Gunners fans react to Chelsea, Arsenal target Rice joke with Saka in viral video

March 22nd, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Arsenal fans are convinced Declan Rice will join the club in a summer transfer after a clip from the England camp emerged.

Rice, 24, is in the Three Lions squad that met at St George’s Park yesterday ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine.

The West Ham skipper rocked up with a fresh new trim – and Gunners supporters are hoping to see him in a fresh new kit come the new season.

Viewers watching the England arrivals video on YouTube spotted the warm embrace Rice gave Bukayo Saka when he rocked up.

Saka, 21, walked into the room and immediately Rice gave him banter about his recent celebrity phone calls.

Rice shouted: “He’s been on FaceTime with Kim Kardashian bruv, he doesn’t want us anymore.”

The winger laughed and replied: “Do you want me to say hello to you or not?”

Rice then gave him a big smile and a massive hug, telling Saka: “It’s good to see you my friend.”

Luke Shaw then welcomes Saka, too.

But plenty of Arsenal fans clipped the video of the touching moment with the West Ham midfielder and want to see more of the same in 2023-24.

One said: “Saka and Rice bromance already okkk.”

Another joked: “Saka: Welcome to Arsenal, Rice. Rice: Thank you, Saka.”

A third added: “You can tell how much every player loves Saka, can’t wait for Rice to be at the Arsenal next season.”

And a final user wrote: “Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka is the bromance we want to see flourish at the Arsenal.”

Rice has rejected the offer of a new contract at the London Stadium.

Keen to stay in London and play in the Champions League, Arsenal could be the suitable next destination for one of the Premier League’s top midfielders.

And Rice will no doubt have the likes of Saka and fellow Gunner Aaron Ramsdale working as Mikel Arteta’s agents to try and convince him to make the switch across the capital.

Tags: , , , ,

Chelsea star reveals he “had to Google” Blues new signing

March 22nd, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Marc Cucurella says he was completely unaware of Chelsea team-mate Enzo Fernandez at the start of the World Cup and had to Google him after being impressed by his performances for Argentina.

The 22-year-old had not started for his nation prior to the tournament in Qatar and began on the bench for the side’s shock opening group game defeat to Saudi Arabia.

But he started the subsequent six matches and became a key player en route to Argentina’s World Cup win providing bite and tenacity off the ball, as well as composure and vision on it.

His performances in Qatar, coupled with his fine form for Benfica, saw Fernandez become the most expensive player in Premier League history when Chelsea agreed to pay £106.8million on deadline day.

Fernandez’s rapid ascent from the Argentinian league to becoming the Premier League’s record signing even caught new team-mate Cucurella off guard, with the Spaniard having never heard of the midfielder prior to his breakout World Cup campaign.

The former Brighton defender had been keen to see how his old team-mate Alexis Mac Allister got on in Qatar and tuned in to watch Argentina’s matches only to be blown away by Fernandez – though he had no idea who he was at the time and had to whip out his phone and search him.

“I liked to watch matches in which my friends were playing, so I was watching Argentina because of Alexis,” Cucurella told the South American edition of ESPN’s Sports Center, via the Metro.

“I think I said, ‘I really like number 24, he’s very good!’ But I didn’t even know where he played! I had to go and search on my phone!

“As I watched more games, I told my family and friends that I really liked him a lot. And then he came to Chelsea!

“I told Enzo that I had liked him at the World Cup. He’s a good guy, I’m waiting for him to cook me a barbeque.

“He is very young, but he is very talented with the ball and he is intelligent. He’s still adapting but he’s already played some good games. We have [signed] a great midfielder.”

Fernandez has become an instant fans’ favourite at Chelsea, dictating the tempo and rhythm of matches with his vast array of passing as well as being a tough-tackling, all-action presence out of possession.

Tags: , ,

Aubameyang returns to Nou Camp, celebrates Barcelona El Clasico win with former teammates

March 20th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spent Sunday evening taking in El Clasico at the Nou Camp after another weekend left out of Chelsea’s matchday squad.

The 33-year-old striker, who joined the west London club from Barcelona last summer, made his affinity for his former team clear as he joined in the post-match celebrations after their last-gasp win over Real Madrid.

In an Instagram story posted by Spanish forward Ferran Torres, Aubameyang, who was at Barca for only seven months, was pictured in the thick of the dressing-room festivities.

Torres captioned the story ‘Grande’, meaning big or great in Spanish, while also tagging the out-of-favour Chelsea man.

Barca claimed a late 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Madrid on Sunday after an injury-time strike from Franck Kessie sealed their 119th El Clasico win.

Aubameyang has had a checkered spell in west London, where he initially moved to in the hope of reuniting with former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel.

However, within six days of the Gabon international’s signing, Tuchel was given his marching owners by new owner Todd Boehly.

Aubameyang has since struggled for playing time and spent long periods out of the squad altogether.

Premier League club plot shock move for Romelu Lukaku

March 20th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Romelu Lukaku is reportedy a shock transfer target for Aston Villa in the summer.

The Chelsea striker, 29, was shipped out on loan to Inter Milan for this season despite his £97million transfer in 2021.

But with that deal ending in the summer, he looks set to be on the move again as the Stamford Bridge club are said to want to sell him.

And Todo Fichajes claim Aston Villa are surprise admirers and considering launching a bid.

Unai Emery’s side sold Danny Ings to West Ham in January, leaving Ollie Watkins as the main striker.

The Belgian, though, has expressed his desire to stay put at Inter, where he spent two years from 2019 to 2021, winning Serie A, reaching the Europa League final and scoring 64 goals in 95 games.

He has struggled to hit his top form this term, though, with just five goals in 19 games – including three in the league.

But as with Villa’s pursuit, attempts by Inter to sign Lukaku permanently could be thwarted by finances.

Ths San Siro giants and Villa Park side may be unable to offer the money both Chelsea and Lukaku the money they want for a transfer.

The Blues will certainly have to take a hit on the £97m outlay two years earlier.

Graham Potter blasts Chelsea star over Everton incident

March 20th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea boss Graham Potter has criticised Kai Havertz for his goal celebration during the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Everton.

In a pulsating clash at Stamford Bridge, Abdoulaye Doucoure had pegged back Joao Felix’s opener before Havertz put Chelsea back ahead with a 76th minute penalty.

However, after he netted the spot kick, the German forward appeared to mock Everton keeper Jordan Pickford.

As the ball hit the back of the net, Havertz cupped his hands to his ears in front of the England No.1, while sticking out his tongue as he wheeled away in celebration.

Ellis Simms then equalised with a dramatic goal in the 89th minute to ensure Pickford had the last laugh between the pair

And, following the game, Potter explained how he wasn’t happy with Havertz’s celebration.

“When players score, they have something like an out-of-body experience,” the Chelsea boss said.

“I didn’t score many myself so I wouldn’t know. You should enjoy the celebration, I don’t think you need to involve the opponent.

“That would be my perspective.”

Potter also expressed his frustration with his side dropping points against the Toffees in a result that leaves them 11 points off the top four with 11 games remaining.

He added: “As I said, Everton used their strengths well. They’ve got physicality and used (Abdoulaye) Doucourse and (Andre) Onana to win long balls, second balls, throw-ins, set-pieces, and to create danger.

“Teams have always done that well under Sean (Dyche). It’s not easy to control it as well as you’d like.

“We lost a little bit of control for a short period of time and when we did, we conceded. That’s the frustrating bit.”

Photo Credit: ChelseaFC/Twitter

Revealed: Why Real Madrid president won’t be watching El Clasico at Camp Nou

March 19th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Reports in Spain claim that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has decided not to attend the El Clasico at Camp Nou on Sunday.

As a result, the customary dinner between Perez and Joan Laporta, which happens before El Clasico fixtures, was cancelled earlier this week.

Amid rising tensions, Perez has now decided to not travel to the Spotify Camp Nou at all, and will instead stay in Madrid to watch the match, as per El Mundo (via MD).

Perez has ruled out the possibility of gracing the match as he expected a hostile reception from Barcelona supporters at the Spotify Camp Nou.

It will be the first time that Perez has not attended the match in Catalonia over the course of his two spells as Real Madrid President.

It remains to be seen what will happen with Caso Negreira, but the relationship between the two clubs is far from peachy as things currently stand.

Blues legend Zola reveals how Chelsea rejected Napoli star

March 16th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Gianfranco Zola confirms that current Napoli star Stanislav Lobotka ‘was proposed to Chelsea’ in 2018-19, but the Stamford Bridge side turned him down.

The Slovakia international signed a new two-year deal with the Serie A leaders. His previous contract was due to expire in 2025.

“I already knew Lobotka, because I saw a few of his games when he was proposed to Chelsea,” revealed Zola during his role as pundit on Amazon Prime Italia for tonight’s Champions League match against Eintracht Frankfurt.

“He was a good player, but nowhere near what he has become at Napoli today.”

Napoli signed Lobotka from Celta Vigo in January 2020 and he initially struggled, but has gone from strength to strength under coach Luciano Spalletti.

At the time of Zola’s viewing, the Slovakia international had only just joined Celta Vigo from Nordsjaelland at a cost of €5m.

Zola was assistant manager to Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea for the 2018-19 season.

Photo Credit: sscnapoli/Twitter

Real Madrid boss Ancelotti reveals what he discussed with Jurgen Klopp after beating Liverpool

March 16th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Carlo Ancelotti has revealed the contents of his discussion with Liverpool manager after defeatig Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate in their Champions League Round of 16 tieas as the two sides ended on friendly terms at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After Liverpool paid homage Amancio Amaro in the first leg, the Santiago Bernabeu played You’ll Never Walk Alone, the Liverpool anthem over the PA system at the final whistle.

Even the managers were in synchronisation, as they both agreed that a late penalty decision for handball should not (and was not) given. Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp could be seen conversing as the referee came to his decision.

“We agree that it was not a handball,” Carlo Ancelotti told Marca.

“”We talked about the penalty yesterday that was crazy, really, the penalty against Leipzig… be careful with this because this is not football, giving a penalty like that in a Champions League… I don’t think anyone noticed it, not even Guardiola realised that they called that penalty.”

His counterpart, Klopp, was in agreement.

“I’m not in the mood to talk about this. But it’s clear that it wasn’t a penalty. The one in the City match was something else. I think the appropriate decisions should be taken. Ancelotti told me that this isn’t a penalty.”

They weren’t the only ones to express their surprise, and perhaps even disgust is a fair word, at the Leipzig decision. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois recalled a similar incident with the same referee that was not called the same.

It seems there is widespread disillusion with the current handball rules in football. On the whole, the increase in fouls leading to penalties is distorting the game significantly from what it was before – the only saving grace in the Leipzig case was that it was not decisive for the result.

Graham Potter handed major boost ahead Everton clash

March 16th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea boss Graham Potter has been handed a major boost ahead of this weekend’s clash against Everton with a number of players returning to training.

Injury issues have plagued the new manager’s time at the helm so far, with the poor run of form the side endured coinciding with such absences.

The Blues find themselves mid-table, some distance off a European spot, which has brought about questions over the team in charge. However, three wins on the bounce – which included passage to the quarter-finals of the Champions League – has shown there are signs of change.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Potter said on the injury troubles that occurred over the past few months, though a swing of results has changed his tune. He said after victory over Leicester at the weekend: “It’s been a really good week. Three wins.

“A determined performance against Leeds and then a great one against Dortmund and to back it up today is really good from the players because it’s not easy to do that in the Premier League, so I’m delighted for them. I’m delighted for the supporters, they were fantastic.”

The former Brighton man will have been pleased to see even more returns to his squad ahead of a clash against Everton this weekend, where the side will be looking to continue their momentum. One of the headlines that will come from the influx of players is that of Reece James.

There were also returns for Mason Mount and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with both of them and the aforementioned James able to feature against Everton. While unlikely to be in the squad against the Toffees, there was also a place for Edouard Mendy in training on Tuesday.

Carlo Ancelotti predicts Champions League finalists after defeating Liverpool

March 16th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Carlo Ancelotti has one hope going into the Champions League quarter-final, for Real Madrid to avoid his former club Milan. ‘I’d like us to meet in the Final in Istanbul.’

The Merengues are the tournament holders, having won it last season with Ancelotti at the helm, and swept Liverpool aside 1-0 on Wednesday, 6-2 on aggregate.

There are three Italian teams in the final eight – Milan, Inter and Napoli – and four Italian coaches, represented by Ancelotti, Stefano Pioli, Simone Inzaghi and Luciano Spalletti.

The other quarter-finalists are Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester City and Benfica.

“To be honest, the ideal would be for us to meet Milan in the Final in Istanbul, but there is a long way to go,” Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.

Ironically, Istanbul was also the host city when Ancelotti’s Milan lost to Liverpool on penalties after fumbling a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 in 2005.

“Napoli are doing very well, they are dominating Serie A and can therefore concentrate entirely on the Champions League. All the potential opponents in the quarter-final are dangerous, it will be a real battle.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told Sky Sport Italia yesterday that Napoli are the best team in Europe, but much like Spalletti already stated, Ancelotti sees through the mind games.

“I wouldn’t put too much importance on that. Manchester City scored seven goals past RB Leipzig yesterday… It will be a battle at the quarter-finals, then if we reach the semi-finals it’ll be a battle there too.”

Tags: , ,

« Previous Entries