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Category: Chelsea

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Nemanja Matic’s Manchester United move may leave Chelsea feeling blue | Daniel Taylor

It was risky for the champions to help rivals solve a problem, something Manchester United try hard to avoid, as players such as Wayne Rooney and Gabriel Heinze can testify

It was the cartoon, published on the Daily Telegraph website a few years ago, that probably demonstrated the perception at the time that the man in charge of Manchester United’s transfer business was straying dangerously close to getting the reputation of being a bit of a pushover.

Entitled “Manchester United and the Transfer Market” and published shortly after the arrival of Ángel Di María and Radamel Falcao, the cartoon showed the club’s executive vice‑chairman, Ed Woodward, walking into a convenience store called Costless and asking to be shown the “very finest” chocolate they had for sale before handing over £80 for a Mars Bar.

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Antonio Conte craves continuity – but time is never on your side at Chelsea | Jacob Steinberg

Champions head to Wembley on back of a farcical opening-day display that bore out their fraught summer – and their manager would like sturdier foundations

If Antonio Conte knows his history, he will be aware that time is not a luxury his predecessors at Chelsea have enjoyed in recent years. Patience has rarely been a virtue in Roman Abramovich’s world and at 3.45pm last Saturday, when Chelsea found themselves a man and 3-0 down to Burnley, it is unlikely that the owner was thinking about the bigger picture.

Related: Diego Costa is in Chelsea’s past and I wouldn’t pick him, says Antonio Conte

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Diego Costa: My destination is already set. I must return to Atlético Madrid

• ‘My destination is already set,’ says Chelsea and Spain striker
• Chelsea remain adamant they expect Costa to return to training

Diego Costa has insisted he will not return to Chelsea and reiterated his desire to rejoin Atlético Madrid, the La Liga club he left for Stamford Bridge in 2014. The 28-year-old still has two years to run on his Chelsea contract, and although manager Antonio Conte has informed the Spain striker he is not in his plans, the club fully expect Costa to return to training and make himself available for selection as a Chelsea player.

Related: Chelsea demand striker Diego Costa returns to club and gets match fit

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The Question: why are so many Premier League teams so bad in defence? | Jonathan Wilson

It’s not a coincidence that the Premier League has become the global home of shambolic defending and Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all have issues to resolve before the weekend

Even before the Premier League got round to the traditional kick-off time, 13 goals had been scored in two games. A total of 31 goals were scored over the opening weekend as the first three of last season’s top six to play all conceded three. Take that, Spain, with your Cristiano Ronaldo controversies! Take that, Italy, with your resurgent Milan! Take that, Germany, with your finely tuned pressing structures! Take that, France, with your Neymar, your Bielsa and your Balotelli! For drama and giggling hilarity, the Premier League remains king.

It’s not king, obviously, if you want success in the Champions League. Nor is it king if you want to develop young players for the national side. And it’s certainly not king if you believe football clubs should have a pastoral role towards the communities they at least nominally represent. But for excitement and spectacle, for the sense that any daft thing could happen at any moment, it still rules.

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Manchester United reaping early rewards thanks to Chelsea’s unexpected largesse | Paul Wilson

After seeing José Mourinho hijack their Romelu Lukaku deal and letting Nemanja Matic go to Old Trafford, Chelsea have undeniably strengthened a direct rival while weakening themselves

Opinion has been divided on the wisdom of Chelsea selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United for £40m. There are those who say top teams, especially defending champions, should never sell to direct rivals, and those who believe the money was too good to refuse down for a player who has just turned 29.

It is being argued that Chelsea have just signed an upgrade in Tiémoué Bakayoko for the same price, at least a player Antonio Conte regarded as an upgrade in the same position, and at just 22 the promising France midfielder offers many more years of service than Matic, whose sale effectively means the former Monaco player has joined for free.

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Football transfer rumours: Danny Rose to Chelsea for £30m?

Today’s blurb is bleary-eyed

Like Usain Bolt heading into the final 50m, Daniel Levy sees the end of the transfer window approaching and is starting to pick up the pace. There are signs of the pursestrings being loosened at last. That clinking sound you can hear is Levy rustling around his wallet for some loose change. The increased urgency may have something to do with *that* Danny Rose interview last week, in which the left-back helpfully wondered if Tottenham Hotspur might like to show him and his team-mates the money. But maybe it’s just a coincidence that Tottenham look like they may mean business.

Related: Danny Rose the rebel causes thorny problem for Daniel Levy and Spurs | Daniel Taylor

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Chelsea demand striker Diego Costa returns to club and gets match fit

• Forward set four conditions for repairing relations with the champions
• Comes after Costa claimed that club had treated him ‘like a criminal’

Chelsea have responded firmly to Diego Costa claims of maltreatment, demanding the striker return to training and get himself fit for first-team selection.

The Premier League champions have been forced to respond after Costa gave an interview from his home in Brazil where he claimed that Chelsea had treated him “like a criminal” over his desire to leave the club this summer.

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Despite this clod-hopping powerplay, Diego Costa may be on to something | Barney Ronay

The Chelsea striker has raised some genuinely profound issues about transfer fees and freedom of movement that have troubled even the biggest clubs for some time

W hat’s your favourite Diego Costa moment? Perhaps it’s the one where he manages to get Gabriel Paulista sent off for a retaliatory kick just by standing quite near him muttering and smiling like some horrible, handsome, impossibly terrible footballing Iago.

Or the 2-2 draw with Tottenham where Mark Clattenburg books 12 players but not actually Costa, who has a hand in at least five of those yellows, all the while maintaining an attitude of prim and saintly innocence. Or the 3-1 defeat of Arsenal where Costa “scare-assists” his team’s final goal by running towards Petr Cech and making Arsenal’s goalkeeper perform his best impression of Shaggy from Scooby Doo confronted by a double-dealing fairground owner in a zombie mask.

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the opening weekend’s action

Liverpool’s defensive frailties, Wayne Rooney’s nous in both boxes, an unwanted headache for Paul Clement and Manchester United’s unsung heroes

The excellence of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic will attract most attention, but equally crucial was went on around them. Because José Mourinho omitted Ander Herrera – completely unnecessary against opposition likely to sit deep – he could pick an extra attacker, and whether that was Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Marcus Rashford, the trident roaming behind Lukaku offered craft, pace, movement and numbers. Last season, though United’s finishing was useless, they also failed to create enough chances, get enough men into dangerous areas, and exploit the qualities of their most talented players. Yesterday, though, they looked menacing throughout and eventually swamped an admittedly poor West Ham; the question now is whether Mourinho will let his team go against better opposition. Daniel Harris

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Diego Costa accuses Chelsea of being unfair and treating him like a ‘criminal’

• ‘I am not a criminal and I am not in the wrong here’ says Costa
• Chelsea striker wants return to Atlético Madrid ‘resolved this month’

Diego Costa has accused Chelsea of treating him like a “criminal” and revealed he will not return to the club, who he still hopes will sanction his return to Atlético Madrid.

The 28-year-old striker, who has been told by Antonio Conte he has no future at Stamford Bridge, told the Daily Mail that the Chelsea manager lacks charisma and that he is happy to continue accepting fines for refusing to train with the reserves at the club’s Cobham training base. “They want me to be there training with the reserves,” Costa said.

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Antonio Conte tells Chelsea to show more fight but prays for new signings

Beaten 3-2 at home by a magnificent Burnley in their first league match, the champions now face Tottenham next Sunday with players suspended

For a few seconds after Sam Vokes had risen to meet Steven Defour’s cross to give Burnley an improbable 3-0 lead over the Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte stood staring into thin air with his hand resting impassively on his chin. The Chelsea manager has witnessed a lot during a decade in the dugout but watching his misfiring team succumb so meekly to a side who had recorded just one away victory last season surely must have been a new experience.

After a strange summer that has seen his employers spend the best part of £130m on new players yet go into the title defence looking considerably weaker than the outfit who swept all before them just a few months ago, the Italian then found himself fielding questions that suggested he had deliberately sabotaged his starting lineup in a bid to send a message to the club’s owner. Conte bristled visibly at that accusation, staring down his inquisitor before insisting “you don’t know me very well”, although quite what Roman Abramovich would have made of it all is anyone’s guess.

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The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

With the new 2017-18 season in full swing, we have selected 12 of our favourite images from the opening weekend in England’s top flight

Follow us on Instagram for more great sports photography

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Antonio Conte denies team selection was a message to Chelsea hierarchy

• Manager insists side wasn’t chosen to highlight lack of signings
• ‘My choice was to put out the best players that we have’

Antonio Conte denied that his team sheet was intended as any kind of message to the Chelsea hierarchy after a lineup stocked with kids on the bench and a 20-year-old making his first start lost to Burnley on the opening day of their title defence.

Related: Nine-man Chelsea shocked by Sam Vokes double for Burnley

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Cahill red card crucial in Chelsea’s loss to Burnley, says Conte – video

The Chelsea coach Antonio Conte says his side lost composure following Gary Cahill’s red card as the Blues lost 3-2 to Burnley on Saturday. The reigning Premier League champions were eventually reduced to nine men as Cesc Fàbregas too was sent off in the club’s opening game of the new season. Conte is also frustrated by suggestions his team selection was designed to send a message to the club’s hierarchy  

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Cahill red card crucial in Chelsea’s loss to Burnley, says Conte – video

The Chelsea coach Antonio Conte says his side lost composure following Gary Cahill’s red card as the Blues lost 3-2 to Burnley on Saturday. The reigning Premier League champions were eventually reduced to nine men as Cesc Fàbregas too was sent off in the club’s opening game of the new season. Conte is also frustrated by suggestions his team selection was designed to send a message to the club’s hierarchy  

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Chelsea v Burnley: Premier League – live!

3.04pm BST

3 min: Burnley win a free kick. It’s floated toward the far post in the general vicinity of Ben Mee, but he’s unable to get a head on it.

3.02pm BST

1 min: And they’re off! Burnley attacking from left to right in white shirts and claret shorts, Chelsea from right to left in traditional all-blue strips.

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Chelsea looking ill-equipped after a summer of stagnation | Jonathan Wilson

Antonio Conte’s squad appears thin, with new signings merely replacing departed players, while Diego Costa remains in limbo

José Mourinho takes so many swings at so many perceived enemies that it is easy to forget there are times that he may be right. As his final season at Chelsea spiralled out of control, Mourinho flailed in all directions: at referees, at his medical staff, at opponents, at the media and eventually at his own players.

But with retrospect a couple of his jabs look well-directed. “I gave my club the report of the season projection on 21 April,” he said after the defeat by Crystal Palace in August 2015. “This is a moment for everybody to assume their responsibilities,” he added during his seven-minute monologue after the loss to Southampton. He had highlighted targets and the club – specifically the transfer committee comprising the director of football Michael Emenalo and the directors Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum – had failed to deliver them.

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Chelsea’s Antonio Conte denies favouritism before Burnley opener

Manager tries to play down expectations after champions’ quiet summer in the transfer market and puts his trust in Michy Batshuayi up front

If you were to judge him by body language alone you would not think Antonio Conte was a manager currently in possession of the Premier League title. The man who blew away all competition in his first season in English football spent much of his final press conference before the new season hunkered low, his forehead furrowed, his eyes beaming a combination of wariness and ennui.

Three months after winning the league his Chelsea side are down in numbers and it is clear the Italian wants more names in his squad. He will start the season not only without Nemanja Matic, sold to Manchester United for £40m, but missing Eden Hazard and Pedro through injury. He will not talk about Diego Costa, last season’s leading goalscorer who has been frozen out of the first team and is now in legal dispute with the club. He insists his side are not the favourites to retain their crown. Yet the suspicion remains Conte enjoys the adversity he believes his club to be facing. That, in fact, he thrives on it.

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Football transfer rumours: Chelsea eyeing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

Today’s fluff is ensconced

Lounging in our underground bunker wondering if “they” have been met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen, the Rumour Mill can’t help but ponder assorted other Big Questions.

Is anyone left out there to read this? Did we really forget to pack a can opener? Are Chelsea interested in signing Danny Rose? Apparently so, is the answer to the most important one of those queries, with a Sun “exclusive” reporting that Antonio Conte, maybe inspired by yesterday’s Manchester United rumours, wants to bring the Spurs full-back to Stamford Bridge. Rose could double his £65,000-per-week wages if he goes to Chelsea, but having lost Kyle Walker to Manchester City earlier this summer, Tottenham will fight hard to keep him.

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‘Insulted’ Virgil van Dijk submits transfer request in bid to leave Southampton

• Defender says he is ‘incredibly ambitious’ and wants European football
• Hits back at suggestions he refused to train for the club

Virgil van Dijk has handed in a transfer request as he looks to force his way out of Southampton.

The centre-half, who has been linked with moves to Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea during the summer transfer window, says he is ‘insulted’ by suggestions that he has refused to train for the club. Last month, the 26-year-old saw a dream move to Liverpool collapse with Southampton reporting the Anfield club to the Premier League for an alleged illegal approach. Liverpool were forced into a grovelling apology and, in a bid to defuse the situation, promised they would back away from the former Celtic man.

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