We take a look at the key news stories surrounding Chelsea from the day.
Matic backs Batshuayi
With Diego Costa earning his 5th yellow card of the season against Crystal Palace, it appears likely that Michy Batshuayi will finally get his first Premier League start against Bournemouth. Batshuayi has been growing frustrated with the lack of action at Chelsea and has been linked with a January loan move to West Ham United.
Many would not blame Basthuayi for being rusty when he deputises for Costa against Bournemouth due to a lack of consistent game time but teammate Nemanja Matic has backed him to shine.
“When you have Diego in the team it is very hard to get a chance because he is playing so well and scoring goals. But I’m sure Michy is ready to take his opportunity because he is working hard every day. He is a good man,” he said, according to the Evening Standard.
“We won’t have Diego against Bournemouth but I hope Michy will be the man to decide the game. If he does that it will be good for us. He is a great striker, for sure, that is why Chelsea bought him. I’m sure if he gets a chance to score in the next game, he’ll take it.”
Antonio Conte talks change in style
Antonio Conte has talked about how Chelsea have adapted their style and how he knew it would take a little bit of time for the players to get used to his system. Chelsea are flying high in the league with a 9 point lead over nearest rivals City with Liverpool facing Everton tonight. Conte’s 3-4-3 system has been hugely successful and has been hailed by players and pundits alike.
Conte has said that the two losses to Liverpool and Arsenal changed something in him and his players and that those losses sparked off their current run of form.
“After the defeats we changed something in me, in my players, in the club as well,” he said, according to the club’s official website. “We understood the way to go and have a different season compared to last season.”
“We found the right solution with the formation, but also improved the quality of our work in all aspects – the tactical aspect, the physical aspect and I am pleased for this because after these two bad games, we changed a lot.”
When quizzed about when he decided to use his trademark 3-4-3 style, Conte said, “I had it in my mind before the game against Liverpool. Also we started against Arsenal and then I said to change to three central defenders. To change the situation totally is not easy. You must go slowly and put your idea together. But in my mind, before the game against Liverpool, there was the will to change, but I waited for the right moment. You always hope that you don’t have to put great change in the team because I have players that have all played with four at the back.”
Jon Obi Mikel set for Marseille transfer
Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr claims Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is in talks with Marseille about a potential transfer.
Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006, making over 350 appearances for the club, but he has not featured at all under new manager Antonio Conte this season. Mikel has been linked with a host of clubs over the last few months as a result, including Inter Milan, Manchester United and Olympique Marseille
However, Nigerian head coah Gernot Rohr now claims that Mikel is going to be allowed to leave for free by Chelsea and is on the verge of completing a move to Olympique Marseille.
“I saw Obi Mikel in London,” Rohr told Europe 1, according to Goal. “He is in advanced discussions with Olympique Marseille.
“He will leave Chelsea for free. This is a serious option.”
Mikel’s contract at Stamford Bridge is set to expire at the end of the season.
Nathan Ake good enough for Chelsea, according to Harry Arter
Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter feels his teammate Nathan Ake is good enough to play for Chelsea. The defender, who is on loan at Bournemouth from Chelsea, has made 6 appearances in the league this season – 2 of which have come as a substitute. He has scored 3 goals in those appearances and has impressed manager Eddie Howe whenever he has come into the side.
And it appears that Eddie Howe is not the only one who is impressed by Ake’s performances for the Cherries. Teammate Harry Arter feels Ake has already done enough to prove he is worthy of a place in Chelsea’s squad.
“Nathan deserves all the plaudits he’s getting at the moment. I’ve no doubt that next year he’ll go back to Chelsea and play in their side. I personally feel he’s more than good enough, especially with the system they’re playing now,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“It’s a credit to him because he’s worked really hard, even when he wasn’t in the team, and he deserves all the praise he’s getting.”
Ake, who has been utilised as a centre back by Eddie Howe, is also capable of playing as a full-back. In Conte’s 3-4-3 system, a player who is comfortable in both roles is priceless. However, Ake still has a full season ahead of him before he proves he truly does belong in a team of Chelsea’s standard.