In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, BBC pundit Garth Crooks includes two Chelsea players in his team of the season, Frank Lampard responds with a tongue-in-cheek jibe after being taunted by Leeds United fans and John Mikel Obi is rumoured to be heading back to the Premier League with newly promoted Norwich City.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Rudiger and Hazard in Crooks’ team of the season
BBC football pundit Garth Crooks has named Antonio Rudiger and Eden Hazard in his team of the season after the pair played a big role in Chelsea’s third-place finish in this season’s Premier League.
Crooks’ selection, which featured only players from the league’s top three clubs, saw Rudiger joined by the Liverpool trio of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson in a four-man defence.
‘It's very unfortunate that an injury to Antonio Rudiger will rob him of an appearance in this season's Europa League final,’ said Crooks of the German defender.
‘His absence is a big deal for Chelsea and might be the difference between them winning and losing against Arsenal.
‘His performances have been outstanding during a difficult period for the Blues. Every time I watch this lad play I am bowled over by his enthusiasm and competitive nature. A man for a crisis.’
Meanwhile, Hazard was included in a three-man midfield which also features Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho.
‘With the Belgium wizard in their side, [Chelsea] not only remained relevant in the Premier League title race but in contention for a European trophy,’ added Crooks.
‘His conduct amid some challenging moments at the club has been exemplary.'
Lampard responds to Leeds chant
Sky Sports reports that Frank Lampard has made a response after being taunted by Leeds United fans during their 1-0 win over his Derby County side in the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-finals, describing the chants as ‘good fun’ but aiming a jibe against the club they support.
There has been some tension between the two clubs after an incident earlier this season when Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa admitted to sending a club employee to spy on a Derby training session ahead of a league meeting between the clubs.
The result on Saturday was Leeds’ third win against Derby this season and their fans took the opportunity to taunt Lampard, who had expressed unhappiness over the controversy.
‘All of the spies / Are hidden away / Just try not to worry / You'll beat us some day / We beat you at home / We beat you away / Stop crying Frank Lampard,’ they sang to the tune of the Oasis song 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out'.
When asked about the chants, the Chelsea legend said he was not affected although he did make a back-handed jibe against the Yorkshire club, who have not played in the Premier League since 2004.
‘No, of course not, it is good fun,’ said Lampard of the taunts.
‘As a Chelsea player, there was a rivalry always with Leeds. We didn't play them that much because we were in the Premier League, but that comes with it.
‘I will take a song all day long. My worry is what the players do on the pitch.’
Mikel linked with Norwich move
Former Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi could be set for a Premier League return after the Nigerian was linked with a move to newly promoted Norwich City.
The 32-year-old spent the second half of last season at Middlesbrough but with the Teeside club missing out on the Championship play-offs, he is now looking for a new team after the end of his short-term contract.
According to regional paper Eastern Daily Press, the 32-year-old is looking to join an English club for family reasons and is reportedly in talks with the Canaries.
‘I think I will prefer to stay in England and continue my education in football,’ said Mikel in an interview with Nigerian website Sports 247.
‘My family is here and it is a country that I have lived for more than 10 years, so preferably I will play in England next season, hopefully in the Premier League.’
In a separate interview with west African website AOI Football, he also revealed his plans to return to international duty this summer at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Mikel has not played for Nigeria since last summer’s World Cup but is keen to resume his international career.
‘I met with coach Gernot Rohr and we discussed his plans for the team in the forthcoming tournament,’ he said.
‘All I can say is that I am delighted and happy because I am coming to the Nations Cup.’