Billy Gilmour

Getty Images

What we love about Chelsea

Leave a comment

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.

Lampard reacts to Chelsea’s win v. Everton

Leave a comment

Frank Lampard was a happy man after Chelsea recorded their biggest Premier League win under his guidance.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

An injury-hit Blues side hammered Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and the game was over early in the second half as Lampard’s side eased to victory.

Speaking to the media after the game, Frank Lampard praised the focus of his team after a great week which saw them beat Liverpool in the FA Cup on Wednesday and then dish out a pasting to Everton to cement their spot in the top four.

“The whole attitude and focus of the team felt really strong today after Liverpool. There was pure focus in the group. Maybe the injuries helped out in that respect. The application was spot on. Now we have to work to show we can finish the season strongly,” Lampard said.

Lampard described the win as Chelsea’s ‘most complete’ home display of the season as they kept a clean sheet and for once finished off many of the chances they created. In truth a 6-0 scoreline wouldn’t have flattered them as Olivier Giroud held the ball up superbly and the likes of Billy Gilmour, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Pedro and Willian were always threats breaking from midfield.

Chelsea are now five points clear of fifth-place Wolves with nine games of the season to go and finishing in the top four would be a magnificent achievement for Lampard and his young side given their transfer ban for the first half of the season, injuries hitting them hard and a huge dip in form over the last few months.

The most impressive thing about this pivotal week for Chelsea has been their hunger and desire to win the ball back and make runs into the final third. With injuries to Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Mateo Kovacic and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Lampard has been forced to shuffle his pack and it has resulted in increased intensity in Chelsea’s display.

The aforementioned quartet may struggle to get back in this Chelsea team when they are fit as Lampard has found a formula which works. With tough games against Liverpool and Man City remaining in their last nine games, the other seven look winnable and Chelsea’s youngsters look rejuvenated.

Chelsea smash sorry Everton

Leave a comment

Chelsea battered Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to cement their spot in the top four of the Premier League table.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Frank Lampard‘s side were rampant from start to finish as Mason Mount, Pedro, Willian and Olivier Giroud all scored and in truth the 4-0 scoreline flattered an extremely lackluster Everton side as Carlo Ancelotti did not enjoy his return to Chelsea.

With the win, their biggest in the Premier League under Lampard, Chelsea opened up a five-point gap to fifth-place Wolves and are now just two points off Leicester who are in third place. Everton are in 12th place on 37 points.


3 things we learned

1. Chelsea’s defensive work ethic the difference: Buoyed by their midweek FA Cup win against Liverpool, Chelsea were flying from the start and never let up. Going forward they ripped Everton apart but one of the most impressive things about this display was how hard they worked to win the ball back. Injuries have hit them hard but the so-called ‘second string’ players performed well and their hunger and desire to make the most of slip ups by Wolves and Spurs this weekend spurred them on to cement their place in the top four. Champions League qualification for this young side under Lampard would be a fine season, especially after their considerable slump over the last few months.

2. Giroud, Gilmour make everything tick: Billy Gilmour was starting his first Premier League game and is 18 years old. It looked like it was his 200th PL game and he was 30. The “Irn-Bru Iniesta” has taken his chance with Kovacic injured and Jorginho suspended and he has shown Lampard he can do it in back-to-back games against Liverpool and Everton. As for Giroud, well, he scored and was influential in the attacking unit as his hold-up play knitted the attack together. Without so many first-choice players, Gilmour and Giroud made sure everything went very smoothly for Chelsea.

3. Everton shambolic: Chelsea were very good but Everton were woeful. Carlo Ancelotti had a face like thunder on the sidelines throughout as the Toffees stood off Chelsea, gave them too much respect and didn’t deserve anything. They are still in the battle for the Europa League spots but any faint hopes they had of pushing themselves into the Champions League places are now gone. This was a reality check for Everton who weren’t nasty enough to disrupt Chelsea’s rhythm.

Man of the Match: Billy Gilmour – The Scottish midfielder had the most touches on the pitch and look so calm and assured in possession. A star in the making. Willian also played extremely well but Gilmour gets the nod.


Chelsea came flying out of the traps and Mount fired a superb volley just wide as Everton couldn’t handle the pace of the Blues attack.

Moments later Mount scored a fine goal as he controlled, turned and finish all in one motion to send Stamford Bridge wild as the 21-year-old scored his first goal since Dec. 4.

Wave after wave of Chelsea attack then arrived as Willian was set free but his low drive was denied by Jordan Pickford but Everton didn’t learn their lesson.

Giroud held up the ball and played it back to Barkley who sent a perfect through ball to Pedro who was clean through and finished with ease to give Chelsea a deserved 2-0 lead.

Moments later Everton were almost gifted a way back into the game as Kurt Zouma was caught in possession by Richarlison who teed up Calvert-Lewin but the in-form striker clipped the ball wide of the post as a great chance came and went for the Toffees.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The same pattern continued in the second half as Willian drilled home a low shot from distance after being given too much space from the Everton defense.

Pedro then had a shot deflected just over as Chelsea poured forward time and time again and from that resulting corner they made it 4-0 as Giroud flicked home at the back post.

Pickford then denied Pedro a second goal of the game with a fine stop as Everton were stunned and Chelsea eased to an extremely important victory.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Everton

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea host Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as both teams are desperate to seal European qualification this season.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Frank Lampard was managed by Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea as the Italian coach won a Premier League title and an FA Cup at Stamford Bridge and there is plenty of respect for him from the Blues faithful.

The job Ancelotti has done since he arrived at Everton in December deserves plenty of respect too as he’s lost just twice in 10 Premier League games and the Toffees have surged up the table and away from the relegation zone and into European contention.

Heading into this game just eight points separate the teams as Chelsea sit in fourth place and Everton are in 12th but can jump into the top 10 with a win.

In team news Chelsea make six changes from the team which drew at Bournemouth last weekend as Kepa Arrizabalaga returns in goal after playing well in the FA Cup win over Liverpool, while Billy Gilmour, Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Willian and Ross Barkley all start.

Everton make three changes from the team which drew against Man United last week as Lucas Digne, Djibril Sidibe and Bernard come in for Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman and Theo Walcott.

LINEUPS

FOLLOW LIVE: Chelsea v. Liverpool in FA Cup plus Sheffield United, Newcastle in play

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea hosts Liverpool in a high-powered FA Cup fifth round matchup with kickoff set for 2:45 p.m. ET, while Sheffield United and Newcastle United both have visits to Championship grounds at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The Reds are coming off their first loss of the Premier League season, a shocking 3-0 drubbing at the hands of relegation-threatened Watford. Liverpool was battered up and down the field, and in response, Jurgen Klopp has selected a strong side for the FA Cup match. With the Premier League still almost certainly in their grasp, Liverpool has decided to go heavy handed in the Cup competitions. The only replacements are Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi up front, while Niko Williams stands in for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard brings a strong lineup to the field, with injury fears the only force causing changes. Christian Pulisic remains out as do Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi, so Willian and Pedro continue on the flanks with Olivier Giroud in the middle of the attack. Kurt Zouma is selected in central defense over Fikayo Tomori, while Billy Gilmour sees minutes in midfield with Jorginho on the bench.

Sheffield United will visit Reading riding a three-match league unbeaten streak. Reading sits 16th in the Championship table, with three losses in its last five in league play.

Unlike Sheffield, Newcastle comes into Cup action in poor league form, without a win since mid-January. The Magpies meet Championship leaders West Brom at the Hawthornes, who lost 1-0 to Wigan last time out in league play, a defeat that stopped a stellar six-match unbeaten run that featured five wins and a 13-3 goal differential.

LINEUPS:

Chelsea – Kepa; Alonso, Rudiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Barkley, Kovacic, Gilmour; Willian, Giroud, Pedro.

Liverpool – Adrian; Williams, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Fabinho, Lallana, Jones; Minamino, Origi, Mane.