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Roberto Di Matteo sacked

Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with manager Roberto Di Matteo.

The team’s recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea: Albion Till We Die Q&A

Ahead of Saturday’s game at the Hawthorns, Nick spoke to Mark from Albion Till We Die about the game, Chelsea’s season so far and much more.

Champions League draw

Draw for the 2012/13 Champions League group stages.

Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris Saint-Germain, Dinamo Zagreb
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Nordsjælland
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, Bate Borisov
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic
Group H: Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj

Villas-Boas sacked

Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea Football Club today (Sunday, 4 March).

The board would like to record our gratitude for his work and express our disappointment that the relationship has ended so early.

Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season.

Chelsea sign Kevin De Bruyne from Genk

Chelsea have completed the signing of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne from Genk. The 20-year-old has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal but will remain at the Belgian champions on loan until the end of the season.

Has the transfer market become self-aware?

“Year on year, the market gets more and more complex, as the entities that make up the market multiply exponentially: players, agents, more agents, advisors, money-men, managers, scouts, directors of football, other players, and on and on. What I’ve found — what that pattern shows — is that the market has become so complex, and so intricate, that it has become self-aware. It’s sentient. It’s doing this all by itself.”

Cahill completes transfer

Gary Cahill has completed his move from Bolton to Chelsea for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £7m. He will wear the no. 24 shirt.

Why Chelsea must keep faith in Villas-Boas’ methods

Transition … takes time and that is something previous Chelsea managers haven’t had. This time, there must be a leap of faith, a belief that the occasional poor performance is an inevitable part of building a brighter future.

Chelsea draw Napoli in Champions League

As group winners we will play away in the first leg, which takes place on 21 February. The return game is on 14 March.

In appreciation of… Socrates

Few major football players ever looked less suited to their profession. With his tall, gangling almost skeletal figure, shaggy unkempt hair and funky beard, Socrates might have been mistaken for a Colombian pimp, a slightly demented Vietnam vet or a bohemian poet, but never a professional sportsman. Yet he played with a grace and fluidity of movement that belied his seemingly awkward physique. Socrates was not what you would call an explosive player, but his loping, long-legged gait could cover the pitch with deceptive speed. He had that elusive quality that only the greatest players possessed, the ability to make time and space for himself on the ball amid the fracas of a match. From his preferred position slightly advanced of centre midfield, Socrates would pick out passes all over the pitch with exceptional vision. He had a lovely touch on the ball and unflappable composure. When challenged, he would simply glide out of range and pass the ball on. His was an elegant style suited to a more aesthetically pleasing era of the game, based around skill, precision and efficient movement rather than the thundering pace, lung bursting stamina and frantic closing down of space in modern football. For a player like Socrates, his brain was far more important than his body.

A wonderful article about a wonderful player. Socrates died today aged 57.

When it comes to football, I remain quite stupid

The thing is, I refuse to be educated about football. When a pundit on TV starts talking about the technical side of the game, I am lost (note: this is normally Lee Dixon. Alan Hansen hasn’t made a technical observation since 1996). At some point the pundit will talk about the distance between the centre-halves, or the empty space between the back four and the midfield, and my mind starts to drift onto what I’m having for dinner, or just why the final series of LOST was so very disappointing. Basically, when football pundits talk about tactics, all I hear is that buzzing noise the teacher makes in Peanuts cartoons.

Chelsea fans have the future in their hands – and beneath their feet

The question of whether CPO shareholders should sell the freehold back to Chelsea is a complex issue but voting “No” to the sale on Thursday does not represent “No” to Chelsea ever leaving Stamford Bridge. A “No” vote does not mean the supporters do not trust Roman Abramovich. A “No” vote on Thursday does not rule out the possibility that some time in the future there would be a case to vote “Yes”. A “No” vote on Thursday simply means that Chelsea supporters who bought shares in CPO do not want to give up the protection over their club that was enshrined in CPO’s creation more than 18 years ago.

Come on England? I don’t think so

When did international football become so profoundly dull, an unwelcome break in the club league fixture list? It wasn’t always like this. Back in 1966 and 1970 there was a genuine sense of country first and club second that was shared by fans, players and managers. There was a football national interest. Maybe it was a jingoistic hangover from the war, but it was there nonetheless. Yet – the odd game against Germany excepted – it has long since gone. Why?

How football helped me to live with depression

A lifetime following Spurs may not sound like a recipe for happiness. But John Crace never feels safer, calmer and so free of worries than when standing in the middle of a football crowd.

Fernando Torres’ form an ongoing concern for both club and country

In 2008, Fernando Torres scored the most important goal in Spanish soccer history. In early 2011, he became the most expensive player in English soccer history. But that was then and this is now. And now, these are difficult times. On Tuesday night Torres provided an assist for Juan Mata to score. Everything that has happened over the last two weeks shows that what he really needs is for it to be the other way round. And soon.

Champions League draw

Draw for the 2011/12 Champions League group stages.

Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli
Group B: Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor
Group C: Manchester United, Benfica, Basle, Otelul Galati
Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb
Group E: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiacos, Borussia Dortmund
Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St. Petersburg, Apoel FC
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen

Five men who have worked with Andre Villas-Boas describe what makes him tick

[M]ostly he would watch TV and follow football around the world and work a lot on the computer. I don’t know if he did any cooking himself. He bought a lot of takeouts, a lot of fast food, chicken and chips, things like that.

A fellow geek.

Premier League preview: Chelsea

The Guardian looks ahead to the new season, which kicks off in 11 days’ time.

Di Matteo returns as assistant first team coach

Andre Villas-Boas this morning introduced his new backroom team, announcing the return to the club of Roberto Di Matteo as assistant first team coach.

About the Chelsea FC Blog Linked List

The Chelsea FC Blog Linked List is a frequently updated list of interesting links and brief commentary. If you would like to share a Chelsea/football/somewhat relevant link, drop Nick an email.

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