Opinion

VIDEO – David Luiz to Arsenal – Thoughts and opinion on the deal that shocked us all.


I hope that one day in the future when he does hang-up his boots and the dust settles on his career that Chelsea fans will look back and remember him as being one of our greats, someone who deserves the plaudits for what he achieved here and for the night in Munich, having not trained with the first-team for a month after a hamstring injury, to play 120 minutes and score an all-important penalty in the shoot-out. He was outstanding that night.

It's such a shame it has come to this today. As re-iterated today at Cobham, Surrey by Frank Lampard to David Luiz - No-one is bigger than Chelsea Football Club.




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A message to David Luiz – No-one is bigger than Chelsea Football Club.

 

Working the late-shift as I do every Monday to Friday I sat there doing my job in a busy office environment totally oblivious to the reports that had emerged from Chelsea's training ground. In fact, it was a Tottenham fan looking at Sky Sports on his phone that informed me - David Luiz wants to leave Chelsea and is about to sign for Arsenal. 

If you check my Twitter account here, you will see my initial reaction to the rumour was "Rubbish" and I openly stated to anyone that wanted to listen in our office that it was pure speculation based on Transfer Deadline Day! As last night moved forward it became clear that there was truth in the reports, there was legitimate substance and a deal was looking likely. How on earth could it come to this was all I was thinking heading home.

Watching Social Media and the respected Journalists I follow, it became clear that this was not some flash in the pan, instinctive decision but something that had started at the beginning of the week and rumbled on into today to the point that Frank Lampard decided to stand firm and remind everyone in that training ground that he will not stand for player power, anyone deemed as being disruptive will be deal with one way or another. David Luiz was made the example and told to train away from the first-team squad.


The reason? We will probably never hear 100% truth straight from the horses mouth from Luiz or Frank Lampard but it is being reported that after watching pre-season and the goals we have conceded, it was made clear to David Luiz that he needed to do much better at the defensive side of his game and he was told that he will not be named in the starting eleven to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday with Andreas Christensen partnering Kurt Zouma instead.


As you can imagine Luiz wasn't happy and took offence to the critique he had been given, kicking off and causing disruption which looks to have continued through to Tuesday, culminating in the decision being taken by Frank Lampard to take him away from the first-team and to inform the club to sell him to the highest bidder. Arsenal are now set to sign him for a fee of around £10m despite the fact that he had signed a new two-year contract. It should be confirmed as early as lunchtime today.


Reading these reports tonight has left me feeling all-sorts of emotions. I am angry at the situation, this is the SECOND time Luiz has forced a move away from Chelsea. The fact that for the past month Frank, Jody and the coaching team have been working hard to get the players fit, to build the foundations of a relationship between them that will form the base of something that will hopefully develop into something special as the season goes on - for the players to respond and play for him in addition to themselves. It's the second time in the space of three seasons where Luiz has kicked off at the manager for a decision taken regarding the best for the team. He did it against Conte and was banished from the first-team for the remainder of the season (Conte's second season) and now he is doing it again under Frank Lampard.

I then feel sad because he has been an important personality in our dressing room in both spells he has had at our football club. He looks like someone who brings people together, encourages people when he is positive and can be a real influence on the younger ones as we have seen with Mason Mount this pre-season. Without question, when he wants to be, David Luiz is a leader and that's something we are lacking now big-time.

You think of David Luiz the defender and there are always arguments for and against him playing. When his head isn't right or he loses focus on the job at hand he is a liability and someone you cannot afford to have in the side. When he plays like that he lacks discipline which has been highlighted numerous times by pundits and journalists alike.


However, when we get the David Luiz of Antonio Conte's title winning season, Luiz first back at Chelsea after returning from PSG, we see exactly what he is more than capable of. In that season playing in the middle of a back-three he played with poise, discipline, focus and determination. He can read the game fantastic, he finds himself in the right position to deal with balls into the box, people trying to run passed him and making important tackles in the right areas whilst holding his position. Unfortunately, last season and this pre-season he hasn't been anywhere near the player he was for Conte.



So why Arsenal? Well he has played for Dick Emery before at PSG and they have their agent in common which is always a bonus when it comes to transfer deadline day. Let's not forget, Arsenal are on the lookout for a centre-half having watched Koscielny force his way out of The Emirates this summer only to then allow him to film himself rip off the Arsenal shirt to reveal his new Bordeaux shirt AT THEIR OWN TRAINING GROUND!!!

A mate of mine at work - a Gooner said to me as I was leaving - "Imagine our back four this season being marshaled by David Luiz and Mustafi!" - even he knows!


I want to finish up by saying that I do not know what goes on inside players heads. I do not know if its the agent doing it or they are just plain stupid enough to think that anyone should have a devine right to be more important that anyone else at the football club. Look at Eden Hazard and how he has conducted himself throughout his time at Chelsea. He never demanded that he was to be treated as important or more important than anyone else - he did ALL of his talking in the right way on the pitch in training and on match-days.

David Luiz came to Chelsea from Benfica and leaves us having achieved so much, winning so much and playing a pivotal part in our Champions League, Premier League, Europa League, FA and League Cup successes that in a way, he spoils all that now with how he has acted to force his way out and cause the problems that is being reported that he has.


I hope that one day in the future when he does hang-up his boots and the dust settles on his career that Chelsea fans will look back and remember him as being one of our greats, someone who deserves the plaudits for what he achieved here and for the night in Munich, having not trained with the first-team for a month after a hamstring injury, to play 120 minutes and score an all-important penalty in the shoot-out. He was outstanding that night.

It's such a shame it has come to this today. As re-iterated today at Cobham, Surrey by Frank Lampard to David Luiz - No-one is bigger than Chelsea Football Club.

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Could Chelsea thrive under transfer embargo this season?



Chelsea will have their work cut out this season, we all know that, but there are plenty of things to look forward to.

The transfer ban could be a blessing in disguise as Frank Lampard now has no choice but to play the youngsters at his disposal while also being able to buy himself some time. He is unlikely to use it as an excuse, but it would be very harsh to dismiss a manager, let alone a club legend, if his opening campaign doesn’t go quite as well as many are hoping considering he can’t sign players.

The former Chelsea midfielder will be using the coming months to give some of the club’s brightest talents an opportunity to shine. Can they surprise their doubters and still challenge at the top? Here are some key points to consider:

Young stars to shine

The best thing about a transfer ban is that it gives young players already in the club structure a chance to show what they can do. This may sound obvious but it is something that rarely happens, hence why such a lot of focus will be given to Chelsea this season.

Mason Mount is the one to watch after showing what a classy player he is at Derby last season. It was under the watchful eye of Frank Lampard that the 20-year-old made such a big impact. 11 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions was an impressive return for the youngster and if he can produce anywhere near that quality on the biggest stage then Chelsea are on to a winner. With him and Lampard both back at Chelsea, there has been a significant amount of overhaul over the summer at Derby and this means they are only sixth favourites at 16/1 to win the league in the Championship betting outright markets.

 
— Mason Mount (@masonmount_10) July 29, 2019

The settling effect of stability

There is something to be said about stability in football. It is a proven commodity that is rarely granted by owners too desperate to achieve short term glory. Chelsea have seen Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri leave in quick succession with neither getting the chance to have a long-term impact and instead the club's style is a mixture due to the personnel that have been brought in over the last few seasons.

Having a settled squad, even though it may not be by design, could have a galvanising effect on Chelsea and giving Lampard more than two seasons to build something is vital if the club are to achieve sustained success.

Solve the midfield conundrum

The midfield was problematic for Sarri. He clearly had his own ideas but the persistent use of Jorginho in a deeper role didn’t work and made Chelsea’s other midfield players, Kante especially, less effective. In fact, the idea that the Brazilian-born Italian was somehow Sarri’s special, untouchable favourite didn’t sit well with the player at all.

  

Frank Lampard will need to resolve this quickly and make sure he has a handle on what his best team really is. Having played in midfield he will be able to pass on insight from his career to his new charges and they are bound to thrive under his tutelage. Whatever happens, it promises to be a fascinating 2019-20.


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Here’s a question Chelsea fans, Is the top four a realistic expectation this season?


We find ourselves less than a week away from the start of the Premier League season and having watched Chelsea this pre-season under Frank Lampard, I am asking YOU the Chelsea fan reading this post on whether or not you believe the top four to be a realistic expectation this season. I want to read as many opinions on this as possible!

First and foremost it's also important to add that we have a number of players who are working their way back from injury to be involved this season. Once they are fully fit and firing, Frank Lampard's options will be better in certain positions in addition to what we have already seen over the past few weeks. Toni Rudiger, N'Golo Kante, Willian, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi will all provide stiff competition for places with one or two nailed on starters for me. 

One thing is for sure, Chelsea will have one of the fittest squads in the Premier League as we know that Frank and Jody Morris have worked the players really hard in training with double sessions almost every single day. The good thing is that although acknowledging that it's tough, the players to a man have stated that it has been enjoyable so the initial signs are good. 

At the end of the day it's about quality of chances created and taken in addition to remaining tight and compact at the back. A solid base to build from is the key to having any form of success; we have to agree that so far it hasn't exactly been water-tight. It's pre-season, the manager has chopped and changes his defensive pairings throughout so I would not read too much into it and we should get a real feel for how capable we are in defensive areas in the first couple of weeks of the season with Manchester United away on Sunday, Liverpool in Istanbul next Wednesday, followed by Leicester City at home at the following weekend - our first home game with Frank in charge. 


The midfield options we have available once everyone is fit is up there with the best in the League in my view. With N'Golo Kante back to his favoured position, patrolling that key area in front of our back four, we should have a solid base to build on. We should not be conceding some of the goals we did last season with Jorginho asked to fill that role without the ball. 

Moving forward through central midfield and into the advance midfield areas we have players with undoubted quality in Ross Barkley, Loftus-Cheek and now Mason Mount. Mateo Kovacic will come to the fore under Frank Lampard and Jorginho asked to influence the game further forward. 

In the wide areas although we have lost one of the world's best, Christian Pulisic has already shown that he offers us something different = PACE and no matter who you face in the Premier League, the opposition will always struggle to deal with that. Add his already outstanding ability fighting for a position up against the likes of Willian, Pedro and Hudson-Odoi you surely have to be encouraged. 

Up front is where our biggest problem lies. Not since Diego Costa have we had that regular threat week-in, week-out in front of goal that give defenders something to think about. Last season it was about stopping the supply against Chelsea to make the strikers virtually redundant. This year we hope to be so much different with the young and hungry Tammy Abraham looking to make his mark in the big league. Olivier Giroud who has once again shown glimpses of what he brings to the team as a whole with him playing in it, followed by the Batman - Michy Batshuayi who has nothing to prove in the Premier League but now is surely worth a chance in Chelsea blue. 

There will be games on paper we should be winning as there were last season. The biggest complaint from the supporters was that we were never flexible to change, we were tame in attack and dropped points that were unexpected. That's something that MUST improve this time around. 

There will be those games against sides fighting for a top six finish such as Everton and Wolves that caused us numerous problems last year. We need to match their desire in-game, we need to impose ourselves against these teams and come up with the right solutions to force them onto the back-foot. We need to knock them back down a peg-or-two to put ourselves right back where we need to be. 

Then there is the games against our top six rivals who, despite the teams just mentioned who invest heavily once again, remain the same - Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City. I personally believe that City and Liverpool will be too strong too soon for us this season and we would do well to take anything from either of the four games we play against them. As for the other three? We should be beating all of them at home and take at least a point away with anything above that an added bonus this year. 

I recorded a video on my Vlog to state that it really is a time to be excited as a Chelsea fan and I will stand by that. A young management team that has the club embedded into their DNA. A squad enriched with the outstanding ability we have of the likes of James, Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Abraham coupled with the strong and experienced players we still have here who let's not forget finished third, reached the League Cup Final and won the Europa League. 

Is it a realistic expectation for Chelsea under Frank Lampard to finish in the top four this season? I don't believe it is.

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Video: Name your starting eleven for Chelsea vs Manchester United next Sunday.


In today's Chelsea Daft Vlog we take a look at some of articles that have caught my eye around the web in the last 24-hours, a look at TWO of the articles I have written in the last 48 hours and I want your opinions on TWO important topics.

Kasey Palmer signs for Bristol City on a permanent deal.

Dujon Sterling joins Wigan on loan for the season.

Wilfried Zaha rumours continue - Chelsea working on deal in 12-months time.

Everton contact Chelsea again over Kurt Zouma - this time for a loan move instead.

Kenneth Omeruo is expected to leave Chelsea having NEVER played for us.

David Luiz criticism is well over the top.

Ross Barkley - What do you think of him in pre-season so far and how well do you think he can do under Frank Lampard? - https://www.chelseadaft.org/2019/08/ross-barkley-20-unleashed-under-frank.html 

Name your starting eleven for Chelsea v Manchester United. Who starts for you and in what formation? - https://www.chelseadaft.org/2019/08/name-your-starting-eleven-for-chelsea-v.html

What do you think of the articles featured in the video? Post your comments below!




What do you think of the video? Post your comments below!

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Name your starting eleven for Chelsea v Manchester United next Sunday.


We are just over a week away from the start of the Premier League season and have one more pre-season game to go tomorrow. Based on what we have seen so far and taking into consideration the long-term injuries to Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Toni Rudiger and those recovering from being absent such as N'Golo Kante and Willian.  I want you to name YOUR starting eleven to face Manchester United at Old Trafford with YOUR preferred formation. 

Looking at the games we have played it's clear that we have a squad that can adapt to one of three different formations: 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 Diamond or the 4-3-3. You need to think about the players you want to select and how they fit into the formation you want to implement whilst ensuring that the team is balanced from defence, through midfield and into the attacking areas.


Goalkeepers. 

For me Kepa is nailed on to start and think of the player we have on our hands now one year on from his big money move to Stamford Bridge. He has shown real signs of development and outstanding ability with the game the other night a perfect example of just how good he is. Willy Caballero on the bench.


Back four / defence. 

Cesar Azpilicueta has the right-back position nailed down for me with doubts over the future of Davide Zappacosta.


Emerson should the nod being the better defender than Marcos Alonso at left-back while also giving us an option out wide left.


David Luiz will start the game in the middle of our back four despite calls for him to be dropped after a poor performance the other night. When he's is on his game and plays with focus whilst remaining disciplined in his position he is better than most in the country so he starts (we just cannot afford for him not to be).

Although Kurt Zouma has returned to the squad and has been promised a real opportunity to make a claim this year to be in the first-team at Chelsea, I would start the impressive Andreas Christensen who's awareness to cover for Luiz gives him the edge in my view.

Midfield.

Arguably, the most difficult positions to select based on the options we have available. The formation you want to adopt for this game will determine who starts in my view as it dictates whether you select two or three midfield options. I have to say it as I am sitting here writing this - I am torn between the 4-2-3-1 and the diamond 4-4-2.

You would have to start Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the 4-2-3-1 formation as both have built up a good understanding playing together last season. Both know each others game now and ability with the ball.

Both would start with Ross Barkley playing on the other side of Kovacic in diamond 4-4-2 formation through midfield with Mason Mount playing at the top of the diamond. That's easily switched with Mount and Barkley swapping positions and Barkley playing in behind the two strikers.

Attacking Areas.

In the 4-2-3-1 formation, based on pre-season and overall influence in-game, you simply have to start Ross Barkley in the number ten role. Mason Mount would also do a great job there, as we have seen, but Barkley edges it for me.

Christian Pulisic has demonstrated his raw, natural talent with an abundance of pace to burn which for me puts him straight into the team wide left. Pedro to start wide right especially after THAT goal the other night.

Up front in the 4-2-3-1 formation I would start with Olivier Giroud in this game for his experience and calm head out there. He has still got it and can score goals in addition to being the team player that we know that he can be. He edges Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi in this formation to start with.

If this was the 4-4-2 diamond then the two strikers I would start with would be Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi with Tammy Abraham on the bench. Batshuayi in behind with Giroud dropping deep would give us different options to hopefully open the door.

Team Selections.

4-2-3-1:

Kepa
Azpilicueta,
Luiz,
Christensen,
Emerson
Jorginho
Kovacic
Pulisic
Barkley
Pedro
Giroud.

4-4-2 (Diamond):

Kepa,
Azpilicueta,
Luiz
Christensen
Emerson,
Jorginho,
Kovacic,
Barkley,
Mount
Giroud
Batshuayi.

What do you think of my team selections for both of the adaptable formations? Are they something you agree with? If not, tell me what your team selections would be and the formation if you had to by Frank Lampard and make those decisions right now.

Post your comments below, I want to read as many opinions as possible on this ahead of the game.

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Ross Barkley 2.0 – Unleashed under Frank Lampard at Chelsea.


We are just over a week away from the new season start at Old Trafford against Manchester United. We have one remaining pre-season game to go this weekend but the signs are already there for all to see - the second coming of Ross Barkley. 

Why have I called the article Ross Barkley 2.0? Think about it for a second, think of the player we witnessed coming to the fore at Goodison Park and Everton, think of the injury, think of the stop start first season at Chelsea and finally think of the restricted role he played under Maurizio Sarri last season. In these recent pre-season games over the past couple of weeks, we have seen the second coming of the player though of so highly within the game.

I understand that there will be people out there thinking that it's too soon to get carried away with it only being pre-season. There will be people doubting whether or not Barkley would be able to hold his own this year having talked recently of stepping up to fill the void left by the departure of Eden Hazard and I do understand that. I get that for you having one opinion, there will be those that have a view that's different, all I am saying at the moment is that I am excited for what this season could bring, I really am.

As we all know with pre-season the biggest target is to get the players match-fit, to bond together, to absorb the managers ideas and philosophy. You look for players to really make a case for themselves that they are hungry, they have a real desire to be in the managers plans and you look for those that really stand out. Ross Barkley with a couple of others has been that player this time around. Now I don't know whether it's because he is under the guidance of Frank Lampard - a person that he has openly admitted to looking up when he was younger, someone who inspired him, or if he has made a real conscious effort this time around knowing that there is a fierce battle in our central midfield area - but he is the stand-out performer for me so far.

I talk of the restricted role he had last year under Maurizio Sarri and it's difficult to deny really. How many times was the Barkley/Kovacic substitution used last season? Like-for-like or so they said during the in-game change but it's fair to say that Ross Barkley isn't the same type of midfielder that Mateo Kovacic is. The Serbian midfielder is a work-horse, a grafter with much more ability with the ball at his feet than alot of people give him credit for. Goals last season wasn't his game even though I personally felt that he really began to find his feet within the team towards the end of the season.

As for Ross Barkley? He is about flair, skill, assists and goals from midfield - something that we did not get to see much of under Sarri. I felt, as we all did, that he was restricted in his role at one side of Jorginho who as we know sat in front of our back four to protect them without the ball and to pull the strings with the ball at his feet. If anything, once the other Premier League teams worked out how to combat Sarri's Chelsea, the two midfielders asked to play alongside the Italian found themselves playing deeper to provide even more protection which prevented the box-to-box type player that I personally believe that Barkley can be.


So to the beginning of this pre-season and it was clear from the outset that once Frank Lampard took over, with the imposed transfer ban and a new contract for Ruben Loftus-Cheek (who continues to work on his rehab back to fitness), Mason Mount was someone we were all looking forward to seeing back at Chelsea after a great season in the Championship at Derby. For Mount to then be spoken of so highly the manager, to be given a new five-year contract, it was clear that Mason Mount has a big part to play in the new, revitalised Chelsea.

The pressure is really on Ross Barkley now with many people talking of the fight for the shirt in the starting eleven playing as the number ten or as one of our midfield three being between Barkley and Mount. It's fair to say that Mason Mount has also impressed in pre-season, starting where he left off at Derby by playing well and scoring goals.

Ross Barkley has stepped up in response to all this looking like someone on a mission so far. He looks fresh, hungry and his this real desire/determination about him that we haven't really seen before at Chelsea for the reasons I have stated above.

He is much more involved in the game, has offered a range of passing including the killer pass we had been lacking so often last year in addition to goals. Think of the raking ball he played last night over the top to Christian Pulisic leading to our third goal on the night. There are those that just lump the ball forward over the top hoping that your striker can run onto it and turn a hopeful pass into a good ball but this last night was different, this was a pinpoint fifty-yard ball right on the money and was extremely impressive.

As I have stated in my last video on my Vlog Channel, the first few weeks with Chelsea being on live TV, we are going to have to put up with talk of Eden Hazard leaving, the so-called void, lack of goals looking back last-year and questions being asked of who can/will step up to try and take on that mantle this year at Chelsea. It will become tiresome and boring but something we cannot change. All we can do is let Frank Lampard and his team continue to work hard with the players to try and deliver some sort of consistency to challenge once again.

If Ross Barkley 2.0 can take his pre-season form into the new season to then kick-on with the confidence in his ability and support of the manager - he can become one of the stars of our season and a pivotal part of the team finally unleashing his full potential to become just the same for England.

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