Ballack backs Bayern Munich to beat Chelsea in the Champions League

German legend Michael Ballack has backed Bayern Munich to get the better of Chelsea during the round of 16 stage of the Champions League. The Blues have exceeded expectations under Frank Lampard this season and they are holding onto a top-four spot despite making no new signings over the past two transfer windows.

Despite this, they have been inconsistent over the past few months where they have failed to build a winning run and Ballack believes Bayern have a big advantage over the Blues with the experience in their ranks, he told The Sun: “[Chelsea’s] manager is new and inexperienced in his job, and that is a big advantage for Bayern. The performance levels of Bayern’s players are another plus for them. They are more stable than they were last autumn. Chelsea have a young team, which has the potential to explode. They have mostly young players, a bit like Borussia Dortmund.”

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Michael Owen predicts Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea

Former Premier League star Michael Owen has predicted the forthcoming league clash between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs have fared better than their London rivals since the previous international break and they have the opportunity to propel to the fourth spot with a victory over Frank Lampard’s side at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Speaking on BetVictor, Owen said that the London derby should be an interesting game with Frank Lampard coming against Jose Mourinho. Lampard was able to beat Mourinho in the League Cup tie last season when they were the managers of Derby County and Manchester United respectively but Owen does not anticipate a similar outcome this time around.

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Following Sadio Mane’s excellent work at Liverpool in the past few seasons, and his even better 2019, there have been renewed claims that his complexion caused him to be underrated. Mane finished in fourth place at the Ballon d’Or and it was his first major recognition in world football.

There have been claims that if Mane were to be South American or European, his work would have been earlier or better appreciated. Pointing to Didier Drogba as an example is a wrong move, as the Ivory Coast former international was duly recognized. Simply put, Drogba gets enough recognition for his service to the game.


Frank Lampard confirms lengthy injury setback for Emerson

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has confirmed that Emerson could be sidelined for a considerable period of time after suffering a recurrence of the thigh problem picked up on international duty. The Italy international made his injury comeback during the recent league encounter against Liverpool but he was able to last for just 15 minutes before he was substituted with a fresh concern.

Besides Emerson, Andreas Christensen also picked up a knee injury during the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool but it appears that the Dane could return in a short space of time. Speaking in a press conference, Lampard revealed that Christensen has only suffered a knock and he should return to action for the forthcoming fixtures.

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Tammy Abraham says Didier Drogba was his childhood hero

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has said that Blues legend Didier Drogba was his childhood hero and he is pleased to be following in the veteran’s footsteps to lead the line for the club. Abraham spent the past three seasons on loan with Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa respectively but he has now got the chance to impress for the Blues under manager Frank Lampard.

The England international made a slow beginning to the current campaign with three goalless games on the trot but he has since repaid the manager’s faith with braces in successive games against Norwich City and Sheffield United. As a result, he is assured of a starting berth upfront for the short term at the least and he is hoping to emulate Drogba’s achievements.

He said: “I have so many stories from when I was younger watching him, growing up watching such a talented striker. I’ve always wanted to be like him, always hungry to score goals. Just looking at him he had that appearance about him. And I’ve always wanted to add that to my game. So to follow in his footsteps [as the club’s main striker] is always nice.”

Abraham started the season with direct competition from Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi for the centre-forward role. However, Batshuayi has been out-of-favour under Lampard during the first month of the season and that combined with the average form of Giroud has meant that he has commanded the starting role upfront.

Nonetheless, he cannot rest on his laurels and needs to remain consistent over an extended period of time in order to cement the striker’s position. The Blues are currently under a transfer embargo until the summer of 2020 but reports have emerged that they could do business at the turn of the year with the board hoping to shorten the ban through their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Jamie Redknapp impressed with Mason Mount’s impact on home debut

Former Liverpool star Jamie Redknapp has been impressed with the qualities shown by Mason Mount during his home debut for Chelsea. The England youth international was picked from the starting lineup for the second league game on the bounce and he managed to contribute his maiden Blues goal within the seventh minute of the clash.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Redknapp highlighted that Mount has the credentials to succeed with the west London giants after showing that he is prepared to press higher up the field to induce mistakes from the opposition, he said: “It’s huge [for Mason Mount]. I just want to have a look at it from his point of view here. What I like is that he could play it safe and say ‘there’s my man, I’m going to stick to Hamza Choudhury’. But what he does he gambles and I haven’t seen enough midfield players do this. As soon as he picks that ball up, Ndidi, look at the pace that he comes after him, Mason Mount. He gets after him, he makes it awkward, wins the ball back and it’s a brilliant finish.”

Despite Mount’s opener, the Blues lacked the cutting edge to their game and they were eventually forced to settle for a 1-1 draw after Wilfred Ndidi scored from a corner. The result is certainly not ideal with the Blues just above the relegation places but manager Frank Lampard may take heart from the fact that the team were able to erase the streak of successive defeats under his guidance.

Next up, the Europa League holders have an away game against newly-promoted Norwich City and the encounter could be a fascinating one with Daniel Farke’s side providing a genuine attacking threat. Teemu Pukki has been sensational for them with four goals from the opening two league matches and the Blues defence may have to keep a close guard on the Finnish striker to come up with a winning return.