#Emmlaw Juan Mata and John Obi Mikel should keep places against Newcastle

Jose - it's time to drop Lampard and Schurle for Mata and Mikel
Juan Mata is working hard to win back his Chelsea place (Picture: Getty)

Confidence is high at Stamford Bridge and for good reason, as Chelsea are looking in rude health in all competitions but they won’t be resting on their laurels and Jose Mourinho believes Newcastle United will provide a tough test on Saturday.

The Blues are two points off Premier League leaders Arsenal and are expected to continue their fine run of form at St James’ Park – despite Mourinho talking up Alan Pardew’s side.

‘We have one of the most difficult matches of the whole season, but we want to try and keep winning,’ he said.

Newcastle will be keen to bounce back after losing to bitter rivals Sunderland last week and Pardew may soon find himself under pressure as he isn’t getting the best out of the talent at his disposal.

The Magpies have already lost four games this season and are currently residing in the bottom half of the table.

Mata and Mikel would be the two that I would like to see rewarded for their performances in place of Andre Schurrle and Frank Lampard

John Obi Mikel believes Jose Mourinho’s ‘win, win mentality’ will lead to another era of success at Chelsea.

The Nigeria international was signed by Mourinho in his first spell in charge during which the Portuguese boss won five trophies in three seasons.

Mikel said Mourinho had returned to the club this summer with the sort of swagger which convinces players they can do better.

Fighting talk: John Obi Mikel says Jose Mourinho brings a winning mentality

Fighting talk: John Obi Mikel says Jose Mourinho brings a winning mentality

Man in the middle: Mourinho (centre) and his men are currently second in the table behind Arsenal

Man in the middle: Mourinho (centre) and his men are currently second in the table behind Arsenal

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#Emmlaw PHOTOS: The special one is back: Mourinho signs four-year deal to return to Stamford Bridge

Jose Mourinho described Chelsea as his ‘passion’ after he signed a four-year deal to become manager of the west London club for the second time.

Having held meetings to finalise the deal with Blues officials on Monday, just hours after his departure from Real Madrid, Mourinho spoke of his happiness at embarking upon his second spell as Chelsea manager.

When asked by a Chelsea TV journalist if he promised to deliver the same quality to Stamford Bridge as he did during his previous tenure, Mourinho replied: ‘It is exactly the same message but now I can say I am one of you and that is the difference.

Back in town: Jose Mourinho holds his Chelsea shirt after being confirmed as the new Chelsea manager

Back in town: Jose Mourinho holds his Chelsea shirt after being confirmed as the new Chelsea manager

 
Back in town: Jose Mourinho holds his Chelsea shirt after being confirmed as the new Chelsea manager

 

 
Welcome home: Mourinho says he has two passions in football, Chelsea and Inter

Welcome home: Mourinho says he has two passions in football, Chelsea and Inter

 
Back in England: Jose Mourinho has signed a four-year deal at Chelsea

Back in England: Jose Mourinho has signed a four-year deal at Chelsea

 
Farewell: Jose Mourinho took charge of his final game for Real Madrid before returning to manage Chelsea

Farewell: Jose Mourinho took charge of his final game for Real Madrid before returning to manage Chelsea

 
 
Snapped: Mourinho was spotted at Heathrow Airport on Sunday as he closed in on his return to Chelsea

Snapped: Mourinho was spotted at Heathrow Airport on Sunday as he closed in on his return to Chelsea

 
Jose Mourinho
 

#Emmlaw David Beckham retires from football

After 21 years of playing football, David Beckham has announced his retirement at the age of 38. The footballer who is worth about $220million, captained 115 games for England, and played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG. He’s the only English player to win a league title in four different countries. In a statement Beckham said:

“I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level. I want to thank all my team-mates, the great managers that I had the pleasure of learning from. I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed. Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love, however I feel like I’m starting a new adventure and I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead. I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.’

He will now work as a sports ambassador.

#Emmlaw Andre Schurrle has already agreed Chelsea transfer, sigh Leverkusen

Leverkusen's striker Andre Schuerle (R) and Nuremberg's midfileder Mike Frantz vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match 1 FC Nuremberg vs Bayer Leverkusen in Nuremberg, southern Germany on May 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GUENTER SCHIFFMANN RESTRICTIONS / EMBARGO - DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050.GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images
Bridge-bound: Leverkusen’s striker Andre Schuerle (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Bayer Leverkusen have conceded star striker Andre Schurrle has in all likelihood already agreed to join Chelsea.

The Blues have been strongly linked with the German forward for over a year, and after failing in their bid to land the 22-year-old last summer, Leverkusen are convinced the Premier League giants have finally landed their man.

‘Andre Schurrle has probably signed a pre-contract deal with Chelsea,’ said Leverkusen’s general manager Wolfgang Holzhauser.

‘It all depends on whether we let him go. We have received a concrete offer for a fee which we are considering.

‘But the price alone is not decisive. We must also have alternatives, which we don’t have yet.’

epa03687325 Bremen's Kevin De Bruyne (L) greets supporters after the Bundesliga soccer match between Werder Bremen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Weser stadium in Bremen, Germany, 04 May 2013.  ATTENTION: EMBARGO CONDITIONS! The DFL permits the further utilisation of up to 15 pictures only (no sequential pictures or video-similar series of pictures allowed) via the internet and online media during the match (including halftime), taken from inside the stadium and/or prior to the start of the match. The DFL permits the unrestricted transmission of digitised recordings during the match exclusively for internal editorial processing only (e.g. via picture databases)  EPA/CARMEN JASPERSEN
Impressed: Bremen’s Kevin De Bruyne (Picture: EPA)

One of those alternatives is Chelsea winger Kevin de Bruyne, who has impressed on loan at Werder Bremen this season.

However, Leverkusen know they have competition to land the young Belgian from dislodged Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.

‘He still has a few talks to hold with Chelsea,’ said Holzhauser.

‘It looks like there is an offer from Dortmund to sign the player for a relatively high fee.

‘According to our information, Chelsea don’t want to sell him but just loan him out.’

#Emmlaw Arsenal 1 Man United 1: Returning Van Persie makes a point from the spot

 

Robin van Persie earned a point for Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United in a 1-1 draw on his return to Arsenal.

 

The former Gunners captain received the expected hot reception as soon as he stepped out at the Emirates Stadium for a guard of honour, which was impeccably observed by the Arsenal team to mark United’s achievements in marching to a 20th championship.

 

It was, though, Arsenal – without suspended forward Olivier Giroud – who raced into the lead as Theo Walcott beat the offside trap to fire the hosts ahead inside two minutes.

 

Returning: Robin van Persie smashed his penalty home to square the game up at 1-1

Returning: Robin van Persie smashed his penalty home to square the game up at 1-1

 

 

 

Clinical: Theo Walcott put Arsenal a goal to the good after just two minutes

Clinical: Theo Walcott put Arsenal a goal to the good after just two minutes

However, despite enduring plenty of cheers from the home support as passions continued to run high in the wake of his controversial £24million move to Old Trafford last summer, Van Persie kept his cool to equalise from the spot just before half-time after being brought down by Bacary Sagna.

To his credit, there was no wild celebration from the former Arsenal captain, who continued to test the home defence in the second half.

Neither side, though, was able to press on and claim all three points, with a draw seeing Arsenal drop into fourth place, but still two points ahead of Tottenham, albeit having played a match more in the race for Champions League qualification.

A chorus of boos greeted Van Persie as he emerged from the tunnel at the end of the United line.
Those jeers, however, were soon replaced by raucous celebration as Walcott swept the hosts ahead.

Van Persie lost possession on the half-way line, and Arsenal countered quickly as the ball was worked up field to Tomas Rosicky, whose released Walcott down the right.

The England forward was at best in line with United full-back Patrice Evra, but needed no second invitation as he raced on into the penalty area before slotting under David De Gea.

 
Blast from the past: Arsenal fans watched Robin van Persie net from the spot for United to equalise

Blast from the past: Arsenal fans watched Robin van Persie net from the spot for United to equalise

 

 
Robin van Persie
 
In front: Arsenal players rush to congratulate Walcott after he netted the opener

In front: Arsenal players rush to congratulate Walcott after he netted the opener

 

 
Understated: Van Persie refused to celebrate after scoring United's first of the afternoon

Understated: Van Persie refused to celebrate after scoring United’s first of the afternoon

TOP OF THE TABLE…

 

Table

Arsenal remained on the offensive, with the United goalkeeper again called into action to beat away Santi Carzola’s curling 20-yard effort.

The Gunners faithful took great delight in barracking their former hero every time Van Persie got on the ball – and revelled in some more Schadenfraude when the United forward drilled a left-foot shot high and wide after being played in to the edge of the penalty area.

United threatened on the break as Phil Jones sprinted the whole length of the Emirates Stadium pitch to arrive at pace in the Arsenal box as Van Persie floated over a superb cross toward the penalty spot – but could only plant his downward header wide.

The Arsenal fans were screaming for a red card on 27 minutes when Van Persie slid into Per Mertesacker for a 50/50 on the nearside, but rightly Phil Dowd produced a yellow.

Cazorla released Lukas Podolski down the left channel, with his angled drive beaten away.
United would have levelled on 38 minutes but for a superb reaction save from Wojciech Szczesny.

 
Dropping the shoulder: Wayne Rooney tries to lose Santi Cazorla in the centre of the park

Dropping the shoulder: Wayne Rooney tries to lose Santi Cazorla in the centre of the park

 

 
Dutch of class: Van Persie (right) teases Mikel Arteta by bringing the ball down with aplomb

Dutch of class: Van Persie (right) teases Mikel Arteta by bringing the ball down with aplomb

Stonewaller: Van Persie nicked the ball away from Bacary Sagna (left) in the area

Stonewaller: Van Persie nicked the ball away from Bacary Sagna (left) in the area

Nani broke quickly down the left and crossed into the six-yard box, where Van Persie sent his point-blank bullet header goalwards. Somehow, though, Szczesny spread-eagled himself to take the full force of the ball square in his face.

The equaliser eventually came on 44 minutes after Sagna inexplicably gave the ball away to Van Persie, who sprinted on into the area.

The France full-back recovered ground, but then slid in to trip his former team-mate, and Dowd immediately pointed to the spot.

After some theatrics from Szczesny, Van Persie kept cool to fire the ball into the right corner – before turning away with no celebration.

Respect: Arsenal players gave the Premier League champions a guard of honour before kick-off

Respect: Arsenal players gave the Premier League champions a guard of honour before kick-off

 

 
Van Persie

Van Persie

 

 

 
Here he comes: Van Persie was met with a frosty reception as he walked back onto the pitch at the Emirates

Here he comes: Van Persie was met with a frosty reception as he walked back onto the pitch at the Emirates

Arsenal started the second half with some purpose, as Rosicky’s curled effort flew just wide.
United, though, always looked to have another gear, as Van Persie scampered away down the left before cutting a low cross back through the Gunners’ six-yard box.

Rafael then lifted an angled drive over the bar from 20 yards before Rooney’s downward header was gathered by the Arsenal keeper at the second attempt.

Antonio Valencia was the next man in the referee’s busy notebook when he handled just outside the area as Kieran Gibbs knocked down a cross-field pass from Cazorla.

The Spaniard took the free-kick himself, but drilled it wide.

Arsenal briefly rallied heading into the final 20 minutes, with Jones blocking a goal-bound effort from Ramsey and defender Laurent Koscielny firing over from the corner.

De Gea turned away a low, 20-yard strike from Carzola, before United substitute Ryan Giggs had a curling effort deflected behind following a quick counter and both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.

 
Jay-Z and Chris Martin
Jay-Z and Chris Martin
 

Collaboration: Jay-Z (far left) and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin were at the stadium

#Emmlaw Chelsea 2 Swansea 0: Lampard nears Tambling record as Blues boost Champions League chances

Midfielder Frank Lampard scored his 201st Chelsea goal as the Blues moved closer to a return to the Champions League with victory over Swansea at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard, who began the game as a substitute, set up Oscar’s opener before converting a 45th-minute penalty to move him within one goal of the club record held by the watching Bobby Tambling.

Last season’s European champions were unable to add to their total in the second half as Rafael Benitez’s side moved three points clear of rivals Tottenham in the battle for a place in the Barclays Premier League top four and extended Swansea’s winless run to six games.

 
Record breaker? Frank Lampard edges closer to breaking Bobby Tambling's goal record

Record breaker? Frank Lampard edges closer to breaking Bobby Tambling’s goal record

Chelsea’s next Premier League clash comes at Manchester United before the London derby with Spurs on May 8 which could prove decisive in the Champions League qualifying race.

For now they remain on course to achieve their two remaining targets this term and they will seek to confirm their place in the Europa League final in Thursday’s semi-final second leg with Basle.

Victory in Amsterdam on May 15 would provide a fitting finale for Lampard if he does leave Chelsea this summer at the end of his current contract.

The midfielder is 35 in June and his future is uncertain, but he continues to work tirelessly for the Chelsea cause.

His appearance midway through the first half in place of the injured Ramires injected impetus into Chelsea’s play.

The goal was his 15th of the season and first following seven scoreless appearances, since moving to 200 goals against his former club West Ham on March 17.

Much of the performance was about Chelsea’s old guard as the Blues extended their unbeaten home run to 12 games.

Captain John Terry, who has hinted at a possible England return, was selected to start back-to-back matches for the first time since February and performed well in defence alongside Gary Cahill, who was playing following a knee injury sustained against the Hammers.

 
The opener: The talented Oscar put Chelsea ahead in the 43rd minute

The opener: The talented Oscar put Chelsea ahead in the 43rd minute

 

 
Battle: Wayne Routledge vies for possession with John Terry

Battle: Wayne Routledge vies for possession with John Terry

John Obi Mikel was not one of the four changes from Switzerland.

The midfielder was left on the substitutes’ bench as referee Mark Clattenburg took charge of a Chelsea match for the first time since he was cleared of using ‘inappropriate language’ towards Mikel in October.

Chelsea’s most recent home defeat came on January 9 against Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-final in a competition which saw the Blues’ exit embarrassingly when Eden Hazard was sent off and banned for kicking a ball boy.

The Belgian had the game’s first shot, which Michel Vorm held comfortably, before the Swansea goalkeeper blocked a swerving Demba Ba effort from 25 yards.

 
Only one winner: But the Chelsea skipper ends up on the floor

Only one winner: But the Chelsea skipper ends up on the floor

 

 
From the spot: Lampard's penalty, his 201st goal for the club, doubled Chelsea's lead

From the spot: Lampard’s penalty, his 201st goal for the club, doubled Chelsea’s lead

Swansea had to scramble clear as Oscar and Ba had efforts blocked following Lampard’s introduction for Ramires, whose thigh was strapped.

Lampard shot over before Ashley Williams was booked for hauling down Oscar.

David Luiz’s presence in midfield allowed Lampard to push forward from deep and the England international fired in a 25-yard shot which Vorm turned around the post.

The hosts’ opener came after Terry intercepted a long ball forward before striding purposefully into midfield. He fed Lampard, who in turn found Oscar, and the Brazil forward drilled a shot across goal inside the far post.

 
The goalscorers: Oscar and Lampard celebrate together

The goalscorers: Oscar and Lampard celebrate together

Balancing act: Rafa Benitez hopes to win both the Europa League and to reach the Premier League's top four

Balancing act: Rafa Benitez hopes to win both the Europa League and to reach the Premier League’s top four

 

 

A late lunge on Ben Davies saw Cesar Azpilicueta spoken to by Clattenburg and the right-back was perhaps fortunate only to see a yellow card.

Chelsea continued to press forward and Vorm superbly saved down to his right when Ba unleashed a shot at the end of a flowing Chelsea counter-attack.

Another hairy moment came for the Blues when Lampard’s pass towards Terry was intercepted by Jonathan de Guzman, but the Swansea man could not take advantage and the Chelsea skipper recovered to sweep up.

Light hearted: But since winning the Capital One Cup Swansea's form has deteriorated

Light hearted: But since winning the Capital One Cup Swansea’s form has deteriorated

 

Mata came close to a goal on his 25th birthday but his shot across goal went narrowly wide and was just out of the reach of Ba’s outstretched leg.

Lampard could not control a bouncing ball in the area and Ba shot straight at Vorm as he chased down Petr Cech’s long kick.

But Chelsea had to be content with two goals, a clean sheet and Lampard edging closer to the record.

#Emmlaw Tottenham Line up bid for Alex Song

Tottenham will make an ambitious move for former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song if they qualify for the Champions League next season.

Song left Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal for Barcelona in a £15m deal last summer but has found first-team opportunities hard to come by at the Nou Camp.

The Cameroonian is unlikely to go back to Arsenal having left the club on bad terms and the Sunday People report that Spurs are ready to pounce.

 
Limited opportunities: Alex Song has been unable to hold down a first team place at Barcelona following his £15m move from Arsenal, and now Tottenham are interested in signing him

Limited opportunities: Alex Song has been unable to hold down a first team place at Barcelona following his £15m move from Arsenal, and now Tottenham are interested in signing him

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas is willing to let midfield trio Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore leave in the summer and he wants 25-year-old Song to compete with Mousa Dembele and Sandro for a starting place.

If Spurs – currently three points adrift of fourth place – do not finish in the top four, however, chairman Daniel Levy is unlikely to fund a move for Song as signing a striker remains the club’s main priority.

 
Former club: Song in action for Arsenal against Everton

Former club: Song in action for Arsenal against Everton

Barcelona are looking to recoup the £15m they paid Arsenal for the midfielder.