Yes, that’s a Chelsea broken badge because Chelsea are broken after finishing third and will lose one-fifth of their first-choice defence…
Chelsea are on the brink of getting new, very rich owners and the ability to buy players and also offer new contracts to existing players so of course it’s time for The Sun to break out the Chelsea cracked badge.
They have just finished third in the Premier League and reached two cup finals (four if you count various Super-Duper cups) but let’s break out the Chelsea cracked (actually, it’s so cracked it’s broken) badge because this is crisis time. Or at least it is if you ask a West Ham fan to write about it.
He quite correctly writes that Antonio Rudiger will be a big loss but then hyperbole takes over:
‘Also gone is Andreas Christensen, less robust than Rudiger but vastly experienced after ten years attached to a club which places relentless demands on its personnel.
‘Left-back Marcos Alonso wants out, captain Cesar Azpilicueta would not say no to moving back to Spain. The entire back line is melting away.’
Hmmm. Of the ‘entire back line’ that kept out Liverpool for 120 minutes in the FA Cup final, two are likely to exit this summer. And one of those two – Marcos Alonso – was only playing because Ben Chilwell suffered a devastating injury in November.
So does one-fifth of a first-choice defence leaving constitute a ‘melting away’? It does if you’re a Hammer like Andrew Dillon.
And he doesn’t stop with the defence either…
‘It is at the heart of his team where Tuchel also needs to perform surgery.
‘It might not be as time-sensitive as the major overhaul at the back, but key midfielder Mason Mount must be nailed down to a new long-term contract.
‘Mount, 23, was crowned Chelsea’s player of the year for the second year in succession after Sunday’s last-gasp win over relegated Watford.
‘The dyed-in-the-wool Blue is central to the future. But if nothing is done this summer, he will kick off next season with less than two years left on his contract.’
Good job that he is about to sign a new contract then, you miserable beggar.
‘Right-back Reece James has one more year than Mount to go but Boehly’s bean-counters can’t let that one slide either. James is considered one of the best in his position in the country.’
His contract expires in 2025. Crack that badge.
‘Experienced playmaker Jorginho is another getting itchy feet, threatening another gap in the midfield.
‘N’Golo Kante has been described as Chelsea’s ‘Mbappe, de Bruyne and van Dijk’ by gushing boss Tuchel. Yet the World Cup winning France midfielder has just endured a patchy season with injury and he is 31.’
It sounds bad until you remember that Mateo Kovacic exists. As does Conor Gallagher. And that Chelsea won’t sell Jorginho unless they get a replacement.
‘And don’t forget Tuchel must also find a way to get the best out of £150m duo Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner up front.’
Oh we won’t. As long as you don’t forget that Chelsea’s actual first-choice striker this season was Kai Havertz. And also that – and this seems important – Chelsea still scored more goals than any team barring Manchester City or Liverpool.
Thomas Tuchel does have a tricky task this summer but does he really ‘face the biggest job of his career trying to reflate Chelsea’s flatlining presence in the Premier League’?
They finished third last season with their biggest points total since winning the title under Antonio Conte in 2016/17. Charge up the defibrillator.
On Wednesday we were told that Erik ten Hag was like an ‘army leader’ by talking to nutritionists and on Thursday we learn (exclusively) in the Daily Mirror that the Dutchman has ‘ordered a full profile of all his Manchester United players before he meets them’.
The animal. What next? Directions to the training ground? Videos? Photos? Is there no end to this man’s obsession?
It’s no surprise that while the back page of The Sun (not bought in Liverpool) focuses on Sadio Mane’s reluctance to commit to Liverpool, the Daily Mirror (bought in Liverpool) trumpets that Mo Salah is staying at the club. But we cannot help feeling that bias is shaping their coverage, with the Mirror proclaiming that ‘Salah ends the speculation by saying: I’m staying next season for sure’.
Was that ever in doubt though? We still don’t know if Salah will sign a new Liverpool contract and the only speculation was whether he would sign or leave next year for nothing. He was never going to leave this summer for a reduced fee; neither Salah nor Liverpool would countenance that.
‘MO SALAH has handed Liverpool a massive Champions League boost by promising to stay at Anfield next term.’
It doesn’t feel like a boost to confirm something that was never really in any doubt.
‘If Liverpool do not hand him a new contract, they will surely sell him before he becomes a free agent.’
Sorry but that’s not how football contracts work. Why would he agree to leave when he can claim a much better and bigger contract as a free agent? Surely football journalists know this by now?
VAR from accurate
ESPN have reeled out their VAR Effect Table, which takes all 120 VAR decisions in the Premier League and speculates what might have happened if those decisions had remained with the referee and takes into account form, xG, the time of the incident and more.
It must have taken literally dozens of hours to calculate. But you have to conclude that any system that comes to the conclusion that Arsenal would have held on for a win over Manchester City is fatally flawed.
‘Arsenal were 1-0 up at home to Manchester City on New Year’s Day when a VAR decision gave the visitors a penalty. That goal changed the course of the game and led to a City win; the VAR Effect Table has this as an Arsenal win.’
Then the VAR Effect Table is a f***ing idiot.