Fikayo Tomori

Southampton shock Chelsea

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Southampton shocked Chelsea by winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day as Frank Lampard‘s Blues continued their Jekyll and Hyde form.

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After winning at top four rivals Tottenham last time out, Chelsea were sluggish against Saints and were punished as Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond scored in each half to lead Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side to a big victory.

With the win Southampton move on to 21 points, while Chelsea stay on 32 points.

The defeat marked the first time Chelsea have lost back-to-back home games in the Premier League since 2011.


3 things we learned

1. 3-4-3 not the way forward for Chelsea: Frank Lampard stuck with the 3-4-3 formation which worked so well at Spurs on Sunday, but it was a surprise he went with it at home against Southampton. Chelsea have now lost 2-0 to Saints and 1-0 against West Ham and Bournemouth in their last four home games at Stamford Bridge and their young team has been a little naive. Lampard’s admission that they will be in the transfer market in January seems to have unsettled some of his players as their transfer ban is now over.

2. Saints alive and kicking: Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have now won four of their last six games but this was the most impressive victory of the lot. Away from home against Chelsea, Saints took the game to the Blues and their high-pressing style unnerved Chelsea. Danny Ings, their leading goalscorer, was left out and the young forward duo of Che Adams and Michael Obafemi delivered with grit and the latter with a fine goal. This was Southampton’s first clean sheet in 14 games and back-to-back wins have taken them from the relegation zone to eyeing a top 10 finish. There is still a long season ahead but Saints have finally got going.

3. Pulisic’s lack of game time concerning: When USMNT winger Pulisic didn’t start against Spurs on Sunday we assumed he was being rested to play against Southampton. He came on for the final 25 minutes and did well, winning free kicks and firing just wide, and you have to imagine he will start against Arsenal on Sunday. If he doesn’t that will be even more concerning.

Man of the Match: Jack Stephens – Won the battle against Tammy Abraham and he led the Southampton defense calmly. What a turnaround in his career over the last few months.


Early on Southampton were comfortable enough without having a clear chance on goal and the first big chance of the game came to Chelsea.

Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s shot was deflected wide by Jack Stephens and from the resulting corner Fikayo Tomori headed straight at Alex McCarthy.

Saints frustrated Chelsea in the first half and then took the lead as 19-year-old Obafemi turned, settled himself and curled home a stunner into the top corner.

Cesar Azpilicueta’s flick at the near post from a corner almost snuck in as McCarthy tipped the ball away.

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Mason Mount came on at half time for Kurt Zouma as Chelsea switched their formation to a 4-2-3-1 and Tammy Abraham slammed a shot into the side-netting from close range.

At the other end Nathan Redmond broke free and crossed for Che Adams but Tomori cleared superbly at the back post.

Redmond then spurned a great chance as he was clean through but Kepa saved down low.

USMNT’s Christian Pulisic came on for the final 25 minutes to try and salvage something for Chelsea but then Southampton killed the game off.

A break found Redmond and he calmly dinked over Kepa and in to seal a shock win for Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard: Chelsea youngsters can’t worry about January transfers

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Frank Lampard knows it’s only natural that some of Chelsea’s youngsters will have worries about the January transfer window and the Blues’ newfound ability to sign players, considering they were only afforded a first-team opportunity by the club’s transfer ban.

[ PL Preview: Chelsea v. Bournemouth ]

He doesn’t, however, want those thoughts and fears to dominate their thoughts for the next three weeks, until the window opens and Chelsea can sign players for the first time since January of this year. As Lampard sees it, the fact he has roughly $200 million to inject into the squad doesn’t necessarily mean they promising teenagers and early-20-somethings will immediately be cast aside. It does, however, mean he has to navigate this very unique set of circumstances extra carefully — quotes from the Guardian:

“I haven’t banned the talk [about the January window], but I am not going to set out to engage in it. If players want to come and see me and talk then I will happily have a conversation with them individually, but that hasn’t happened.

“I speak to them regularly. I can be, not hard on them, but I push them because I think they need that. I think they feel the trust I have in them because they know I’m prepared to give them the opportunities if they train well and they come in the team and play well. I think they should naturally feel a little bit of tension all the time so that’s not the worst thing.

“They just need to work and believe in their own talents because their talent is there for all to see. We also have to be patient with that because it may take different periods of time for them to fully blossom as players. They might have a period in and out of the team, have a run of the games and then not. I am prepared to stick with them through that because I really believe in them.”

22-year-old Tammy Abraham currently sits second in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot with 11 goals in 15 appearances. 21-year-old Christian Pulisic, while not an academy product, has shone brightly of late with a half-dozen goals and nearly as many assists to his name in the last two months. 20-year-old Mason Mount was a surprising revelation in the season’s opening weeks. 21-year-old defender Fikayo Tomori has been a regular starter for the last three months. 20-year-old Reece James has made the starting job at right back his own.

While the temptation to sign high-priced replacements for these budding stars will be hard to resist, perhaps Chelsea would be wiser to sign players in other positions and ride the wave of what could turn out to be a golden generation of homegrown products.

PL Preview: Chelsea v. Bournemouth

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  • Bournemouth has 2 wins over Chelsea in 9 matches across all competitions
  • Chelsea has not earned a point from a losing position this PL season
  • Chelsea has 31 goals this PL season, only 11 at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea looks to pick itself up off the turf before the festive fixtures begin as they host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

The Blues have lost three of their last four Premier League matches, dropping them to fourth in the table. The three losses have come via a total margin of four goals, with the Blues showing an inability to fight back from deficits. Chelsea conceded a goal to Everton five minutes in, ultimately losing 2-1, while they were 2-1 down to Manchester City before halftime but couldn’t find an equalizer and fell behind against West Ham soon after the second half restart. The Blues are one of only two Premier League teams to have not registered a single point from a losing position this season, the other being Norwich City.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, is mired in an even worse stretch, having lost its last five in a row. The Cherries have conceded at least two goals in four of those five matches, with the defense completely gutted with injuries. Bournemouth saw a whopping eight players ruled out for Saturday’s match, including young defender Nathan Ake who has played every minute so far this league season until succumbing to a thigh injury 35 minutes into the defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

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Fellow center-back Steve Cook was also recently lost to a long-term injury, while Callum Wilson will also miss his first match thanks to a thigh problem of his own also suffered in the Liverpool loss.

Injuries/suspensions:

Chelsea – OUT: Fikayo Tomori (hip), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles).

Bournemouth – OUT: Nathan Ake (thigh), Callum Wilson (thigh), Lloyd Kelly (thigh), David Brooks (ankle), Adam Smith (ankle), Steve Cook (hand), Junior Stanislas (knee), Charlie Daniels (knee). QUESTIONABLE – Joshua King (thigh).


Projected Lineups

Chelsea – Kepa; Emerson, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Kante, Mount, Pulisic, Willian; Abraham.

Bournemouth – Ramsdale; Rico, Simpson, Mepham, Francis; Lerma, Billing, Gosling, Fraser, Wilson; Solanke.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Lampard on tough recent results: “If you don’t perform at the levels, you don’t do the basics that you have been doing all season, then any team in the Premier League can beat you. Bournemouth are having a tough time but there’s no doubt that they have talent and ability in their squad to beat us if we are not at it.”

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks ]

Bournemouth winger Harry Wilson on Chelsea boss Lampard: “I owe Frank Lampard a lot. He was fantastic for me last season [at Derby County], probably the most important one in my career so far, the one where I played regular football. To play under a legend like him, he taught me a lot. I’m in regular contact with him and it’s great to see him doing so well at Chelsea now.”


Prediction

Chelsea has struggled of late, but their strength – attacking play – matches up well against Bournemouth’s big weakness at the moment. With Ake among the drove of injured Cherries, there will be no stopping the Blues who will put a bushel of goals past Aaron Ramsdale. A 4-1 victory will return faith in the Frank Lampard youth movement.

Chelsea signs Tomori to new 5-year deal

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Chelsea center back Fikayo Tomori has a new five-year contract with the club.

The 21-year-old has a goal and an assist in 16 matches across all competitions, though he’s spent the past two Premier League outings on the bench.

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Tomori joined Chelsea at age 7. He made his Premier League debut 11 years later in the 2016 season finale versus Leicester City.

The Canadian-born back averages 2.3 tackles per game, with 1.7 interceptions, and 2.6 clearances in Premier League action this season.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“The club has been so good to me, looking after and developing me during that time into the player and the person I am today. It’s a dream come true to sign a new five-year contract. I’m really happy the club have shown this faith in me and I’m just excited to carry on.”

Tomori is a full England international after loan stints with Brighton and Hove Albion, Hull City, and Derby County. The latter stop found him under Frank Lampard, and certainly didn’t hurt his opportunity to shine when both arrived at Chelsea this season.

Chelsea has four strong, young center backs in Tomori, Kurt Zouma (25), Andreas Christensen (23), and Antonio Rudiger (26). Christensen and Rudiger are signed through the 2021/22 season, while Zouma’s deal goes one season longer than the duo.

Chelsea transfer ban reduced after appeal

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Chelsea will be able to sign new players in January after their transfer ban from FIFA was reduced to one transfer window after their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.

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The Blues had previously been banned for two transfer windows, summer 2019 and winter 2020, for 150 rule breaches involving 69 academy players over a period of several years, but they will now be able to sign new players from Jan. 1 when the next transfer window opens.

Despite having the ban reduced, Chelsea are far from happy with world soccer’s governing body as they released a scathing statement slamming FIFA’s handling of the situation.

“The approach taken by FIFA to this case has been deeply unsatisfactory, not least as FIFA chose to treat Chelsea entirely differently to Manchester City for reasons that make absolutely no sense to Chelsea. We respect the importance of the work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation. However, if FIFA continues to impose inconsistent and unequal sanctions on clubs then it will not only undermine the very purpose of the regulations, but it will also bring into doubt the game’s confidence in FIFA being able to appropriately regulate this important area.”

They went on to add a bit more detail about why they were so angry at being banned from signing new players for one window.

“FIFA accused Chelsea of having breached Article 19 of the FIFA regulations in relation to 27 players, covering the period from 2009 onwards. Of those, 16 players were registered by Chelsea in exactly the same way as other Premier League clubs registered players at the time. Furthermore, Chelsea sought clarification from the Premier League in 2009 about whether it needed to apply for permission to register players in this category. The FA subsequently liaised with FIFA and it was confirmed to Chelsea that players in this category were entitled to register and that no special application was required (and in fact no special application process existed). Accordingly, the fact that FIFA brought charges against Chelsea for this category of player was perverse. We are grateful that this appears to have been corrected by the CAS.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was obviously delighted with the outcome, as he can now reinforce his young squad and has plenty of cash in the bank after a no-spend summer (the deal for Christian Pulisic was sealed last January and Mateo Kovacic arrived permanently after his loan move saw a clause triggered which made it a permanent move).

“It’s a positive outcome for us,” Lampard said. “It allows us the potential to look at the market going forward. So I’m pleased from a footballing level. It was never my business to get involved in the reasons why or the legal side of it.”

Which areas should Chelsea strengthen in now they can buy again? And which players will be their top targets?

It is clear that left back is an area where Lampard will want to add a new starter as both Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmeri are fine as back ups neither have made the position their own this season. Up top is another key location where Lampard will look to strengthen as Olivier Giroud seems to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge and that would leave just Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as the options at center forward.

Elsewhere, Chelsea look pretty set, although a new center back could be handy but isn’t necessary given the fact that Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have both been superb for most of this season and Andreas Christensen is also around with Cesar Azpilicueta also able to slot in at center back with Reece James developing well at right back.

After 12 months without spending and having transfer fees from the sale of Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Tomas Kalas and many other fringe players which brought in an incredible $180 million, Lampard will have money to spend.

Chelsea have been linked with moves for Jadon Sancho, Wilfried Zaha, Nathan Ake and Ben Chilwell, among many others, as plenty of star players will fancy a move to Stamford Bridge given Lampard’s promising start to life as their manager.

The big question now is: Given Chelsea’s great start to the season as they sit in the top four with their young team progressing together as a group, do they risk bringing in new additions to potential upset the team spirit? Is it better to wait until the summer when the likes of Pedro and Giroud, and maybe Willian, could all leave Stamford Bridge?