A Bit of Premier League...

Maurizio Sarri’s Verdict on Kante, Giroud and Hazard

Chelsea new manager, Maurizio Sarri could be without three of his World Cup star players in the Blues’ first Premier League match opener of the season against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Only recently did World Cup stars N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud returned to Stamford Bridge and has only had limited time to work with the new manager, who succeeded Antonio  Conte with the Blues. Most of the football predictions can’t see anything else than N’Golo being one of the leading players of Chelsea this season.


Also in the list is Belgium silver ball winner, Eden Hazard could be missing the season opener after being given some time off for helping the Belgian Reds to the semi-finals and third place at Russia 2018.

However, Sarri was asked about his goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who skipped training this week to try to force a move to Real Madrid according to the reports currently going on in the media.

All three players(Giroud, Kante and Hazard) came off the bench in the second half of the 0-0 draw against Lyon in the International Champions Cup on Tuesday, but the Blues’ coach thinks its too early for them to participate in any competitive game.

"They arrived yesterday or the day before," the 59-year-old manager said via Goal to the reporters after his team won the penalty shoot-out in a 5-4 win against Lyon.

"It was better for them to play 25 minutes than to have a training session alone with the physical coach. They have to work, obviously.

"I'm very happy. I can work with all my players for the first time tomorrow, so we have only three days to prepare for the next match. And the next match will be very important. Very, very, very important."

Yes, I think so. Especially altogether." Sarri said when asked if it will be hard for the three players in facing Huddersfield on Saturday.

With Kante growing to become a doubt in the midfield for the club’s opener, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to take over from him should the Frenchman not feature in the first game.

Speaking on Cheek future, Sarri said: "He's potentially a great player, he has to improve from the tactical point of view. "But I think that's not a problem. He's very young. I think he can be a very beautiful player for us."

Maurizio Sarri on bringing Chelsea back to their top form claims it could take two to three months. "I think that we have to work," Sarri added. "But we started to work, to work two days ago. "But I think, potentially, we can become in two or three months a very good team."

It takes hard work and time, everyone knows that but is the Chelsea board willing to wait that for a manager?

If Bradford City went to the World Cup...?!

A silly notion to be honest but all this qualifying for the World Cup got me thinking of our current squad and where we're at in terms if international prowess. We have Colin Doyle who is second string at Ireland and Shay McCarten (remember him?) who also gets the odd call-up but who REALISTICALLY could cut it and for which team? Very random thought but one for me to ponder on a quiet Tuesday night in October.

First up - Romain Vincelot. Never won a Fench cap but I honestly think he wouldn't be that bad alongside Pogba in that midfielder 😂😂 - let's just think about this for a minute ... he wouldn't have to do much running and pop up the box when needed, plus he can pass a ball and has the tenacity the French team need in midfield!

Charlie Wyke - if players like Robson-Kanu can score and perform at the Euros there is no reason why Charlie from Wyke couldn't do a job for say, Northern Ireland! He needs to be a team where there are few options up top, Eygpt also spring to mind!

Matthew Killgallon - For me he could get into several teams; Iran, South Korea? They would both benefit from a big powerful presence at the back and his form this season certainly warrants a start.

Tony McMahon - The assist king himself would be deserving of a call-up to a nation in need of a delivery to a big guy.....Australia!! Yep, with Tim Cahill still banging them in at 38 (ish) McMahon's pinpoint crosses would be converted with ease by Cahill. Oh...and Australia are still yet to qualify so fingers crossed!

Any more suggestions? Feel free to comment below. I'll be compiling a World Cup 11 - who would play for who and where come summer next year. I got all my info from this gem of a website I found whilst surfing page 26 on google search results for 'World Cup' - Ask Fans World Cup Guide! It's actually a decent little find and looks like an independent online start-up which for me is sometimes is better than the big boys generic retort!

Can we actually win this league? Can we dominate?

It never crossed my mind until I read a tweet the other day from a random guy (Ben West)...

tweet winn league.JPG

It was an innocuous tweet and very innocent but something this random guy, who isn't a City fan for the record, took time to write and think about. I don't think it was a flippant remark and his response was to this stat:


And therein lies the rub. Compared to last season we are banging them in and turning those men behind ball draws to out of the blocks from the off wins!

A quick look at the bookies tells a similar story - Paddy Power are giving us a strong 21/10 to win the league with Charlie Wyke being 16/1 top goal scorer. Also as a caveat to this, they actually have a free £20 bet via the link above, random I know - but I've just lumped a tenner on each of those outcomes. Worth spending nothing IMO.

Will they both come in, will we get the holy grail of a Championship trophy and a top goal scorer a'la Sheffield United and Billy Sharp? As it stands I'm quietly confident, key word there being 'quietly'. I won't go head-on into the Twittersphere with my confidence but instead, keep it under lock and key until the time is right. 

Back in July we speculated about promotion - see HERE and the bloomin' Guardian also called it over the summer - HERE 

Not everyone was or is disillusioned to our chances of promotion but to sing it from the roof top is something we shouldn't be doing.

Why though? Becuase we're Bradford City, we have never done a Sheffield United and we tend to do things the harder way. The Bradford way. Why win the league when you can scrape over the line into a play-off final. But as it stands the ingredients for the success are there; Wyke is on form, we're scoring goals from all areas of the pitch and McCall has his tactics bob-on. Injuries aside we have the squad to take us up, all we need now is for others to notice our threat and use it to our advantage. Going back to the original tweet above you can see people view us as a good side but they aren't scared of us, we need to strike fear into the opponents and literally bulldozer teams out of the way. It's the only way we'll win this league, playing good football and scoring loads of first half goals counts for nothing unless we show our dominance every single game.

**At the time of writing the above we hadn't yet travelled to Bury. But all I think that display did was inherintely cement the ideas of above. Without the fire in our belly and the ability to dominate with every chance we get - we won't be winning anything quickly.

Tom Fletcher

Clever Charlie Wyke.

by Tom Fletcher

Charlie Wyke finishing off 3 sublime crosses on Saturday with 3 sublime goals really does start to put our season in perspective. Not only does it mean the odds for us to win this league have been shortened it also means we have found a way to categorically score goals. People will point fingers at Bristol's defence but if you look carefully at all Wyke's goals, he was clever, VERY clever. He doesn't just aimlessly wander into the box and hope for the best, he's physical, tactical and most of all wants it more than the other guy. 

Let's have a look at those 3 goals. The first one was from a corner, flicked on by Vincelot and unorthodoxly volleyed home by Wyke. It's not luck that he happened to be there, if you watch his first run it's a lot more towards the near post but when he realises he isn't going to be near the initial cross he checks his run and waits to see where it lands; in this instance, the back post to be prodded home. 

His second goal is classic Charlie Wyke from last season, dedication and a desire to get to the ball before anyone else. The corner comes in (and with some help from NKP) and Wyke is there like a steam train to head the ball down into the ground. A chance that a lot of players would have squandered under the pressure of a seemingly easy header.

The third goal though is the icing on the cake for me and totally sums up how this style will work for us. The ball is lofted into the box by Reeves and this gives Charlie a chance to think about what he's going to do. Instead of waiting for the ball to land he cleverly nudges the defender out of the way which gives him the space to jump and offer up an incredibly brave header into the top corner. The thought of cracking his skull on the post doesn't even cross his mind. 

If we can get the ball into the box and most importantly Wyke stays in that box he will finish the chances. I can safely say I haven't had this type of confidence in a striker in this way since Lee Mills. Wells, Hanson and Peter Thorne were all different. They scored different goals (even Hanson yes) and what Wyke is going to bring this season is something we haven't had for a long time, a Bobby Campbell-esque type player. 

P.S. I am not saying he is anywhere near Bobby Campbell.