Chelsea’s trip to West Brom sparks memories of Bolton in 2005

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Chelsea can win the Premier League with a victory at West Bromwich Albion on Friday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve won the title away from home under a new manager in his first season in England.

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With Antonio Conte‘s men one win from the PL title, his team can seal a sensational first season in England for the Italian manager.

Reports state that tickets for the game at the Hawthorns are already being sold on the black market for far greater than face value as Chelsea’s fans jostle to witness their fifth title in the Premier League era and their sixth overall.

Many of those supporters will be casting their minds back to 2005 when Jose Mourinho arrived in England and also delivered a PL title in his debut campaign in charge of Chelsea, winning the title away at Bolton thanks to a victory propelled by two Frank Lampard goals in the second half.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

The similarities between that season and this one are plentiful. That year Chelsea collected 95 points (still a PL record) and with three games to go the Blues can finish on 93 points if they win out this season. Remarkably they lost just once all season back in 2004-05, drawing eight times and winning 29 matches. This season they’ve won 27 times, drawing on just three occasions and losing five times.

In many ways there is something very similar about this current Chelsea team to that one back in 2005.

As they did in the early Mourinho days, Chelsea now seem almost unbeatable at times and their ruthless efficiency under Conte has the west London club dreaming of not only glory in the PL but more success back in the UEFA Champions League next season.

On Apr. 30, 2005, Chelsea went to the Reebok Stadium knowing a win would secure the PL title. Drawing 0-0 until the 60th minute, Lampard struck twice to send the away fans wild at the Reebok Stadium as Chelsea won their first title in 50 years and just their second-ever in club history.

At the final whistle there were scenes of utter jubilation as Chelsea’s 50-year wait for a title was over and the Roman Abramovich era has full liftoff.

While an emotional Mourinho smiled on the sidelines as he called his wife on what would now be a ridiculous large cell phone, the likes of John Terry, Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, Damien Duff, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Claude Makele, Ricardo Carvalho and others danced away on the pitch at the final whistle.

Chelsea will be aiming to create very similar scenes to those in the photos above by the time the final whistle blows at the Hawthorns this Friday.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.