Chelsea news and gossip is coming in thick and fast and Sportarena is on hand to bring you all the very latest from Stamford Bridge.
Julen Lopetegui claims Chelsea could win the Uefa Champions League this season
Sevilla manger Julen Lopetegui has heaped the pressure on Frank Lampard by declaring Chelsea one of this year’s Uefa Champions league favourites.
Julen Lopetegui hailed Frank Lampard’s “extraordinarily strong” team ahead of tonight’s Group E Uefa Champions League opener at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were chastening 7-1 last-16 loss to last season’s eventual champions Bayern Munich and manger Frank Lampard has since recruited a raft of high-profile new faces.
The Blues had started this season in a mixed miserable form win two at of their league games with latest Saturday’s 3-3 Premier League home draw with Southampton but, despite the Blues’ teething problems, Sevilla’s former Spain boss Lopetegui was fulsome in his praise.
‘We are up against one of the teams that could win the title, in Chelsea, but we want to focus on performing well tomorrow – that’s all we can do,’ said Lopetegui.
‘I think it’s going to be a tough ask. Every match is difficult, but especially in the Champions League against a team like Chelsea.
‘Chelsea have bought some good players, invested a lot of money, it’s a great squad and coach that knows the club inside-out.
‘It’s very challenging to play in the Champions League, but it’s the culmination of what we did last season.
‘We often talk about enjoying football, but that’s the only way we know, to give everything we have.
‘They are an extraordinarily strong opposition. Chelsea have some fantastic, top players, but they are going to force us to be at our very best.
‘We’ve got to raise ourselves to our very best standard, because that’s the level that we’ll need tomorrow.
‘I really don’t think the starts for the season for both sides count for every much at this point.
‘They have been playing well lately and they will force us to produce our best possible performance across the board. We’re going to need to play very well tomorrow.’
Frank Lampard on Chelsea’s back-line leak
Frank Lampard has rejected criticism of his leaky defence amid concerns the problem could undermine Blues’ season – but appeared to criticise beleaguered goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Blues’ Uefa Champions League campaign gets under way tonight when they play host to Europa League defending champions Sevilla.
Frank Lampard’s men have kept just one clean sheet from their opening five Premier League games this season, conceding nine goals in the process.
Those frailties were exposed again on Saturday as they conceded three in a home draw against visitor Southampton.
Since Ex-Blues midfielder replaced Maurizio Sarri as managerial position at the club, Blues defensive have been faced major problems, having conceded 63 goals in 43 Premier League games.
However, Frank Lampard is adamant Chelsea are on the right track defensively, citing that his team have reduced opposition to the second lowest number of shots behind Manchester City in that period.
‘Since we have been here we have conceded the second- least shots in the Premier League behind Manchester City so sometimes it helps you to narrow down some of the issues,’ explained the Stamford Bridge boss.
‘The issues are that we don’t concede too many shots on goal but when we do, we concede goals.It’s something we are aware of when you look at our recruitment.’
Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta said: ‘When you’re weak defensively sometimes we feel like we have to score three or four each game.’
Edouard Mendy and Hakim Ziyech fit enough to be in contention for tonight clash
Edouard Mendy has been participated in Chelsea’s final preparations ahead of Sevilla clash.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper was on international duty with Senegal last week when he suffered a thigh injury during training.
Before Blues last weekend game, boss Frank Lampard has issued an updates on his fitness, confirmed he will out for one or two weeks.
Lampard said: ‘Mendy is at the minute injured and probably will be fit in the next week ortwo weeks and then that will be the decision for me to make about who plays.’
But it is understood that the Senegal international trained with the rest of the first-team squad at Cobham on Monday and is in contention to feature against Europa League defending champions Sevilla tonight.
After missed the Blues’ last six games in all competitions due to hamstring injury problem sustained against Brighton in pre-season earlier in August.
Hakim Ziyech has finally made his debut for Chelsea last weekend as he coming on for Mason Mount inside the final 20 minutes against Southampton.
The technically gifted Morocco winger is expected to make his first start of the season tonight when Blues welcome Sevilla at Stamford Bridge in their opener Uefa Champions League game of this campaign.
Chelsea were happy to let defender Antonio Rudiger leave the club on loan
Chelsea demanded a £12.5million package to let German centre-back Antonio Rudiger leave on loan this season, according to reports.
The defender was strongly linked with moves to Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Paris Saint-Germain, towards the end of the window but a move away from Stamford Bridge failed to materialise.
Antonio Rudiger had fallen out of favour with boss Frank Lampard following the arrival of Thiago Silva from Paris Saint-Germain and the rise in form of Kurt Zouma in west London.
And according to The Athletic, the Blues asked interested clubs to pay a £5million loan fee for the German defender – while they also asked for his entire wages to be covered by his new club.
The 27-year-old is currently on a £150,000-a-week contract at Stamford Bridge, which equates to just over £7.5million-a-year.
The report explains in details that clubs were put off by Chelsea’s steep asking price for the German defender, who showed defensive frailties during the back end of last season which nearly cost the Blues a place in this season’s Champions League.