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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.

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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.

Report: Chelsea eyeing Declan Rice signing next window

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A number of top Premier League clubs are almost certain to line up for Declan Rice‘s services during the next transfer window — whenever that may be, whether this summer or closer to fall — with Chelsea the first known suitors, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Chelsea’s Hudson-Odoi “feeling fine and back to his usual self” ]

According to the report, defensive midfield is high on Frank Lampard‘s list of priorities when the Blues participate in their first transfer window since January 2019. Chelsea were handed a two-window ban which prevented them from making any signings last summer, and though the ban was reduced by half they still signed no one in January.

Rice, a player who Chelsea had in their youth academy from ages 7-14, would likely cost north of $60 million, if not significantly higher. He also remains close friends with Chelsea first-teamer and academy graduate Mason Mount. At just 21 years old, Rice has quickly become West Ham United’s most important, if not also their best, player.

[ MORE: Transfer rumors: Aubameyang to Man United, Skriniar to Man City ]

Playing alongside the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mount, Rice would seem to fit right into Lampard’s team from day one. Not only would he fill out perhaps the thinnest area of the squad, but he would add immense quality to a perennial top-four contender and PL title hopeful.

Borussia Monchengladbach players forego wages to help club staff

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Borussia Monchengladbach’s players are foregoing their wages during the coronavirus suspension in order to help the club’s staff.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl says the players have inspired the clubs’ coaches, directors, and CEOs to join the effort.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“The players know what’s going on,” Eberl said in a Q&A on Gladbach’s site. “It’s their job, they have already informed themselves and thought about what they could do. The team has offered to forgo salary if it can help the club and its employees.

I am very proud of the boys. It’s a clear signal that we stand together for Borussia, in good times and in bad. They want to give something back to the club and therefore also to all the fans who support us. The coaching staff have followed suit, as have our directors and CEOs.

Eberl played for Gladbach from 1999-2005 as part of a 14-year playing career also spent with Greuther Furth, VfL Bochum, and Bayern Munich.

Cheers to Die Fohlen, who are showing their strong season has more than a little off-field character behind it.

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Reaction to extended Premier League suspension

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The news of the extended suspension to the 2019-20 Premier League season until at least April 30 is the big talking point on Thursday as the league season in England has been ‘extended indefinitely’ past June 1.

Following a meeting of Premier League clubs who were assessing the best path forward due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was agreed that the main aim is to finish the current campaigns across English football.

Key figures have been responding to the statement released by the Premier League, Football Association, the English Football League and the women’s professional game in the UK.

Arsenal have said they are “fully supportive of this decision which was endorsed at Thursday morning’s Premier League shareholder meeting. Of course, we all want to be back playing football as soon as we possibly can, but only when it is safe to be doing so.”

Here’s what people are saying about the Premier League suspension and the new dates which could well change in the coming weeks:



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Fiorentina raising money for hospitals; Ribery gives $55K

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Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso says his club has “8-10 positive cases” and that he’s focused on helping Italy’s embattled medical community fight the coronavirus.

The Italian American, 70, bought the Serie A club in June. He also owns the American club New York Cosmos of the National Independent Soccer Association.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Players Dusan Vlahovic, Patrick Cutrone, and German Pezzella previously tested positive for COVID-19.

Commisso is stuck in the United States, but has tried to raise funds to battle back home. He says the club has already brought in around $470,000 including about $55,000 from star Franck Ribery.

From Football-Italia.com:

“We both feel so at home in Florence, as we were given such a warm welcome by the people here,” said Commisso of Ribery and himself. “The situation in America isn’t as serious as in Italy, but I’ve been closed in my home for the last five days with my wife and daughter. (Fiorentina director) Joe Barone and my son Giuseppe are holed up in their hotel.”

La Viola sits 13th in Serie A with 30 points, five points clear of the bottom three and nine back of the final European qualification spot.

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