We’re Talking… Fights, Scarves, Gary Neville.

In this blog’s glorious path to the reach the dizzying heights of BBC Sport and Sky Sports News, I have come up with an idea. Every weekend I find myself generating opinions on so many different football topics that it’s impossible to put them all into individual blog articles. Also, who in their right mind is going to read (or write) a whole piece about half and half scarves, a fight or Gary Neville? In terms of ‘blog marketing’ a whole feature about Manchester’s favourite right-back is a certain audience deterrent.

So, instead, I will be writing all of these little quirks into one, weekly review of all of the football action in the last 7 days. These ramblings may include topics from tactics to transfers to miscellaneous football things that have prompted an opinion to boil in my mind. As opposed to the more serious ‘technical’ football pieces, this will just be my raw, uncut thoughts about the game. Basically, I’m fed up of seeing people like Robbie Savage* get regular column inches in national media and think that I can do a better job (and without a ghost writer…).

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What Next for the ‘Chelsea Boys’?

On Wednesday night, Chelsea’s U18 side thrashed Manchester City 5-1 to lift the FA Youth Cup for the 6th time in 7 years. Since the turn of the decade only once have the side not reached the final – when Paul Pogba lifted the trophy for Manchester United. Since 2011 the worst performance in the competition has been a runners up place. For any side in any competition that is an incredible domination. It’s playground bullying.

This year, the victory was watched, in the flesh, by Roman Abrahmovich and Antonio Conte as well as John Terry and Frank Lampard. For the highest of powers at the club to be taking such a keen interest in the progression of youth players, it should indicate that this new stock of young, blue blood have a probable future on the pitch at Stamford Bridge. Yet, we’ve seen this story a hundred times before.

chelsea-manchester-city-fa-youth-cup-final-260417w  The first winning team on this incredible period, in 2010, included Jeffrey Bruma (now at Wolfsburg), Gökhan Töre (West Ham United) and Josh McEachran (Brentford). These three players have since made over 500 senior appearances, combined, since 2010, yet only 31 of those have been in the blue of Chelsea. This was the start of a generation of young prospects that achieved so much in the academy, and yet were eventually forced to quit their Chelsea dreams and look elsewhere for the sake of the careers.

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Stop Comparing Messi and Ronaldo

Last night, Lionel Messi did it again. As he stood in front of the Real Madrid fans in the 92nd minute, with his shirt in hand, the concrete was setting as he further cemented his godlike status at the top of world football. Barcelona’s must-win game had been won in the final seconds of El Clásico, on enemy grounds, and Messi had reached 500 career goals. All in a day’s work for the Argentine legend.

On Tuesday night, Cristiano Ronaldo did it again. Deep into extra time against Bayern Munich, with a Champions League semi-final spot at stake, Ronaldo completed his hat-trick. Real Madrid were 3-2 up – later to be made 4-2 by Marco Asensio – and Ronaldo had scored all of the Spanish side’s goals against one of the best teams in the world. Los Blancos were through a gruelling tie, and Ronaldo had become the first man to reach 100 goals in the competition. All in a day’s work for the Portuguese legend.

Two legends that have been engaged in a relentless battle of cat and mouse since the turn of the decade. When one achieves a new feat of greatness, the other steps up to the plate within the week. This pattern is mirrored in their goal records; Messi has 420 club goals since 2009, Ronaldo has 395. If that’s not remarkable enough, Messi has played 416 games and Ronaldo 387; both boasting over a goal a game across a 8 year period.

3690     2667

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Is Romelu Lukaku the Real Deal?

When the name of Romelu Lukaku is dropped into a football conversation, there are several words that follow suit. Mercurial. Beast. Overrated. World-class. The selection of adjectives there should give you a quick taste of the status of the Belgian striker amongst the mindsets of football fans; Lukaku divides opinion. The Premier League’s top goalscorer is having his best season to date at Everton, and is starting to consistently produce the performances – and statistics – that often lead to Lukaku’s name being thrust into the dazzling spotlight of the transfer window. With an apparent refusal to sign a bumper new contract at Goodison Park, it seems that 2017 could be the year that Lukaku moves up a step in his career and continues his path to the top, but is he the real deal?

As a regular of the ‘Marmite Club’ – players that constantly divide opinions among fans – any transfer talk regarding Lukaku is going to be controversial. Is he good enough for the Champions League? Is he worth over £60million? Does he think too much of himself? Well I thought it was time to take a look at the facts and try and come to a conclusion myself. As a Chelsea fan, I’ve been following Lukaku’s career since 2011, when rumours of the big money move from Anderlecht started to formalise. We’ve had high and low moments, but it’s been an interesting few years watching a young prospect become one of the best strikers in England.

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