In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, football pundits have been surprised by Eden Hazard’s exclusion from the PFA Team of the Year, Fiorentina express interest in signing Chelsea defender Ola Aina after his successful loan spell at Torino and Lazio have spoken out strongly against fans of the club who racially abused Tiemoue Bakayoko earlier this week.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Pundits surprised by Hazard snub
There was a sense of confusion among Premier League pundits on Thursday when the PFA Team of the Year was revealed with no place for Eden Hazard in the starting XI.
The Belgian has been outstanding for the Blues in the Premier League this season, scoring 16 goals and providing 13 assists, and he has been deservedly named on the six-man shortlist for the PFA Players Player of the Year award.
However, he found himself snubbed for selection on the Team of the Year with pundits bemused that Manchester United’s Paul Pogba had been chosen instead of the Blues attacker.
‘Nobody can tell me Pogba deserves to be in that side before Hazard!’ said former Scotland striker Ally McCoist, summing up the general mood on TalkSport.
ESPN FC pundit Alejandro Moreno was also scathing of the decision to include the Manchester United midfielder who has had a generally inconsistent campaign.
‘It’s not a team of two or three months; it’s the team of the year and I just haven’t seen enough from Paul Pogba over the course of a year to say that he should be on the team,’ said the former Venezuela international striker.
‘I can tell you this much, there’s no way that that team doesn’t have Eden Hazard. I can make an argument that Eden Hazard is the best player in the Premier League and he’s not on the team.’
Moreno’s view of Pogba’s form was echoed by Gary Lineker on the BBC.
‘I don’t think he deserves to get in the Team of the Year because I think his form has been erratic, certainly in the Mourinho part of the season, when they obviously didn’t get on, didn’t see eye-to-eye,’ said the former England captain.
‘His game is nowhere near at the levels it was certainly when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over for a while. He’s not been consistent enough to be in the Team of the Year for me.’
Fiorentina keen to sign Aina
Reports from Italy indicate that Fiorentina are looking to complete a deal for Chelsea defender Ola Aina after his impressive season on loan at their Serie A rivals Torino.
Citing a report in Italian newspaper La Nazione, the Football Italia website said that the Viola have made signing a new right-back a priority for next season with Aina at the top of manager Vincezo Montella’s wishlist.
The 21-year-old spent the 2017/18 season on loan at Championship side Hull City before moving to Italy last summer to join Torino who are currently seventh in Serie A and challenging for a spot in the Europa League next season.
Fiorentina’s interest may be hampered as Torino reportedly have an option to buy the Nigeria international at the end of the season.
Lazio slams fans who abused Bakayoko
Sky Sports reports that Serie A side Lazio have come out strongly to distance themselves from ‘isolated elements’ of their support who racially abused Chelsea loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The French midfielder, who is on loan at AC Milan, was subjected to insults from some Lazio fans during a Coppa Italia semi-final clash at the San Siro on Wednesday.
‘Lazio takes clear distances from behaviour and events that do not reflect in any way the sporting values sustained and promoted by the club for 119 years,’ the Serie A club said in a statement.
‘And it rejects and disputes the simplistic tendency of some media to consider the entire Lazio support jointly responsible for acts carried out by a few and isolated elements, for reasons foreign to any form of sporting passion.’
There were two announcements over the speaker system at San Siro warning the fans to stop or the match would be suspended.