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Chelsea Rejects XI: How Good Would They Be?

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Chelsea have developed a reputation in recent years for becoming a loan factory with several players joining the club and immediately leaving on temporary deals. Many of these end up at Chelsea’s partner club Vitesse Arnhem in Holland, whilst others end up scattered around Europe or England’s lower leagues. The vast majority are sold after either increasing their values, or failing to show the quality required to break into Chelsea’s first team.
Thibaut Courtois and Andreas Christensen are notable exceptions having broken the mould and become regulars. This season they have featured in 100% and 67% of Chelsea’s league games respectively with Courtois the undisputed number one in goal after three successful years on loan at Atletico Madrid from 2011-2014, and Christensen making his breakthrough this season after two years with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Other players have signed for significant fees in recent years, yet have struggled to make an impact and have gone on to succeed elsewhere. Here we assemble a team of these players and rate them from one to ten based on how much of a loss they are to Chelsea, with one being no loss at all and ten being players the Blues will regret letting go.

GK: Asmir Begovic


Chelsea have not been blessed with fantastic understudy goalkeepers in recent years. Aside from the 2014/15 season in which club legend Petr Cech played second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois, the likes of Henrique Hilario, Ross Turnbull and Asmir Begovic have kept the bench warm. The latter gets the nod based on the lack of competition around him more than anything else.
A brilliant goalkeeper for Stoke, Begovic got his big move to Chelsea in 2015. Frustrated at his lack of first team opportunities, the Bosnian joined Bournemouth this summer where he has usurped Artur Boruc as number one. With Willy Caballero a capable backup however following his summer move from Manchester City, Begovic will not be missed by many in West London. 3/10

 

RB: Jack Cork


Okay, a very tenuous one this. Chelsea have had no right-backs in recent years who fit the criteria of flops who have succeeded elsewhere after leaving Stamford Bridge. Cork gets this spot based on the fact he played a handful of games in this position during a four-year spell with Southampton.
Naturally a defensive midfielder, the recent England debutant has succeeded with the Saints, Swansea and now Burnley. With the right-back spot redundant since Antonio Conte began playing with three at the back, and better options in his natural position, few if any will be calling for the return of Cork. 1/10

CB: Nathan Ake


One of the most successful products of Chelsea’s transfer system, the Dutchman became Bournemouth’s record signing when he joined for £20m in the summer having had a successful loan spell at the Dorset club last season. He was such a hit, Conte recalled him early to give Chelsea additional options in defence during their ultimately-successful title challenge. He rarely featured however, and was deemed surplus to requirements in the end with Christensen, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Kurt Zouma all preferred options at the back, despite Zouma subsequently joining Stoke City on loan. 4/10

 

CB: Jeffrey Bruma


Ake’s fellow countryman joined the Blues in 2009, but was sold to PSV Eindhoven after four Premier League appearances in as many years. After three successful seasons in Holland, Conte attempted to bring Bruma back to Chelsea, but the defender had his heart set on a move to the Bundesliga where he ultimately joined Wolfsburg and has established himself as first choice alongside American international John Brooks. 3/10

 

LB: Ryan Bertrand


Bertrand played a key role during Chelsea’s greatest ever moment as he started the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Despite this, he was never able to dislodge Ashley Cole as a regular first choice and spent the majority of his nine years on Chelsea’s books as a perennial loanee. He finally left to join Southampton on a permanent basis in February 2015 where he has since established himself as first choice left-back and become a regular in the England squad.
Bertrand is reportedly on Manchester City’s radar, whilst Conte is said to have been keen on bringing him back to Stamford Bridge in the summer. If he returned, he may struggle to dislodge surprise hit Marcos Alonso in the left-wingback role, but would certainly be regarded as a capable reserve with the ability to also play centre-back if called upon. 6/10

 

CDM: Oriol Romeu

Like Bertrand, former Barcelona youngster Romeu has flourished at Southampton having spent the majority of his Stamford Bridge career as a loanee. The Premier League’s third-highest tackler last season (and fourth so far this campaign), the Spaniard has established himself as a midfield hardman and deservedly won Southampton’s Player of the Year award last season.
Romeu would not look out of place in the starting eleven for one of the big teams, yet would struggle to become a regular at Chelsea with N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko forming a solid partnership in the centre of the park and Cesc Fabregas able to fill in with defensive duties when required. 6/10

 

CDM: Nemanja Matic

It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time where Matic was regarded a flop. The Serb joined from Slovakian side VSS Kosice but never broke into the first team and was sold to Benfica in 2011 in part-exchange for David Luiz.
At Chelsea, Matic was below Ramires and the highly-rated Josh McEachran, a one-time Real Madrid target who now plies his trade in the Championship for Brentford. At Benfica however, Matic developed greatly and Chelsea bought him back for £21m in 2014 as he went on to establish himself as one of the Premier League’s best holding midfielders.
In the summer he joined Manchester United for £40m, ex-United defender Phil Neville described Chelsea’s decision to let him go as “one of the poorest decisions I have ever seen in the Premier League.” 9/10

RW: Juan Cuadrado


The Colombian winger joined the Blues from Fiorentina in February 2015, but only spent half a season at the club before joining Juventus on loan for the 2015/16 season. He impressed with the Italian giants who resigned him on a three-year loan which was later made permanent.
Known for his rapid pace, mazy dribbling and excellent passing ability, Jose Mourinho had hoped Cuadrado would offer a positive contribution to his side, but it wasn’t to be as the midfield attacking trio of Oscar, Willian and Eden Hazard proved impossible to dislodge. Oscar has since been replaced by Pedro who has impressed since signing from Barcelona.
Cuadrado may have done well with Juventus and perhaps would have been a useful player to have on the bench, but he will not be particularly missed in West London. 5/10

 

CAM: Kevin De Bruyne


The one that got away. De Bruyne’s talent was never in doubt, but his form was poor at Chelsea due to off-field issues. His girlfriend cheated on him with teammate Thibaut Courtois and this impacted on him heavily. Then-manager Jose Mourinho criticised the midfielder describing him as a “cry baby” and “an upset kid who lost form because he couldn’t manage his emotional life” which ultimately lead to De Bruyne pushing for a move away.
De Bruyne got his wish and ended up at Wolfsburg in 2014 which is where he really made a name for himself. A year later and Manchester City paid £55m to bring him back to the Premier League, then the second-most expensive signing of all time in the English top flight after Angel Di Maria had joined Manchester United for £60m a year previously.
Despite the quality in Chelsea’s midfield, there is no doubt De Bruyne would take them to the next level. The Belgian’s scintillating form for City has led to them dropping just two points this season and red-hot favourites to take Chelsea’s title from them. Perhaps it would be a different story had he remained at Stamford Bridge. 10/10

LW: Mohamed Salah


Chelsea fought off stiff competition from Liverpool to bring Salah to Stamford Bridge in 2014. He failed to make an impact however, and after loan spells at Fiorentina and Roma he joined the latter on a permanent basis in 2016. This summer however, Liverpool finally got their man and he is currently the Premier League’s top scorer with nine goals, one more than six of the Premier League’s biggest names including Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata.
A couple of injuries to the likes of Hazard, Willian or Pedro could damage the Blues and Salah would have been the perfect remedy in this situation. Perhaps even a regular starter, something that would be difficult to argue against based on his current displays. 9/10

ST: Romelu Lukaku


Another player who Chelsea probably regret selling. Having signed in 2011, he failed to dislodge Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba making twelve appearances in his first season including three in Chelsea’s successful League Cup run.
He spent the next couple of years on loan at West Bromwich Albion and Everton respectively. Despite succeeding at both clubs and being tipped for a great future, he became the Toffees record signing when he joined permanently for £30m in 2014. Three years later and Manchester United signed him for £75m.
He has 93 Premier League strikes to his name and was reportedly a target for Antonio Conte in the summer before he joined United. With just one key striker in the form of Diego Costa last season and Morata this campaign, Chelsea have looked thin up front and could struggle in the case of an injury. Michy Batshuayi has an impressive goals-per-minutes played ratio, but Conte seems reluctant to rely on him regularly. Lukaku on the other hand is a proven Premier League goalscorer and his goals would certainly be an asset for his former club. 9/10

Notable mentions:
Several other players have impressed since leaving the Blues and some could also merit a place in this eleven, or at least on the bench. Filipe Luis was brilliant at Atletico Madrid prior to his move to England in 2014. When he moved back to the Spanish capital a year after leaving he picked up where he left off and has put a disappointing spell in London behind him. Nathaniel Chalobah was a key player in Watford’s brilliant form at the beginning of this season before picking up an injury whilst Christian Atsu helped Newcastle win the Championship last year. Daniel Sturridge was one of the best players in the country during Liverpool’s ill-fated title challenge in 2014. Unfortunately injuries have since halted his progress and he has struggled to perform consistently at the highest level in the past couple of years. Andre Schurrle impressed at Wolfsburg although injuries have hampered his career at Borussia Dortmund.

If this team were to play in the Premier League, you would expect them to finish in the top half at least, most likely as challengers for a Europa League spot. Their defence may let them down at times but a front four of Cuadrado, De Bruyne, Salah and Lukaku would be up there amongst the best in the league. On one hand, the majority of these players were sold for large profits, on the other, many are worth so much more now. Although if Chelsea continue to win titles and other major trophies, perhaps their current transfer policy will be justified.

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Football

Video | Neymar showered in fake €500 notes embossed with his crying face

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Bayern Munich fans have never been ones to shied away from criticism’s of UEFA and the heavy corporate influences within the game.  This week the worlds most expensive player was in town, and the supporters front line weren’t about to miss an opportunity to poke him with corporate stick, and they didn’t disappoint.

As the Brazilian striker made his way over to take a corner in the first half, Bayern supporters in the front row showered him in fake €500 notes complete with a custom image of Neymar’s face in tears.

Image: Fox Sports (via Yahoo)

Bayern fans also to aim at UEFA by unveiled a banners reading: “Throwing fake money is charged, but exploiting our football is fine?”

The banner was in response to UEFA’s recent charge of the Bundesliga champions after fans previously threw fake cash on the field in protest against the €100 ticket prices charged for the clash with Anderlecht in Belgium last month.

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England’s World Cup Opponents | What’s in store?

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Belgium, Tunisia and Panama: England’s World Cup Opponents Reviewed
With the World Cup draw having been made, England fans will be relatively happy with the group they have been given. The pot one heavyweights in the form of Argentina, Brazil, France and Germany were all avoided, whilst Tunisia are one of the weakest teams in pot three. World Cup debutants Panama are another side the majority of teams would have been happy to face. Here we review all three of England’s opponents ahead of football’s greatest showpiece kicking off in Russia next summer.

Belgium


Belgium will be by far the most familiar of England’s opponents. The majority of The Red Devils’ squad play or have played in England’s top flight with 21 of the 34 players to have appeared in Belgium squads since September having Premier League experience. In addition, Mats Sels played for Newcastle in the Championship last season whilst Thorgan Hazard was on Chelsea’s books despite not making a single appearance for them.


In terms of key players, Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is arguably the pick of the bunch with many regarding him the Premier League’s best player this season. Chelsea duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku and Tottenham defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld will also be high-quality opposition for Kane, Alli and co. to test themselves against.
Outside the Premier League, PSG defender Thomas Meunier, Roma’s Radja Nainggolan and Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco are all big players, but arguably the most dangerous threat will come from Napoli’s Dries Mertens who has ten Serie A goals already this season.
In recent years, the so-called “golden generation” has not yet lived up to expectations. In 2014 they reached the World Cup, their first major tournament in 14 years. After one-goal victories against Algeria, Russia and South Korea in the group stages, they beat the USA 2-1 after extra time in the last 16. Their run was halted by Argentina in the quarter finals when an early Gonzalo Higuain goal gave the South American giants a 1-0 victory.


It was Euro 2016 however in which they really disappointed. Despite losing 2-0 to Italy in their opening group match, 3-0 and 1-0 wins over Republic of Ireland and Sweden respectively were enough to see them progress to the knockout rounds as group E runners-up. A 4-0 win over Hungary set up a quarter final match with Wales and when Radja Nainggolan’s long distance strike gave Marc Wilmots’ side an early lead, hopes were high of a semi-final clash with Portugal. But Wales came back to claim a shock 3-1 victory which knocked Belgium out.
Wilmots was sacked after this result and replaced with another name familiar to Premier League fans in the form of Roberto Martinez. The ex-Swansea, Wigan and Everton boss led Belgium to become the first European team to qualify for Russia 2018. Only a 1-1 draw with Greece denied them a 100% qualifying record in a campaign which saw 6-0 and 9-0 wins over Gibraltar and an 8-1 victory over Estonia. This helped secure their status (joint with Germany) as the highest-scoring team in the history of a single World Cup qualifying campaign with 43 goals.
Belgium are currently sixth-favourites to lift the trophy in July ahead of former winners England and Uruguay, and European Championship holders Portugal. England have played them 21 times picking up 15 victories and just a solitary defeat which came back in 1936.

Tunisia

©Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The other two teams in Group G will be a lot less familiar to England fans.
Tunisia are making their fifth appearance at the World Cup finals having failed to progress beyond the group stages in all four of their previous campaigns, most recently in 2006. They began their campaign in the second round of African qualifiers with a 4-2 aggregate victory over Mauritania before topping a group including Guinea, Libya and closest rivals Congo DR in the third round. A 0-0 draw at home to Libya in the final group game was enough to book their ticket to Russia despite Congo DR defeating Guinea 3-1.


The Premier League has seen five Tunisian players in its history. The first to arrive was defender Radhi Jaidi. Jaidi played for Esperance Sportive de Tunis, Tunisia’s most successful club before joining Bolton Wanderers in July 2004. He then went on to play for Birmingham before joining League One Southampton in 2009. The ex-national team captain is now coaching the Saints’ U23 team. He played at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and was a part of Tunisia’s African Cup of Nations-winning side in 2004. Birmingham signed Mehdi Nafti just a few months after Jaidi’s arrival in England.

Nafti now manages Merida in the Spanish third division. Hatem Trabelsi had a brief spell at Manchester City in the 2006/07 season before Yohan Benalouane signed for Leicester in 2015. The defender played in four games during Leicester’s title-winning 2015/16 season but missed out on a winners’ medal as a minimum of five appearances were required. Wahbi Khazri makes up the Premier Leagues’ Tunisian contingent having joined Sunderland in January 2016. His highlight in the North-East was a goal and assist in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United. He now plays on loan for Rennes in the French Ligue 1.

Tunisia’s biggest-name player at the moment is defender Aymen Abdennour who currently plays for Marseille on loan from Valencia. Abdennour was once a reported Chelsea target and Watford were said to be interested in signing him this summer before he returned to France where he had previously played with Toulouse and Monaco. Another key player is captain Aymen Mathlouthi. The goalkeeper has spent his entire career in Tunisia. He has spent fourteen years at Etoile du Sahel and won the CAF Champions League in 2007. Mathlouthi is known as a ball-playing goalkeeper and lifted the African Nations Championship (not to be confused with the African Cup of Nations) in 2011. Other names that may be familiar to avid fans of European football are Ligue 1 trio Oussama Haddadi, Naim Sliti (both Dijon) and Nice youngster Bassem Srarfi. Doncaster Rovers fans will be familiar with midfielder Issam Ben Khemis, although with just one cap to his name (in October 2016), he looks likely to miss out on a trip to Russia.
Nabil Maaloul is the Tunisia head coach. He played in Europe briefly for German side Hannover and is currently in his fifth spell as either Tunisia manager or assistant manager (including managing the Olympic side in 2004). He had a three-year spell as Kuwait boss before returning to the Carthage Eagles in April 2017, just in time to mastermind his nation’s progression to the World Cup finals.
In two appearances against Tunisia, England are unbeaten. They drew 1-1 in a 1990 friendly before winning 2-0 in the 1998 World Cup group stages.

Panama


If England fans are unfamiliar with Tunisia, then Panama are even more of an unknown quantity. The Central American side began their campaign in the fourth round of qualifiers for teams in CONCACAF, the equivalent of UEFA for teams in North and Central America (plus Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana). They finished second in a group featuring Haiti, Jamaica and group winners Costa Rica to progress to the fifth and final qualifying round.
In the fifth round they had to finish in the top three to qualify for the World Cup or fourth to enter into a play-off. After nine of the ten games had been played they found themselves fourth with Mexico and Costa Rica having already qualified and Trinidad and Tobago knocked out. After 87 minutes of their final match with Costa Rica, they were level at 1-1 but heading out with Honduras and the USA both above them. Having gone 1-0 down, a controversial equaliser was given to Gabriel Torres despite having not crossed the line. On 88 minutes, defender Roman Torres wrote his name into Panamanian history when he smashed the winner past goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton sending his country into third place and booking a ticket to Russia.
Five of the Panama team called up for recent friendlies against Wales and Iran currently ply their trade in Europe. Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who has 128 caps, plays in Romania with Dinamo Bucuresti. Defender Erick Davis is at Slovakian top flight side Dunajska Streda. Midfielder Ricardo Avila is with the reserves of Belgian side KAA Gent. Attacker Ismael Diaz is in the Spanish third tier with Deportivo Fabril, the reserve side of Deportivo la Coruna, whilst Gabriel Torres, a former Manchester United trialist, is in Switzerland with Lausanne-Sport. Panama’s top scorers with 43 goals are Peru-based Luis Tejada and Blas Perez of Guatemalan side Municipal.
Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez is one Panamanian who has faced England before at a World Cup. He was manager of the Columbia side that finished third in their group at France 1998, behind second-placed England, but ahead of Tunisia. He also took Ecuador to the tournament in Japan and South Korea back in 2002.


The June 24th clash in Novgorod will be the first time England have ever played Panama.
Whilst defeat to Belgium would not be a disaster (assuming things have gone to plan in the other two games), losing to Tunisia would be a massive blow, whilst picking up no points against Panama would prove to be a disaster of Icelandic proportions. San Marino have managed to dispel the old cliché “there are no easy games in football”, but truly poor teams do not qualify for World Cups meaning Gareth Southgate’s side will have to stay professional to ensure there are no early upsets. A top two finish will set up a last 16 tie against Poland, Japan, Colombia or Senegal. The minimum that should be expected from this tournament.

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Video | The Sunderland Sh*tter caught in the act.

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Poogate. What actually happened?

A video has surfaced of the Sunderland fan reported to have dropped his trousers and have a poo under his seat during Sunderlands game against Reading The young supporter was kicked out of the Stadium of Shite, sorry Light, after supporters parted like the Red Sea in order to order to avoid the sight and smell of their fellow supporter’s bum truffles nestling under his seat.

The story first broke on Saturday night as an onlooker posted this image, accompanied by an explanation of what was going down.

 

 

The fan wrote.

“100% Happened. Kid was two rows back from me. He was absolutely blitzed, may well have had more than just booze looking at his eyes. He was in a bad way a few games ago as well, sleep in his seat.

Today he dropped his pants to his ankles, squatted and curled one out. Everyone around him parted. he pulled his pants back up and just stood there totally spaced out! Then the coppers came up and took him away. A bairn in the row in front saw the shit and started gagging before spewing into our row!”

On top of watching their side crash to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Reading, fans sitting close by were left “gagging” as the young lad, seemingly without a care in the world, just sat there and continued to watch the game, which the video seems to confirm.

Another fan got in touch to tell us “It’s the second game in a row he’s been spaced out and arrested, last week he fell asleep during the game and was falling all over the place. He was a right mess. A young child near us started being sick, and there was a few full grown men that weren’t far away from doing the same.”

By the sounds of it, this lad had had more than a few sherbets, and I’d be very surprised if he was back next week. Even if he didn’t have his ticket taken away, you’d have to have some stones to return after causing so much uproar.

Certainly won’t be welcomed back with open arms.

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