The Hard Tackle takes a look at the most important Chelsea news that have been making the rounds.
Chelsea extended their winning run to 10 matches as they overcame Sunderland by a slender one-goal margin at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night. Post the victory, here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Stamford Bridge.
Cahill: Team spirit the driving force behind the winning run
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has attributed team spirit and defensive solidity as they key to the Blues’ recent winning run. Wednesday night’s result saw Chelsea keep an eighth clean sheet in ten consecutive matches that they have won since the start of October.
Praising the high standards that Chelsea have set in the last two months, Cahill told Chelsea TV: “Football goes week by week, month by month. We want to keep this going and continue the good spirit that’s in our camp at the minute. That’s the most important thing for us. We are not letting goals in. Thibaut pulled off two vital saves for us so he showed his worth.”
Chelsea dominated throughout the match even though they struggled to get the match clinching goal in the second half of the match. Their defenders denied the Sunderland attack a sniff at goal, barring two chances when Thibaut Courtois stood up and ensured that they travelled back to West London with three points in the bag.
Conte hails Courtois as one of the best
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte hailed the impact of Thibaut Courtois, lauding the Belgian as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Courtois made two saves late into the match to deny the Black Cats a share of the spoils, and earn Chelsea a tenth win on the bounce.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Conte said, “For Thibaut it’s more difficult because for the whole game you wait and you could lose concentration but he is a fantastic goalkeeper. One of the best in the world, if not the best, and I’m pleased to have him in my team.”
Courtois had a largely quiet game between the sticks for Chelsea not being called to bail his defence out at all in the first half. Late into the match, however, as Sunderland pressed on in search of the equaliser, Courtois was called on to deny the Sunderland attack on two occasions, first keeping Adnan Januzaj’s right footed shot out before making a magnificent save from Patrick van Aanholt’s long range effort in stoppage time.
Oscar set to become world’s third highest paid player
Chelsea midfielder Oscar is set to become world football’s third highest-paid player when he completes his impending £60 million move to Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG in January. The Times has reported that the Brazil international will earn an annual salary of £20 million after tax with his weekly net wages said to be £400,000.
The figure will put him behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and will astonishingly see him earn more than the likes of Gareth Bale, Neymar and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He currently earns £90,000 a week at Chelsea, so if the reported wages are indeed true Oscar could be set to earn more than quadruple the amount in China.
Other Chelsea News
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte remained tight lipped about the reported £60 million move of Oscar to Chinese Super League side, assuring that the situation would clear up in the following days, while refusing to to rule out a move away for the attacker.
Cesc Fabregas has slammed his critics for doubting him, after he returned to the starting lineup for Chelsea and scored the winning goal in the Blues’ 1-0 win over Sunderland on Wednesday night, hoping he had silenced his doubters with an impressive showing at the Stadium of Light.
Meanwhile, reports say that Serie A club Inter Milan are plotting a move for out-of-favour Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, with Gazzetta Dello Sport reporting that new manager Stefano Pioli is prioritising the acquisition of a midfielder in the winter transfer window.