Ruben Loftus-Cheek

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Batshuayi, Ake join list of odd Chelsea decisions

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Antonio Conte and his new brood of Blues may yet finish in the Top Three of the Premier League, but Chelsea supporters can be forgiven for wondering what if when it comes to their on loan and sold talent.

Michy Batshuayi is the latest example, unfit to serve as Conte’s back-up striker but a part of Borussia Dortmund’s last eight goals (including the equalizer and stoppage time winner in a Europa League comeback on Thursday).

[ MORE: Batshuayi the talk of BVB ]

And while few should be blaming Conte for buying Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud, Batshuayi is just one example of a Chelsea player having an instant or prolonged affect on a new team.

Consider, with just a small mention to Charly Musonda assisting Celtic’s match-winner against Zenit Saint-Petersburg on Thursday:

Kenedy has been one of Newcastle’s best players since going on loan, a fire plug on the left side who was instrumental in the Magpies collecting four points including a win over Manchester United.

— When healthy, Kurt Zouma has literally been Stoke City’s most consistent player this side of Geoff Cameron.

— Like fellow CB Zouma, Bournemouth man Nathan Ake has been an electric part of their defense and transition.

— Now injured, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a revelation for Crystal Palace’s midfield, earning England World Cup talk.

It got us to thinking, how would the loanees and recently-sold Blues fare as an XI in the Premier League (It’s a little shady counting Salah and Cuadrado, but they were just permanently sold within the last two seasons)?

Begovic (Bournemouth)

Ake (Bournemouth) — Zouma (Stoke City) — Rahman (Schalke)

Chalobah (Watford)–Matic (Man Utd)–Loftus-Cheek (Palace)–Atsu (Newcastle)

 Cuadrado (Juve) — Batshuayi (BVB) — Salah (Liverpool)

Methinks that side does pretty well

Loftus-Cheek returns to Chelsea for injury treatment; WC in doubt

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek was enjoying a breakout season at the age of 21, featuring as a full-time starter for the first time in his career while on loan to Crystal Palace and debuting for England in November, before an ankle injury brought everything to a screeching halt last month.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundupMonday | Sunday ]

Now, more than a month later, Loftus-Cheek’s ankle hasn’t improved after a period of rest, and surgery has emerged as a very real possibility should no progress be made over the next month. As such, Loftus-Cheek, now 22, has returned to Chelsea for further evaluation by his parent club’s medical team.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson, just like the rest of us, is living in total darkness — quotes from the Guardian:

“Chelsea insist on having him back there on this period of rehabilitation, so we won’t really know until such time that they release him back to us. The agreement was that he would spend two to three weeks without having a surgical intervention, in the hope that the problem he has will be resolved naturally.

“During that time, Chelsea have insisted they take care of that because they regard him as their player. We will now wait for that period to pass, then he’ll come back to us. We will then test whether or not the injury is still there or whether, as they think, the injury has cleared up. So there’s another 10-14 days to go before I can tell you anything about Ruben Loftus-Cheek at all. I haven’t seen him literally for 10 days.”

With the 2018 World Cup now just four and a half months away, ankle surgery would almost certainly eliminate Loftus-Cheek from consideration for Gareth Southgate‘s squad.

Swans 1-1 Crystal Palace: Spoils split at Swansea

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  • Palace converts penalty
  • Swans level through Ayew beauty
  • Swansea remains 20th

Jordan Ayew scored a sensational second half goal to give Swansea City a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Luka Milivojevic converted a penalty for Palace’s lone goal.

Swans finish the day four points back of 17th place West Ham, while Palace is two points ahead of the drop.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Tammy Abraham thought he’d played Luciano Narsingh in for a penalty kick, but the referee was unmoved when Jeff Schlupp‘s challenge took down the Dutchman.

An uncharacteristic bumble from Wilfried Zaha in the Swans’ box stopped Palace from a 34th minute lead. And the Ivorian just missed with a toe poke redirection in the 41st.

Yohan Cabaye lorded over a stoppage time free kick, but a training ground routine for Zaha did not yield a dangerous cross.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek sold a penalty kick, and Palace had a chance to go ahead in the 59th minute. Milivojevic finished with power.

Swans started to buzz as the half wore on, and Ayew gave Swans a deserved equalizer on a day his brother scored back in London. Ayew worked around a defender and let fly an arrow to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Premier League Preview: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace

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  • Leicester leads all-time 26W-18D-23L
  • Foxes 3W-1D vs. Eagles since Oct. 2015
  • Palace won at Leicester in Feb. 2015

The Claude Puel revolution at Leicester City has the Foxes surging up the Premier League table, and Saturday’s visitors from Crystal Palace are making moves of their own (Watch live Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via

Leicester has won four-straight matches, the latest a 4-1 beatdown of Southampton at St. Mary’s, and returns to King Power Stadium with a chance to make a dent on the five-point deficit between the Foxes and the Top Four.



After beginning the season 0-7, Crystal Palace has claimed 14 of 30 points to move from 20th to 18th on the table. Roy Hodgson’s men have two wins and four draws in their last six matches.

What they’re saying

Leicester’s Harry Maguire on the task at hand:

Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek on his high-flying loan spell from Chelsea: “It’s what you aspire to be when you’re younger. Right now it’s a case of trying to improve as much as I can and to keep the performances up. As long as I’m enjoying it I think I’ll do well, so I’m really happy. The experience of playing week in week out and the physical side of things, getting my body used to playing games – sometimes three in a week – has been a massive thing for me, especially when I haven’t played for two years regularly. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to get away from Chelsea, to play regular football, get my body used to it, get more robust and I think once you have that then it’s a platform to play better.”


This could be a fun one, with names like Zaha, Townsend, Loftus-Cheek, Vardy, Mahrez, and Gray ready to bless the match with pace and creativity. Goals have come in bunches when Leicester’s on the pitch, and we’ll call it 2-1 to the Foxes.

Crystal Palace 2-2 Bournemouth: Defoe scores beauty brace

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  • Defoe opens, closes first half scoring
  • Milivojevic, Dann score
  • Key saves from Begovic, Speroni

Christian Benteke missed a stoppage time penalty kick and Bournemouth held on for a point at Selhurst Park in a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Jermain Defoe‘s brace included a gorgeous finish, making amends for Luka Milivojevic and Scott Dann goals.

Palace remains 20th with 11 points, while Bournemouth is 14th with 16.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A clever short corner caught Palace looking poor, with Defoe sprung all alone — by an illegal pick — near the penalty spot to bury a side-footed offering.

Palace was immediately ready to level, but a timely intervention stopped Mamadou Sakho at the goal line following fine work from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Eagles leveled when Wilfried Zaha was chopped down in the box, and Milivojevic had no problem with his penalty attempt.

Dann used a Yohan Cabaye cross to make it 2-1, but only briefly as Defoe scored this wonder goal (top).

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jordon Ibe snapped the game back into life in the 70th minute when he forced Julian Speroni into a diving parry.

And it was a hard foul that brought a different kind of vigor to the match, with Lewis Cook‘s sliding challenge on Zaha leading both players into yellow cards.

Asmir Begovic made a great reaction stop when Loftus-Cheek’s deflected effort teased the near post. An ensuing corner was toe-poked wide of the goal by Milivojevic.

Charlie Daniels then cut down Zaha, but Benteke remained ice cold with a poor penalty attempt which was saved by Begovic.