Tag Archives: Chelsea

Ryan Giggs Gives His Prediction on Chelsea’s Fate Next Season

Ryan Giggs says he doesn’t expect Chelsea to defend their Premier League title next season.

The Blues enjoyed a sparkling debut campaign under Antonio Conte last term as they lifted the Premier League title after having won a record 30 top-flight games.

However, Chelsea were able to win the title last term without the distraction of European football after they missed out on a place in the Champions League last season.

Chelsea are now preparing for their return to European football as they look to compete for honours on four fronts in Conte’s second season in charge at the club.

And former Manchester United star Giggs feels that Chelsea may not be as strong next season because of their inflated fixture list.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Giggs said: 

“You can’t ignore Chelsea because of their quality, but have they got the squad to balance defending the Premier League and European football? I’m not sure.”

Manchester United are also preparing for a return to the Champions League next season after the Red Devils won the Europa League last term under Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea missed out on the chance to win a domestic double last term when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup final back in May.

However, Conte’s men will have the chance to gain revenge on the Gunners when they take on the north London side in the Community Shield on Sunday.

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Manchester United v Chelsea Revealed: How Jose Mourinho beat Antonio Conte

How else to interpret Mourinho’s team selection other than a tacit admission from the Manchester United manager that Thursday’s Europa League second-leg tie with Anderlecht was of more importance than this league game and, therefore, required the resting of tired veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Of course, what that analysis failed to take into account was a tactical masterstroke by Mourinho.

Having injected much-needed pace into the United forward line by pushing up Jesse Lingard to partner Marcus Rashford, Mourinho also mirrored Chelsea’s three-man back line, allowing the speedy Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young to take up advanced positions and add even more energy to his team’s recently moribund attacking play.

That also served to bolster United’s midfield and allowed Mourinho to unleash his tactical piece de resistance, with Ander Herrera performing a man-marking job on Eden Hazard that was so complete that the Chelsea playmaker must have expected his opponent would sit next to him in the visitors’ dressing room at half-time.

Mourinho finally got one over on Conte

The fact that Herrera scored the decisive second goal early in the second half merely underlined that this was, even more than the League Cup final win over Southampton, Mourinho’s finest hour as United manager to date.

Apart from the sheer football acumen Mourinho brought to bear on proceedings, his recent handling of his young forwards also proved significant.

The United manager has taken the unusual step of calling out Rashford, Lingard and Anthony Martial by name, pointing out their dreadful ratio of chances to goals and Frenchman Martial, poor again in the trip to Anderlecht on Thursday, did not even merit a place on the bench yesterday.

But if Mourinho’s desired effect was to provide the remaining two young local forwards with the proverbial kick up the rear, then his man management has been magnificent based on their respective displays against a Chelsea defence that has been virtually impregnable for large parts of this season.

Manchester United gave Chelsea a game for the ages at Old Trafford

Pacy and direct, Lingard and Rashford troubled Chelsea’s back three from the off and, even allowing for the loss and disruption caused by the injury of Marcos Alonso in the pre-game warm-up, there was no excuse for the terrified manner in which David Luiz and Gary Cahill failed to cope with their opponents.

Nor should Mourinho’s own considerable ego be underestimated. After losing his first two meetings with his former employers this season, this was simply not a game Mourinho was prepared to lose and it brought the very best out of him.

Chelsea may not agree but the Premier League – and the title race – is a better place this morning for that fact.

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Jose Mourinho leads Manchester United to cup glory

​Southampton twice came from behind in a 3 – 2 defeat for the Saints.
Manolo Gabbiadini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic traded two goals each with Lingard getting the other goal for United.
A controversial and thrilling match saw Manolo Gabbiadini’s strike wrongly ruled out for offside before Ibrahimovic struck with an impressive free-kick at the other end to open the scoring.

Man Utd players celebrating a goal against Southampton

Jesse Lingard got the second, finding the bottom-right corner after a neat team move to net on his third consecutive Wembley appearance for United.
Gabbiadini however gave the Saints hope with a goal in the first-half stoppage time.
Gabbiadini made it five goals in three Saints matches with a magnificent finish early in the second half, blocking Smalling to volley past De Gea.
Ibrahimovic scored the winner with three minutes to go and his 26th goal of the season converting with a header from Herrera’s cross.

Gabbiadini in action against Man Utd

This is Mourinho’s first major trophy as United manager and his fourth EFL Cup glory following the three he won with Chelsea.

Mourinho lifts the EFL trophy

The cup win also means United are now the most successful team in England with 42 major honours ahead of Liverpool who have 41 major honours.


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Paul Pogba to be used differently by Manchester United at Chelsea?

​Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge with Manchester United on Sunday and Danny Higginbotham expects Paul Pogba to be used in a different role to the one he occupied on Monday against Liverpool…

Danny Higginbotham on how Jose Mourinho can get the best out of Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba came in for criticism for his performance against Liverpool but showed his quality against Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday.

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Sky Sports’ tactics experts Danny Higginbotham believes there were specific reasons for Pogba’s role at Anfield and expects the Frenchman to be used differently on Sunday.

“Paul Pogba was playing as a No 10 because of the way Liverpool set up,” says Higginbotham, the former Manchester United defender.

“They are a high pressing team and what that meant is that when Manchester United got the ball they would have to beat the press, so they’d look to go long themselves.

“All the players had the same idea. They wanted to play the ball up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and to Pogba so they could beat that high press from Liverpool.”

Higginbotham explains how United players looked to hit Pogba with long passes

With Chelsea setting up in a 3-4-3 formation and less likely to press United, Jose Mourinho could consider playing Pogba deeper – a move that Higginbotham believes is for the best.

“I look at the Liverpool game and he played with his back to goal a lot because of the tactical side of things and Jose Mourinho wanting to beat the press,” he explains.

“The Chelsea game will be different because Pogba will play in a slightly deeper role and I believe that suits him more.

“Pogba is at his best when he has the freedom to go forwards, a little bit like Yaya Toure when he was at his best. For me, that’s the best role for Pogba.

Paul Pogba struggled to make an impact at Anfield

“With the energy that he’s got he needs that room for him to move into because when he gets into his stride there aren’t many who can keep up with him.

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“We’ve seen in his recent performances where he plays deeper, he can be very instrumental in the performances of Manchester United.”

Higginbotham feels Pogba would be better coming onto the ball from deep

Against Chelsea, Higginbotham feels that’s where the space could be – particularly given that Ibrahimovic could occupy the home team’s back three.

“What you’ll find is that a lot of the Chelsea defenders will be tied up by Ibrahimovic because of the physical threat that he brings,” adds Higginbotham.

Paul Pogba celebrates with Jesse Lingard after finishing a fine team move against Fenerbahce

“So what you’ll see then is that Pogba will try to get into the spaces around Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante to go and support Ibrahimovic. So he’s running on the opposition goal.”

If that happens then, as Fenerbahce found out on Thursday, Pogba is more than capable of causing major problems for the opposition.

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