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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.

Chelsea offers stadium hotel to medical staff; Zlatan launches fundraising page

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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England’s National Health Service has accepted Chelsea’s offer to use the Millenium Hotel at Stamford Bridge free of charge to its personnel.

Many workers at the hospitals around Southwest London travel a great distance to work and Chelsea made the offer in order to keep fresh those taxed by the demands of coronavirus treatment.

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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.

From ChelseaFC.com:

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.

EDIT: Manchester United hero Gary Neville has since announced that his hotel is doing the same for the NHS.

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.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Report: Chelsea up for sale at $2.5 billion

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According to a report from the Sunday Times, Chelsea are up for sale.

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With billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich currently unable to get a work visa for the UK as Anglo-Russian relations soured over the summer due to the ongoing political situation, it is believed he is keen to sell up after owning Chelsea for 15 years.

Per the report, bank Raine Group are said to be looking at offers for the Blues.

Abramovich paid $180 million for Chelsea back in 2003 and it is estimated he has spent over $1.4 billion with Chelsea winning 15 trophies under his stewardship. The Sunday Times also say that Silver Lake Partners, an American private equity firm, have had a bid rejected for minority ownership in Chelsea.

A contrasting report from the Guardian claims that Chelsea aren’t for sale but there is no surprise about any noises that Abramovich wants out.

Many suggest he feels extremely hard done by to have been wrapped up in the political situation between the UK and Russia and feels he is being unfairly punished despite pouring billions of dollars into the UK economy.

It was reported that Sir Jim Ratcliffe failed with a $2.5 billion bid for Chelsea back in June as Abramovich’s plans to totally redevelop Stamford Bridge were put on hold amid his visa issues

With news earlier this week that Liverpool turned down a bid of over $2.5 billion from the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, it is clear that Premier League clubs, especially those around the top four, remain a hot commodity.

Abramovich won’t struggle to find a buyer and $2.5 billion seems a decent price considering Manchester United’s most recent valuation is around $4.3 billion.

However, Chelsea may struggle to find an owner as dedicated to success over time as Abramovich has been. And that’s the worrying thing for Blues fans amid these contrasting reports.

Report: Abramovich turns down $2.6 billion bid for Chelsea

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Roman Abramovich isn’t willing to sell Chelsea despite his recent visa issues in the United Kingdom.

The Daily Mail recently reported that UK businessman Jim Ratcliffe had placed a $2.6 billion bid for the Stamford Bridge club, however, Abramovich turned down the bid.

Abramovich has been the owner of Chelsea since 2003, and with a large infusion of money has helped the Premier League side become a regular power in English and European football over the years.

The Russian’s issues pertaining to his visa recently made Abramovich decide to cancel his club’s stadium renovations at Stamford Bridge, which had been planned for some time.

Significant political tension between the UK and Russia is believed to be the cause of Abramovich’s visa issues.

Chelsea announce stadium plans on hold

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Chelsea have announced their $1.3 billion plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge are on hold due to “the current unfavourable investment climate.” 

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The west London club have ambitions to totally demolish their home stadium and rebuild a 60,000 capacity venue on the same site, and this announcement comes at a strange time after Hammersmith & Fulham borough council only approved the plans last year.

There are reports that due to Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich recently being turned down for a new UK visa (and instead applying for Israeli citizenship) there could be tougher financial times coming up for the five-time Premier League champions.

In a statement on Chelsea’s website, the club confirmed the reason behind the decision to cancel their plans.

“Chelsea Football Club announces today that it has put its new stadium project on hold. No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur. The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision. The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate.”

Intriguing times ahead for the Blues not only on the pitch, as Antonio Conte edges nearer to the exit door and rumors regarding Maurizio Sarri coming in as their new manager persist.

First things first, Chelsea’s fans will want to hear more from Abramovich and his future plans for the club after his issues with acquiring a new UK visa are reportedly linked to the diplomatic situation regarding the UK and Russia.