What we love about Chelsea

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Chelsea is one of the most polarizing teams in the English top flight.

[ MORE: What we love about each Premier League club ]

The cash-rich club in West London is a lightning rod, especially with infamous billionaire Roman Abramovich at the helm. The Blues have won a lot, with five Premier League titles to their name.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Chelsea, like it or not, is one of the most popular teams in Europe, and they can always be counted on to compete at the highest level. Well, unless Jose Mourinho is about finished with his time in charge. Here are some things we love about Chelsea.


Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount celebrate a goal against Arsenal (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images).

Youth infusion: Chelsea has been a tough out for the last two decades, but this season has been different from a number of Chelsea’s top-four challenges of the recent past.  Forced by a transfer ban over the summer and a host of injuries through the middle of the season, Frank Lampard has had to dig deep into his squad for starters, and that has brought a number of young players to the forefront.

For the past decade, Chelsea’s youth system was lauded by Premier League fans as one of the best in Europe, but it never seemed to benefit the team at the top level. Instead, many of the exciting young players were seen shipped off elsewhere to provide an influx of cash while the senior squad purchased expensive players to play for the Blues in the biggest competitions. This season, however, the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, and Billy Gilmour have joined Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi as Chelsea youth products to contribute significantly on the field of late. This has resulted in a fabulously entertaining brand of football that has made the Blues a must-watch.

As a biproduct, being more fun has also made the Blues much harder to hate. More on that in a moment.

Midfield brilliance: It’s certainly possible to argue that Chelsea’s midfield is the best of the Premier League this season. Although Liverpool has dominated the league table this season, their front and back lines have done the bulk of the work. For the Blues, everything starts and finishes with their midfield.

Mateo Kovacic has proven to be an exceptional purchase from the Real Madrid Bargain Bin, and the partnership he has developed with Jorginho has been rock solid. N’Golo Kante has struggled with injuries for much of the season, but when he is available, he provides a top-tier rotational option with the aforementioned duo. Add in Ross Barkley and a healthy Loftus-Cheek as a fourth and fifth option off the bench, plus the recent emergence of Gilmour, and the collection of players is tough to top.

Christian Pulisic celebrates scoring against Valencia in the Champions League (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images).

Christian Pulisic: You didn’t think you were getting out of here without seeing this man highlighted, did you?

Christian Pulisic’s presence at Chelsea has obviously been incredibly entertaining for USMNT fans, but it goes beyond that. The American brings an exciting mindset to the field every time he steps on the pitch, and that had been evident at Chelsea until a nagging adductor injury robbed him of months of playing time.

It had taken some time after arriving this past summer from Borussia Dortmund, but Pulisic eventually forced his way into the starting lineup with electric attacking contributions and a creative flair. From late October through mid-December, Pulisic had a stretch where he started eight straight games, starting with his hat-trick against Burnley. Here’s to hoping that injury recoveries prove to be a silver lining from this coronavirus shutdown, with Pulisic top of that list.

Hateability: If you don’t love Chelsea, chances are you hate them, and that’s a thing to love about the Blues too. From Roman Abramovich on down, there have been plenty of villainous characters at Stamford Bridge over the last decade or two. That’s great for the sport and great for the club, because hated teams are usually have two things in common: 1) they win a lot, and 2) they draw well.

For Chelsea, that is certainly the case. A poll by The Mirror back in 2019 listed Chelsea as the most hated Premier League club. Hating a particular club is actually a fun way for league fans of other teams to stay engaged…imagine there was no team to project your hatred upon? How boring would that be? It wouldn’t be sports without equal parts loyalty and loathing, and you can thank the Blues for providing both services.

How can USA qualify for the World Cup last 16?

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“How can the USA qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup and make it out of the group stage?”

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That is the question you will hear time and time again ahead of their Group B finale against Iran on Tuesday, November 29 at 2pm ET.

[ MORE: Group B schedule, rankings, table ]

As the information below tells you, the equation is now very simple for Gregg Berhalter’s young side.

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After their draws against Wales and England to kick off Group B play, it all goes down to the final 90 minutes against Iran to see whether or not they can reach the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar.


Group B table heading into final group stage game

1. England – 4 points (+4 GD)
2. Iran – 3 points (-2)
3. USA – 2 points (0 GD)
4. Wales – 1 point (-2 GD)


Group B remaining schedule

Tuesday, November 29: Wales vs England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Tuesday November 29: Iran vs USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


How the USA can qualify for the last 16

  • Win against Iran

How the USA will not qualify for the last 16

  • Draw against Iran
  • Lose against Iran

Netherlands vs Qatar: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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The Netherlands face hosts Qatar in their Group A finale knowing a win could guarantee them top spot.

STREAM LIVE NETHERLANDS v QATAR

Louis van Gaal’s side are level on points (4) and goal difference (+2) with Ecuador and if they better Ecuador’s result against Senegal in their Group A finale, they will go through as winners of the group. However, the Dutch were not impressive against Ecuador and were lucky to get a 1-1 draw. It will be intriguing to see if Memphis Depay is fit enough to start as LVG looks to build up his fitness ahead of the knockout rounds.

[ MORE: Group A – Table, rankings, results, schedule ]

As for Qatar, well, they are just playing for pride as the hosts were knocked out of the tournament after just two group stage games. They are only the second host nation in World Cup history to be knocked out of the group stage and they have looked totally out of their depth in defeats to both Ecuador and Senegal. They did score their first-ever World Cup goal through Mohammed Muntari but overall it has been a very disappointing tournament for Qatar.

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Here is everything you need for Netherlands vs Qatar.


How to watch Netherlands vs Qatar live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Tuesday, November 29
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The Netherlands know a big win will basically guarantee them top spot and that means they will probably face one of the USA or Iran in the last 16 rather than playing England. Louis van Gaal may not really care about who they play in the knockout rounds but it is clear that Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong are the heartbeat of this team. They need Memphis to be fit enough to start and Cody Gakpo has done his best to fill in with two goals in two games, including a beauty against Ecuador.

For Qatar it is now all about pride and trying to cause a big shock in their final World Cup game. Manager Felix Sanchez has worked so hard to get this team together as a unit but they have made big mistakes at key moments and they only really went for it in the second half against Senegal and they looked much better doing that. They have nothing to lose here so expect to see Qatar go for it from the start.


Netherlands quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong

Qatar quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 49
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 0
How they qualified: As hosts
Coach: Felix Sanchez
Key players: Abdelkarim Hassan, Almoez Ali, Hassan Al-Haydos


Ecuador vs Senegal: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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This should be a beauty of a game in Group A as both Ecuador and Senegal still have a chance of winning the group.

STREAM LIVE ECUADOR v SENEGAL

Ecuador is on four points after their impressive draw against the Netherlands and La Tri, led by the three goals of Enner Valencia, have been one of the stories of the tournament. The South American minnows have impressed mightily and a win here could see them get a more favorable path in the knockout rounds. A point is enough to guarantee them a spot in the last 16, however their captain and talisman Valencia was carried off against the Netherlands. It seems like he may be fit for the Group A finale though, which would be a huge boost.

[ MORE: Group A – Table, rankings, results, schedule ]

As for Senegal, they beat Qatar easily last time out and after their spirited display against the Netherlands, they are growing into this tournament sans Sadio Mane. Aliou Cisse knows his side need to win to guarantee their route into the last 16 and the African champions are certainly capable of matching Ecuador. If they can stay solid at the back, they have plenty of talented attackers who can punish and mistake from Ecuador.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for Ecuador vs Senegal.


How to watch Ecuador vs Senegal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Tuesday, November 29
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Enner Valencia has obviously been the main man for Ecuador with his three goals so far but Gonzalo Plata and Michael Estrada have been excellent alongside him in attack. Brighton duo Moises Caicedo and Pervis Estupinan have been superb too, while Angelo Preciado has been electric down the right flank.

Senegal’s defense has looked a bit shaky, even with Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly back there. In midfield Idrissa Gana Gueye and Nampalys Mendy were much better against Qatar and Ismaila Sarr continues to do his best to fill the huge void left by Sadio Mane.


Ecuador quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 44
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 3
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (4th place)
Coach: Gustavo Alfaro
Key players: Enner Valencia, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan

Senegal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 18
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Beat Egypt in CAF playoff
Coach: Aliou Cisse
Key players: Idrissa Gana Gueye, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly


Tunisia vs Australia, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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Tunisia vs Australia: It’ll be a must-win for both the Eagles of Carthage and the Socceroos when they meet at the 2022 World Cup on Saturday.

STREAM LIVE TUNISIA v AUSTRALIA

With France (3 points – 1st place) and Denmark (1 point – 3rd) also existing in Group D, it was always going to be an uphill battle for either Tunisia (1 point – 2nd) or Australia (0 points – 4th) to reach the knockout rounds, and all paths to the round of 16 require three points from the crossroads fixture in game no. 2.

Tunisia began their 2022 World Cup quest by drawing Denmark 0-0, while Australia went 1-0 ahead of France early on before conceding the next four goals in a 4-1 defeat.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Tunisia vs Australia. 


How to watch Tunisia vs Australia live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 5am ET, Saturday (November 26)
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Tunisia found it tough sledding to create scoring chances against Denmark, as they came out in a very conservative 3-4-2-1 formation. Midfielder Aissa Laidouni starred in central midfield, though the bulk of his contributions were of the hard-nosed, ball-winning variety. Tunisia will likely find themselves with more possession and the opportunity to take the game to Australia on Saturday, as opposed to playing more of the game against Denmark inside their own half.

Australia were a goal ahead and comfortably the better side after the opening 15 or 20 minutes of their clash with France, before the defending world champions settled in and began to play through Australia’s midfield and defense with ease. Possession was the best form of defense for Les Bleus, who allowed just four shots in total from Australia. To that point, Craig Goodwin’s 9th-minute goal was the Socceroos’ lone shot on target.


Tunisia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 30
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified via CAF playoffs (Beat Mali)
Coach: Jalel Kadri
Key players: Ferjani Sassi, Wahbi Khazri, Youssef Msakni

Australia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 38
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from AFC via the intercontinental playoffs
Coach: Graham Arnold
Key players: Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie

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