Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Conte reveals key man in contention to return vs Newcastle

Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud signals a heart shape towards the fans Forward Olivier Giroud has scored eight times in nine Premier League appearances against Newcastle
Lucia Summers | 15 May, 2018, 22:53

The Blues slipped to an embarrassing 3-0 away defeat to Newcastle in their final league game of the season, even though they technically still had a chance of qualifying for the top four going into the game.

"I think they deserve that, and I think the fans deserve to see the team winning the last game".

Conte made five changes for the draw against Huddersfield and eight again for Newcastle.

Chelsea, who spent around £50m in the January transfer window on three new players, are still determining whether or not to replace Emenalo directly or dilute the role's duties, many of which are now being overseen by the influential director Marina Granovskaia. Jacob Murphy, allowed to meet Matt Ritchie's cross unchallenged at the back post, saw his effort parried by Courtois, but Dwight Gayle scampered in to nod the loose ball into the empty net.

But no sooner had the visitors gained a foothold than Newcastle rendered their momentum meaningless.

Chelsea finally got a shot on target in the 52nd minute, as a magnificent flick from Olivier Giroud was tipped over by Newcastle's on-loan keeper Martin Dubravka.

Conte watched it all in stony silence on the touchline, not for the first time this season a bystander to catastrophic events.

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But the Italian, speaking before what is his likely to be his last Premier League game with the Blues, said: "You must know that there is this possibility, because you play in a strong league". With a manager of Bentiez's talent and experience, a solid squad with room for improvement, rejoining the elite and striving for European football must be the ambition.

However, he has endured an underwhelming debut season in Premier League as he has managed only 11 goals in 30 league appearances for Chelsea. Hazard leads the club with 12 goals and will be Chelsea's go-to man on Sunday. Despite having the slimmest of chances to make a fourth-place finish, Chelsea did not help themselves and succumbed to the pressure.

Canvass opinion around St James' Park about Newcastle's best performer this season, and Shelvey's name will be a common reply.

They've also scored just once in those four defeats - a goal by Ayoze Perez in a 2-1 loss at Watford.

The Chelsea board have yet to make a final decision on the former Barcelona manager or the current Napoli boss, but Enrique - who is now without a job - wants big wages and a sizeable transfer budget. Barkely appeared nervy, unsure of his position, often looking over at Conte, at one point shanking a clearance from right-back straight to a Newcastle player.

Rafa Benitez labelled it a "perfect Sunday".

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