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Chelsea have incredible five-game advantage Thomas Tuchel will love as Man City gap can close



Chelsea arguably find the Premier League table in a healthier state than when they left it.

Even after a crucial win over Spurs on the 23rd January, there was still the concern that teams below had games in hand over the Blues before the clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Returning from Abu Dhabi as world champions, Chelsea have been given the helping hand of both Spurs and Manchester United dropping points liberally, ensuring the gap between third and the chasing pack remains favourable.

Now Thomas Tuchel’s men approach a kinder run of games where top-four could be secured with games to spare.

The dread of Chelsea being dragged into another slog for top-four was palpable in January as the gap to Manchester City widened and the confidence of those below grew.

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Another piece of silverware acquired will hopefully provide the incentive to finish the league season much stronger and ensure the 19-point gap between Chelsea and Man City is closed before May.

Looking beyond Saturday’s visit to Selhurst Park, Chelsea’s next four league games appear kind. Trips to Burnley and Norwich are mixed into home encounters with Newcastle and Brentford.

Chelsea won four of the five reverse fixtures before Christmas with an aggregate score of 15-1, the one goal conceded coming against Burnley in a frustrating 1-1 draw at the Bridge.

Sandwiched between all of these league fixtures is the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool, the last 16 of the Champions League versus Lille and the fifth round of the FA Cup at Luton.

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It can be tempting given the league title is out of sight to treat the Premier League as a side course to the pursuit of silverware in the cup competitions but Chelsea cannot allow for that to happen if they have any hopes of reaching the summit in 2023.

The stress of a final day shootout for Champions League qualification in three of the last four seasons is what has solidified Chelsea’s gap to Liverpool and Manchester City. That needs to change this season even if Tuchel’s men cannot lift the title.

Comparatively City’s next five league fixtures are Spurs at home, Everton away, Man United at home, Palace away and Brighton at home.

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Given their form over the winter period, it would be of little shock to see Pep Guardiola’s title-chasers claim close to maximum points.

But as Liverpool have shown whilst Chelsea have been focusing on other competitions, a run of four or five wins will capitalise on any potential stumble.

Even repeating Chelsea’s return of 13 points from identical fixtures would likely see a gap increase over those below who have all shown little sign of consistency.

There is still room for Tuchel to walk away from this league season with a sense of progression and it starts with a win on Saturday afternoon.


Report: Arsenal now really Keen to sign ‘Astonishing’ attacker who scored more goals than Gabriel Jesus last season




According to But Football Club, Arsenal want to sign Bayer Leverkusen and France winger Moussa Diaby before the transfer window shuts.

The Gunners are looking for a new wide player. Raphinha was high on their wish list and Mikel Arteta tried really hard to bring him in. The Brazilian, however, joined Barcelona for £55 million (Sky Sports) instead, and Arsenal have now apparently turned their attention to Diaby.

Arsenal really keen to sign Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen

Diaby is one of the finest players in the Bundesliga.

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The 23-year-old France international scored 17 goals and provided 14 assists in all competitions, which is a truly sensational return for a wide player.

His performances have caught the eye of a number of clubs, including Arteta’s Arsenal. The report claims that Diaby ‘strongly appeals’ to the Gunners boss, who is really keen to bring in a new winger before the window shuts.

The ‘astonishing‘ winger has come out and claimed that he wants to stay at Leverkusen this season, while the German outfit are keen to retain his services too.

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However, the report claims that if an offer in the region of £59.2 million arrives, they will let him go.

Arsenal don’t intend to pay that figure, but the report claims they will try to negotiate a deal for a lower fee.

Diaby still has three years left on his contract at Leverkusen.

Diaby really is a sensational player.

31 goal involvements in a single campaign for a 23-year-old wide player is a truly sensational return.

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Even Gabriel Jesus, who is viewed as the answer to Arsenal’s goalscoring woes, didn’t score as many goals as Frenchman last season.

Arsenal’s backup winger at the moment is Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian, on his day, is unplayable, but sadly for Arsenal supporters, those days have rarely ever occurred over the last three years.

Diaby would be a massive upgrade over Pepe, but whether Arsenal can lure him in remains to be seen.

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Report: Star ready to join Man United now wants £33.7million contract




The latest reports in the media are anything to go by and Adrien Rabiot’s mother-agent, Veronique, is proving to be a difficult negotiator.

Last night, we covered a story (via La Gazzetta Dello Sport) claiming that the French international has demanded a three-year deal worth £25.4million to move to Old Trafford.

This morning, as per Corriere dello Sport (news image provided below), the Red Devils have agreed a fee worth 17-18 million euros with Juventus but the dilemma is that the agreement with the player is still missing.

See also  Chelsea suffer major injury blow ahead of Club World Cup during Plymouth clash

Ten Hag contacted Rabiot to convince him to join Man Utd which is why the midfielder became willing to negotiate personal terms.

However, Veronique now wants a four-year contract worth 40 million euros (£33.7million) for his son and the negotiations have slowed down.

See also  Sevilla Boss addressed Jules Kounde to Chelsea with star ‘furious’ over failed transfer

Manchester United’s midfield department is in desperate need of reinforcements and Ten Hag may end up losing out on signing Frenkie de Jong to Chelsea.

The last big signing for the central midfield was done back in 2018 when Mourinho splashed the cash to lure Fred from Shakhtar. The Red Devils must act fast to strengthen things in the center of the park.

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Rabiot is neither as creative as Pogba nor as versatile as De Jong. However, he has experience of winning big titles with PSG and Juventus and even with France. So, in all fairness, he would be an upgrade to McFred.

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Man United pushing for Pogba replacement in more ways than one




Manchester United may be about to take on another troublesome Frenchman, having just gotten rid of one.

The departures of Paul Pogba and others this summer have left new manager Erik ten Hag with a bare cupboard in terms of midfield options.

United have turned to Juventus outcast Adrien Rabiot, who is available for £15 million, after failing to secure Frenkie de Jong, the Ten Hag’s top transfer target, from Barcelona.

Rabiot, 27, isn’t particularly popular at Juventus and hasn’t replicated the form that established his reputation during the seven years he spent at PSG before that.

But it isn’t just on-field sluggishness that has harmed the reputation of a player who was once regarded as France’s golden boy.

Off-field squabbles and indiscretions, not only by Rabiot but also by his formidable mother and agent Veronique, have earned him a reputation as a difficult customer in the game.

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However, Ten Hag and United are becoming increasingly desperate. Despite the club’s insistence that their interest in Rabiot was firm prior to Sunday’s season-opening loss to Brighton, the timing appears to be a reactionary move.

And Rabiot’s rap sheet contains numerous items that could cause United to live to regret their decision.

Rabiot was on the verge of breaking into the PSG senior squad after graduating from their academy in 2012.

Rabiot was supposed to travel to Qatar with the team for a mid-season tour, but his mother insisted on accompanying him.

Veronique, Rabiot’s uncompromising agent, enters the picture. After his father, Michel Provost, suffered a stroke in 2007 that left him with locked-in syndrome, she took over his career. Michel is paralysed but fully aware.

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Her insistence on accompanying the tour caused friction, and Rabiot was eventually loaned out to Toulouse.

Even stranger, she allegedly insisted on attending all of their training sessions while there.

Two years later, Rabiot was on the verge of leaving PSG after Laurent Blanc demoted him to the reserves.

Veronique was waiting for Blanc as he left PSG’s Camp des Loges training facility one evening.

‘You can’t treat him like that. ‘I’m not going to agree to that,’ Blanc was told, presumably forcefully.

PSG had no choice but to call in security, but the confrontation appeared to work.

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Rabiot’s contract with PSG was renewed – and on better terms – not long after he failed to secure a move to Roma.

France’s hopes of adding the European Championship to their World Cup glory last year ended when they lost on penalties to Switzerland in the last-16.

Afterwards, an extraordinary video emerged of Veronique confronting Mbappe’s father, Wilfried, after the PSG striker missed the decisive spot-kick.

It is thought she said: ‘It is embarrassing how he struck that, for a player of his level. He hit it too lightly, I hope you are going to scold him.’

Apparently during an earlier discussion, Veronique told Wilfried his son was ‘arrogant’, has a ‘big head’ and gets ‘too much protection from the press.’

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