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Chelsea

Kepa and Jorginho to start – Strongest 4-3-3 Chelsea XI to face Huddersfield Town

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Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea predicted XI vs Huddersfield Town: Who will start for the Blues?

Premier League giants Chelsea will kick off their campaign against minnows Huddersfield Town on Saturday. With the Blues under the guidance of a new coach, the London-based club must win all three points against a team that finished 16th last season.

Maurizio Sarri and his boys will travel to Yorkshire with the intention of starting the road to the Premier League title on the right note. Following three successful years with Napoli, Sarri must strive to cement his legacy at Stamford Bridge.

Now, let’s take a look at Chelsea’s predicted line-up against Huddersfield Town for the Blues’ season opener at Kirklees Stadium on Saturday.

Predicted Chelsea XI

Formation: 4-3-3

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK)

With the world’s most expensive stopper protecting the Chelsea net, the youngster will be faced with a lot of pressure. The Spaniard has replaced Thibaut Courtois and it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Marcos Alonso (LB)

Marcos Alonso has played a major role as a left-back since his move to Chelsea in 2016. Having played over 60 matches for Chelsea in previous two seasons, he is expected to retain the position this year as well. His ability to score goals (13 goals in two seasons), makes him a dangerous left-back to watch out for.

Antonio Rudiger (CB)

The Germany centre-back was an essential one in Conte’s line-up last season. Rudiger is known for his accurate passes on the green lush, which could be instrumental in setting up counter-attacks for the Blues.

David Luiz (CB)

The experienced Brazilian is known for his work-rate and technique. Despite having played just 10 games for the Blues last season, he is sure to take his place as a centre-back in their first encounter.

David Luiz

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB)

The spine of the Chelsea defence, Cesar Azpilicueta has been instrumental in guiding the team over the years. Having played over 280 matches for Chelsea in all competitions, his experience will be an added advantage. A good tackler of the ball, he is sure to be a nightmare for the opposition strikers.

Ross Barkley (CAM)

Ross Barkley hardly got to play under Conte since his move to Chelsea in January. But with Sarri in charge now, the England international must receive more game time.

Jorginho (DM)       

Having played under Sarri at Napoli, Jorginho should start in the season opener against Huddersfield Town. It will be interesting to see how Jorginho will adapt to English football.

N’Golo Kante (DM)

Fresh from winning the FIFA World Cup in Russia, Kante must replicate the same success for Chelsea this season. A box-to-box midfielder, Kante should build a strong midfield partnership along with Jorginho and Barkley.

Eden Hazard (LW)           

Hazard has already proven to be one of the best forwards in Chelsea’s history and he must aim to win his third Premier League title with the Blues.

Eden Hazard

Alvaro Morata (CF)

The centre-forward will have to play a major role on Saturday if the Blues want to start the season with a win. A magician on the football pitch, Morata has to deliver against Huddersfield. Having scored 11 Premier League goals last season, the forward is expected to come up with more this time around.

Read More: Becker and Fabinho to start – Strongest 4-3-3 Liverpool XI to face West Ham United

Pedro (LW)

The left-winger had a rather silent 2017/18 season but is expected to deliver this time around. His exploits on the pitch were well-registered during his time with Spanish giants Barcelona. He is sure to play a crucial role in assisting Morata in the game against Huddersfield.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa signing this teenager on loan from London giants would help them find a solid utility player

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Aston Villa Opinion: Lions should look at Ethan Ampadu as a versatile and utility squad player

According to The Guardian, Aston Villa are exploring the possibility of signing Chelsea starlet Ethan Ampadu in a season-long loan deal this summer, with reports claiming that several other clubs are also keen to secure the Welshman’s services.

With Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus looking inevitable, Ampadu is yet to find out what plans Chelsea have in store for him next season. The 18-year-old has a contract at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2023 but he might want to move out on loan this summer in order to gain more first-team experience elsewhere, having played more games for Wales than Chelsea over the course of the last 12 months.

The Guardian understands that Villa were keen to take Ampadu on loan in the Championship last summer but Sarri wanted to keep the promising youngster at Stamford Bridge as a part of Chelsea’s first-team scheme of things. However, despite adopting such a stance, the manager only handed him three starts- 2 in the FA Cup and one in the Europa League.

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However, with a managerial change at Stamford Bridge on the cards and Ampadu still very much in the developmental phase of his career, a loan move elsewhere might as well materialize for the highly-rated youngster this summer. He is by no means a finished article but a move to Villa could work wonders for his development, given the presence of Chelsea legend John Terry in the coaching ranks and more first-team opportunities on offer.

A versatile defensive asset, Ampadu is capable of playing both central midfield and centre-back roles for his team. The 18-year-old Welshman has shown a level of maturity that defies his tender years, both in terms of calmness and composure in possession and technical abilities on the ball. The Exeter-born starlet boasts of a wonderful range of passing, which allows him to control the game from a deep position in the midfield and switch the play to set up attacks from the back.

To put things into perspective, Aston Villa have already made the headlines with deals for Wesley Moraes, Kortney Hause and Jota but they need to add more players to their ranks before the Premier League season gets underway.  

It is true that they should prioritise signing players with top-level experience but bringing in a promising youngster like Ethan Ampadu won’t do them much harm, and given his versatility to operate in both central midfield and central defence, the Lions might as well look at him as someone who could possibly add a little bit more cover in multiple areas of the pitch.

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Villa are short of options in central defence following the return of Axel Tuanzebe to Man United and the release of Tommy Elphick. A permanent deal for Bournemouth loanee Tyrone Mings is yet to be finalized, and while James Chester remains an experienced option at the back, Ampadu’s presence would offer Dean Smith with more flexibility.

On the other hand, Villa can also expect Ampadu to compete with the likes of John McGinn and Conor Hourihane for a spot in central midfield, given that the Lions have already released Mile Jedinak and Glen Whelan.

Realistically speaking, Ampadu is unlikely to play regularly at Chelsea next season, despite the Blues currently facing a two-window transfer ban. Even if a loan move to Villa Park does materialize for the 18-year-old, he is unlikely to play a significant first-team role for the Lions in the Premier League, but the chances of him getting regular minutes at Aston Villa would certainly be a lot more than at Chelsea.

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Ampadu is at a stage in his career where he needs to play regularly in order to continue his development and work on his flaws. Keeping that in mind, a move to Villa Park might just be the breakthrough that he needs to carve out some kind of a reputation for himself.

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Chelsea

West Ham raiding London rivals to sign this 25-year-old striker would take their goalscoring prowess to a new level

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West Ham Opinion: Why the Hammers should go for Michy Batshuayi?

Back in January, the Daily Mail claimed that West Ham were one of the clubs interested in signing Michy Batshuayi on loan from Chelsea. However, the Belgian forward ended up moving to Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season in the eleventh hour of the January transfer window.

Michy Batshuayi, 25, enjoyed a solid loan spell at the Selhurst Park, scoring five goals in 11 games and helping the Eagles to a 12-placed finish. He had a very poor first half of the 2018/19 campaign at Valencia, where he managed just one goal in 15 La Liga outings.

Chelsea are facing a potential two-window transfer ban this summer so it’s understandable they’ll do everything to keep hold of Batshuayi. But the Belgium international has had a tough time settling at Stamford Bridge since his move from Marseille a few years ago and not given regular opportunities.

At the age of 25, the centre-forward will need to find a permanent home where he’ll get regular opportunities to play and develop. Keeping that in mind, West Ham must reignite their interest and attempt to sign Batshuayi from Chelsea this summer.

The Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini has made his third signing of the summer on Friday, with attacker Pablo Fornals arriving at the London stadium for £24m on a five-year contract from Villarreal. Now the Chilean tactician should shift his focus on improving his strike department, having sold Lucas Perez and released Andy Carroll.

That has left West Ham with just two out-and-out strikers in Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez, who is on the radar of Valencia. Goalscoring was a weakness for West Ham last campaign and Pellegrini should fix that issue this summer. And Batshuayi would be a quality signing for the East London outfit.

Strong, powerful and speedy, Batshuayi would add some much-needed spark and pace to West Ham’s attack.

The Belgian has good technical qualities and aerial ability to develop into a quality Premier League forward. He’ll offer Pellegrini’s side pace, power, physicality and a focal point in the attack, whilst potentially forming a dynamic attack with the likes of Arnautovic, Anderson and new recruit, Pablo Fornals.

To Read More West Ham News, Click Here:- Latest West Ham News

Pellegrini can provide him with the platform to develop at West Ham and the ex-Marseille ace could fix the club’s goalscoring woes. He is out of favour at Chelsea and thus a solid offer might be enough to convince them into selling the Belgian forward.

Verdict

Batshuayi already knows the Premier League in and out and if given regular opportunities, he could take West Ham’s attack to a different level next season.

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Chelsea

Forget Sarri – Chelsea’s managerial woes would end if they appoint this 60-year-old genius starring in the Bundesliga

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Chelsea Opinion: Ralf Rangnick could well prove to be the perfect long-term managerial solution for the Blues

According to Football London, Chelsea have added RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick to their shortlist of candidates for the managerial role at Stamford Bridge this summer, with reports claiming that current manager Maurizio Sarri is closing in on a return to his homeland with Serie A champions Juventus.

Despite guiding the Blues to a third-place finish in the Premier League and a Europa League triumph, Sarri looks set to end his association with Chelsea, having only made his move to Stamford Bridge from Napoli last summer. (f/t Football London)

Former club-legend and current Derby County manager Frank Lampard is one of the frontrunners to replace Sarri following the Rams’ run to the finals of the EFL Championship Playoffs but Chelsea are also looking at other experienced options in the market, Football London understands.

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Chelsea’s hunt for a new manager have led to them identifying RB Leipzig boss and Bundesliga managerial tycoon Ralf Rangnick as a potential candidate for the job. According to claims from German news outlet Bild, the 60-year-old is set to quit Leipzig this summer and a move to England for the first time in his managerial career looks likely to materialize.

This is not the first time, though, that Rangnick has been linked with a move for English football. The 60-year-old was lined up as a replacement for Roy Hodgson at Liverpool back in 2011 and he was also courted by Everton as the successor to Roberto Martinez. (h/t Football London)

Maurizio Sarri is keen to put an end to his time at Chelsea for reasons unknown and it is a real pity that the Italian is ready to quit the job at Stamford Bridge after such a promising campaign. In all honesty, the news involving Sarri’s departure comes at the worst possible time for Chelsea, with the transfer ban looming large and the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid necessitating a squad rebuild.

To put things into perspective, Chelsea hardly have any time to lament Sarri’s departure, and with so many grave issues to be sorted out within a relatively short span of time before the start of the upcoming season, an experienced manager with plenty exposure at the highest level is just what the club needs.

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Ralf Rangnick has influenced a generation of managers in Germany and his managerial experience of over three-and-a-half decades, ranging from amateur football to the Champions League should make it a no-brainer for the Blues to snap him up.

The 60-year-old never played professional football at the highest level but his acumen, intelligence and charisma as a manager have led to him being recognised as a highly-revered figure in Europe.

Following the end of an unsuccessful playing career, Rangnick entered into management during the mid-1980’s and spent time at a numbers of non-league clubs before finally earning a role at Stuttgart in 1999. However, he only managed to remain in the hotseat for a couple of seasons at Stuttgart and was sacked following the club’s defeat to Celta Vigo in the UEFA Cup.

Mediocre spells at Schalke and Hannover 96 followed before Rangnick joined Hoffenheim 1899 in the Regionalliga Sud, the fourth tier of German football back in 2006. It was at Hoffenheim that the 60-year-old rose to prominence as a manager, with his achievement of taking the club to the Bundesliga in a space of two seasons following back-to-back promotions considered as a feat of rare charisma and intelligence.

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After a brief stint at his former club Schalke, Rangnick took up the role of Sporting Director at both RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg, although he ended his association with the Austrian outfit to concentrate fully on the role at Leipzig. He once again proved his worth as an incredible and inspirational manager, stepping in at a crisis period in 2015 and immediately guiding the club to Bundesliga promotion.

Interestingly, Maurizio Sarri and Ralf Rangnick are poles apart when it comes to their individual philosophies. While Sarri believes in a more patient possession-based approach in controlling the game, Rangnick is famous for his high-intensity pressing game in the midfield.

As opposed to Sarri, who favours a more lateral passing game with short exchanges, the German likes his players to take the game by the scruff of the neck and destroy the opposition.

Rangnick’s high-intensity pressing approach has earned him comparisons with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. He is a modern-day detail-oriented manager who knows how to inspire his players and get the best out of them by using holistic methods on the training ground.

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Sarri’s imminent departure marks the continuity of Chelsea’s managerial instability and the Blues need to ensure stability at the helm of affairs to build a strong platform for the future.

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Ralf Rangnick is known for his ability to nurture young talents and build a squad in due course of time, meaning that he could prove to be the much-needed long-term managerial solution that has eluded the club for more than a decade.  

Regarded as the catalyst for RB Leipzig’s success, the 60-year-old has been the main mastermind behind the club’s metaphoric rise into one of the superpowers in the Bundesliga, and his arrival at Stamford Bridge might as well mark the beginning of a new era of dominance for the Blues.

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