Tag Archives: Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers is right to turn down Newcastle manager’s job

Newcastle United are the shiny new toy in the Premier League after their takeover, but they’ve been dealt their first blow already.

With Steve Bruce set to leave the club following unrest among fans and the new owners wanting to bring their own man in, it seemed that Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers was the man at the top of their list to takeover.

Unfortunately for them, the former Liverpool and Celtic boss has rejected the job, stating he has no interest in leaving Leicester for the Magpies.



While Newcastle are set to become a major force in the football world with their new found riches, but as stated previously on Tap Ins & Tap Outs patience is needed.

That includes from the people that could be joining the club, including the next manager.

You can’t blame Newcastle for aiming high with Rodgers. He has taken Leicester to a new level, becoming a consistent top six side under his tutelage while he has built a brilliant young squad too.

But that is the exact reason why Rodgers is right for not being distracted by the new riches in the north-east and sticking where he is.

Right now, Rodgers is beloved at the King Power Stadium and is being backed by the owners and players. They just won the FA Cup last season and for a second season in a row narrowly missed out on securing Champions League football, despite paling in comparison financially to the teams they’re competing with.

Rodgers is in a spot right now where he is under pressure to succeed, but there is no timeline on that success and the expectations are realistic. At Newcastle that won’t be the case.

Big money will be spent at St James’ Park and whether by design or just because of the situation at the club, expectations will be high immediately.

Leicester are playing European football currently and will almost certainly finish among the European places again this season barring an implosion. Newcastle are currently embroiled in a relegation battle and are likely to be there for most of the season regardless of what transfers are made in January.

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There are several steps between where Newcastle are currently and where they want to be, and Rodgers is already based above them in that running.

The opportunity to manage Newcastle with all their money, riches and expectation will no doubt come around again at some point because the club will get decisions wrong and there will be setbacks.

For now, Rodgers is in the perfect place for his development as a coach and manager and taking a backwards step would make zero sense.

Fair play for trying Newcastle, but you’ll have to aim slightly lower on this occasion!

Leicester bottle top four as Liverpool and Chelsea scrape Champions League football

Liverpool and Chelsea will be playing Champions League football next season after Leicester were beaten on the final day of a crazy Premier League season.

All three teams needed to win to ensure that they had a chance of finishing in the top four this season, but Jurgen Klopp’s side were the only ones victorious on Sunday thanks to a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace with goals from Sadio Mane.

That meant the final spot came down to this season’s FA Cup finalists and when both teams were beaten, it meant that Chelsea stayed above the Foxes to claim entry in the elite European competition next season.

Leicester took the lead against Tottenham thanks to a Jamie Vardy penalty before Harry Kane equalised. Vardy then converted a second penalty to put them ahead once again, only for Kasper Schmeichel to accidentally turn the ball into his own net. Gareth Bale then scored twice off the substitutes bench to seal a 4-2 win, meaning Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa meant nothing.

It’s the second season in a row where Leicester have failed to secure top four and Champions League football despite leading the way for the vast majority of the campaign.

Last year they failed when they lost to Manchester United on the final day, meaning Chelsea’s win against Wolves saw them overtake them in fourth place. This year they failed to make the most of the fact that they were in the top four places for longer than any other team, including eventual runaway champions Manchester City and runners-up Manchester United.

While they were able to lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history, if you’d give fans the choice of securing a trophy or securing Champions League football next season I think quite a few would’ve picked finishing higher up the table.

It would have brought in big revenue, plenty of pulling power for potential transfer targets but also would’ve seen them take the chip off their shoulder from last season. Instead now, they’ll head into next season with yet another failed domestic campaign looming over their heads.

Liverpool on the other hand will be delighted with how they finished the campaign. They suffered tremendously with injuries this season and used 19 different centre-back pairings throughout the season, often using Fabinho and even Jordan Henderson there.

But their late charge of form was boosted when they returned the Brazilian to his preferred holding midfield position, winning eight of their last ten games to close a seven point gap and eventually finish in third place.

As for Chelsea, they did so much work since Thomas Tuchel took over in January to become hard to beat and a well organised attacking outfit. While the work they did got them to the FA Cup final, Champions League final and into the top four for next season, the Blues have begun showing some flaws in recent games.

They’ve now lost three of their last four games, including the FA Cup final and with the Champions League final against Manchester City next weekend they need to swing momentum quick-fast in their favour. They could be without first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy too, who was forced off at half-time against Aston Villa after colliding with the post when trying to stop their first goal.

With Manchester City winning 5-0 in their final game of the season, the morale and mood of both teams could not be any more polar opposite and is something both managers will have to ensure they put it in their favour ahead of the biggest game of the season.

Premier League European places final day possibilities

In a Premier League season that seemed like everything was sewn up nice and early, the football Gods made sure there was still some kind of action to pay attention to on the final day.

Manchester City are champions, Manchester United are runners-up and Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United are going down to the Championship. Everything else however, including the final two top four places, Europa League places and Europa Conference League places are still up for grabs.

With the middle of the table so tight and congested, lets simplify all the possibilities of the final day of the season for you.

Champions League places

Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Leicester vs Tottenham
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Three teams will battle it out for the final two spots to compete in Europe’s elite competition next season, with Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool all still in the race.

As it stands, if all three teams were to win their games then Chelsea would finish in third place while Liverpool would pip the Foxes on goal difference, unless Leicester won by five goals more than what Jurgen Klopp’s Reds could muster up.

With the points difference so tight, if any of the teams were to slip up on the day and the other two were to win, then the team that messed up would miss out on Champions League football.

There is of course a wildcard option, that if Chelsea were to finish fifth in the league but then win the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29th, they would then qualify for the competition as holders and England would have five representatives in next year’s tournament.


EUROPA LEAGUE & EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE PLACES

West Ham vs Southampton
Leicester vs Tottenham
Manchester City vs Everton
Arsenal vs Brighton

This is where it gets a bit complicated, so bear with us.

The Europa League places will go to the teams that finish in fifth and sixth place in the Premier League, since Leicester were successful in winning the FA Cup and are guaranteed to finish inside the top five.

That means one of West Ham, Everton or Tottenham will join one of Chelsea, Liverpool or Leicester in UEFA’s secondary competition. David Moyes’ Hammers are the favourites to finish in sixth place, with a three point head-start over their rivals before the games kick off. They’ve also got the most favourable fixture, with a home tie in front of their fans against a Southampton side with nothing to play for.

Should they fall to a defeat though, Everton and Spurs can match their points tally with a win. That means it would come down to goal difference, which would earn the north London side the position in the table. However if Spurs were unable to beat Leicester and Everton could get a win over the champions Man City, they would take the spot.

There is also a new competition for UEFA though, the Europa Conference League which the team who finishes in seventh place will qualify for. That allows Arsenal to sneak into the conversation for a European place on the final day with a win over Brighton at The Emirates Stadium.

Should the Gunners win and both Spurs and Everton fail to, Mikel Arteta’s side would leapfrog both teams in the table and claim European football for next year – extending their run to 26 consecutive years in UEFA competition.


It’s sure to be an exciting final day of the season after originally looking like it would be a bit of a dead rubber weekend in England. But now it matches up with the rest of Europe with plenty of happenings on to settle at the top end of the division.

Leicester shocked Chelsea but nobody else with FA Cup win

A new name has been added to the FA Cup winners list for the first time since 2013 as Leicester City toppled Chelsea at Wembley to win the trophy for the first time in their history.

The Foxes hounded the Blues throughout the 90 minutes, bettering them all over the pitch in individual battles before a stunning goal from Youri Tielemans in the second half sealed a memorable day in north-west London.

But while Chelsea were the favourites before the game, the result wasn’t really that shocking and all the credit for that should go to Brendan Rodgers and his players.

Over the course of Rodgers’ time in charge at the King Power Stadium we have seen a meteoric rise in the standard level of what to expect from Leicester.

They won the league in the 2015/16 season completely out of the blue but quickly found themselves back in their normal swing of things the following season, finishing in 12th place. They underwent a few transitions in that time, before bringing Rodgers in a little over two years ago.

Since then it’s just been progression, progression, progression. The former Liverpool and Celtic man has implemented a style of play that sees them take an attacking approach, looking to dominate the game and take it to their opponents.

They move the ball well, create plenty of chances and defensively are sound. But more than that, they’re constantly refreshing the talent in the side with young players that fit the mould of the club.

One of the biggest stand-outs of that recruitment policy is young defender Wesley Fofana, who has been absolutely phenomenal since joining from Saint-Etienne in a £36.5million deal. Many thought the fee was on the high side for a 19-year-old who had played just 30 senior games before he made the move.

But the French defender has been brilliant, showing great ability on the ball as well as leadership qualities and a great reading of the game too go with his heading and tackling abilities. It was a real gem of a find for Leicester’s scouts, to add to the likes of N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy in the past.

Rodgers has found a great blend of experience and youth, partnering Fofana with Jonny Evans in defence while Kasper Schmeichel continues to bark orders from in goal. Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison are all young but with plenty of experience in midfield, while Vardy is a wily old fox up front doing more than just scoring goals these days

Barring an almighty collapse this week they will add to their FA Cup glory by securing a top four place this season and will play in the Champions League next season.

They’ve already been able to lock up another young talent ahead of the new season, with Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare ready to come to the Premier League in a £20million deal. With the manager also pledging his future to the club despite reported interested from Tottenham, all signs are positive right now.

Leicester will continue to build a momentous team with the backing of a wonderful owner who cares deeply about the club, fans and community and every bit of success the achieve is well deserved.

A proper club who does things the proper way, don’t be surprised by just how good Leicester are. I’m not.

Brendan Rodgers deserves another chance at the big time but not with Tottenham

As Leicester continue to prepare for yet another top four face in the final stretch of the season, there is plenty of talk around the players that have got them there.

Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans, Kasper Schmeichel, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison are the spine of a side that have managed to break into the so-called ‘big six’ for two consecutive seasons and are challenging once again to get into Europe’s premiere club competition.

Talent only gets you so far in football though, and therefore a lot credit must go to the manager too – Brendan Rodgers.

Rodgers came into the game as an assistant coach at Chelsea to Jose Mourinho and has since gone on to become one of the best coaches in the Premier League.

He was excellent at Watford, Reading and Swansea as he entered the Premier League for the time and then moved on to the biggest job of his career to date, Liverpool.

Rodgers took a largely inexperienced squad, filled it with hungry, young talent merged with solid defensive players and was able to draft together a system to pushed them to within a Steven Gerrard slip from the Premier League title.

While it quickly came down and he was sacked, he moved on to Celtic and continued his good coaching performances as he led them to unprecedented success during his tenure in Scotland. During his two-and-a-half seasons at the club, Rodgers led the Bhoys to back-to-back trebles and a third would’ve followed had he not up and left for Leicester in the middle of the campaign.

Since joining Leicester in February 2019, Rodgers has overseen two full seasons with the club once this year ends. Last year they narrowly missed out on the top four following a collapse post-COVID break, culminating in a final day defeat to Manchester United to see them drop out.

This year though, they have bounced back from that disappointment to be right back in the race once more. As it stands they currently sit in third place in the table with six games to play, seven points off second placed Manchester United and four points clear of fifth place West Ham United.

They’ve also reached their first FA Cup final since 1969 and Rodgers has the chance to win the competition for the first time ever when they face Chelsea in the final in May.

But aside from all the milestones and achievements, if you look a bit deeper into it he seems to do everything properly at every club.

He integrates youth players when he believes they’re good enough, he plays attacking football, he is flexible tactically, he has a great eye for talent in the transfer market and he is adaptable when it comes to systems to get the best out of his players.

Add to that with the fact he is very good with the media, calm under pressure and says all the right things to get fans on side, he is among the gold standard of coaches in the Premier League now.

His chance at Liverpool came too early. He stepped up to a club in transition from a team fighting relegation and managed to get them competing at the highest level domestically, but couldn’t stabilise it after it went spiralling out of control following that.

He’s clearly now learnt how to stabilise a ship after disappointment as he has done with Leicester and it is surely now the right time to see him back in the hot seat at one of the top clubs in the country.

Spurs are now in the hunt for a new manager, but Rodgers has denied that he is interested in taking the role and rightly so. As it stands, both Spurs and Leicester are in very similar positions. Neither have won a trophy in a long time and they are the outsiders when it comes to making the Champions League places. While one are considered to be part of a ‘big six’ one has won the Premier League title and the move would just be sideways at best for Rodgers.

A return to Liverpool once Jurgen Klopp eventually leaves seems unlikely, while Manchester City likely have plans in place already for who they want to replace Pep Guardiola with once he leaves, but clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea could do much worse than look to him to take over if the current project falls on it’s face.

Right now, Rodgers is doing a perfect job at the King Power and doesn’t need to leave immediately to do it. But at some point the opportunity will come along, whether it be in the Premier League or Europe and it will be fully deserved.

Europa League last 32 predictions – Tottenham and Leicester

The Europa League returns for the knockout rounds and will host four English sides as opposed to the three that were in the group stages. While Manchester United drop down from the Champions League, Arsenal, Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur will reconvene in Europe’s secondary competition.

Arsenal will face Benfica in their knockout tie, while Manchester United will face La Liga outfit Real Sociedad in theirs but the other Premier League sides will have considerably easier tasks at hand

The Foxes will take on Slavia Prague, the champions of the Czech Republic, while Spurs will travel to take on Wolfsberger AC who hail from Austria.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are currently in fantastic form in the Premier League, sitting in third place currently on goal difference. They’ve been able to beat Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea this season domestically and went through the group stages as group winners on goal difference having won four of their six games.

Jose Mourinho’s side on the other hand have had a very odd season, from the highs of topping the table after 12 games to currently sitting in ninth place having accumulated just 12 points in the following 12 games. In the Europa League though, they were able to cruise into the next round as group winners scoring 15 goals in their six group games.

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League : News Photo

Both sides will be heavy favourites in their knockout ties but will need to be wary of their opponent’s threats.

Slavia Prague were able to score 11 goals in their six group stage games but conceded ten. It means their games were open ended, with three or more goals scored in each game barring their home game against Bayer Leverkusen which they lost 1-0.

Rodgers will be aware of this and will know that means that they aren’t afraid to change their game plan at home when they come up against a stronger side. Leicester’s recent form has seen them lost just once in their last 14 games in all competitions, winning three of their last four and conceding only once.

Spurs on the other hand will come against Wolfsberger AC, who scored only seven goals in their six games but they also only conceded six. Defensively they proved relatively solid and hard to beat, but they could barely hit a barn door with a banjo in their attacking third.

FBL-EUR-C3-TOTTENHAM-LUDOGORETS : News Photo

Mourinho’s side will be very confident of a win, despite losing five of their last six games in all competitions and conceding 13 goals in those games. The north Londoners will likely use their large squad to their advantage and rest several key players, but the fact they can call upon stars like Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son in an emergency means they should have far too much quality for their opponents.

Both English teams will go through comfortably over two legs and expect key players to be rested as they prioritise the Premier League run for now.

PREDICTIONS:

Slavia Prague 0-2 Leicester
Leicester 3-1 Slavia Prague
(Leicester to progress 5-1 on aggregate)

Wolfsberger AC 0-3 Tottenham
Tottenham 3-0 Wolfsberger AC
(Tottenham to progress 6-0 on aggregate)

Premier League top six predictions review – Post January transfer window

At the start of the Premier League campaign, predictions were rife about how the season would go.

Nobody knew what to expect after just a 48 day break between the end of the previous season and start of this, and what has followed has been one of the most whirlwind seasons in recent memory.

So lets take a review of what the predictions were and how they’re doing as we go into the second half of the season.


Tottenham Hotspur
Predicted – 6th
Currently – 6th

A season that started so promisingly for Jose Mourinho’s side has struggled to keep going that way, with the north London side seriously struggling for results.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - Premier League : News Photo
Spurs’ hopes hang on the form of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son

Two wins from their last nine fixtures have seen them slip from a potential title charge to a battle for top four, while key man Harry Kane is picking up injuries again. He and Heung-Min Son’s form have been the catalyst for any positives, with both men enjoying stellar individual seasons. Defensively though they have leaked goals and Mourinho has struggled to get the best out of any other attackers to make up for when Kane and Son aren’t firing.

As it stands, they’ll scrape a top six position once again and this particular prediction is one I’m happy to stand by for now.
NEW PREDICTION – 6th


Arsenal
Predicted – 5th
Currently – 10th

Southampton v Arsenal - Premier League : News Photo
Arsenal’s reliance on Smith Rowe and Saka recently has been huge

The Gunners had a fantastic summer transfer window, bringing in the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba while they also completed the signing of Thomas Partey after my prediction was made.

Despite that, Saliba wasn’t included in the squad for the Premier League and only made appearances for the Under 23’s before leaving in January while Willian has been poor and Partey has suffered with injuries. This culminated in the Gunners winning just one game in ten between November and the end of December, but they seem to have turned a corner now.

They’ve started scoring goals again, they’re still keeping clean sheets and the introduction of Emile Smith Rowe and signing of Martin Odegaard have added creativity to a side that was bereft of it before. They’re certainly in the race for the top six, but I think a lack of quality squad depth could see them just miss out on it.
NEW PREDICTION – 7th


Manchester United
Prediciton – 4th
Currently – 2nd

A shocking start to the season saw United open the campaign with defeats at home, but wins away from Old Trafford. That pattern has continued as the season has progressed, with the Reds unbeaten away from home in the league in over a year but having won just four of ten games this season.

FBL-ENG-PR-LEICESTER-MAN UTD : News Photo
If Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford don’t perform, United struggle.

They crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage but that didn’t effect their league form too much as they stormed to the top of the league for a period, before a defeat to bottom of the league Sheffield United derailed them.

Defensively they have struggled, keeping just six clean sheets this season, but they have scored a fair few goals this season – the 9-0 win over Southampton on Tuesday night means they’ve scored more than anyone else. Their squad depth has been useful too, with Solskjaer making more changes to his team than anyone else in the league. But with a heavy reliance on individual quality rather than a quality system, they have struggled against the sides around them this year and ultimately it will see them fall away.
NEW PREDICTION – 3rd


Chelsea
Prediction – 3rd
Currently – 7th

After a £220m splurge in the summer, addressing several key areas, it was expected that Chelsea would put together a title charge to compete against Liverpool and Manchester City.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-BURNLEY : News Photo
Thomas Tuchel has replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager

What followed though was a string of poor performances that ultimately led to Frank Lampard’s departure as manager, with Thomas Tuchel replacing him at Stamford Bridge. It’s too early to say definitively what Tuchel will do at Chelsea right now, but he has managed to get the vast majority of fans on side with the things he is saying in the media.

He has been tasked with getting the best out of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, who have massively struggled in England so far, and if he can do it that will massively boost their chances of success. Even if he can’t get them firing though, Chelsea have enough quality in their squad to really challenge for a top four position although I think they’ll just miss out this time.
NEW PREDICTION – 5th


Liverpool
Prediction – 2nd
Currently – 3rd

The champions of last season began the season flying once again and raced into an early lead at the top of the Premier League this season too.

Liverpool Training Session : News Photo
Liverpool need these two firing to help their weakened defence

They looked their usual selves, but a series of huge injuries and loss of form to key players simultaneously saw them drop out of the top of the league and now they have a hill to climb to retain their title. Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and now Joel Matip have all been ruled out for the season with injuries which means they’re relying on their two deadline day signings in Preston’s Ben Davies and 20-year-old Turk Ozan Kabak alongside Nathaniel Phillips, Rhys Williams or midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson as their centre back pairing for the season.

That will ultimately be their downfall, although they have enough about them in the other two thirds of the pitch to be able to beat most teams and get a second place finish.
NEW PREDICTION – 2nd


Manchester City
Prediction – 1st
Currently – 1st

A tough start that saw the squad hit by injuries and COVID-19 saw City struggle to get any momentum going at the beginning of the season.

It forced Guardiola to change his approach to games, and the signing of Ruben Dias has arguably been the best transfer of the season. With him in the team City have kept ten clean sheets in their last 12 league games and have now started finding their scoring boots once again too, even without Sergio Aguero.

Their defensive record, quality squad depth and their attacking depth means I can’t look past them to regain the Premier League title this season and make it three championships in four seasons.
NEW PREDICTION – 1st

Manchester City v Burnley - Premier League : News Photo
City look better than everyone this season

NEW PREDICTED TOP SIX

1. MANCHESTER CITY
2. LIVERPOOL
3. MANCHESTER UNITED
4. LEICESTER CITY
——
5. CHELSEA
6. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

VAR Isn’t Killing The Game, The Application Of VAR Is!

I think we’re all in agreement by now that in it’s current form, VAR is killing the game of football that we all love.

Another Premier League weekend has come to an end and all the talk is about decisions made by VAR across several different games.

Monday’s fixtures were ultimately decided by VAR, as a penalty was awarded thanks to VAR to help Fulham take three points away to Leicester in a 2-1 win. Later that night VAR ruled out a late Ollie Watkins equaliser for a minimal offside call but failed to miss a blatant foul that led to the offside in the first place, as West Ham held on to beat Aston Villa 2-1.

While Fulham fans will be delighted with VAR’s implementation, Villa will have gone home absolutely fuming.

Sky Sports had a compelling argument post-game between co-hosts Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher about what the issues currently are.

Watching the games in recent months, it’s clear that the issues are coming from the video referees rather than the actual technology.

Offside is offside, however minimal it is. As Neville says, it will always be a matter of an inch. When those decisions used to be called incorrectly by linesmen fans and coaches would be up in arms about how officials need help.

The offside rule at the moment is a nonsense. That is because the handball rule is a farce.

Since the handball rule was adapted in the summer and it became accepted to include part of the arm it has made offside even more difficult to accept.

What makes it even harder to understand is when the officials miss something in the build-up so blatantly and then just pretend they haven’t seen it.

As can be seen above, Watkins is only offside because his arm is in an offside position. His arm is only in an offside position because Angelo Ogbonna is fouling him, but according to a statement from PGMOL that wasn’t a ‘clear and obvious error’ and therefore a penalty wasn’t awarded.

It’s incidents like that, that VAR was brought in for to begin with, to see things missed by the on-field officials that needed to be picked up on retrospectively.

Go back and watch Scotland’s penalty shootout win over Serbia to see how the game is dying. After making the save that sees his nation make it into an international tournament for the first time this century, goalkeeper David Marshall doesn’t celebrate. He instead asks the referee if the VAR check is complete before celebrating.

Moments are being ruined, the raw emotion of the game is being taken out of it. As if it wasn’t hard enough without fans in the stadium currently, everything being double checked for any minute issues has just thrown a blanket over anything good happening.

The rules need to be clearer and there need to be a proper review of how the system is used. Right now, referees are being barked at through an earpiece to make a decision they potentially don’t agree with.

They need to be braver in sticking with their initial decision if they believe it’s the right one, otherwise there is no point having a referee on the field whatsoever.

The game is dying a slow and painful death right now. Fans are falling out of love with the sport and players are falling out of love with it too.

Chelsea Close To £50million Ben Chilwell Deal

Chelsea are closing in on the £50million signing of Leicester defender Ben Chilwell, according to reports.

The England left-back, 23, had been touted as manager Frank Lampard’s number one defensive target this summer as the Stamford Bridge legend looked to bolster a defence that leaked 79 goals in all competitions last season.

With Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri out of favour under Lampard, left-back was seen as a problem position that needed filling urgently and it was known early on that Chilwell was the man that Chelsea wanted.

Leicester initially quoted a fee of around £80million, using Harry Maguire as a precedent for selling their best defenders. However after failing to make the Champions League next season and with COVID-19 still among us, they have had to drop their fee knowing that the player is keen on the move also.

Chelsea have moved quickly to complete their business so far this season, completing deals for Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech before the 2019/20 season was over and they are close to signing Kai Havertz as well from Bayer Leverkusen.

With centre-back reportedly the final piece of the puzzle for Lampard, once the deals for Chilwell and Havertz are complete all attention will reportedly turn to Declan Rice of West Ham. The Hammers will undoubtedly ask for an exorbitant fee for the talisman, but with a few protracted sales I wouldn’t rule out Chelsea getting the deal done.

West Ham United v Aston Villa - Premier League : News Photo

Chilwell burst into the Leicester side following their Premier League title win, displacing title-winner Christian Fuchs as the first choice left-back. Since then, he has also displaced Danny Rose and Luke Shaw as England’s first choice defender in that position too.

Despite the accolades, I have quite a few revisions about Chilwell. While he has good pace and is fairly good going forward I struggle to see what, if any, stand-out attributes he has that make him so highly sought after with a £50million fee.

Positionally Chilwell gets caught out fairly often, which has led to Caglar Soyuncu and Harry Maguire earning big credit for their defensive work alongside him in recent years. He has a good delivery, he’s good on the overlap, he’s good one-on-one but he doesn’t seem to excel at anything in particular. At 23 years old there is plenty for him to improve on and he has the time to do so, but he just doesn’t blow me away personally.

Undoubtedly, he is an upgrade on Chelsea’s current options so I understand the want to sign him this summer. However, paying a £50million fee should see you able to obtain the best in the world in that position. Bearing in mind the current world-record fee for a full-back is £51million on Benjamin Mendy by Manchester City, Chelsea should be able to do much better than Chilwell especially in the current COVID-effected market.

That said, he’s young, British and fits in well with Lampard’s current squad in terms of personality and character. Lampard is obviously confident he can get something more from Chilwell and if that’s the case, Chelsea fans should be relatively excited about the upgrades they’re getting this summer.

Top Four or Trophies?

As Arsenal won the FA Cup leaving Chelsea trophyless for the campaign, an online debate ensued.

The Gunners’ fine performance at Wembley saw them pip their London rivals to silverware as managers Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard both looked for their first trophy as a boss. In the same season however, it was Lampard’s Blue who secured the higher finish in the Premier League which will see them compete with Europe’s elite in the UEFA Champions League next season.

As Arsenal fans and players celebrated their trophy win they were met with criticism by some for not acknowledging the fact they finished 8th, their lowest since the 1994/95 season. This was however their fourth FA Cup triumph in seven years and their sixth cup final in the same period.

So what is preferable? It depends greatly on targets at the start of the season and how the season actually pans out.

At the start of the campaign, Arsenal would have had a realistic target of trying to get into the Top 4 and have a good cup run. Mid-season they of course changed their manager because of poor performances which would ultimately mean they likely had to amend their targets for the season. Arteta came in and added structure and organisation to a side that was devout of it and ultimately gave the fans something to cheer about at the end of a long, hard campaign.

Chelsea on the other hand would have had very similar targets at the start of the season and met them too. A top four finish was secured on the final day with a win against Wolves and a solid cup run was compounded by a trip to Wembley for the final. Despite the defeat, as Lampard said pre-game, you can lose finals because there are two good teams in every final. But Chelsea gave themselves a fair chance and will be disappointed about the result on the day, however fans will be happy with the season as a whole.

If it came down to a straight choice between the two, fans of top sides would often pick a top four spot because of what that brings. A place in the next year’s Champions League competition brings a positive vibe and usually means you can attract the best players to join or stay at your team. For example, if Arsenal had finished fourth there would likely be a lot less talk about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future.

But for fans, and me personally, winning a trophy should be what football is all about. If you ask players and managers they will all tell you that they want to win titles throughout their career. As much as some may claim it to be, finishing fourth is not a title. The feeling of winning trophies isn’t topped by anything.

In 5, 10, 15 even 20 years time, if you ask these Arsenal fans and players about this day at Wembley they will all remember where they were and what they were doing. They’ll remember the feeling as Aubameyang skipped past Zouma and dinked the ball into the net. They’ll remember the euphoria of the referee blowing the final whistle. Chelsea fans will also remember those moments but in a totally different way. Nobody remembers the feeling of finishing fourth unless it’s an abnormality for your club.

I understand the disappointment that some fans will feel at not finishing higher up in the league but if you can’t enjoy or understand someone else enjoying a cup run that ends with your side lifting the trophy at the end of it, then football is probably not the sport for you.

Big clubs are big clubs for the silverware in their trophy cabinet, not the league finishes that result in nothing to show for. It’s why the colour of London is a debate between red and blue, while white is in the background despite their performances over the last half-decade.

So online banter aside, lets not mock Arsenal for celebrating winning a trophy when the ultimate end goal for every single football team on planet Earth is to win trophies.