It was the final day of the 2018 Premier League season, and Chelsea were in Newcastle for their last attempt at picking up points to help secure Champions League qualification.

Just four days before, Huddersfield Town had brought an end to the Blues’ four game win streak, on their way to themselves escaping relegation from the Premier League.

Newcastle United were hoping to break a four-game losing streak that started after their 2-1 win v Arsenal mid-April. They were also looking to change their fortunes against today’s opposition. This was the third meeting between the sides this season, and Antonio Conte’s team had won the two previous encounters 3-1 in the league, and 3-0 in the FA Cup. […]

Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood) St. James’ Park/May 13, 2018 This is our last Premier League game of the season but it’s our penultimate match of the 2017/2018 season with the FA Cup final against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United team still to come later this month. There’s not much riding on this match for either side […]

Conte reacted quickly to the goal, first bringing in Giroud for Zappacosta and then Hazard for Pedro a few minutes later.

The reinforcements helped spring the lock: four minutes after the Hazard sub, Azpilicueta zipped a low cross into the box. Zanka tried to intercept, but his clearance bounced off Marcos Alonso’s head and into the net for 1-1.

It was Alonso’s seventh league goal this season. He barely knew anything about it, it was a lucky goal, but Chelsea had flooded the penalty box with bodies. It was the kind of luck you make by being there for the opportunity when it comes.

Even as they equalized though, the news filtered in that Harry Kane had scored at Wembley to put Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 up v Newcastle United. As it stood, Chelsea were not getting past Spurs into the CL places. […]

Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood) Stamford Bridge/May 9, 2018   Anything short of a comfortable victory against the Terriers will render the hard work put in against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool useless. With the victory over Liverpool on Sunday and Spurs losing to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday giving us an outside chance of qualifying for the […]

Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood) Stamford Bridge/May 6, 2018 This is the most pivotal week of the season for Antonio Conte’s team as we hold on to the faintest of hope of qualifying for the world’s biggest club competition the UCL next season. The Liverpool team will be in high spirit after their trip to Rome […]

Chelsea were in Wales to play Swansea City, for Saturday’s late EPL kick-off. There were just four games left till the end of the Premier League season. Five games before withdrawal symptoms set in for Chelsea FC fans, including the FA Cup Final.

Swansea City were in some danger: they were 17th in the table with 33 points, one point and one place above the relegation line, and with two games left to play against two clubs below them, Southampton and Stoke City.

They’d picked up just three points in their last five league games, from draws with Huddersfield Town (0-0), West Bromwich Albion (1-1) and Everton (1-1). They’d also lost to Manchester United (2-0) at the end of March, and Manchester City (5-0) in their last game.

The league champions were up in 5th on 63 points, seeing out a disappointing season by their standards. They had a faint hope of catching up with Tottenham or Liverpool in the champions league places, slightly enhanced by Liverpool’s recent draws with West Brom (2-2) and Stoke (0-0), but Conte’s team would probably have to win all of their remaining games to take advantage. […]

Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood) Liberty Stadium/April 28, 2018 It’s now three wins on the trot for the Blues for the first time this year and now four games unbeaten. There will be massive confidence brimming in the team as a result of recent results going into what’s going to be a run of difficult games […]

Chelsea were up in Lancashire for their Thursday night premier league fixture vs Burnley FC. The visitors were 5th on the log and their hosts 7th, but in terms of recent form, Sean Dyche’s team weren’t just ahead of Chelsea: they were absolute top of the league.

Yes. Burnley were doing better than Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, better than Mourinho’s United, Klopp’s Liverpool, Pochettino’s Spurs and Wenger’s Arsenal. Five wins and a draw in their last six, sixteen points from a possible eighteen. Ten full places ahead of the Blues on the form table, way back in 11th with just two wins and a draw in the same period of time.

When these two teams met at the start of the 2014/15 season, the game set the tone for the rest of the campaign – Chelsea swept Burnley away on the strength of well-taken goals from Diego Costa, Andre Schurrle and Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings in midfield. The West London club ultimately went on to win the league that season.

Fast forward to 2017/18, and the league opener was also predictive of Chelsea’s season. Gary Cahill was sent off on 14 minutes, and Sam Vokes and Stephen Ward had Burnley 3-0 up by half time. Marcos Alonso and David Luiz scored, but it wasn’t enough, and the reigning league champions carried on with a disappointing season from there. […]

Chelsea wound up with the points, 58% of possession and seventeen shots to Southampton’s ten. Nevertheless it was a worrying performance for the West London club; the win was really down to a lack of concentration and quality from the home side.

The visitors showed a marked lack of intent, courage and desire until Giroud and Pedro shocked them to life. Morata, Fabregas, Alonso and even Hazard were especially poor in the first half. Up until Giroud’s goal, Hazard’s main highlight was getting booked for tossing the ball at a Saints player’s face.

Perhaps these were symptoms of the uncertainty (or certainty) around Antonio Conte’s future? Nevertheless a win is a win. Next up for Chelsea, an away game Thursday v Burnley, before playing Southampton again on Sunday in the FA Cup semi-finals. […]

Ayodeji Itasanmi (Twitter: @aryhorblueblood) St. Mary’s Stadium/April 14, 2018 This a certainly a prelude to the FA Cup semi-final match between these two teams and it’s also a match that carries significant ramifications in both ends of the table with the Saints fighting for their Premier League survival while the Blues are trying to hold […]