs has identified similarities between Rashford and Henry, although the Englishman has a long way to go to match the feat of the Gunners legend. He added that Rashford could struggle to play in the No.9 position in the near future with both Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the United ranks.

He said: “He can definitely play out wide, but eventually he’s going to be a No 9. I see similarities with Thierry Henry myself, he’s brilliant off the left. Even if he’s playing centre-forward, he drifts off to the left where you can take players on either side. But then, if he’s not played centre-forward a lot and all of a sudden Kane gets injured and you ask him to play up front, he can do it. Like you say, he’s not going to play centre-forward of United too often with Lukaku, Ibrahimovic as well.” Read more

ARSENAL’S FORTUNES BRIGHTEN AS ROMA LEAVES MAHREZ

Premier League side Arsenal received a major boost in the chances of signing Leicester City attacker Riyadh Mahrez as Roma pulls out of the race to sign the Algerian.


With Theo Walcott seemingly sealing his fate as a till-thy-kingdom-come prodigy and Oxlade Chamberlain unable to make the leap to the heights many believe his talent deserves, few would blame the Gunners for turning a blind eye to the children they brought through their ranks and turned into men.

The kids glaringly didn’t make it to the “men” the investors and holders expected.

With Leicester holding out for a €55 million before allowing lanky winger to leave King Power Stadium, the Serie A side deemed it unnecessary to continue the pursuit of a player they believe was overvalued.

Although Monaco’s Thomas Lemar is believed to be the Gunner’s plan A, the Algerian’s Premier League experience plus his technical skills meant he remained a very close plan B to Wenger’s attack. Read more

KEOWN BACKS DEFOE TO SUCCEED

Ageless England striker Jermaine Defoe left last season’s relegation victims Sunderland for top flight side Bournemouth and former Arsenal centre back Martin Keown believes the 34-year old would be an old wine of inspiration for the Cherries side.

Speaking on Defoe’s incredible old wine tasting better tale, Martin commended the “sharpness to Jermaine Defoe’s play that he has always had,” pointing out that the former Tottenham Hotspur striker remains “hungry” and wants to “keep proving that point.” Read more

Tiemoue Bakayoko thanks agent Michy Batshuayi after sealing Chelsea move

French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko gave a special mention to striker Michy Batshuayi after he sealed his transfer to Stamford Bridge last week.


The 22-year-old becomes the Blues’ second-most expensive signing of all-time after he arrived for £40m from Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco.

In his first interview, Bakayoko admitted that he had followed Chelsea keenly in the Premier League, and Antonio Conte played a part in luring him to Stamford Bridge. The midfielder, later on, watched his teammates earn a comfortable 8-2 win over Fulham in a pre-season friendly behind closed doors, and shortly after he posted a cheeky tweet thanking ‘agent Batshuayi’.

He wrote: “Thanks to my agent @mbatshuayi. I would like to say thank you to all my fans and followers for your kind words throughout this journey – as you know, I love championships! As a Ligue 1 champion, I am even more determined to win as many championships as I can with my dream team Chelsea. I am pleased to represent the Blues!” Read more

WHICH CLUB WOULD BREAK ITS TRANSFER RECORD THIS SUMMER?

All Premier League sides have been linked with numerous top players this summer.


Just last year Paul Pogba’s return to the city of Manchester broke the world record when United shelled out £89 million for him. This term that could even repeat itself if the same Man United, or any of Man City, Arsenal or Real Madrid land Monaco teenage star KylianMbappe. The French star is valued at £120 million and it would be a new world record.

For now, which Premier League side would break its record for any summer addition?

Pogba holds the record at Manchester United but will Jose Mourinho break the bank again so soon? There are talks of Mbappe and more realistically a return of Cristiano Ronaldo or Spurs forward Harry Kane.

Manchester City record signing is Kevin De Bruyne at £55 million. The Etihad would be willing to pay more for Arsenal playmaker Alexis Sanchez but the Gunners would likely never sell to a rival.

The Gunners themselves had to break their record to sign MesutOzil from Real Madrid in 2014. The £42.4 million is talented but he is inconsistent as well.

Chelsea’s record signing is Fernando Torres. The Blues got the Spaniard from Liverpool but he didn’t quite match expectations.

Liverpool only just broke theirs recently when they acquired Mohammed Salah for £39 million. The Reds sold their former forward Christian Benteke for £27 million to Crystal Palace who became the record signing last summer. Read more