Monaco suspend Thierry Henry as he faces sacking

Henry on the verge of being sacked

Monaco boss Thierry Henry has been suspended by the French club with the former Belgium assistant unable to turn things around in their relegation battle.

It’s been a very rough start to his managerial career for the Arsenal legend.

Henry decided to leave his job as the Belgium national team’s assistant manager in hope of saving Monaco.

The club have been embroiled in a relegation battle during the current campaign.

Despite winning Ligue 1 only two seasons ago, the club have fallen from grace after the majority of their talented squad left.

Leonardo Jardim was unable to stabilise the sinking ship and was ultimately sacked.

Henry decided to take the job in hope of saving his former club, however, they remain down near the bottom of Ligue 1 in 19th.

Now, to compound Henry’s woes, he could be set for the same fate as Jardim.

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – JULY 10: Belgium Assistant Manager, Thierry Henry, looks on prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Semi Final match between Belgium and France at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Wait for final decision on his future

That is because Monaco have announced they have suspended Henry’s duties as manager pending a decision on his future.

Their statement read:

‘AS Monaco announces that it has decided to suspend its duties as coach of the first team Thierry Henry from this day and waiting for a final decision.

‘Franck Passi will train the professional group this Friday.’

This comes only hours after Henry announced he was to ‘banish’ several players to the reserve squad.

According to the BBC’s David Ornstein, despite only being suspended, Henry is as good as sacked.

He claims that a suspension is ‘merely procedural’ and that Leonardo Jardim is actually set to return to the club as his replacement.

Thierry Henry ‘banishes’ several Monaco stars to reserves

It’s safe to say, banishing several stars is risky.

Whether or not it was key in Monaco’s decision to suspend him, it may not have helped.

Click here to find out all the details about Henry’s decision to send them to the reserves. 

Chelsea v Bournemouth: All change or full strength – How do you think we should start?


Chelsea take on Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup (League Cup) Quarter-Final at Stamford Bridge and an opportunity to take one step closer to the first silverware available this season. Should Maurizio Sarri start with a full strength team or make changes? 

Now it has to be said that Chelsea have always taken this competition seriously and I would expect them to do the same this evening. Jose Mourinho in his first season here in 2004 spoke of the importance of winning the competition as it gives the team confidence knowing that they can be successful with what they are trying to achieve at that moment. For Maurizio Sarri it’s no different and having not won anything to date as a manager, it would a massive achievement and hopefully just the beginning.

Bournemouth come here looking to reach their first Semi-Final in their history and will be at full strength without question. Think back to the game in the Premier League much earlier in the season at Stamford Bridge, you will remember that on that day they caused us real problems and wasted some golden opportunities to score. We MUST ensure that we remain compact and tight at the back whoever starts the game.

So to the Chelsea team tonight and if I were in charge I would only make six changes to the team and formation this evening. I would change from the false-nine formation and start Olivier Giroud up front as the first change, I would rest Eden Hazard to the bench especially if he picked up a knock at the weekend and keep Willian alongside Pedro as part of our attacking three.

In midfield, I would bring in RLC and Ross Barkley in for Kovacic and Kante, with Cesc Fabregas in for Jorginho. I would then play Emerson ahead of Marcos Alonso and Willy Caballero in for Kepa Arizabalaga as my final change.

Starting eleven: 

Caballero
Azpilicueta
Rudiger
Luiz
Emerson
Fabregas
Barkley
Loftus-Cheek
Willian
Pedro
Giroud

Subs: Kepa, Alonso, Christensen, Kovacic, Jorginho, Hazard and Hudson-Odoi.

What do you think?

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Chelsea 1-0 Bournemouth: Eddie Howe's side beaten – Now to revenge against Tottenham.


Eden Hazard came off the bench to strike late in the game to beat a plucky and well drilled Bournemouth side last night. Victory moves us into the Carabao Cup semi-final and a chance for revenge against Tottenham. 

It has to be said that Chelsea were made to work hard for the win last night as Eddie Howe (who remains one of the most underrated managers in our game) always gets the best from his players who all identify with his methods. I’ve already said it but they are so well drilled, they all work hard for him and for each other knowing the role they each play within their tactical shape. Once again and for the second time this season at Stamford Bridge, they came here to play when they had the opportunity and created some good chances to score but to be denied by tackles in the box or a lack of potency. They continue to make excellent progress under Howe and I hope it continues.

As for Chelsea, we played well here apart from the odd moment when we looked a little shaky at the back. Andreas Christensen (who picked up what looked like a pulled hamstring and had to be replaced by David Luiz late on) and Emerson came into our back four and did well enough. Cesc Fabregas came into the side in the Jorginho role and did well with the ball at his feet, making the most tackles I have ever seen from him in a Chelsea shirt. Ross Barkley did OK but was replaced later in the game by Eden Hazard, whereas Mateo Kovacic was outstanding and my man-of-the-match. He was brilliant with the ball, excellent without it and looks like he is really beginning to find his feet now.

Up top Willian played well until he was taken off and replaced by Pedro, Ruben Loftus-Cheek did OK starting wide left but played better when he came into the middle of midfield, and Olivier Giroud had a good game being denied on more than one occasion by Boruc in goal.

Chelsea started on the front foot and I am pleased to say that it generally lasted throughout the game but for one or two dodgy moments as Bournemouth counter-attacked us. At the end, as they pressed us looking for an equaliser it turned into chaos and a few hearts in mouths moments but we stood firm and saw out the win.

We had numerous chances but to be denied by the outstanding Boruc or Nathan Ake who impressed on the night winning tackles and possession away from us. Willian, Giroud and Emerson were all denied by Boruc from point blank range when it looked easier to score but again, credit to Bournemouth, they held their defensive line, had plenty of bodies back in and around our possession to make it really difficult for us to get that goal to settle everything down.

With around 25 minutes to go Eden Hazard came on and as he normally does, changed the game. He was busy constantly moving around in different areas, sometimes dropping deep, sometimes in behind and gave Bournemouth real problems. The magical Belgian finally got the goal we needed late on after some interplay down our left hand side saw Pedro waltz into the box and flick the ball backwards. Hazard, who had drifted from out wide left had come inside and managed to seize the opportunity to strike the ball towards goal taking a massive deflection away from Boruc and into the opposite corner of the net to make it 1-0 and win the game.

It was tough on Bournemouth on the night but on clear-cut chances created and the fact we had dominated the game it was well deserved and now sees us face Tottenham in the semi-final over two legs with the first away at Wembley the week beginning Jan 7th with the return leg at Stamford Bridge two weeks later. It gives Maurizio Sarri and the Chelsea players an opportunity for revenge after what happened a couple of weeks ago!

Onwards and upwards!

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Marco Silva discusses Idrissa Gueye’s potential Everton exit

Could Idrissa Gueye leave Everton this month?

Everton boss Marco Silva has discussed the possibility of Idrissa Gueye leaving this month as Paris Saint-Germain continue to be linked with a move.

Gueye has become a key player for Everton since his move from Aston Villa.

The club signed him for a reported £7.1million after Villa were relegated from the Premier League.

He’s come a long way since then, becoming one of the best tacklers in the English top flight.

Though, he could be set for a move to an elite club.

That is because Paris Saint-Germain have been heavily linked with a move for him.

There have been suggestions that the French club already have an agreement with Gueye over a move.

Now, Marco Silva has responded to those suggestions.

Idrissa Gueye

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Idrissa Gueye of Everton in action during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton FC at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

“We don’t have an offer”

Silva claimed in his press conference today that Everton have not received any offers for Gueye.

“For us it’s new. We don’t have an offer. Not one club made an offer to Gana,” he explained, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo. 

“I am speaking with him like I do with all the others in a normal situation. His focus is on our club. He is working to give his best in our club.”

When asked about a complaint over potential illegal approaches, which was suggested by the Mirror, Silva admitted he didn’t know anything.

“What I can tell you now is that there are no offers going to Gana. If there is something illegal then I don’t know.”

Speaking on his own transfer plans, Silva also admitted it would be difficult to bring anyone in this month.

However, that could change if any players left the club.

“It will be difficult. It’s just if something special happens with one of our players.

“If someone leaves the club we would have to have the solutions to find another player.”

 

See also: Everton make progress on potential Idrissa Gueye replacement

Everton’s Idrissa Gueye agrees PSG contract – Yahoo France

Arsenal in talks to sign Paris Saint-Germain starlet

The Gunners making moves in January

Arsenal are in talks to sign Paris Saint-Germain starlet Christopher Nkunku according to reports in France on Thursday afternoon.

The club have been linked with a number of players this month despite Sven Mislintat being set to leave the club. 

Mislintat had been at the club since December 2017 as head of recruitment and oversaw Arsenal’s summer transfer window.

However, he is now set to leave the club in February.

Despite his exit, rumours continue to circle in relation to January transfers.

Denis Suarez is one name that has been linked with a move to Arsenal during this transfer window.

According to a report from the Mirror this week, Arsenal hope to get a deal for Suarez done by the end of the week.

Now, another name that Arsenal could target has cropped up.

Denis Suarez

VALENCIA, SPAIN – OCTOBER 07: Denis Suarez of Barcelona arrives for the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on October 7, 2018 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Arsenal planning for the future

That is because according to L’Equipe, as cited by GFFN, Arsenal are in talks to sign Paris Saint-Germain starlet Christopher Nkunku.

According to the report, the 21-year-old is looking for regular first team football, something that has been hard to come by in Paris.

Nkunku is supposedly interested in Arsenal and Unai Emery’s project and has informed PSG of that.

However, this will not be a simple deal to complete.

PSG still need to accept the deal, which will supposedly be a loan with an option to buy.

Not only that, PSG want to bring in some central midfielders first.

Everton’s Idrissa Gueye has been linked with a move to the club recently.

Though, the latest reports this week from the Telegraph suggest PSG will complete a deal for Zenit’s Leandro Paredes.

Good for Man United: Neymar’s PSG injury update

PSG also have some pressing matters on the pitch.

That is because Neymar suffered a huge injury this week.

Now, the club have provided an injury update.

Click here to see what they had to say. 

Watford 1-2 Chelsea: False nine. Against Watford. Provoked a distinct lack of Xmas joy in my world


And now it’s Boxing Day. Hurrah. You go from incessant running about like a ….. and being exhausted to instant saturation from the world about three things.

    1    The need for you to buy more stuff in the sales after you’ve bankrupted yourself buying sh*t for people you mostly don’t like.

    2    The reminder that you’re fat and need a diet with all the slimming ads. I can see that looking in the mirror. F*ck off.

    3    The reminder that the only thing society considers sadder than a fat person is a fat person with nobody to love them. Cue television suggesting I may need to pay to find men who find me attractive. So begineths the eHarmony free trial inundation, in which they try to convince you that a Chris Hemsworth lookalike is just a few cheaply constructed psychometric questions away from your grasp. As if you could ever have Chris Hemsworth for £19.99 a month. Unless it was the scraped together remains of him that were blown up in the Star Trek remake. Again, f*ck off.

In the News: Don’t panic! Batshuayi is coming back to London! But only so we can loan him to Palace apparently. Rooney bitching that even the dinner ladies didn’t like JM. Even the warm ups are fun now, they reckon. He may be a loon, but the pantomime villain proportions now being dealt out to JM in retrospect are a bit f*cking cheeky. He’s not a nasty bloke. And at his worst the dinner ladies at Cobham still loved him. The idea that Fergie has swept in and delivered Solskjaer to them wrapped in tacky festive paper and tied up with a Xmas bow is a ridiculous narrative. 

The Others: What a miserable f*cking day for football, nay humanity. The Red Scouse spurred into a romp by diving for a penalty; the atrocious line up on BT Score literally painting the walls with spunk every time they scored. Not to mention the runaway victory for Sp*rs, the only team with any momentum right now to save the planet from the interminable gloating, the sanctimonious f*cking lauding by not only themselves but the entire congregation of Press Plebs, and at least a years worth of having to listen to everyone tell us that it has been a victory for football if those horrible Scouse gits win the league. I would rather undergo having a f*cking colostomy bag fitted whilst fully conscious while the surgeon listens to an ABBA back catalogue than experience this. Because, City have deserted the good fight, it seems. They’ve basically gone awol at present and signed a little pussy peace treaty that has left the rest of civilisation clambering to ensure the future exclusion of smug Red Scouse c*ntery from the world of football. Thanks for nothing. You b*stards. Don’t make me come down there and revamp Bill Pullman”s speech from the original Independence Day. 

But in the meantime our only salvation looks like coming from a team we want to win the league even less. Mowgli (special alias) just asked me which I would rather see with the trophy. I sh*t you not, at that exact moment I did a little girly half belch with my gob shut and some sick came up into my mouth. There’s your answer.

United coast to a win. You cheeky b*stards. Two goals for Pogba. Shameless. Dinner ladies are supposedly off their tits in the canteen. Thanks to some shambolic defending that looked, well like us at our most inept, at least the Goons dropped points, she wrote before we kicked off, knowing full well that if we didn’t get our sh*t together it didn’t mean a thing.

Our Game: I refused to go to this. On the basis that about now I’d be wandering round south Hertfordshire trying to find my way home with no public transport on a holiday all for the benefit of the Scouse television mafia who wanted to ruin Boxing Day for two teams by showing games all day and night. F*ck and Off.

Them: By no stretch of the imagination should this bunch of jobbers be able to beat us. But that didn’t stop them last season. Deeney appears to have spent the last few months on a desert island because he’s halved in size. Not that I’m at all bitter about his weight loss. He’ll be signing up for eHarmony next.

Us: A false nine. Against Watford. Provoked a distinct lack of f*cking Xmas joy in my world, I can tell you. Cheer me up Chelsea. Or else. If we don’t win this it will be almost as depressing as the counter next to the screen in the pub telling me that it is only 363 days, four and a half hours till Christmas.

Ben Foster – the worst time waster in the English game was at it after two minutes, but our first attempt came straight away with Pedro Pony (he’s been demoted again for now) launching a curling long range effort towards the cheating scumbag’s goal. 70% possession for us in the opening five, not that that has done us many favours of late. F*cking Carragher coating the commentary box with phlegm. More joy.

Nearly shot ourselves in the foot, but got away with it. Kovacic, who has been growing a beard, presumably so he can be distinguished from Hazard and actually get credit for some of his play, combined with Willian and they could have put us ahead straight after but the latter scuffed at it and it only made it as far as the post. Less fortunate was Kabasele, who ended up in considerable pain after a fight with the post. He tried to carry on, but nothing doing. Mariappa came on. He’s got more beard than head.

That knocked all momentum on its a*se, not that there was much anyway. So it was back to square one. No shots on target, not even a corner, and feeling quite smug about me and my throat infection bunking this one. Deeney’s weight loss doesn’t stop him from hitting the deck like a sack of f*cking bricks and pretending to have been hit in his still fat head. Kante was giving it some Xmas welly in the middle of the field, even dropping the odd back heel in, but nothing had actually ignited yet. It was like staring at one of the endless f*cking Xmas repeats of that northern Royle Family muck, while they fart and smoke, and waiting for someone to ay something funny.

The world is still waiting.

Timely block from Jorginho on 26 minutes. Is that all we’ve had? Turgid would be overly polite at this stage. Pedro Pony put it across the face of goal straight after, but there was nobody there to meet it. As in a striker. I was more entertained by the Gooner who had just walked in the Old Bank dressed like an homage to Dick Van Dyke. Complete with mockney accent

Watford had the best opportunity yet to take the lead on 31, but the final shot was pretty diabolical. Think Jonny Wilkinson after a dozen jäger bombs. Hazard was in on goal thirty seconds later, but it got away from him, and then commenced a lot of L’Arse like faffing on the edge of the box which resulted in nothing. By 36 we’d fully broken out into a light jog, punctured by occasional bursts of more exhilarating activity . Sadly we still almost conceded. We’ve got T-1000 Luiz today as opposed to the T-100 version.

Nearly a minute for a throw in from one yellow person on 40. Yawn. Pedro Pony was almost in straight away but the defender put in a crucial tackle after Eden had wound his way up the pitch. The subsequent almost display of arse cheek from the Spaniard was the highlight of the game so far. Then he went off, forcing Sarri to bring on Hudson-Odoi.

Eden you beautiful, sexual little beast. Capoue f*cked up, Kovacic leapt in. Eden only had the keeper and three defenders to deal with. Easy. Peasants. 0-1. Not that that means anything for us. If we survive five minutes I’ll be amazed, said I. Kepa diced with death by throwing himself in front of the lumbering oaf that is Deeney to block one equaliser, but he couldn’t stop some little wanker with short sleeves and gloves seconds later. Back to square one. For the third time. We lasted about two minutes.

Wasn’t sure I’d be able to get to the end of halftime without declaring a war of mockery on Dick Van Dyke and his oversized flat cap, hipster knotted tie, albino attempt at stubble, his size 13-14 boys shirt over his jumper and his newfound habit of cheering for Watford. F*ck off. You just drew with Brighton. Even we beat Brighton. It’s either him or the sad f*cker who sat himself uninvited at our table and managed to make two mouthfuls of Stella last 45 minutes. But to be fair he only bought it on the half hour mark after we took the piss out of him for lurking in the doorway like an unwanted ginger stepchild.

One mouthful he managed during the break. Less impetus than us immediately after the restart. This was a blessed brief spell, almost as brief as the respite from the loud pontifications of DVD who was telling the whole pub what is wrong with Chelsea. It was like Trump lecturing Weinstein on gender equality. 

Still dominating possession, still not scoring goals. Looking more likely to concede than go ahead again. Delofeu tried to get a penalty. He was raised at Farca, but that’s still no excuse for being a cheating c*nt. Didn’t stop Salah earlier on tho. Home fans relentlessly booing Luiz now. Yawn. Alonso was robbed on the left on 55, but Watford couldn’t make anything of it. Hazard punched in the chest by Foster in the box. So he can shift when he wants to. Penalty. Eden sent Foster the wrong way. Karma. 1-2. Have that you whining yellow gits.

I feel slightly less angry now.

In fact if there are seven more corners and my bet comes in I may consider putting a £19.99 deposit down on Chris Hemsworth. There was still more than half a pint of Stella left by the way. I was half dead and I’d drunk more than him.

Now it was our turn to take our time. Do I feel any guilt? Not even a flicker on my Giveaf*ckometer. CHO was still having a go down the right hand side, Willian was a flea’s cock away from making us comfortable on 72, but Watford hadn’t given up. Luiz baffles me at the moment. Even more so than usual he goes from the sublime to the ridiculous and he just wanders about combing his ever growing bonce behind his ears and looking as exhausted as Sam Allardyce after he’s finished attacking a fridge for Xmas leftovers and collapsed in a heap covered in sausage roll pastry flakes and chunks of turkey. He’s gone from HMS Pinafore Sideshow Bob to depressed convict Sideshow Bob.

Kante went on a rampant expedition up the field to meet a perfectly weighted pass on 78 but his shot was wide, Deeney had a chance to level again less than a minute later but thankfully his impression of Eden Hazard side-footing the ball into the net looked more like Jonny Wilkinson after a dozen jäger bombs and a blow to the head.

Barkley on for Kovacic. I’d bring on Giroud to kill it, says Mowgli. Idiot, says I, Barkley’s supposed to shore up the midfield. He’s a bank manager, what does he know, says Mowgli, I’ve been going Chelsea for years. Yes. Says I, and never once have you been sober.

There wasn’t even a false nine about it now, literally nobody staying up, because Watford have seen how well we capitulate and were still searching for a share of the points. Fans not impressed by CHO being replaced with Emerson, but he wasn’t looking particularly comfortable as he jogged off.

Hazard still taking the piss on 85, manipulating a corner. Jorginho of all people was hitting them from range. Sarri devastated to see his love child’s effort just skin the bar. Four minutes to survive our own idiocy, but we did a good job of keeping it in their half. Sting seemed to have gone out of the Hornets’ tail now. Mwhahaha. See what I did there.

Refwatch: Atkinson. Gave us a penalty and not them. What a nice bloke. How rare it is that you can’t think of a reason to call the referee a….

Corner for Watford with a minute to go. Ben Foster actually broke into a jog to go up. When he did it was laughable, and then he was marooned at the wrong end of the pitch. Kante could have had a go at an empty goal from the halfway line but the poor little chap panicked and started running sideways.

So: Eden has now scored more than 100 goals for Chelsea. More importantly than that, if you follow my Twitter you’ll know that he changed a homeless little boy’s life this week. It’s now only 363 days, two hours and 32 minutes until Xmas. I’m going home to take a lot of drugs. Legal ones, for the benefit of the Daily Mail. 

AC – A Girl Who Likes Balls. 


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James Rodriguez’s father hints at Arsenal offer/Confirms ‘love’ for Real Madrid

The father of Bayern Munich loanee James Rodriguez has today provided an update on the Colombian’s future, amid heavy links with Premier League outfit Arsenal.

Bayern stint

27-year-old attacking midfielder Rodriguez made the surprise move to the Allianz Arena from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017, on a two-year loan deal worth 13 million Euro.

The former Porto standout’s time in Germany has since proven a rather hit-and-miss affair, though.

While he played an important role in Bayern’s passage to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, Rodriguez started just 19 of the Bavarian giants’ 34 Bundesliga outings.

And the current campaign has seen the Colombian international continue to struggle for consistent game-time.

To this point in the season, Rodriguez has started just 7 times between the league and Champions League (though he was sidelined for 6 weeks between November and December with knee ligament damage).

Arsenal links

As such, with Rodriguez’s place under current Bayern boss Niko Kovac looking increasingly uncertain, rumours have mounted of late that the Bundesliga champions will opt against taking up their 42 million Euro purchase option on the South American this summer.

James Rodriguez Bayern Munich during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Muenchen

And such claims have led to further reports in England over the last week that Arsenal are now expressing an interest in Rodriguez’s signature.

The Independent suggest that the Gunners are keen to secure a loan deal of their own for the 27-year-old this month.

It was also added that both Bayern and Real would be open to such an option.

‘There may be offers…’

As such, Rodriguez’s father has this afternoon spoken out over the links between his son and the Premier League.

Juan Carlos Restrepo confirmed that, though the gifted midfielder remains ‘calm’ and ‘happy’ at the Allianz Arena, proposals ‘may’ have arrived for his signature from England:

As per the Evening Standard:

‘He is comfortable in Munich.’

‘I don’t have news about it, but there may be offers based on those rumours coming from England.’

‘He is calm and he feels that he’s at a good level again and that he’s physically strong.’

‘That gives us a perspective that he is happy, motivated and working well. He is eager to achieve new success.’

Restrepo, though, was also keen to reemphasise his son’s ‘love’ for Real Madrid:

‘Real Madrid are one of his loves, but unfortunately he had to look at a different course.’

‘However, that does not mean that he doesn’t love Los Blancos, an institution that allowed him to enjoy beautiful moments.’

‘Inside his heart, given that he is a fan of Real Madrid, he will contemplate the possibility of returning.’

‘Real Madrid own his rights and I imagine that if he has good performances then his return would be possible.’

Arsenal vs Manchester United betting tips: FA Cup fourth round preview and predictions

Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure is ‘much better’ than Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira – Paul Merson

Gonzalo Higuain to Chelsea – No pressure but you need to hit the ground running.

 As expected, Chelsea completed the much-anticipated loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus late last night. The move confirmed as an initial loan deal to the end of the season with an option to extend next year, is what many believe to be an additional piece of Maurizio Sarri’s idea here at Chelsea to enhance his “Sarri-ball” system which does not work in the Premier League.

Having watched some of his highlights and reviewed the obvious qualities he has as a striker revered throughout European football in his prime, Higuain has struggled this season at AC Milan so far and if anything, the deal to come to London suits both at a time when it’s obvious there is a real disconnect between Sarri and his players.

Gonzalo Higuain has scored goals wherever he has played football and is proven throughout La Liga and Serie A. The UK bookies are taking bets on whether we believe he can be a success in the Premier League, according to online sites such as Amazing.bet. Do you believe that he can be, or do you think he will fail? Check out for the latest on Higuain and what he could possibly achieve here.

Having publicly called out his players for their attitude and the issue he currently has to try and motivate them to play for him, it’s been a critical week for the Italian who refuses to alter his tactics or his style. It will be interesting to see the reaction this evening.

Chelsea’s biggest problem of late has been the false-nine formation and the fact that we continue to use Eden Hazard as the focal point. He cannot play in the that position, he does not like playing in that position and in the last couple of games that has been evident with his involvement. Against Newcastle Eden Hazard was substituted and replaced – when would you ever expect that to happen?

For whatever reason, Maurizio Sarri isn’t a fan of Olivier Giroud and the Frenchman, a World Cup winner in the summer and proven Premier League striker, has struggled to get into the team as a result. The problem with that is the fact that every single football fan in world football is aware of Eden Hazard and where he can be most effective in games. Playing deeper than the striker(s), either out wide left or in the number ten role, Hazard likes to collect the ball when he is facing towards goal, where he can see his direct opponent and react to their challenge or the opportunity of space to move into. Not when he has his back to goal and a defender man-marking him.

The arrival of Higuain should solve the issue with Hazard back into a position where he can be an influence again. The only issue we could possibly have is that the amazing Belgian likes to play off of a focal point up front to link-up with. Is Gonzalo Higuain that type of striker or is he someone that prefers to play off the shoulder of the last defender instead looking for a ball in the channel between full-back and centre-back?

One thing is clear, it’s cost Chelsea a lot of money to bring in the Argentinian Striker and a move that defies our over-30’s policy. We’ve just let Cesc Fabregas leave the club because of our refusal to offer him a longer-term contract – he’s the same age!

In light of our current struggles and our real lack of goals this season under Sarri, in my view there has never been so much pressure on a striker’s shoulders like there is now for Higuain. The perfect scenario would be that he comes in and scores instantly to hit the ground running, builds an almost immediate understanding with the likes of Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Hudson-Odoi and fires us into the top four cementing our place in the Champions League next season.
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Chelsea v Tottenham – Chelsea have never been beaten three-times in a season by Tottenham.

Tonight, Chelsea take on Tottenham in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final second leg a goal down from the first leg. Chelsea have never been beaten three-times in a season by Tottenham and there is a very realistic chance it could happen with the way we are playing. 

We are looking for a reaction after a disappointing result and performance last weekend against Arsenal which, as we all know, led to an astonishing outburst from the manager who criticised their motivation after the game. It will be interesting to see if there is a positive reaction from the players including Eden Hazard who was also the subject of criticism from Maurizio Sarri in his pre-match press conference yesterday. 

On paper, with the players unavailable tonight, Chelsea should be more than able to deal with their attacking threat without Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Fernando Llorente is someone I expect Toni Rudiger to be able to cope with, Lucas Moura is not fit leaving the likes of Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen as their main-men. Both we need to keep an eye on because as we all know Eriksen has caused us plenty of problems in recent seasons. 

Having watched Chelsea week-in, week-out, it’s clear that tonight we need to start with Olivier Giroud up front and Eden Hazard out wide left. We simply cannot play with Hazard as the false-nine tonight because it will play right into their hands making our attacking threat easier to deal with. He cannot play there and doesn’t like playing there for god sake. Hazard needs to play off the focal point up top to be at his most affective. Let’s hope, pray and cross whatever it takes for that to happen.

Ideally, we score an early goal which then forces Tottenham to go one way or the other. They either come out at us and attack or look to sit back and dig in to protect their first leg advantage. Chelsea must be more direct tonight, play with a higher tempo and look to expose their full-backs in behind who always look to get forward. If we can dominate the ball, dictate the game and keep them both in their own half, we have a chance. 

We face Sheffield Wednesday next on Sunday in the FA Cup and no disrespect to them, we need to play our strongest possible team including Olivier Giroud to go all out for the win and get to another final. 

Chelsea have never lost three times in a single season to Tottenham. Let’s hope that fact remains tomorrow morning!

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David Luiz defends Jorginho before Tottenham

Chelsea vs Tottenham

Chelsea host Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg tonight.

The winner of this tie will take on Man City in the final.

Tottenham head to Stamford Bridge with a 1-0 lead and plenty of injury problems.

Spurs will be without several star players including Harry Kane and Dele Alli, who are both sidelined with injury.

As for Chelsea, they’ll have to wait to see Gonzalo Higuain in action.

The Argentine signed for the Blues on Wednesday, however the deal was done after the registration deadline for the cup tie passed.

David Luiz defends Jorginho

Criticism has been building up against Chelsea midfielder Jorginho in recent weeks.

The likes of Rio Ferdinand have claimed that Jorginho’s too slow, his passes aren’t effective and he’s generally been a disappointment since his summer move from Napoli.

Speaking to the Evening Standard before the Spurs game David Luiz has defended Jorginho against those critics:

People can have their opinion, but if they express it with more respect, it’s nicer. But some people in the world don’t have the same education or politeness. Jorginho is a great player.

It’s because he plays for Chelsea. When you play for Chelsea, a big team, you have to understand everyone is going to criticise you. But when things go well, everybody claps their hands for you.

It is his first season in England — and that is never easy for anybody — but he is doing an amazing job. This Spurs match is as important a game for Jorginho as it is for everybody else.

Also see: Maurizio Sarri before Tottenham: Eden Hazard is more an individual player than a leader.

Chelsea vs Tottenham betting tips: Carabao Cup semi-final second leg match preview & predictions.