We head to the blue side of Liverpool for this post.
(Almost) All The Way Up: The Toffees are one of six teams to have not been relegated in the Premier League era, and the club feels like its brimming with potential at the beginning of so many seasons. The fits and starts of late have only served to fuel hope for a return to glory; Remember: Everton won the league twice in the 1980s and claimed a Cup Winners’ Cup, too, when they outlasted Dublin, Internacional Bratislava, Fortuna Sittard, Bayern Munich, and finally Rapid Vienna to lift the silverware in 1985 at Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam. With a young local brood — Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate — coming into its own alongside Richarlison and Lucas Digne, can the Toffees ride back into Europe?
Commitment to Community: This club puts a special stamp on being a part of its community through Everton in the Community. We especially love “The Goodison Sleepout,” where the Toffees’ U-23s join members of the communities in spending the night at stadium to raise money for young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It’s an incredible organization and an inspiration for community-based clubs around the world.
The Merseyside Derby: No club feels right without its top villain, and Liverpool and Everton wage at least two intense battles a year between Anfield and Goodison Park. This part of the post feels a little goofy at the moment given the Reds dominance over the derby — The Reds have 11 wins and 10 draws since Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta keyed a 2010 win at Goodison — but make no mistake about the atmosphere between these two. The potential is there for it to stand alone as the most important derby on a league calendar.
Tim Howard: Yeah, this fellas hasn’t been with the Toffees for some time, but he left Goodison with the third-most appearances in club history. Leighton Baines has since past Howard’s 413 appearances but the American goalkeeper is safely in the Toffees’ top four unless Phil Jagielka transfers back (Seamus Coleman is 103 behind). Howard was so, so good.
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.
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: 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.
With Liverpool so close to its first Premier League title, uneven giants battling for European places, and three clubs tied for 18th place on the table, well, we needed somewhere to turn.
We went with FIFA20 to see how the table will play out, who will claim the FA Cup, and which Premier League sides might thrive in the Champions League and Europa League.
Let’s follow the path, starting with two postponed matches.
Postponed matches: City pulls back within 22 points of Liverpool, as Mikel Arteta doesn’t come close to outfoxing his old boss Pep Guardiola. Meanwhile, Mbwana Samatta strikes late to steal a point for Villa and pull them within a point of West Ham, Watford, and Bournemouth.
Man City 4-1 Arsenal Villa 1-1 Sheffield United
Matchday 30: A historic kind of day, as Man City is the only host to win a match. Spurs’ Jose Mourinho gets a draw versus Man Utd, while Liverpool crushes Everton behind a Sadio Mane hat trick.
Norwich City 0-0 Saints West Ham 0-1 Wolves Bournemouth 2-2 Palace Brighton 1-2 Arsenal Everton 1-3 Liverpool Spurs 1-1 Man Utd Villa 0-2 Chelsea Watford 1-2 Leicester City Newcastle 1-1 Sheffield United Man City 2-0 Burnley
Matchday 31: Arsenal moves four points clear of Spurs, who fall to an inspired West Ham. The Irons pull out of the drop zone… for good.
Newcastle 2-0 Villa Burnley 0-0 Watford Wolves 2-1 Bournemouth Liverpool 2-0 Palace Leicester City 3-0 Brighton Norwich City 1-1 Everton Spurs 0-2 West Ham Southampton 1-3 Arsenal Man Utd 3-0 Sheff Utd Chelsea 2-4 Man City
Matchday 32: Liverpool wins the league in stunning style. A draw is all the Reds need to take the trophy. Raheem Sterling gives City a 1-0 lead in the first half, only to see a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick supply the league-winning point.
Nigel Pearson‘s Hornets move out of the drop zone with 31 points.
West Ham 1-2 Chelsea Arsenal 4-1 Norwich Everton 1-0 Leicester City Palace 2-0 Burnley Brighton 1-5 Man Utd Bournemouth 0-3 Newcastle Watford 2-1 Saints Man City 1-1 Liverpool Sheffield United 1-2 Spurs Villa 0-4 Wolves
Matchday 33: Norwich City gets within a win of Brighton by beating them at home behind an Emi Buendia penalty. Arsenal draws Wolves to pull within three points of the top five.
Burnley 2-1 Sheff Utd Leicester City 2-2 Palace Saints 1-5 Man City Spurs 0-3 Everton Wolves 1-1 Arsenal Liverpool 4-0 Villa Norwich 2-1 Brighton Newcastle 2-2 West Ham Man Utd 0-0 Bournemouth Chelsea 4-0 Watford
Matchday 34: It’s getting congested in the top four, with third-place Leicester winless in four following a loss at Arsenal. Palace draws Chelsea, allowing victorious Wolves and Manchester United to pull within two points of fourth.
Norwich City wins again, passing Aston Villa and joining 18th-place Brighton on 29 points.
Sheffield United 0-2 Wolves Watford 1-2 Norwich City West Ham 4-1 Burnley Bournemouth 2-0 Spurs Everton 2-2 Saints Man City 3-1 Newcastle Palace 0-0 Chelsea Arsenal 1-0 Leicester City Brighton 0-2 Liverpool Villa 0-2 Man Utd
Matchday 35: Sheffield United snaps a four-match losing streak with a draw against Chelsea, but the top seven hopes are dead.
Burnley takes a point at Anfield as City moves back within 20 of the Reds.
Brighton 1-4 Man City Norwich City 1-2 West Ham Villa 1-1 Palace Watford 2-3 Newcastle Wolves 2-1 Everton Spurs 0-2 Arsenal Sheffield United 1-1 Chelsea Bournemouth 1-2 Leicester City Man Utd 2-1 Southampton Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
Matchday 36: Villa surprises Everton to move within a result of safety in a five-horse race to avoid the drop. Chelsea, Manchester United, and Wolves all win to hit the 62-point mark, two back of third-place Leicester City.
Leicester City 0-0 Sheffield United Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Everton 1-2 Villa Man City 3-0 Bournemouth Newcastle 0-4 Spurs Burnley 0-2 Wolves Chelsea 3-0 Norwich City West Ham 2-0 Watford Palace 0-2 Man Utd Saints 1-1 Brighton
Matchday 37: All of the top five combatants stumble except Wolves, who jump into third with a win over Crystal Palace at the Molineux.
Spurs 2-0 Leicester City Wolves 2-0 Palace Brighton 0-4 Newcastle Bournemouth 0-3 Southampton Villa 0-3 Arsenal Sheffield United 0-3 Everton Norwich City 0-2 Burnley Man Utd 1-1 West Ham Watford 1-3 Man City Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea
Matchday 38: Talk about a dramatic final day, all things considered!
Manchester United gets a leaping Bruno Fernandes penalty to send Leicester City tumbling into sixth despite most of the season in the top three! The Red Devils climb into third because of what happens at Stamford Bridge.
Hosts Chelsea need a win over Wolves to take back fourth, as the visitors enter the day three points ahead with a one-goal advantage in differential. Christian Pulisic sets up a Willian winner to give Chelsea fourth by virtue of total wins (19).
Liverpool takes the league with a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle at St. James’ Park, completing the season with a 20-point advantage on Man City. Arsenal completes the European picture, havng been settled in seventh for some time.
The relegation scene is pretty nuts, with five teams finishing the day within three points of the bottom. All five lose, with Bournemouth and Watford staying up despite season-ending losing streaks. Nigel Pearson’s Hornets finish the season with 31 points, the same total they had after Matchday 32.
Arsenal 3-0 Watford Burnley 2-1 Brighton Chelsea 1-0 Wolves Palace 2-1 Spurs Everton 3-0 Bournemouth Leicester City 0-1 Man Utd Man City 1-0 Norwich City Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool Saints 3-1 Sheffield United West Ham 3-1 Villa
Europa League: Manchester United gave Roma permission to use loanee Chris Smalling, and the defender powers a 13th-minute header home that stands until Anthony Martial delivers a goal three minutes from time. David De Gea is the star in penalty kicks, as United wins 4-3.
UEFA Champions League: Pep Guardiola leads Man City into its final UCL game for two seasons, and it’s against his old pals Barcelona. Quique Setien’s side flusters City’s attack, and Lionel Messi wins it at the hour mark for the Blaugranas.
Any workers or people presenting symptoms will not be allowed to stay in the hotel, and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will cover all costs over a two-month period. After that period, the demand will be re-assessed.
The initiative came from club owner Roman Abramovich and, after contact with the NHS was made by Chairman Bruce Buck, it was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff. Mr Abramovich will be covering the costs of providing the accommodation.
Meanwhile, AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has set up a fund to help the fight against COVID-19.
Ibrahimovic says it’s not about “just a video” and that funds will be “directly donated to Humanitas to help strengthen Intensive Care and First Aid at the hospitals of Rozzano / Milan, Bergamo, Castellanza (VA) and Turin.”
Italy has been hit hard by the virus. Ibrahimovic has played 304 of his 751 career club games for Serie A clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus.
Of course, the video concludes with a sly bit of classic Zlatan, “And remember: If the virus don’t go to Zlatan, Zlatan goes to the virus.”
As of post time, the page has raised $165,000 of its $1.16 million goal. The page is here.
In this dramatic moment for Italy, we created a fundraiser for Humanitas hospitals.I count on the generosity of my colleagues and of those who want to make even a small donation. Let’s together kick the CoronaVirus away and win this match! https://t.co/6o2cvUwEK6pic.twitter.com/xhwECFFNTA
CONCACAF has suspended play for a month, while UEFA postponed all fixtures next week ahead of a meeting to discuss plans for both club and international European competitions including the Champions League and Europa League.
19-year-old Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi joined Mikel Arteta as the first two known Premier League figures to test positive for coronavirus, the west London club announced on Thursday, just hours after the north London side confirmed their manager had also contracted the virus.
Chelsea men’s team player Callum Hudson-Odoi had a positive test result for Coronavirus returned this evening. Chelsea personnel who had recent close contact with the player in the men’s team building will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. These will include initially the full men’s team squad, coaching staff and a number of backroom staff.
It is expected that those who did not have close contact with Callum will return to work in the coming days. In the meantime, the men’s team building, one of several separate buildings at our training ground, will remain closed. The rest of our training facility, Stamford Bridge and our other facilities are operating as normal.
Callum displayed symptoms similar to a mild cold on Monday morning and has not been at the training ground since then as a precaution. However, his test came in positive this evening and he will undergo a period of self-isolation. Despite testing positive for the virus, Callum is doing well and looking forward to returning to the training ground as soon as it is possible.