Ramires on life at Chelsea, trophy hunt and returning to form

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Brazilian midfielder Ramires is one of Chelsea’s most experienced players and he has taken some time out to look back on a trophy-laden first five years at the club, while also addressing their recent poor form and how the Blues can move forward to bring back success.

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Below is the feature article on Ramires, who has just signed a new four-year deal with the reigning Premier League champs, from Chelsea’s magazine.


Home is where the heart is  – By Chelsea Football Club

Having signed a new contract which will keep him at the Bridge until 2019, Ramires is hoping the Blues can replicate some of the trophy triumphs of his first five years with the club

Midway through our interview to mark his new contract, Ramires’ face lights up and, for a few minutes, he can’t wipe the smile from his face. We have come armed with a set of photographs portraying the stand-out moments from the Brazilian’s first five years at Chelsea and, sitting down in his spot in the Stamford Bridge home dressing room, he takes his time going through them, getting lost in the memories.

“The feeling of a dream come true,” he says after a few moments of quiet reflection, pointing to a picture of himself holding up the Chelsea shirt during his first day at the club in August 2010, before adding: “I look very young there!”

In truth, Ramires doesn’t look much different to the 23-year-old who arrived from Benfica with hopes of lifting silverware in England. He has become an experienced member of the squad, with almost 250 appearances to his name, but more significantly he has added every domestic trophy, plus both major European competitions, to his list of honours.

Now he has signed a new four-year contract and, having just put pen to paper on the deal, he tells us what Chelsea means to him.

“What is there to say about this club?” he asks, rhetorically. “This is my home now. The memories since I arrived here are the very best. At the beginning, when I came to a huge club, my first thought was just to play here and remain here.

“A few years have gone by now. I have had all the support I ever wanted and needed from everyone at Chelsea, from the players that have left, from the players who are still here and, hopefully, from the players that will come in the years ahead as well.”

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Since Emerson Thome became the first Brazilian to play for Chelsea at the turn of the millennium, 13 players born in the South American footballing hotbed have pulled on the blue shirt at Stamford Bridge, including current first-team squad members Oscar, Diego Costa, Willian and Kenedy. None, however, have played as many times for the club as Ramires, who nods appreciatively when that fact is pointed out to him.

“When I first came here, there was only one Brazilian, and that was Alex, but many others have come along since then and we have got five Brazilian-born players in the first-team squad now,” he says.

“It’s very important for us to have one another here, especially when a new Brazilian player arrives, because we all speak the same language. While we have a very good relationship with all our team-mates, it helps to have these guys because, being so far away from home, they represent a kind of family here.

“As for the record of being the longest-serving Brazilian player at Chelsea, I’m not here to break any records but I am very happy about that and it is a good sign that the club is renewing my contract because it means I must be doing a good job. Hopefully, I will be able to stay here for a very long time.”

Having noticed Ramires shivering in the autumn mist as we made our way around the stadium to the shelter of the dressing room for the interview, it seems a good time to ask him whether he feels he has fully adapted to English life, having resided here for half a decade. Pulling his tracksuit jacket closed around his neck, he bursts out laughing.

“Yes and no! We have a saying in Brazil, which is a bit of a joke, that if you’re out on the street, it’s always cold. If you are inside, it’s fine.”

It’s probably fair to say that anyone arriving in London from Rio de Janeiro State is going to feel the cold, but he shrugs off his joke about the weather and answers earnestly about his life in England.

“Of course, I am adapted to everything now. I enjoy London, it’s a brilliant lifestyle here and my English is getting much better. I am starting to talk more and more English now and feeling more confident with it. I really enjoy the lifestyle here in London, I think it’s perfect.

“As far as my life off the pitch goes, I like it to remain quite private. I don’t do much apart from going to dinner, spending time with family and having friends over to my house. I really like living in England and when the weather is nice I enjoy going to different parks and relaxing.”

Family is at the forefront of Ramires’ mind at the moment. He and his wife recently celebrated the birth of their third child, Bruno, and the following day he toasted the newborn with a spectacular goal in our 2-2 draw at Newcastle.

On the pitch, it hasn’t been an easy season so far for the Blues, but Ramires has put in some strong performances. His energetic midfield displays allow him to get up and down the field, contributing both on and off the ball. His well-timed runs into attacking areas have also yielded some goals, too.

“As far as the mood is concerned, it is fine. We are training and working hard. We are doing the best we can to get out of this situation we have put ourselves in.

“I think the team has a good mentality, but when you don’t have victories you lose some confidence and we need to come back and start winning games again. When we have a good victory, where the team plays well and all of us return to our best, then the confidence will come back and our situation will change.”

The experience of players like Ramires, who have tasted success in the past, will be essential this season. In the 2011/12 campaign, when the team struggled to find their feet in the league, we still won two trophies thanks to hard work, persistence and the dogged belief in the quality of the players.

Reflecting on a magical moment from the following campaign, Ramires holds a photograph of himself celebrating a goal against Manchester United with the fans at Stamford Bridge and taps it repeatedly with his index finger, nodding vociferously as if to say: “This is what it’s all about.”

“This is very cool,” he says. “Not only when I score a goal, but also when a team-mate scores as well. You are so close to the fans and you can see the expression on their faces.”

He breaks off to point at one particularly ecstatic supporter in the photo and makes a high-pitch laugh of appreciation at the delight his art can produce in people. The man in the photo is looking at Ramires with pure joy in his eyes and the goalscorer is roaring back at him in delight.

Most of us will never know what that feels like, but he tells us it is the best motivation any footballer can ever want.

“You can see them smiling and cheering – it’s fantastic. If I could, I would score goals every day just to see those faces.”

At the time of writing, Ramires has 34 goals for Chelsea, including two which won the club’s official Goal of the Season award. While we’re reflecting on his time in SW6 it seems appropriate to revisit those famous strikes, the first a stunning individual goal featuring a weaving run through the Manchester City defence and a cool finish past Joe Hart in front of the Matthew Harding Stand in March 2011; the second a sensationally cool chip over Victor Valdes in Camp Nou to set Chelsea on the way to the Champions League final in 2012.He starts with the goal against City.

“Ah! My first individual trophy here was Goal of the Season for this one,” he says. “It was an incredible game. It’s very difficult to forget a goal like that and a day like that.

“But the goal at Camp Nou was a very important one, impossible to forget, because it was in the Champions League semi-final against a Barcelona side that, until that time, was unbeatable – and the quality of the goal as well. But I would choose them both as my favourite. I can’t decide between them.”

Almost as memorable as the goal at Barcelona was the celebration that followed. The stadium was a cauldron of noise that day – almost all of it in favour of the hosts. Camp Nou holds just short of 100,000 people when it is full and the vast majority of them were feeling very confident when they took an aggregate lead against a 10-man Chelsea side early in the second leg that night.

Despite the raucous atmosphere, Ramires’ chip was ice cool. His celebration, in front of more than 90,000 locals who were either stunned into silence or whistling their opposition, was a flamboyant dance, accompanied by an uncontrollably broad smile. The away supporters up in the gods were delirious, but what was going through his mind at that time? He chuckles at the memory.

“It was a dance we do back home with my friends and family when everyone is together,” he reveals, holding up a photo of himself in full snake-hipped motion. “I had been promising them for a very long time I was going to do the dance and it just came up on that goal, that moment. I did the dance for them.”

Ramires has many happy memories from his first five years as a Chelsea player and his ambition hasn’t dimmed one bit. He is now fully engrossed in the next challenge: restoring the optimism to Stamford Bridge and transforming a season that has started disappointingly.

“I have some great memories here, but I still feel as though I haven’t won any of those trophies, I still have the hunger, will and desire I had before.

“The competition is very demanding and being at a club like this you are expected to win something every year. I would love to win all of those trophies again. They are great memories and, even though they are in the past, they didn’t happen a really long time ago.

“However, when you win something, you have to move on. You are always competing, always challenging and always wanting to do more.

“Our objective now is to retain our confidence, to start winning games again as soon as possible and get involved at the top end of the table.”

Man City vs Man United: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Manchester City vs Manchester United: Erling Haaland is set for his Manchester derby debut when the two-time defending champions host the rapidly improving Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 9 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE MAN CITY vs MAN UNITED

Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United

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How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?

As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

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Premier League injury news, 2022-23 season

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Premier League injury news: It’s time to take a look at which players might be unavailable for matchweek 8 of the 2022-23 Premier League season, due to injury.

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Prior to every matchweek this season, we’ll update this Premier League injuries page with the latest news and update, so make sure to check back regularly to see how your favorite — or least-favorite — club is getting on.

Let’s check out the latest Premier League injury news, below.


Arsenal injuries

OUT: Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Mohamed Elneny (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Partey (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf),, Kieran Tierney (head), Cedric Soares (knock), Reiss Nelson (thigh)

Aston Villa injuries

OUT: Diego Carlos (achilles), Lucas Digne (ankle), Boubacar Kamara (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Matty Cash (hamstring), Cameron Archer (adductor)

Bournemouth injuries

OUT: David Brooks (fitness), Lloyd Kelly (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Joseph Rothwell (thigh), Benjamin Pearson (undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed)

Brentford injuries

OUT: Christian Norgaard (achilles), Keane Lewis-Potter (knock) | QUESTIONABLE: Ethan Pinnock (knee)

Brighton & Hove Albion injuries

OUT: Jakub Moder (knee), Enock Mwepu (illness) | QUESTIONABLE: Adam Lallana (calf)

Chelsea injuries

QUESTIONABLE: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Edouard Mendy (knee), Marc Cucurella (illness), Carney Chukwuemeka  (illness)

Crystal Palace injuries

OUT:  Jack Butland (hand), Nathan Ferguson (foot), James McArthur (groin) | QUESTIONABLE: James Tomkins (undisclosed)

Everton injuries

OUT: Ben Godfrey (broken leg), Yerry Mina (ankle), Nathan Patterson (ankle), Mason Holgate (knee), Andros Townsend (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (knee)

Fulham injuries

OUT: Harry Wilson (knee), Joao Pahlinha (suspension), Manor Solomon (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Antonee Robinson (ankle)

Leeds United injuries

OUT: Rodrigo (shoulder), Stuart Dallas (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Adam Forshaw (ankle)

Leicester City injuries

OUT: Ricardo Pereira (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Patson Daka (illness)

Liverpool injuries

OUT: Naby Keita (undisclosed), Curtis Jones (calf), Calvin Ramsay (undisclosed), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Ibrahima Konate (knee), Andrew Robertson (knee), Caoimhin Kelleher (groin)

Manchester City injuries

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United injuries

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

Newcastle United injuries

OUT: Aleksander Isak (leg), Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Matt Ritchie (calf), Emil Krafth (knee), Karl Darlow (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Chris Wood (ribs)

Nottingham Forest injuries

OUT: Omar Richards (calf), Moussa Niakhate (thigh), Orel Mangala (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Emmanuel Dennis (knock), Morgan Gibbs-White (knock), Scott McKenna (knee)

Southampton injuries

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Romeo Lavia (undisclosed)

Tottenham Hotspur injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Hugo Lloris (quad), Dejan Kulusevski (undisclosed), Ben Davies (knee), Lucas Moura (achilles)

West Ham United injuries

OUT: Nayef Aguerd (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Benjamin Johnson (hamstring)

Wolverhampton Wanderers injuries

OUT: Raul Jimenez (groin), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Nathan Collins (suspension), Chiquinho (knee)

Ever Wonder why Arsenal moved from South to North London?

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Our ‘Ever Wonder’ series will run throughout the 2022-23 Premier League season and focuses on key stories behind the history, tradition and culture of all 20 Premier League clubs.

[ MORE: Check out our ‘Ever Wonder’ series in full ]

Have you ever sat there and wondered why certain chants became iconic at a club? Why a team has a certain nickname? Why they play in those colors? How they were founded? Yep, us too.

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This season we will be digging deep to tell the stories of the rich history, tradition and culture from around the Premier League and give you the answers to things you want to know more about.


Ever Wonder why Arsenal moved across London?

Based in Woolwich in south east London, the club was originally founded in 1886 as a group of workers from the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory decided to set up a club.

They were originally called Dial Square because of a sun dial atop the entrance to the factory. Seriously.

As for the factory itself, it served the British Army with ammunition and explosives research and 80,000 people worked there during the First World War.


Red jerseys and stadium struggles

Dial Square then became Royal Arsenal and players from Nottingham Forest joined the club, hence the now famous Garibaldi red jerseys which Forest, established 20 years before Arsenal, gave them.

After moving around several stadiums in Plumstead, which was based on the outskirts of London at the time, Arsenal then became Woolwich Arsenal and it stayed that way until 1913.

Struggling financially due to Plumstead being in an isolated area and not easy for people to travel to compared to other London clubs, Woolwich Arsenal were looking for other locations to move to from their Manor Ground home.

Arsenal vs Liverpool at the Manor Ground in Plumstead


Bombing accelerates move

During the suffragettes battle for equality for women in the UK, targeted bombings were carried out at high profile venues.

One such bombing occurred at Arsenal’s home stadium, destroying the grandstand at the Manor Ground in 1913 which would reportedly cost over $1,220 to repair.

With a significant bill to pay to repair the stadium and the club once again teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, the largest shareholder of the consortium who bought the club in 1910, Sir Henry Norris, decided to move the club to Highbury in north London in 1913 after a failed attempt to merge Fulham and Arsenal, the two clubs he was chairman of.

Arsenal moved to Highbury Stadium


Controversial 12-mile move from South to North London approved in 1913

Amid uproar from fans in Woolwich and north London, it still happened and famed stadium architect Archibald Leitch built their home ground at Highbury.

That is when the Arsenal we know today was truly born.

They soon became known as ‘The Arsenal’ in 1914 and then dropped ‘the’ to become known simply as Arsenal in 1919 as football resumed in England following the First World War.


Feud with Tottenham begins

In-between then a feud had already bubbled up with Tottenham. Of course it had.

Arsenal were promoted to the first division at the expense of Tottenham amid huge controversy and after a league vote, Arsenal took Spurs’ place in the first division.

Hence a bitter rivalry was born and Tottenham’s fans like to remind Arsenal to, shall we say, ‘head back to Woolwich, please, because north London is ours.’ The real version is obviously less polite.


The Gunners have never looked back

Financial success, being close to a London Underground station and improved facilities were the main reasons Arsenal moved 12 miles across London to north London in 1913 and it is where they have remained ever since.

London’s most successful team (in terms of the number of major titles and top-flight titles), the decision to move Arsenal across England’s capital city is still bearing fruit over 100 years later.

They’ve come a long way from a team set up in a factory which made explosives for the British Military.

Fantasy Premier League Week 9: Who to captain, top transfer targets

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The return of the Premier League from international break brings, as usual, injuries, intrigue, and a load of, “Who’s good at dealing with travel?” to our Fantasy Premier League discussion.

Rather than delve deep into stats that analyze the last part of that, let’s take a look at the first several weeks of the Premier League season and ask: Who’s piling up the points?

[ MORE: Premier League odds, predictions ]

And let’s also look deeper than the obvious answers; Erling Haaland and Gabriel Jesus have been the genuine article for Manchester City and Arsenal, respectively, but who else is consistently dropping decent numbers?

We’ll also ignore some penalty takers, as surely Alexis Mac Allister won’t spend his season heading to the spot with the same regularity he has for Brighton early in it.

Here’s the “All-Fantasy Premier League XI” heading into Week 9, but before that, how about a couple of captain and transfer options?

This week is highlighted by some Bees, who seem to have people forgetting both how unlucky they’ve been and how fortunate their hosts have been in recent weeks…

Add and/or captain Week 9: Ivan Toney, Brentford at Bournemouth, 7.3M

Add, Week 9: David Raya, Brentford at Bournemouth, 4.5M

Add, Week 9: Kyle Walker-Peters, Southampton vs Everton, 4.5M

Add, Week 9: Lucas Paqueta, West Ham vs Wolves, 6.0M

Captain, Week 9: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool vs Brighton, 12.9M

Captain, Week 9: James Maddison, Leicester vs Nottingham Forest, 7.9M

Goalkeeper

Nick Pope, Newcastle (5.2 million, 38 points): After not facing a single shot in Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Opening Day, the Burnley transfer has made 30 saves over six more matches. He’s twice claimed bonus points

Defenders

William Saliba, Arsenal (4.9 million, 44 points): Almost as many goals (2) as clean sheets (3) for the CB.

Joao Cancelo, Manchester City (7.2 million, 42 points): A goal, an assist, and three times earning bonus points for his managers.

Kieran Trippier, Newcastle United (5.4 million, 35 points): Same as Cancelo, but with Newcastle.

Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City (12.3 million, 45 points): Two matches with multiple goal contributions, the same number as the mere two times he’s been held without one (and one of those was a 21-minute appearance).

Pascal Gross, Brighton (6.0 million, 42 points): Can he keep it up? Seems unlikely, but the midfielder was essentially playing forward for Graham Potter. Will it stay the same under Roberto De Zerbi?

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United (6.6 million, 40 points): Still trading under 7.0 million and listed as a midfielder. Please and thank you.

Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal (6.6 million, 39 points): The quiet gem of Arsenal, he’s showing us why Mikel Arteta kept trotting him out last season.

Alexis Mac Allister, Brighton (5.6 million, 39 points): Pens won’t last forever.

Bernardo Silva, Manchester City (7.0 million, 39 points): And to think he could’ve left for Barcelona…

Forwards

Erling Haaland, Manchester City (12.0 million, 73 points): An actual monster.

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur (11.4 million, 50 points): Derby day looms.

Ivan Toney, Brentford (7.3 million, 47 points): How long can Brentford hold onto him? A complete center forward.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (6.9 million, 41 points): Can he keep this up in the Premier League as the focal point for Fulham with a stint as Serbia’s focal point in the middle.

Gabriel Jesus (8.0 million, 39 points): His heroics have been well-covered.