Monday, 28 October 2013

VIDEO: Eden Hazard Leaves Pablo Zabaleta On The Floor

Eden Hazard is one of the most skillful footballers in the world and arguably the best dribbler in the Premier League. Since he came under the spotlight, he has embarrassed a good number of defenders. Thomas Vermaelen, Rafael da Silva are just two of the players I can remember.

Pablo Zabaleta is generally believed to be the best Right full back in the league. He's a brutal defender, his dogged play meant most football fans expected a battle between he and Eden Hazard when Chelsea welcomed Manchester City. Many would have believed Zabaleta will come out on top. Eden Hazard owned Zabaleta, made him pick up a yellow card, almost got a penalty kick decision against him and left him on the floor amazingly.

Zabaleta was forced to do the splits, Eden Hazard has added him to his ever growing list of humiliated defenders. Hazard is on a mission, what he has done to Zabaleta will make defenders even more scared of him.

Match Preview: Arsenal Vs Chelsea- Blues To Silence Gunners?


WHAT: Fourth Round, Capital One Cup

WHERE: Emirates stadium, North London

WHEN: Tuesday, October 29, 2013. 19:45 UK Time.


Roughly 48 hours after beating Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will travel to North London to take on a very good and in-form Arsenal team in the Capital One cup. The kind of fixture Didier Drogba loved deciding the result during his time at Chelsea.

The victory over Manchester City made it FIVE consecutive wins in all competitions for Jose Mourinho's Chelsea army. Three of the five wins were away from home (Norwich, Steaua, Schalke). That's impressive record on the road.

Arsenal on the other hand defeated Crystal Palace at home 2-0 after losing 1-2 to a strong Dortmund side. In all competitions, Arsenal have lost only twice at home this season ( Aston Villa, Borrusia Dortmund) but they have not lost away from home. Chelsea have lost an away match only once this season ( Everton ) and once at home too ( Basel ). 

It's more than a game, It's a derby, the two biggest teams in London will battle for bragging rights. There's also prospect of winning the cup to build momentum and create good atmosphere within the squad while the season is still on.


Playing Manchester City and Arsenal in two days means Chelsea have to rotate the team.

"We are going to give the game that the people who put the game on Tuesday want. If they want a big game, we cannot give a big game. If they want the players that were playing today, we cannot give them that."
                                                                                 - Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho also took a swipe at the governing body and at Arsenal. Mind games? The scheduling is bad really and Mourinho hinted at conspiracy.

"If they want Arsenal to win a trophy, that's a help, because if they want a big game between two big teams in London they should put the game on Wednesday and not on Tuesday. I'm not going to give them that. They played at 12:30 yesterday, so two and a half days to rest and prepare. So yes, I hope they all enjoy it. We are going to try and do our job, and we will do our job the best we can."
                                                                                          - Jose Mourinho

These players started against Manchester City. Willian, John Obi Mikel and Samuel Eto'o came off the bench.

                                                  submit football lineup

Chelsea's best player in the last two years, Juan Mata sat out the last two games, he didn't even come off the bench. This time around, the fans didn't get much upset but might lose their patience if he doesn't start this time. 


                         submit football lineup

Only Ramires and Gary Cahill started against Manchester City of the players I selected. Willian, Samuel Eto'o and John Obi Mikel came on in the second-half against City.

Jose Mourinho talked about Ramires's energy before. Ramires is the kind of player that can run around the pitch for 120 minutes at one stretch. Few hours of rest will be more than enough for him to get out there again in a game Chelsea might need his bravery. 

Almost every player in my eleven will be looking to prove something to the manager. I feel Michael Essien deserves to play too. Demba Ba? NO!

BENCH: Hilario, Kenneth Omeruo, Michael Essien, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Fernando Torres.

Arsenal have performed above everyone's expectation this season. The North London side are currently top of the Premier League, two points ahead of second placed Chelsea.

They have done well, they have won games but they have not been invincible or unbeatable. Arsenal lost their opening match of the season against Aston Villa before starting a winning streak that ended against West Bromwich (1-1).

Arsenal play in a similar shape to Chelsea, (4-2-3-1). The arrival of Mesut Ozil has given the gunners more belief and energy. Aaron Ramsey has been in great form, scoring and creating goals. But Arsenal will lack a real presence in midfield, Flamini is injured and Mikel Arteta is suspended after getting sent off against Palace. 

                              submit football lineup
"I will rotate against Chelsea, but play with a team that has a good chance to qualify,"
                                                                            - Arsene Wenger
As Mourinho stylishly pointed out, Arsenal haven't won a trophy for some time. That's why I believe Arsene Wenger will play his best team. Mourinho also pointed out that they have had time to rest. 

submit football lineup

In the end, the midfield might be key for Chelsea. Mesut Ozil is Arsenal's best player, Santi Cazorla as we all know is a brilliant player but winning the midfield war will ensure that Arsenal's most dangerous players have less time on the ball. 


Arsenal can't count themselves lucky to be facing Chelsea and Juan Mata at this time. Juan Mata is an exceptional player but Arsenal are about to try and stop an "angry and hungry" Juan Mata. 

Juan Mata didn't play a minute against any of Schalke and Manchester City. The implication is that the manager doesn't think he's a player for the big games. That will surely annoy the little Spanish wizard.

He has spent just over two seasons at Chelsea but Arsenal fans are already familiar with his name. Mata scored in his first game against Arsenal for Chelsea, a good goal too even though the blues went on to lose that game. He scored against Arsenal last season in both fixtures, a free kick and one poacher's effort. Three goals and one assist against Arsenal in four games. Juan Mata doesn't seem to like Arsenal much.

All these convinced me Juan Mata will be Chelsea's key player against Arsenal. Arsenal are big opposition too and if Juan Mata leads Chelsea to victory over them, it will become harder for Jose Mourinho to keep overlooking him for the top games.

PREDICTION: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea

With the way Arsenal have played this season, this prediction looks too bold and maybe out of reach. But then, that's why its a prediction.

Arsenal have not failed to score in any game this season. I don't even know why I think Chelsea will keep a clean sheet. I also see the two goals coming after the standard 90 minutes. Why do I picture a player seeing red? I hope it's an Arsenal player. 

The thing with derbies is, form doesn't make much difference. Chelsea just need to go out there with that "Mourinho" spirit "We cannot lose".


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Match Preview: Chelsea Vs Manchester City

WHEN: Sunday, October 27, 2013. 16:00 UK time

WHERE: Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea have won four consecutive games in all competitions, with two back to back wins in the Barclays Premier League. The team has found the back of the net 14 times and conceded just twice in their last four games too. 

It's a good moment to face Manchester City after getting good results in recent times. Jose Mourinho's home record looks to be under threat as Chelsea welcome the City boys to the Bridge where Jose Mourinho has never lost a game in the Premier League (50W, 14D). 


Jose Mourinho announced that with the exception of Marco van Ginkel, no other injury concern. Ashley Cole is fit and is expected to make a return to the starting eleven despite his uninspiring performances in recent times.


As far as football is concerned, there are not many difficult jobs than predicting Jose Mourinho's selections and his tactics. He's brilliant and he's unpredictable. If I don't get it right, let's just pretend I never tried thinking like "The Special One".

                              submit football lineup

David Luiz was brought on in place of Oscar towards the end of the last game against Schalke. He wasn't asked to join John Terry and Gary Cahill in the heart of the defence, he was told to play in the midfield. It was a move by Mourinho to fortify the midfield and snuff out whatever threat Schalke could manage, Eden Hazard scored after David's introduction and Luiz himself came close to scoring.

With players like Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure in the City setup, Jose Mourinho surely knows that it's not smart to play the slower players in midfield. That's exactly why I believe his introduction of Luiz into the midfield in the last game means a lot more.

                                submit football lineup 

If he thinks playing Luiz in midfield is a step too far, there is John Obi Mikel who is the more established defensive midfielder. But the fastest midfield Chelsea have at the moment is the trio of Luiz, Ramires and Oscar, with due respect to Super Frank Lampard who has done well but he's 35.

The attacking trio, we are almost 100% sure Eden Hazard and Oscar will start but the slot left will be filled by one of Willian, Andre Schurrle and Juan Mata. I believe he will go with pure width and pick one of Andre Schurrle and Willian especially in a game the players will need to do lot of pressing. Magical Juan Mata? I think not.

Fernando Torres scored twice in one game, Samuel Eto'o once, that's a relatively easy decision. Oh! There's a certain Senegalese in the squad, Demba Ba? Bench? I don't think so. 

PEEP INTO THE ENEMY'S CAMP                


Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany is out of this fixture with an injury. Javi Garcia is likely to be his replacement as a makeshift defender. That's good news for Fernando Torres. 

submit football lineup
Oscar is a very hardworking player and he's well capable of taking Fernandinho out of the game. But Manchester City's midfield general is Yaya Toure, a combination of Ramires and David Luiz might still struggle against the brutal Yaya. David Silva is also likely to spend sometime in the midfield while Sergio Aguero drops deep too. If Chelsea don't play fast players in the midfield City will have a nice time passing the ball around and that can mean defeat for Mourinho and his army.

Sergio Aguero in particular has been scoring for fun, his partnership with Negredo has performed well so far. Both of them started their derby win over Manchester United. Sergio Aguero!!! Another reason, Luiz must start in midfield. 

Defending against set pieces hasn't been the strongest point of this City team. Chelsea might need at least one of Juan Mata and Frank Lampard in this department. Joe Hart too has been error prone and he has come under scrutiny even in the national setup, Samuel Eto'o maybe?


Eden Hazard wasn't playing up to the high standards most set for him after the loss against Bayern Munich. He then picked up an injury and to no one's surprise he has hit the ground running after that injury, scoring four times in his last three appearances( two starts) for Chelsea also grabbing an assist. 

Hazard's pace and ability to lead every counter attack can cause City problems on Sunday. The Belgian is brilliant especially with the ball and its hard to take the ball off him without fouling him. 

If Chelsea win or lose, Eden Hazard will be a major deciding factor. 


Jose Mourinho despite just starting his second stint at the club has already showed everyone he still has his magical powers. We saw him do it against Norwich City and Cardiff City, turned the two games around with his substitutions and tactical changes. 

If Chelsea can manage to somehow be in the lead or keep the game level at half-time then a win will look likely. Manchester City have been poor away from home this season too. 

What I see is a 2-1 victory for the boys in blue from West London.