Category Archives: News

90min’s Definitive European Player Power Rankings: Week Five

After an international break full of the kind of nothingness international football has practically patented (this is just a joke to impress you guys, I actually like international football), club football came back with a bang this week.

Which is why we at Power Rankings HQ had to respond with similar firepower (‘Daddy‘!*). Luckily we found it, with one of the greatest tv shows of this decade, hell, this century: ‘Atlanta‘. And seeing as it ain’t Robbin Season just yet, we’re hitting you with Season One of this Donald Glover-helmed modern classic. 

*This joke will become clear by number four.


15. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (New Entry)


“What? This is a great environment for you!”

This could be taken in the sarcastic vein that it is delivered in the show, as a means to show just how badly Henrikh Mkhitaryan was suited to his surroundings at Manchester United and Arsenal. 

But it could also be taken at face value where Roma is concerned, with the Armenian netting a fine goal on his Italian bow to cap off a finer-still display in the 4-2 win over Sassuolo. As you will see, Arsenal rejects scoring on their debut, just as the Gunners’ were themselves faltering in Watford, was a theme this week. As was Arsenal affiliates letting themselves down with their own hubris. See the above tweet and Mateo Guendouzi.


14. Robert Lewandowski (Re-Entry)

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-LEIPZIG-BAYERN MUNICH

“Well, why would I shoot at a human target?”

While it ultimately wasn’t to be for Bayern against a valiant/luck-riding RB Leipzig side, Robert Lewandowksi’s goalscoring heroics continued, thanks to a consummate finish inside just three minutes. 

Asked how he’s so darn accurate in front of goal, the Pole’s response is quoted above. 


13. Stefano Sensi (New Entry)

Stefano Sensi

“Can I measure your tree?”

With several feet, let alone inches, between Stefano Sensi and Udinese’s covering defender, you can image Antonio Conte and co’s surprise when the diminutive playmaker snuck ahead of him to sneak in a gloriously taken header into the net via the underside of the bar. 

Inter’s 2019 breakout star can head a ball, and he’s barely breaking 5ft.


12. Nacho Monreal (New Entry)

Nacho Monreal

“You look like a fake Ellen Degeneres. A Felon Degeneres.”

Yes, you guessed it (did you?), Nacho Monreal was the second Arsenal reject to score on his debut this weekend, and it came in one of the results of the weekend, with Real Sociedad blotting Atletico Madrid’s unblemished record with a hard-earned 2-0 victory. 

He may look like a BTEC Ellen Degeneres (at least enough for this bit to work…?), but the man can finish his dinner and, in keeping a clean sheet against Diego Simeone’s men, he proved he’s not all forward-thinking, either. 


11. Dries Mertens (Re-Entry)

Dries Mertens

“If you could use a rat as a phone, man, that’d be genius.”

Just as the above observation from Darius was met with derision, many pundits baulked at the use of Dries Mertens as a number nine all those moons ago. Look at him now. Bagging braces against Sampdoria like it’s nothing, and making Fabio Quagliarella (of all people) look blunt. 


10. Duvan Zapata (New Entry)

Genoa CFC v Atalanta BC - Serie A

“Hello, cousin. How are you today?”

Not only did Duvan Zapata nab Atalanta (eerily close to ‘Atlanta’, I hear you say!!) all three points with a 95th-minute thunderbolt against Genoa, he also won a penalty for his side by doing his cousin, Cristian, all ends up. 


9. Karim Benzema (New Entry)

TOPSHOT-FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-LEVANTE

“I don’t know, man, I like Flo Rida. I mean, moms need to enjoy rap, too.”

Karim Benzema is the Flo Rida of football. Think about it.


8. Neymar (Up 3)

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-STRASBOURG

“The price is on the can, though.”

With Kylian Mbappe sidelined, it was all about the return of the banner-provoking Brazilian forward Neymar this weekend. 

And, after some initial stuttering against Strasbourg, he delivered in a big, big way, with a 91st-minute bicycle kick to win it. Special stuff. I’d also like to add that PSG are the Arizona Iced Tea (the ‘can’ in question) of football and, as the slogan goes, the price is there for all to see. It’s right on the can. It is. 


7. Marco Reus (New Entry)

Jadon Sancho,Marco Reus

“You want to manage a rapper but you can’t do business high?”

You are Bayer Leverkusen. You want to beat Borussia Dortmund away from home, you have 67% of the possession, three more shots than they do, but you don’t mark Marco Reus? 

Weird.


6. Sadio Mane (Re-Entry)

Sadio Mane

“Money is an idea.”

This is unequivocally true.

Here’s another idea, just off the top of my head. Sadio Mane is world-class. Real Madrid wanted him, but wouldn’t cough up. So here’s the idea: cough up. Whether Mane wants to join the Santiago Bernabeu circus remains to be seen, but at least test some Liverpudlian resolve. The man’s worth all you got, Zizou.


5. Son Heung-min (New Entry)

Heung-Min Son

“This here’s a lightsaber – Luke Skywalker’s.”

Son Heung-min is Tottenham’s Luke Skywalker, here to return the club to the light after some dark times. 

The fact that this is uttered by a bumbling (and potentially homeless?) man who’s set up his own impromptu, and very much unofficial, parking lot should not take away from the initial point. 


4. Luis Suarez (New Entry)

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-VALENCIA

[while polishing his gun] “Man, I ain’t scared of nothing. I got Daddy right here.”

Not that Barcelona needed to be scared on Saturday against Valencia, considering their current chaos, but if any Copa del Rey Final flashbacks did occur, they knew they had the sharpshooting Luis ‘Daddy’ Suarez right there just in case.

And, though he wasn’t necessarily needed from the bench, he was used, springing straight into the action to nab a 20-minute brace. And, if you object to the use of ‘Daddy’ here, well, then, have another quote from this very exchange:

“Yo, you not gonna see this, but your assumed perversion of the word ‘Daddy’, I think that’s stemming from the fear of mortality, man. What you call your gun?”

Yeah. What do you call your ageing strikers?


3. Tammy Abraham (Re-Entry)

Tammy Abraham

Is Paperboi Atlanta’s 2Pac? They said no. But apparently John Boyega is the new Magic Johnson.”

Is Tammy Abraham Chelsea’s second coming of Didier Drogba? No. As previously established in these here rankings, Tammy Abraham is the new Magic Johnson. Move over, Boyega. 


2. Teemu Pukki (Up 3)

Teemu Pukki

“I just think we need a chance as humans to fail in order to discover what actually works, you know? People don’t think there’s a process to being happy.”

Teemu Pukki is the living embodiment of this quote, and he’s now reaping the rewards from this time-honoured policy, pulling the strings in the result of the weekend from across Europe. 

He is also now the only man to maintain his spot across the first five weeks of these rankings, which makes him a winner in his own right. So why, you ask, is he not the outright winner this week? Well, he’s not 16.


1. Ansu Fati (New Entry)

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-VALENCIA

“AIDS was invented to keep Wilt Chamberlain from beating Steve McQueen’s sex record. And by ’69 he was already number three on the all-time list. By ’71 he would’ve been that boy for sure.”

Has Ansu Fati been invented to keep Lionel Messi from beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League goalscoring record? I can’t say it with the same certainty as ya boy Darius above, but the precocity of Barca’s youngest ever goalscorer sure does beg the question. 

And that’s not the only record he’s broken, as he became the youngest ever play to record a goal and an assist in the same game in La Liga history against Valencia.

And what a goal and an assist they were, the former being an oh-so-composed first-time finish after a bursting run into the box inside just two minutes of action, the latter comprising a mazy run down the left flank, the retiring of Ezequiel Garay and an expertly placed cut-back for Frenkie de Jong just five minutes later. 

By the 15th-minute mark he was centimetres away from a brace, and moments after that he should have had a penalty. Need I remind you that this kid is 16 years old, and just two weeks ago was a mere unknown.

Now he’s spreading his arms to the Camp Nou crowd, soliciting the kind of response that – yes, I’LL SAY IT – only Messi himself can garner in modern times. Hence the €100m release clause, and hence the placing atop these prestigious rankings.

Remember the date, remember the name.


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12 of the Biggest Giant Killings in Premier League History

Not many would have given Norwich City a chance as they walked out alongside Manchester City at Carrow Road on Saturday evening. Pep Guardiola’s side are the Premier League champions, they were unbeaten in the league in there last 18 games, winning 17 of these and drawing just once.

Yet, even with ​a team that cost £400m more than newly promoted Norwich to assemble, Goliath came unstuck against Daniel Farke’s David, who played like a team possessed on Saturday. Goals from Kenny Mclean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki resulted in the Canaries miraculously winning 3-2 and recording one of the biggest upsets in Premier League history.

Teemu Pukki

It was a simply incredible spectacle that will be go down in football folkore in Norfolk and far beyond.

But what are some of the other biggest upset in England’s top tier, I hear you cry. Well, here are 12 of the biggest giant killings in Premier League history, just for you.


Liverpool 0-1 Barnsley – 22/11/97

Karl Heinz Riedle of Liverpool and Neil Redfearn of Barnsley

Rolling it back to 1997, Barnsley arrived at Anfield with little hope. The Tykes had conceded 40 times in their previous 14 league outings before the trip to Liverpool, who under Roy Evans had won their opening five Premier League games that season.

An Ashley Ward goal though in the first half gave Barnsley something to hold onto, which they somehow did, fending off an attack led by Michael Owen to record an astonishing 1-0 win.


Bradford City 1-0 Liverpool – 14/05/2000

Bradford City manager Paul Jewell

In 2000 it was the last day of the Premier League season and the scene was set at Valley Parade. Bradford needed to pull off one of the unlikeliest of victories against European chasing Liverpool if they were to survive.

A 12th minute David Wetherall header though meant they did just this, with the Bantams, then managed by Paul Jewell, holding out and staying in the division for another year.


Arsenal 1-2 Hull City – 27/09/08

Daniel Cousin

Goals from Geovanni and Daniel Cousin in the space of four second-half minutes completed an incredible turnaround at the Emirates Stadium for the Tigers which left the Arsenal fans silent in disbelief.

Cesc Fabregas had given Arsenal the lead before the break, but Hull returned to Yorkshire with all three points thanks to that superb second-half display.


Burnley 1-0 Manchester United – 19/08/09

Patrice Evra,Robbie Blake

Burnley welcomed Premier League champions Manchester United for their first top-flight home game in 33 years in August 2009.

Turf Moor was bouncing inside just 19 minutes as Robbie Blake scored a thunderous volley which lit up Lancashire. Owen Coyle’s side matched the electricity of the crowd and held out to record an extraordinary victory. 


Arsenal 2-3 West Brom – 25/09/10

West Bromwich Albion's Nigerian striker

Arsenal find themselves on the list for a second time due to shock 3-2 home defeat to newly promoted West Brom.

At the time, Arsenal had started the season well and were sitting comfortably in second place. However, Arsene Wenger’s side collapsed at home to the Baggies, with Peter Odemwingie, Gonzalo Jara and former Gunners academy starlet Jermone Thomas all striking for West Brom in a Premier League classic.


Chelsea 0-3 Sunderland – 14/11/10

Asamoah Gyan,Jordan Henderson

Reigning champions Chelsea were riding high at the top of the league when Sunderland showed up in 2010. Forwards Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan clearly didn’t read the script though, as they both netted in a famous Sunderland away victory.

Chelsea ended up finishing second behind Manchester United and poor old Carlo Ancelotti lost his job.


Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn Rovers – 31/12/11

Grant Hanley

The Christmas period of 2011 provided two huge upsets.

Firstly, United, who with a win would have gone back to the top of the Premier League, lost to basement boys Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford in a roller-coaster of an encounter.

Striker Dimitar Berbatov double had cancelled out two goals from Yakubu but Grant Hanley (now at Norwich) netted a dramatic late winner to secure Blackburn an impressive three points on Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday. Ouch. 


Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City – 01/01/12

FBL-ENG-PR-SUNDERLAND-MAN CITY

The second of these two Christmas upsets came the very next day, when a breakaway goal in the dying minutes from Ji Dong-Won meant Martin O’Neill’s side prevented Manchester City capitalising on United’s defeat.

A real eye-opener of a result that (momentarily) hampered City’s title challenge. 


Chelsea 0-1 QPR – 02/01/13

Clint Hill,Nedum Onuoha,Ryan Nelsen

Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers were bottom of the league when they arrived at Stamford Bridge in January 2013, up against a ​Chelsea side bidding for a fifth successive win.

However, a stunning strike from former Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips 12 minutes from time, meant QPR made the short trip back to Loftus Road with all three points.


Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United – 21/9/14

Leonardo Ulloa

United had a star-studded line-up that included Robin van Persie, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao when they faced then Premier League new boys Leicester City at the King Power in 2014.

From 3-1 up and cruising, United collapsed as Leonardo Ulloa inspired the Foxes to a memorable comeback.

The result perhaps signalled the turning of the tides, with Leicester going on to shock the world by winning the Premier League the following season and United struggling to find their former glory. 


Manchester City 2-3 Crystal Palace – 22/12/18

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-CRYSTAL PALACE

​City have been struck down by the underdog before, with last season’s defeat at home to Crystal Palace an upset that many did not see coming.

Hot on the heels of Liverpool, City had one of those days against Palace, where nothing went right for them. Andros Townsend’s mind-blowing volley from 30-yards helped the Eagles record one of their most famous ever Premier League wins.


Newcastle United 2-1 Manchester City – 29/01/19

FBL-ENG-PR-NEWCASTLE-MAN CITY

It does feel that every time City lose these days it is a major shock due to the quality they have in their side. 

In fact, before Saturday, the last time they lost in the league was last season away at Newcastle which is another massive Premier League upset.

Sergio Aguero had given City a first-minute lead and they had looked in complete control. That was until Salomon Rondon equalised in brilliant fashion midway through the second half to give Newcastle belief.

Belief was turned into joy ten minutes from time when a Matt Ritchie penalty handed the Toon a famous win.


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7 Things We Learned From Another Scorching Weekend of Premier League Action

​Nine matches, 32 goals and enough drama to more than tide us over until the Champions League gets underway on Tuesday. The Premier League rarely fails to deliver, and it has come up with the goods once again.

We’ve seen upsets, comebacks, upset-comebacks, fallouts, reunions, new signings coming good, departing players receiving dog’s abuse, and a top-four scrap emerging. And we haven’t even concluded the matchweek yet.

So, with plenty to be getting on with, here are the notes on the best of what we’ve seen so far.


Jurgen Klopp Knows All & We Really Should Just Stop Ever Questioning Him

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-NEWCASTLE

Shortly after Mohamed Salah had opted to go it alone and fluff an effort rather than play a straightforward pass into Sadio Mane in the 3-0 victory over Burnley two weeks ago, the Senegalese was subbed, and looked incensed at his teammate as he took to the bench. It turned into one of the stories of the weekend, as ​Liverpool’s formidable attacking unit was possibly coming apart at the seams.

Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, looked back at his winger throwing a strop on the bench behind him and shrugged it off with a chuckle. When asked about the incident after the game, he remarked in his usual laid-back manner that it was nothing, hinting that it had been overblown by the press for the purposes of a story. 

It’s exactly what any manager would have said, granted. However, nonetheless, one international break later, it seems he was once again on the money. The pair shared Liverpool’s three goals against Newcastle, with Mane at the double and Salah clinching the third, and you don’t have to be an expert at body-language to see there was minimal tension between them. 

The Reds are now five points clear at the top of the league after just five games. 


Moussa Djenepo Looks an Inspired Addition

Moussa Djenepo

A few miles south at Mane’s former employers, ​Southampton have taken their time in replacing him since his move to Merseyside three years ago; but the early signs suggest they may finally have pulled it off. 

There were clear shades of Mane when Mali international Moussa Djenepo came rampaging in from the left, weaving past the Sheffield United defence at pace before calmly slotting past Dean Henderson from the edge of the area to give his side the decisive lead; but the comparisons between the two go beyond their dynamic styles of play. 

Above all else, Djenepo seems to have brought to the table the sort of match-winning influence that Mane once carried. He missed the draw with Manchester United before the break, but Southampton have now won the two games the 21-year-old has started after losing their opening two, and he has scored the opening goal in both. We’ll leave you to decide whether that’s coincidental or not. 


Frank Lampard Isn’t Scared to Mix it Up

Frank Lampard

There have been more than a few question marks raised over Frank Lampard’s start to life as ​Chelsea manager, with the Blues looking more than a bit fragile in each of their Premier League matches so far.  Sitting on five points from their first three matches, one of the main questions asked of him throughout this period is whether or not he was tactically adaptable enough to change things up when they aren’t working and get tune out of his team, but in the 5-2 victory over Wolves, he put that to bed. 

Reverting to Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3, out of nowhere, Chelsea ran riot.

Fikayo Tomori made his first Premier League start under Lampard – getting things started with a screamer – while Tammy Abraham (doing his best Didier Drogba impression) bagged a hattrick. Mason Mount getting in on the action means all of Chelsea’s goals this season have come from academy graduates.

Once again, the Blues conceded twice, hinting at the same defensive frailties that have frequently reared their head, but over the piece, it was a far more measured, composed performance than we’ve seen from them so far. 

That tendency to switch it up, in particular, is an element of his management we hadn’t yet seen in the Premier League, and may well prove to be the factor that underpins his success at Stamford Bridge. 


David Luiz is Not the Answer to Arsenal’s Defensive Troubles

David Luiz

Yep, you’ll want to sit yourself down for this revelation. 

David Luiz was drafted in late in the window by ​Arsenal, presumably as a ball-playing, stop-gap defender to bridge between Laurent Koscielny and the arrival of Saliba next summer, but simply put, the early signs suggest he isn’t even up to that. 

Luiz wasn’t the only defender at fault in Arsenal’s embarrassing second-half display but he did showcase exactly the sort of petulant defending we have all seen on far too many occasions.

In a near-repeat of his diving in on Mohamed Salah earlier in the season at Anfield, the Brazilian brainlessly left his leg in on Roberto Pereyra to allow the Argentine to win a penalty and wipe out the Gunners’ lead from the spot at Vicarage Road. He may well also have Unai Emery counting the notes in his wallet ahead of the January window. 


The Top Four Race Will Be Tighter Than Ever

Marcus Rashford,Youri Tielemans

With Manchester United coming out on top over Leicester at Old Trafford, along with resounding wins for Tottenham and Chelsea, Arsenal’s draw at Watford means we now have a good old-fashioned top-four standoff.

Five teams sit on eight points at the five-game mark, with only goal-difference separating Tottenham in third from Arsenal in seventh, and the cut-throat nature of the scrap for Europe means that each one of those teams – Leicester included – will know any sequence of wins could give them the edge in reaching the promised land. 

On the flip-side, looking a bit further down, only two points separate that cabal from 13th-placed Norwich – so it could all just as easily go belly-up for any of the teams in the hunt. 


What’s a Relegation Battle? 

Adam Webster,Matej Vydra

Normally by this stage in the season, at least one clear contender for relegation has emerged, but looking at it now, you couldn’t call it.

Watford had previously looked in the mire but the return of Quique Sanchez Flores looks to have galvanised them as they fought back from the dead against Arsenal. Second-bottom Wolves should pull themselves out of their early slump, Aston Villa’s points tally hasn’t quite justified their performances, while Newcastle look a long way from the foregone conclusion many expected when they appointed Steve Bruce – and that’s the bottom four. 

You wouldn’t rule out Sheffield United, Burnley or Brighton – all on five points – from being dragged in, but you equally could anticipate any of those sides cracking the top half based on their early showings. The drop this season really is not something you’d like to bet on, and it’s perhaps already time to make the early call that the ‘magic’ 40-point total will not be enough this time around. 


There Is More to Norwich Than Meets the Eye

Daniel Farke

How else can we round this off than with a paragraph or two about the story of the season’s opening stages that is Daniel Farke’s Norwich? 

The Championship champions took on the Premier League winners at Carrow Road, but by watching the game itself, you’d scarcely have known who was who. Farke’s men dismantled Guardiola’s Goliaths in front of a baying home crowd, and after a start to the season that felt unjust given their vastly expansive and entertaining style, they deserved every one of the three points they took from the encounter we had all written off as a City walkover. 

Only Liverpool, City, Tottenham and Chelsea have scored more than the Canaries this season, but the famous 3-2 victory at the weekend showed that perhaps their goalscoring exploits hide a certain grit and resolve that could prove the difference if their ‘goals for’ column isn’t enough in itself to carry them clear of the drop zone. 

Much like Farke’s own surprisingly soft voice, there is more to Norwich than their cover suggests.

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Chelsea vs Valencia Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Chelsea will make their return to the Champions League on Tuesday when they welcome Valencia to Stamford Bridge.

The Blues won the Europa League last season, but also sealed qualification for the competition by finishing third in the Premier League. However, that was all under Maurizio Sarri, and Frank Lampard must now try to match that success.

Frank Lampard

Valencia are also without the manager that actually led them to the Champions League, having surprisingly decided to part ways with Marcelino on Wednesday. 

Check out 90min’s preview of the game below.


Where to Watch

​When Is Kick Off? ​Tuesday 17 September
​What Time Is Kick Off? ​20:00 (BST)
​Where Is it Played? ​Stamford Bridge
TV Channel/Live Stream? ​BT Sport 3
​Referee? ​Cüneyt Çakır

Where to Buy Tickets

Tickets for the game are, as ever, available on both teams’ official club websites, though membership is required in order to purchase. In terms of resale, both teams provide the option to make season tickets available for others to use, if a supporter is unable to attend the game themselves.


Team News

The match will come too soon for both Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James, whilst ​N’Golo Kante and Emerson both face a race against time to recover from their respective injuries. There are also doubts about the fitness of ​Antonio Rudiger, who picked up a groin injury against ​Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Valencia have their own injury problems to deal with. They will be without long-term absentees Carlos Soler and Cristiano Piccini, but should otherwise be at full strength for their trip to Stamford Bridge.


Predicted Lineups

​Chelsea Arrizabalaga; Tomori, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Jorginho, Alonso; Pulisic, Mount, Abraham.​
​Valencia ​Cillessen; Wass, Garay, Gabriel, Gaya; Torres, Parejo, Coquelin, Guedes; Gameiro, Gomez.

Head to Head Record

The two sides have met six times in the past, and ​Chelsea are yet to taste defeat, having picked up three wins and three draws.

Their latest meeting came in the group stages of the 2011/12 ​Champions League campaign. The Blues earned a 1-1 draw away from home, before picking up a convincing 3-0 win over Valencia in the return leg thanks to goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba.

Victor Ruiz,Fernando Torres

As we all know, Chelsea went on to win the entire competition that season – could Valencia be their lucky omen?


Recent Form

Chelsea’s form has been incredibly varied since Frank Lampard took control. They disappointed against both ​Manchester United and ​Sheffield United, but have since impressed as they look to move on from their struggles.

They stormed to a 5-2 win over Wolves last time out, as goals from Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, coupled with a Tammy Abraham hat-trick, saw the Blues run out deserving winners.

Frenkie de Jong,Gabriel Paulista

As for Valencia, you would think that their decision to sack manager Marcelino would mean they are in a slump. They most definitely are not. Before his departure, they had one won, drawn one and lost one, so there was nothing to be majorly concerned about.

Now under the guidance of Albert Celades, Valencia recently fell to a 5-2 defeat against ​Barcelona, so things aren’t exactly going great.

Here’s how each side has got on in their last five games.

​Chelsea Valencia​
​Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-5 Chelsea (14/9) ​Barcelona 5-2 Valencia (14/9)
​Chelsea 2-2 Sheffield United (31/8) Valencia 2-0 Mallorca (1/9)
​Norwich City 2-3 Chelsea (24/8) ​Celta Vigo 1-0 Valencia (24/8)
​Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City (18/8) ​Valencia 1-1 Real Sociedad (17/8)
​Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea (14/8) ​Barcelona 1-2 Valencia (25/5)

Prediction

This is a tough one to call. On paper, Chelsea look like they should have enough to pick up the win, but games aren’t played on paper.

The Blues have looked amazing at times, but have then looked incredibly shaky at others, so we don’t really know what to expect from them. Their win over Wolves will give them the momentum, and Lampard’s men will hope to use that to their advantage.

Mason Mount

Valencia are a bit of an unknown quantity following the departure of Marcelino, and their heavy defeat to Barcelona wasn’t the greatest way to move on. However, losing to Barcelona isn’t exactly a catastrophe.

Nevertheless, Chelsea should be able to get the win here, but don’t expect it to come easily.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Valencia​

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Chelsea’s New Commitment to Young Players Highlighted by 2 Incredible Statistics

​The era of Frank Lampard is well and truly underway at Stamford Bridge. The new manager has given Chelsea a fresh identity, and it has taken England by storm.

Historically, the Blues have struggled to create a pathway for academy stars to progress into the first team, with John Terry the only player to have made a real impact in recent years. However, Lampard has given opportunities to the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, who have all thoroughly impressed in the top flight.


As noted by ​Gary Lineker, ​Chelsea have already given more minutes to players under the age of 21 this season than in any campaign since 2005, and this season is just five games old. 

When Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James return, there will likely be even more game time for the club’s academy graduates.

The minutes will keep rolling in for the young Blues, with Abraham, Mount and Tomori all proving to be vital parts of the squad. The trio have combined for all of Chelsea’s 11 goals this season, and ​Opta noted that the Blues are the first team in ​Premier League history to have 11 consecutive goals scored by players aged 21 or under.

Tammy Abraham,Frank Lampard

The average age of Chelsea’s goalscorers this season has been 21 years and 124 days, which is the youngest average from any of the 98 teams in Europe’s top five leagues this season.

Lampard showed his commitment to young players during his time with ​Derby County last season, and it was a vital part of Chelsea’s decision to bring him in to replace Maurizio Sarri. 

The Italian was the first manager in the Roman Abramovich era to go an entire season without giving an academy player a first-team debut, which contributed to his lack of popularity in London.

Maurizio Sarri

The lack of youth players seems a real thing of the past for Chelsea, with Lampard clearly eager to give opportunities to those who deserve them. The current crop of youngsters have taken every chance which they have been afforded, and the future certainly looks bright for the Blues.

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