Chelsea racism allegations: four more players to take legal action against club

• More former youth-team players claim they were racially abused
• Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams deny the allegations against themAnother four former Chelsea academy players are set to take legal action against the club over racist abuse they allege they were subjected to by the coaches Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams. One player claimed he had been left so scarred by taunting he received during his time at Chelsea as a young teenager that he felt unable to eat a banana publicly during his first job outside football. Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Romelu Lukaku is weighing in with some key contributions, Christian Benteke is not and Tottenham are showing how much weaker they are without Christian Eriksen Sergio Agüero has had a curiosity of a campaign. He has been injured, benched and below par at times. He has been outscored by Raheem Sterling for much of the season. Yet his hat-trick on Saturday meant he has scored 20 goals for a fifth successive campaign. Further milestones await: Agüero is nine away from becoming the first man to score 200 for City. He is 11 behind his career-best tally of 33 and, with successive cup ties against Championship opponents, Bristol City and Cardiff, he has the chance to make further inroads before Gabriel Jesus is fit again. Besides the numbers, the encouraging element for City is that, after an autumnal slump, Agüero looks to have regained his sharpness. He produced purposeful, elusive dribbling, Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Crosses are falling in the Premier League: why the focus on target men? | Sean Ingle

While West Ham and Stoke score more goals when Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch play, there is little evidence that Chelsea using them – or Ashley Barnes – as a Plan B would workHow times change. At the dawn of the Premier League the news that Chelsea wanted a rugged English striker to hurl himself at crosses, preferably after smashing through a centre-half in the brusque style of Kerry Dixon or Mick Harford, would barely have caused a ripple. Yet when it emerged last week that they were lining up a £20m bid for Andy Carroll – and then started making eyes at Peter Crouch – their fans were entitled to check their calendars to make sure it was not 1 April. Reports on Sunday morning that Chelsea had turned their attention to the Roma striker Edin Dzeko suggested sanity had returned to the Stamford Bridge boardroom – until, Continue reading "Crosses are falling in the Premier League: why the focus on target men? | Sean Ingle"

Chelsea ready to offer £44m for Roma’s Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri

  • Talks between the two clubs to resume on Monday
  • Both players keen for a move to England
Chelsea will step up their pursuit of the Roma pair Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri on Monday in the hope of persuading the Serie A club to sell the two players for a combined €50m (£44m). Roma are holding out for £44m plus £13.2m in add-ons. Initial talks were held between the two clubs last week and will resume on Monday following the Italian side’s game with Inter on Sunday night. Continue reading...

Chelsea’s hunt for a medieval big man adds intrigue to football’s space race | Barney Ronay

Seeing Andy Carroll or Peter Crouch at Chelsea is too good to hope for as it could confirm suspicions about the basic numbers of effectiveness and opportunity in elite teamsIt is nearly 40 years since a famous photo emerged that left the nascent Indian space programme an object of widespread mockery. The photo, published in 1979, showed India’s brand new state-of-the-art communications satellite being wheeled out for its launch – on a bullock cart. For political opponents the picture exposed the space programme as a matter of grandiose ambition undercut by agricultural thinking, a bullock cart culture. That same year the Indian government announced it would also be spending $6bn on bullock cart research, with the idea of entering the white heat of a new industrial age via more efficient bullock carts. Continue reading...

Ross Barkley denied chance to make Chelsea debut in Norwich FA Cup replay

• Club look to arrange friendly after midfielder declared ineligible
• Ethan Ampadu set to start replay with Eden Hazard restedChelsea are seeking to arrange a behind-closed-doors friendly this week to grant Ross Barkley game time after discovering only on Sunday that the new signing is ineligible to make his debut on Wednesday againstNorwich. Antonio Conte had envisaged selecting Barkley among his substitutes for the FA Cup third-round replay at Stamford Bridge with a view to the 24-year-old playing his first competitive football of the campaign. Yet the Chelsea club secretary, David Barnard, pointed out that the England international had completed his £15m move from Everton after the midday cut-off on the day before the original tie at Carrow Road. Continue reading...