Season 2 1st half
As all football managers know there is never an end of season break for the hierarchy at the club as it there responsibility to progress the next season, so with no break I am straight back to work looking at what improvements we can make.
3 Key Players sign long term deals
Antonio Rudiger = £155k p/w - 5 years
Davide Zappacosta = £105k p/w - 5 years
N’Golo Kante = £240k p/w - 5 years
Tieing down your best players long term is crucial when your trying to build a successful team and that is exactly what we have done with these contracts. All 3 players are young enough to still be in there prime come the end of there new contracts and all were included in the team of the year this year with Kante named POTY.
Emanuel Vignato (Chievo Verona) = £8.75m - £22.5k p/w
Gonzalo Maroni (Boca Juniors) = £2.5m - £8.5k p/w
Benjamin Rollheiser (River Plate) = £2.9m - £22.5k p/w
Boubacar Kamara (Marseille) = £9.75m - £22.5k p/w
I was very happy with these 4 signings at the modest combined transfer sum of £23.85m. The reason these transfers are so good to me is they all represent my philosophy of bringing in players with high potential rather than being the finished article. At the unveiling of the 4 players the fans were very welcoming of all 4 players which was good as they also are believing in my philosophy. As for all the players we have signed the player I am most excited about was actually 1 of the cheapest in Gonzalo Maroni. The young Argentinan has already shown great promise and technique as far as going forward and finding space goes.
The seasons fixtures were finally released today after an anctouis wait to see when we would be playing who. There were some notable fixtures pulled from the hat, the first being our opening game of the season on the 18th August at home to Brighton. The 24th of November was a date that all Chelsea fans will be looking forward to as we will travel to one of our fiercest rivals, the newly promoted Millwall. Our Boxing Day fixture sees Middlesbrough visit the Bridge before we round off the season with a visit from Southampton.
Pedro off (Newcastle United £40.5m)
Today was a bit of a sad day at the club as we let one of our better players leave not just for the good of our club but also for the good of his career. I knew that after last seasons performances it was time to start playing Batshuayi in the first 11 which would mean dropping either Hazard or Pedro and in the end with age and ability it was never going to go in Pedros favour. At least now Pedro will get another 2-3 years at the top level before finally hanging up his boots. As for the transfer fee of £40m I feel we have done very well out of the deal for a 30 year old player, I do wish him the best of luck at Newcastle United.
Mancini signs for Arsenal
There is some good news for the Arsenal supporters who have become tired of being the out of touch side Arsene Wenger has turned them into. This year after what seems an eternity Wenger finally decided to hang up his notepad and allow someone else take the reins and that person is a proven winner in Roberto Mancini.
Youth players promoted
(GK) Jared Thompson -
Jared has only been brought in as a back up for Courtois as Cabillero has now retired however I don’t really see any bigger role for him. Thompson started over 30 games in the Vanarama South last season keeping an impressive 21 clean sheets but this is a big step up for him.
(ST) Tammy Abraham -
I’m very excited about being able to bring through Tammy as I have always been a keen admirer of his and think there are some big things in his horizon. For years he has been touted as a talent and a prospect but his loan last season to Swansea was his first opportunity to really shine and although it was not a great breakthrough season the good stuff I saw was enough for me. I am looking at playing Abraham in the cups and the less crucial League games acting as Michy Batshuayi’s understudy.
Community shield (Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea)
I decided to treat this game as our first real test of the season so went with a full lineup with no exceptions. This meant we got a good indication as to where our strongest 11 were going into the new season. The match started as a tight affair with both teams more concentrating on feeling each other out. The game changed on the 19th minute when Liverpool’s Divock Origi picked up a potentially bad knee injury forcing a change. It only took us 8 minutes to take full advantage of the forced chances as Alvaro Morata scored his first of the game. We went in at half time with a comfortable 1-0 lead but I never felt we were finished so I sent them out for the second half with strong words in there ears that they were not to let up. Within a minute of the second half restarting we were 2-0 up and well on our way to our 2nd community shield in succession with an eventual 3-1 win.
We had a great day today lifting our first Euro Super Cup under my tenure with a 3-1 victory over Marseille. Another great thing we managed to do today is give Kamara his debut at the ripe old age of 18. The Frenchman had a great game, he was solid and composed on the ball, his passing was accurate and his tackling was spot on. Another player I was able to bring into the team was Tammy Abraham who got to start his first game for me as I rested Batshuayi. With no Morata available for selection it meant Willian was back in the starting line up for the first time in nearly 10 months after recovering from Damaged Cruciate Ligaments. It took 120 minute but by the end of the game we had won by 3 goals to 1 thanks to a magnificent hat trick from Willian.
Finding our feet
We started our season with 2 games. First it was a visit from Brighton who finished last season in an impressive 10th. The game was overshadowed by a potentially serious injury to Baba Rahman who is set to be our no1 LWB this year when he was forced off after just 14 minuets with a Torn Groin Muscle. As far as the result goes the game ended 2-0 in our favour with Batshuayi grabbing his first of the season carrying on from last year. Our second game of the month saw us make a trip to North London to play Arsenal in a battle of 1st vs 2nd from last season. The game met all the expectations on it with chances for both sides but in the end we came through with a 2-1 win with Batshuayi again scoring a critical goal. So as far as finding our feet goes it’s 2 played 2 won and everything (Batshuayi) coming up trumps.
See ya Cesar
Today was another day of cutting the ties with some of the old guard as we transition over to a new younger home grown team. Cesar Azpilicueta today left us for the sun and food of Italy as he signed a 3 year deal with Napoli that netted us a cool £19m. Although I would have liked to get more for Cesar he had been asking to leave as he was only a back up last season and as he has been a loyal servant to the club and given his stature amongst the rest of the squad it was best not to upset him. The central defenders I now have left at the club are Zouma, Koulibaly, Rudiger, David Luiz, Christensen and Kamara so I don’t really feel he will be a great loss.
Champions League Group Draw
This year the draw for the Champions League group had been a bitter pill to swallow after we have been drawn in perhaps the toughest group possible. First off the we pulled European giants Real Madrid who had won the previous 2 Champions Leagues before last year. Up next it didn’t get any easier as Serie A giants Napoli were called out meaning Cesar Azpilicueta will be reunited with us a lot sooner than he was probably thinking. The final side to make up the already tough group was Belgium outfit Club Brugge. As far as our chances go of qualifying I would like to think we can but this is not going to be as straight forward as last season. I would like to qualify in 1st but I know that might be a struggle so I would accept 2nd.
In’s and Out’s
There have been a number of in’s and out’s throughout the summer months, too many to go through. What I can say is that we brought in 5 young prospects all for the U23’s and let 3 players go on permanent deals. As far as loan deals go we sent 14 players out on loan to improve and also help balance the books with an income of over £1.25m per month.
Total value of the In’s =
Total value of the Out’s =
As far as the transfer window as a whole went there was over an amazing £2.2b spent on players throughout the 5 major European leagues.
Manager Of The Month
I managed to pick up another MOTM award with a good start to the season. With this being a simalar start to last year I can only hope the future has a similar pattern.
Batshuayi and Alonso OUT
Mitch Batshuayi is going to be out for up to 6 weeks after getting a Lower Back Stress Fracture during a training session. This is going to be a huge miss for us losing our top goal scorer from last season and this season too. I always try to take a positive out of each situation and this is no different the positive I will take is that we will be able to give Tammy Abraham a chance (just like Batshuayi got his chance last year when Morata got injured) let’s hope Tammy takes full advantage of it just like Batshuayi did.
Marcos Alonso will be out for 4 weeks after twisting his ankle by turning sharply during a training session. Although this is not a major injury as we have Baba returning from injury it does mean we are left with just 1 LWB until he returns.
Over the last few weeks we have played 7 games and while we had a great run it was not absolute plain sailing as we won 6 but drew 1. In the 7 games we have scored an impressive 27 goals while conceding just 5 and keeping 5 clean sheets. We started our run by hosting Everton in a relatively easy game which we ran out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Morata and Hazard. We then played our first Champions League game of the season, it was an away tie against Club Brugge where we picked up another 2-0 win but the talking point in this game was Tammy Abraham who scored his first senior goal. Next we won the 2 following games 4-0 and 3-0 against Newcastle United and Brighton respectively. We then dropped our first points of the season in a game that could have gone so much worse. The game was against Liverpool at Anfield and within 30 minutes we were 3-0 down with no real way back into the game, but we kept believing and with a little help from the big guy above and Morata and Hazard we walked away with a 3-3 draw. In our final 2 games we played Napoli and Watford both at Stamford Bridge scoring 12 and conceding 2 winning both. Special mentions to 2 hat trick hero’s in these game first is the unsurprising Morata and second is the less likely Kenedy.
Injury’s injury’s injury’s
We then received some more upsetting news when we were told by our medical team that Tammy Abraham had broken his Jaw meaning he would be out for around 4 weeks and to make matters worse no1 choice Batshuayi is still 10 days away from returning. Another one of our strikers is still out too with Willian missing through his Twisted Ankle.
4 Big Wins
There has been 4 games in the last 9 days so it was always going to be tough to take the maximum out of all 4 but that’s exactly what we did. Starting in the league we travelled to The Hawthorns to take on what turned out to be a very resolute West Brom who made it incredibly difficult to break them down but it was Morata who finally broke the deadlock with a header from point blank, the game ended 1-0. Next we played host to arguably the best team in the world when Real Madrid visited. The game started very evenly and that’s how the game stayed until the 55th minute when Casemiro was sent off for a bad takle on Hazard. Once we got the man advantage we used it to good effect opening spaces for our forwards to exploite, Hazard in particular was able to shine by grabbing 2 goals. The game ended 3-0. Things didn’t get any easier in the next match as we had to host Tottenham, the side that took us to the limit a number of times last year as well as meeting us in the Champions League final. Well this game turned out to be completely different to what I anticipated as we destroyed them 4-0 with Morata scoring a brace. Our final game of this run came at St Mary’s where we won 1-0 thanks to a late Batshuayi goal however there was a more important player on the pitch for us and that was Danny Drinkwater who manage an incredible 127 passes with a completion of 98%.
Vignato enjoying loan spell
I took time out of my busy scedule to check on some of my loan players who all seem to be doing fairly well but one has stood out above the rest in Emanuel Vignato. So far this season Vignato has made 12 appearances for Fulham out on the right wing and has already scored an impressive 5 goals. Scoring is not the only thing Vignato has been doing well at Fulham he has also managed 3 assists with a pass completion of 84%. During his loan spell so far he has managed an average rating of 7.38 and picked up 5 MOTM awards. If he keeps clicking on like this then I can’t see any reason why he won’t be pushing for a spot in the squad next season.
9 Games 9 Wins
I have to say when I first saw this years fixture list and realised we would play 9 games in just over a month I was a little worried. These worries were to be unfounded when after playing all 9 games we walked away with 9 successes and not only just but with plenty of room to spare. The run all started with a visit to the south of Wales to play Swansea who in the end pretty much turned up to make up the numbers. With goals from Zouma, Willian and Batshuayi we got a comfortable 3-0 win. A trip to Real Madrid was on the cards and we went in numbers which is more than can be said for how we finished the game when we found ourselves down to 9. We fell behind to a Benzema goal mid way through the 1st half and that’s how it remained until the 60th minute when Hazard went on a charge dribbling past 3 and slotting the ball away for the equaliser. By the 70th minute we found ourselves down to 9 as both Moses and Baba Rahman were sent off but this would bot stop us as Batshuayi got what proved to be the winner. We then beat Bournemouth 3-0 before travelling to our fiercest rivals Millwall. The game had many talking points not least the animosity in the stands but the fact is after near domination we walked away with a comfortable 2-0 win with a Batshuayi double. Next there were 3 more wins 2 in the Champions League and 1 in the Premier League. We then had the huge task of traveling to The City Of Manchester Stadium where a hungry Man City were waiting. I knew that our best opportunity to get the points would be to go after the lead early then do our best to hold on which is exactly what we did. Rudiger gave us the lead on the 19th minute after we played a very good corner routine. 5 minutes later the scoring was finished when Morata deftly finished in the bottom corner. Man City did start piling on the pressure as the game wore on but we stood firm and the game finished 2-0. The final game in this sequence was also the highest scoring game of my managerial career so far. The game was in the semi finals of the Club World Championship where we played Shanggang where we also got to see a familiar face in Oscar. In the end the game turned out to be a one sided affair when we won by 7-2 with Tammy Abraham grabbing 4 goals.
Winning the World Club Championship is something that Chelsea had never been able to do but that all changed today as for the first time in 117 years we can call ourselves world champions. Things started disappointingly for BOT when they lost Leandrinho after just 6 minutes through injury and things soon got worse on the 9th minute when Morata places the ball in the bottom corner to give us the lead. The game continued to be a competitive affair throughout the first half until Morata managed to add a second for us on the 37th minute. After half time Morata completed his hat trick giving us a comfortable 3-0 lead with no real way back. During the game I had given a couple of youngsters a chance but the one that stood out stood out for the wrong reason when Kasey Palmer gave away a penalty which was converted.
The Christmas Period
There was only 2 games over the Christmas period for us this year which is quite a contrast to last year where we played 4 in 7 days. Both games were at the Bridge and we won both by clear and decisive margins. First there was Middlesbrough who we demolished 5-2 with 4 goals from Eden Hazard. The next game saw us entertain Leicester and this time it was Morata grabbing the goals with 2, the game ended 3-1.
The first half of the season has been almost picture perfect bar 2 draws and one of those was a friendly so 1 competitive draw cant be bad. We have played a total of 33 games in the first half of the season scoring 115 goals and conceding 21 while keeping 18 clean sheets. I am really happy with our season so far as we have won 3 trophies already and are still top of the league even though we have 2 games in hand, you might say we have one hand on that trophy too. This could be a very tough year for our house keeping staff with all these trophies to polish.
Player of the week -
This would be an unusual choice to many having a RWB as the best player for half a season but he has by far been my biggest asset. First off the stats he has offered up have been remarkable, appearances 24, assists 21, goals 2, average rating 8.05. The other thing Davide has done for me is agree to take one of our youngsters under his wing.