‘Jorginho is absolutely outstanding for Chelsea’ – Wise impressed by summer signing

Dennis Wise believes that Jorginho has been “absolutely outstanding” for Chelsea and believes that his relationship with manager Maurizio Sarri will be key to the Blues’ future success.

Wise, who is a former Chelsea captain, has been watching the Italy international closely, having travelled to some of the club’s pre-season games ahead of the new campaign.

Since arriving at Stamford Bridge along with Maurizio Sarri from Napoli, Jorginho has made an immediate impact and netted a debut penalty, as Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners on the opening day of the season against Huddersfield Town.

“I like the boy [Sarri] has brought in, Jorginho, I think he has been absolutely outstanding,” Wise told Goal in an exclusive interview.

“I have watched him and how he covered holes, how he pressed and he dictates to his team-mates as he wants them to do certain things.

“I think by bringing in Jorginho, you bring in someone who knows Sarri very well and how he plays and what he wants to do.

“When you have someone right in the middle of that midfield who understands how the manager plays and dictates that to everyone, I think it is really helpful and he has so much quality as well.

“I think he has given the ball away once over the whole pre-season. I am actually looking forward to seeing him progress over the course of this season.”

Jorginho Chelsea

Wise, who ranks seventh in the all-time top appearance makers for Chelsea with 445 matches under his belt, continues to maintain a close relationship with his former club and he has been impressed with the speed at which Sarri has imprinted his ideology since joining from Napoli just over a month ago.

“I think he had only been with them for 21 days [before the Community Shield game against Man City], so it is a short period that he has been in charge,” Wise said. “He has had to change the system from a 3-4-3 to a 4-3-3 now and they have worked on it in an impressive manner, having watched them against Arsenal [in pre-season].

“I think in that first half they played very, very well. I was impressed with the way they were set up and they haven’t had all their personnel throughout pre-season, so probably the team that starts in each game might not stay the same to begin with.

“After a couple of games into the start of the season you will see a couple of players coming back into it. What I see, in terms of the way they play, they press very, very high. They want the ball constantly and they want to control the game.

“It is different from Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, who were more counter-attacking in their football. I think Maurizio wants to play on the front foot. That’s important for him, he wants to press teams high. It is difficult because the work rate, you have to keep up.

“He did it at Napoli and it worked extremely well, so I am looking forward to actually seeing him do that because I think it is going to be very exciting to see Chelsea on the front foot and passing it around teams.”

Maurizio Sarri Chelsea ICC 2018

According to Wise, reigning champions Manchester City are still the team to beat in the Premier League this season, while Liverpool are also expected to mount a challenge, but Wise is hopeful that Chelsea can close the gap and be the “surprise package”.

“I think everyone is looking at Man City, they had 100 points last season. Nineteen points ahead of Man United and 30 points ahead of Chelsea so that’s a big gulf to catch up,” continued the 51-year-old. “They have done it in such a commanding way, that you have to catch them.

“We are hoping that a little bit of complacency creeps in [at Man City]. You look at Chelsea, they did very well when Antonio Conte came in for his first season and won the league. I don’t think anyone expected that to happen.

“I think the expectations at Chelsea this year is people are not expecting them to win the league. What you need to do is to see how it pans out. I think it could be quite interesting because Chelsea have a lot of quality players but they never hit it off.

Chelsea 1998 League Cup win - Dennis Wise

“Whether that was internal or inside the dressing room, who knows, but now there is a fresh start. They could be a surprise package again, Chelsea. Everyone is expecting Man City to win it and Liverpool to press them because of the amount of money that they have spent.

“Liverpool plugged gaps where they needed and I think they have really spent well but now the expectations are there as well. So they have to live with those expectations. I think those are the two teams that people will be looking at, Man City and Liverpool.

“Hopefully Chelsea can creep in through the back door because no one is expecting that to happen.”

Wise’s former team-mate Gianfranco Zola now works as an assistant to Sarri and will be welcomed back at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night.

The Italian legend played a key role in championing Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has now been offered a new five-year deal by Chelsea, and Wise hopes that the youngster stays with his boyhood club.

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“I think Hudson-Odoi has been outstanding,” said Wise. “I think it is good he has had the opportunity. He is a local boy and I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of him and him competing against players in that position.

“I think he is capable to go and do it. I think he gave Hector Bellerin a torrid time in Dublin and in his performance against Inter at times.”

Wise was speaking at the 2018 FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, celebrating grassroots heroes across England. Find out more: www.mcdonalds.co.uk/grassroots


Cheikh N’Doye departs Birmingham City for Angers on loan

Championship side Birmingham City have confirmed Cheikh N’Doye return to Angers on loan.

The Senegal international joined the Blues in July 2017 on a free transfer and signed a two-year contract with Gary Monk’s side.

Since making his debut in their 1-0 away loss to Ipswich Town, the midfielder have made 42 appearances across competitions.

And on Thursday, the St Andrew’s Stadium outfit confirmed that the former Creteil player has teamed up with Stephane Moulin’s charges on a season-long loan.

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“It is return to his former club for the 32-year-old Senegalese international who left Angers at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, at the conclusion of his contract,” read a statement on club website.

N’Doye could feature for Angers when they trade tackles with Rennes at the Roazhon Park on August 18.    


Premier League Betting: Liverpool 10/3 to win title after Kevin De Bruyne injury is confirmed

Liverpool are 10/3 (4.33) to win the Premier League after Kevin De Bruyne looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The Manchester City star injured his knee in training and early reports suggest that he could be out for up to three months, although he is undergoing further tests this week.

As such, Jurgen Klopp’s men are 10/3 (4.33) with in the outright winner market but this price could well get shorter in the coming days once the extent of De Bruyne’s injury is known.

Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2018-19

The Belgian was a key part of City’s dominance last season as he registered a league-best 16 assists and added eight goals as Pep Guardiola’s men romped to the title.

Had it not been for Mohamed Salah’s Golden Boot-winning 32 strikes then De Bruyne would almost certainly have won PFA Player of the Year, highlighting just how important he was last campaign.

However, the attacker played just half an hour against Arsenal as City strolled to a 2-0 win in their first game of the season and may not prove to be as much of a miss considering the depth of Guardiola’s squad.

Premier League winner Price
Manchester City 8/13 (1.62)
Liverpool 10/3 (4.33)
Manchester United 12/1 (13.0)
Chelsea 14/1 (15.0)
Tottenham Hotspur 16/1 (17.0)

Although perhaps none are as influential as De Bruyne, the likes of Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan would very likely be starters in any other Premier League side.

As well, in the next six weeks City face just one side who finished in the top ten last season in Newcastle, with their other five matches also being against teams who gained promotion in the last two seasons. It is worth noting, however, that he will likely miss at least two of City’s Champions League group matches.

With a friendly fixture list, it is not a surprise that City are still just 8/13 (1.62) to claim successive titles, but it is worth noting that Guardiola’s side travel to Liverpool in October and will certainly be hoping De Bruyne is fit for that contest.

Odds correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.



Man City midfielder Patrick Roberts joins Girona on loan

Patrick Roberts has joined Girona on loan from Manchester City.

The winger spent the previous two seasons on loan at Scottish Premiership side Celtic and had also been linked with Huddersfield Town, but he has now completed a short-term switch to Spain.

Girona are a sister club to City and took five players on loan from the Premier League champions last season.

One such player, Aleix Garcia, will also spend the 2018-19 season at the club, after helping them to a 10th-placed finish last term.

Roberts joined City from Fulham in an £11 million deal in 2015, with the club keen to add to their homegrown quota.

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However, he has played just three times for the first XI, and once in the Premier League, as he made a four minute cameo in a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham.

An impressive spell at Celtic, where he made 78 appearances and scored 18 goals, has enhanced his reputation, nevertheless, and he will hope to enjoy similar success in La Liga.

Girona face Real Valladolid this weekend, and will then take on Real Madrid on August 26.


Crystal Palace 2018-19: Fixtures, transfers, squad numbers & complete Premier League schedule

Crystal Palace  finished just outside the top half of the Premier League in 11th place in 2017-18 and will be hoping to improve on that in the 2018-19 campaign.

Roy Hodgson will take on his second season with the Eagles and has already seen a better start to last season when he took over following Frank de Boer’s sacking after Crystal Palace on the back of a four-match losing streak.

Hodgson has kept the squad similar to last season, signing five new players in a bid to break into the top 10.

Goal brings you your complete guide to the Eagles’ 2018-19 Premier League fixtures, with dates, venues and all you need to know.

Crystal Palace 2018-19 squad numbers

Squad No. Position Player
1 GK Julian Speroni
2 DF Joel Ward
3 DF Patrick van Aanholt
4 MF Luka Milivojevic
5 DF James Tomkins
6 DF Scott Dann
7 MF Max Meyer
8 MF Cheikhou Kouyate
9 FW Alexander Sorloth
10 MF Andros Townsend 
11 FW Wilfried Zaha
12 DF Mamadou Sakho
13 GK Wayne Hennessey
15 DF Jeffrey Schlupp
17 FW Christian Benteke
18 MF James McArthur
20 MF Jonny Williams
21 FW Connor Wickham
25 MF Sullay Kaikai
27 DF Pape Souare
29 DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka
31 GK Vicente Guaita
34 DF Martin Kelly
42 MF Jason Puncheon
44 MF Jairo Riedewald
FW Jordan Ayew

Crystal Palace 2018-19 transfer activity

Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace

Hodgson has made a few key signings ahead of the 2018-19 season, including ex-West Ham player Cheikhou Kouyate for a reported £9.5 million fee. 

Other signings include German midfielder Max Meyer on a free transfer from Schalke and Jordan Ayew on a season-long loan deal from Swansea.

Crystal Palace also renewed their player of the year Wilfried Zaha’s contract for another four years, taking his contract to the 2022-23 season. 

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Transfer activity in

Position Player Transferred from Fee Date
GK Vicente Guaita Getafe Free July 1
MF Cheikhou Kouyate West Ham £9.5m August 1
MF Max Meyer Schalke Free August 2
FW Jordan Ayew Swansea Loan August 9

Transfer activity out

Position Player Transferred to Fee Date
MF Yohan Cabaye Al-Nasr Released July 1
MF Lee Chung-yong Unassigned Released July 1
MF Bakary Sako Unassigned Released July 1
GK Diego Cavalieri Unassigned Released July 1

Crystal Palace’s 2018-19 Premier League fixtures

The Premier League kicked off it’s 2018-19 season on Friday August 10, with Crystal Palace’s first game of the season taking place on August 11.

The Eagles took on Fulham, winning 2-0 at Craven Cottage with the first goal scored in the 41st minute by Jeffrey Schlupp and the second in the 71st minute by Wilfried Zaha.

Crystal Palace’s full Premier League fixtures can be seen below.