Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid: TV channel, live stream, team news & preview

The two fierce rivals meet in a vital derby clash that could be pivotal in the race for the Liga title

Atletico Madrid play host to neighbours Real Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, with the outcome of the match liable to be pivotal in the chase of Primera Division leaders Barcelona.

The Catalans lie six points clear of second-placed Atleti and a further two clear of Los Blancos, so in the event of any dropped points, the teams are likely to have an even greater margin to close.

Complicating matters further for Real, who go into the game off the back of a 1-1 Copa del Rey draw at Camp Nou, is the small matter of a Champions League meeting with Ajax on Wednesday.

Can Santiago Solari juggle his side successfully to keep up the pressure at the top of La Liga while keeping them fresh for the big midweek match?

Game Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid
Date Saturday, February 8
Time 3:15pm GMT / 10:15am ET
Stream (US only) fubo TV (7-day free trial)

In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .

New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.

US TV channel Online stream
beIN Sports / beIN Sports en Espanol fubo TV (7-day free trial)

In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be streamed on Eleven Sports 1.

UK TV channel Online stream
N/A Eleven Sports 1

Position Atletico Madrid squad
Goalkeepers Oblak, Adan
Defenders Lucas, Gimenez, Godin, Perez, Montero, Filipe Luis, Arias, Juanfran
Midfielders Rodri, Thomas, Niguez, Koko
Forwards Lemar, Vitolo, Correa, Griezmann, Morata, Kalinic, Garces

Diego Godin’s return to training for Atletico Madrid is a major boost before the derby. The centre-back is not certain to play, but he stands a good chance.

Saul Niguez and Koke are also fitness concerns, with the former likelier to be involved in the midfield.

Meanwhile, the bullish Diego Costa and centre-back Stefan Savic are both ruled out.

Alvaro Morata starts against his former club.

Confirmed Atletico Madrid starting XI: Oblak, Arias, Gimenez, Godin, Hernandez, Sail, Thomas, Correa, Lemar, Morata, Griezmann.

Position Real Madrid squad
Goalkeepers Navas, Casilla, Courtois
Defenders Carvajal, Vallejo, Ramos, Nacho, Varane, Marcelo, Odriozoloa, Reguilon
Midfielders Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Vazquez, Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Ceballos, B. Diaz
Forwards Marcelo, Benzema, Bale, Vinicius Junior

Once again, Santi Solari is set to have a strong squad to call upon. Luca Zidane is still missing while Marcos Llorente is set to watch from the stands after picking up a problem in the Clasico.

Gareth Bale is dropped to the bench due to the form of Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior, while Isco is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench too.

Confirmed Real Madrid starting XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Reguilon, Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Lucas, Vinicius Jr, Benzema.

Atletico Madrid are priced as 11/8 favourites by bet365, with Real Madrid 21/10 underdogs. A draw, meanwhile, is available at 9/4.

Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.

Real Madrid were plunged into a season-defining period on Wednesday when they picked up a 1-1 draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou, and while it might not quite have been the perfect result they were hoping for in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, it was a performance that can act as a building block to better things.

Interim head coach Santi Solari was certainly content with what he saw from his side, who had taken the lead through Lucas Vazquez after fine build-up play from Vinicius Junior and an apparently resurgent Karim Benzema.

“We always want to win games and we had chances to score a second but we’re happy with what we’ve done today,” he said after the match.

Solari knows, however, that was only one step and it will be for nought if Barca win the second leg at the Bernabeu, or if Madrid cannot kick on when they meet their neighbours on Saturday.

Atleti remain as stoic a force as they have ever been under the shrewd guidance of Diego Simeone. They may have been surprisingly eliminated from the cup by Girona at the round-of-16 stage, but they are well established in second place and had been poised to seriously threaten Barca before slipping to a 1-0 defeat against Real Betis last weekend – just their second of the season.

Their trademark defensive wall has been breached only 14 times in the league this term, unsurprisingly the best tally of any team, and though they may lack the sparkling offence of the Clasico clubs, they boast a steely determination that their more illustrious rivals struggle to match.

Simeone will call upon that ahead of Saturday’s derby clash as he has done so many times in the past.

Between 2000 and 2012, Atleti failed to win a single league derby against their rivals, but they have been the dominant force in the fixture when played in La Liga in recent times. Indeed, they have won four of the last 11, with six draws and only one Real victory.

The Argentine will be hopeful, therefore, that this trend can continue at the Wanda Metropolitano over the weekend.

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Hudson-Odoi told to ‘follow his heart’ as he wrestles with Chelsea or Bayern choice

The Blues starlet continues to be linked with a big-money move to Germany and has been urged by Patrick van Aanholt to carefully consider his options

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been told to “follow his heart” when it comes to choosing between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, with Patrick van Aanholt aware of what the youngster is going through.

Goal revealed during the January window that the 18-year-old had been the subject of a £35 million ($45m) bid from the reigning Bundesliga champions.

With his head turned, it was then suggested that a transfer request had been tabled by the youngster.

Chelsea claim that was not the case and made it clear that they would not be parting with a highly-rated academy graduate, but interest from Germany remains.

Hudson-Odoi must now decide whether he wants to stay put, amid fierce competition for places at Stamford Bridge, or take on a new challenge.

Van Aanholt, who joined Chelsea as a 17-year-old, knows all about such calls having opted to leave west London for Sunderland in 2014.

The Netherlands international, who is now at Crystal Palace, told Goals on Sunday of the future call facing Hudson-Odoi: “He’s in a different position than I was.

“He’s playing games, he’s playing loads of games.

“I don’t know what’s going on in his head or what people are telling him so I can’t decide for him.

“But the other thing I’d say is he’s just got to follow his heart and see what his heart says and where it leads to.

“I think the better you play, the better the money will be and the money will come eventually if you keep playing.

“For him it’s good to play first-team football because he’s a fantastic player.

“You can see now, it’s like he’s been there for years.”

Hudson-Odoi was handed a senior Chelsea debut by Antonio Conte in December 2017.

He has gone on to take in 12 appearances under Maurizio Sarri this season, with his goal account opened in the Europa League.

An effort has also been recorded in the FA Cup, with a number of eye-catching performances put in.

The Blues are understandably reluctant to part with his obvious potential, but need to make it clear that he will see regular game time if he is to be persuaded to remain in English football.

Rebels say Highlanders have improved

The Melbourne Rebels feel that the Super Rugby defending champion Highlanders are playing better than when they won the title.

While the Rebels are off to their best ever season start, coach Tony McGahan acknowledges that facing the Highlanders at AAMI Park on Saturday night is a big step up.

“The Highlanders have played great rugby this year,” McGahan said ahead of their final training session on Friday.

“We really feel that they’ve probably gone up another level with their combinations and their confidence in what they do and they gather that from winning a championship.”

Melbourne didn’t meet the Highlanders last season but their previous two clashes have been tight affairs, with three or less points splitting the teams.

In 2013 at AAMI Park the Rebels posted a stunning victory when they fought back from 31-7 down at halftime to win 38-37.

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McGahan has resisted bringing skipper Nic Stirzaker back into the starting side, preferring to stick with halfback Ben Meehan.

The young Queenslander has been hungry for a start since joining the Rebels in 2014 and has scored three tries in four games.

Following shoulder surgery Stirzaker made his first appearance of the year in last round’s win over the Sunwolves with some late minutes off the bench.

“Ben’s been doing a really good job and Stirzy’s only just come back into it and also the fact that we travelled in the first few weeks denied him some training time with the side,” McGahan said.

The teams are both 3-1 for the season to both sit second on their respective country ladders.

While the Rebels beat Sunwolves and Highlanders held out the fast-finishing Waratahs.

McGahan said in the past his team would have been happy just to be competitive against a team of the Highlanders’ quality – but not any more.

“The mindset for us has slowly changed from giving them a test to actually expecting a result and that’s the big difference in this season.”

Toomua "struggling" in recent weeks

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said the time was right to give Matt Toomua a break, after weeks of battling a knee niggle.

Toomua came off in the 73rd minute of their loss to the Highlanders, but had been managing the injury over a number of weeks.

“Yeah he’s been struggling for the last couple of weeks,” Larkham said.

“It’s been hard for him to get up for training runs and like we saw on the weekend it was hard for him to get through the game on the weekend so we had to make that decision.

“He needs a bit of a rest and it gives the other guys an opportunity.”

Toomua’s absence opens the door for the versatile Robbie Coleman who moves from wing to the centres, something that Larkham said he was pleased about.

“Robbie Coleman gets an opportunity and he’s been pushing to play 12 pretty much since he’s been here at the Brumbies,” he  said.

“He’s really looking forward to this opportunity and James Dargaville gets his start on the wing and he’s also had a really good performance when he’s had his opportunity.”

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Toomua will be monitored over the coming week with no timeframe set on his return.

“We’ve got a game against the Rebels next week and a bye and then we’ve got the Sunwolves before the June Test window,” Larkham said.

“So we’ll play it week by week with Matty, see how he pulls up at the end of this week and make a further assessment after that.”

In more positive news, Larkham said co-captain Stephen Moore will be all the more refreshed after a week recovering from a calf injury.

“He’s recovered really well,” he said.

“He didn’t go over to New Zealand last week, spent a bit of time at home.

“We came back a little bit fatigued having to travel on Sunday and train again on Monday and Squeak was very good lifting the energy of the group.”

The Brumbies play the Bulls on Friday at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS. 

Force to issue legal proceedings against ARU

RugbyWA has issued legal proceedings against the ARU after meeting with executives in Perth over the future of the Force on Monday.

The Force’s local management were seething after a meeting with ARU chief operating officer Rob Clarke and chief financial officer Todd Day on Monday afternoon, which the franchise said presented an ‘inconsistent and inequitable’ criteria upon which to decide which franchise to cut between the Force and Melbourne Rebels under a new 15-team Super Rugby competition.

Force general manager Mark Sinderberry said earlier on Monday he believed the decision should hinge on more than finances but ARU chairman Cameron Clyne and CEO Bill Pulver said on Monday morning that financial sustainability would be the crucial criteria.

It is believed the Force felt they had no other option than to issue legal proceedings against the ARU, to enforce the alliance agreement established last year, which they believed guaranteed their survival until the end of the current broadcasting agreement.

A Western Force statement issued on Monday said the meeting was ‘unsatisfactory’.

“The RugbyWA Board had an unsatisfactory meeting with Australian Rugby Union (ARU) management representatives today that highlighted that the terms of the assessment and process being used to evaluate ourselves and the Rebels were inconsistent and inequitable,”it read.

Discussions also failed to address the responsibilities that exist in the Alliance agreement between RugbyWA and the ARU and we felt in order to protect our position it was necessary to issue legal proceedings to protect our rights under the Alliance Agreement.”

While the ARU said the decision should be resolved within the week, Force general manager Mark Sinderberry had expressed a different opinion on Monday, saying that would be an ‘unrealistic’ timeframe.

According to the club’s statement, the deadline has been extended to give the chance for the Force to further prove their business case.

The ARU is yet to receive a writ from the Force over the issue, but that is expected to be forthcoming.

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Super Rugby schedule 2017: Australian breakdown

The 2017 Super Rugby schedule was announced on Tuesday. has broken down each Australian team’s schedule, look at how they fare and what their reaction was to the draw. 

Full 2017 draw here.

Queensland Reds

Draw: Sharks (H), Force (A), Crusaders (H), Lions (A), Jaguares (A) Hurricanes (H), Brumbies (A), Kings (H), BYE, Waratahs (H), Chiefs (A), Rebels (A),BYE, Force (H), Blues (A), JUNE TEST BREAK, Brumbies (H), Highlanders (A)

Time slots : 7 x Saturday night, 5 x Friday night, 1 x Saturday afternoon, 1 x Saturday twilight, 1x Thursday night

Pros: With a bunch of new and returning stars, the Reds have a chance to assert themselves in the opening fortnight, with potentially winnable clashes against the Sharks at home and then the Force in Perth, building towards a tough three weeks.

Cons: Eight games without a break will be a brutal start for the Reds, especially given it includes their South Africa-Argentina leg. Just two of their final six games, and seven overall, will be played at Suncorp Stadium, which could prove pivotal for their season.

What they said: “To say the team is excited about next year is an understatement. Kicking off our 2017 season at home is a great opportunity to get out and showcase to our fans the developments we’ve made through our hard work in the pre-season. We’ve got seven chances to play in front of our family, friends and fans next year and winning those home games is crucial.”

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NSW Waratahs

Draw: Force (H), Lions (A), Sharks (A), Brumbies (H), Rebels (A), Crusaders (H), Hurricanes (A), BYE, Kings (H), Reds (A), Blues (H), BYE, Rebels (H), Highlanders (A), Chiefs (A), JUNE TEST BREAK,  Jaguares (H), Force (A)

Time slot split (local venue time):  9 x Saturday night,  3x Friday night, 2x Sunday afternoon, 1 x Saturday twilight

Pros: More evenly spaced byes this year should give the Waratahs a chance to build some momentum early in the year, something they didn’t have the luxury of last year with two byes in the first six rounds. Only two back-to-back away games this season, with a fortnight in South Africa in rounds two and three, and trips to face the Highlanders and the Chiefs ahead of the June break.

Cons: Only the seven home games this season, as part of the rotation of the new competition format and no chance to host historic rivals Queensland on home soil, with just one clash between the pair this season. To make up for the fewer matches, the Waratahs will be hosting a preseason fixture and also package Shute Shield finals tickets with their membership packages. While they do have an early road trip, that was something the club suggested.

What they said: “We love touring, so while it comes early, being in each other’s company for two weeks means you can get a lot done. The luxury of being in Sydney is we don’t often get to tour, we have  soft travel schedule but we really enjoy the opportunity to get away and we’ll do  that in back-to-back New Zealand games as well. Our byes are really nicely interspersed. After the seven-game start for us, we have byes at regular intervals and then there’s the June Test period as well. We’ve got two Sunday home fixtures against some quality opposition, so we’re really excited for our fans and younger fans especially.” – Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson

Melbourne Rebels

Draw: Blues (H), Hurricanes (A), BYE, Chiefs (H), Waratahs (H), Highlanders (A), BYE, Brumbies (H), Sharks (A), Kings (A), Lions (H), Reds (H), Waratahs (A) Crusaders (H) Brumbies (A), JUNE TEST BREAK, Force (A), Jaguares (H).

Time slots (local venue time): 5 x Friday nights, 6 x Saturday nights, 1 x Saturday twilight, 1 x Saturday afternoon, 1x Thursday night, 1 x Sunday afternoon

Pros: Eight home games this season and just two games in New Zealand will be handy for them, especially after some disappointing trans-Tasman trips last season. Just two back-to-back away trip for the Rebels, a Brumbies-Force double header and a South Africa tour in rounds nine and 10.

Cons: The Rebels have the toughest draw of all the Australian teams, with a gruelling schedule for 2017. A Thursday night game against the Blues will test them, before playing five of last year’s finalists in the next eight weeks and having their byes all done by round seven. Their run home is a little better but with an eight-game stretch after that second bye, including a two-week South Africa tour, they’ll be desperate for the June Test break.

What they said: “That’s a major part of the puzzle of Super Rugby and where you get your draws and your bye and who do you play and where do you travel and all those things. You need to make sure you manage that well. So, we’ll break our season up into different parts and we’ll make sure we’re focused on that and got a full list to pick from and be able to bring players in and out accordingly. Super Rugby’s built on a real squad performance and we’re going to need everyone to play their role.” – Rebels coach Tony McGahan

ACT Brumbies

Draw: Crusaders (A), Sharks (H), Force (H), Waratahs (A), Highlanders (H), BYE, Reds (H), Rebels (A), Hurricanes (A), Blues (H), BYE, Lions (H), Kings (A), Jaguares (A), Rebels (H), JUNE TEST BREAK, Reds (A), Chiefs (A)

Time slot (venue local time): 9 x Saturday night, 4 x Friday night, 1 x Saturday afternoon, 1x Sunday afternoon.

Pros: The Brumbies have the chance to build some momentum in the first part of their season, with three of their opening five games at home before their first bye. Two clashes against the Reds will keep fans interested, with ex-Brumbies Stephen Moore and George Smith becoming Canberra foes.

Cons: They won’t have a chance to host the Waratahs in 2017, playing their fierce rivals just once through the season, at Allianz Stadium. Just seven home games for the Brumbies overall, including trips away to the Chiefs, Crusaders and Hurricanes. Three back-to-back road trips for the Brumbies in the year will test their stamina as well.

What they said: “Our crowd figures are generally stronger over the warmer months, so to have four matches against quality opposition at that time of year is good news for the players who always get a lift from a big crowd. Hopefully we can lock up another Australian Conference title and see fans out in force supporting a home final, which would definitely lift the players who are chasing the Brumbies first Super Rugby title since 2004.” Brumbies interim CEO Phil Thomson.

Western Force

Draw: Waratahs (A), Reds (H), Brumbies (A), BYE, Crusaders (A), Blues (A), Kings (H), BYE, Chiefs (H), Lions (H), Sharks (A), Jaguares (A), Highlanders (H), Reds (A), Hurricanes (H), JUNE TEST BREAK, Rebels (H), Waratahs (H)

Time slots (local venue times): 7 x Saturday night, 4 x Friday night, 1 x Saturday twilight, 1 x Saturday afternoon, 1 x Sunday afternoon, 1 x Thursday night

Pros: Eight home games, including four of their last five matches, will be a bonus for the Force as they look to turn their fortunes around.

Cons: It’s a rough start for the Force, with a five-day turnaround from their opener in Sydney against the Waratahs to a Thursday night in Perth against the Reds. From there they have three away games in four weeks, with both of their byes are over by round eight.

What they said: “Probably one of the challenges is the short turnaround to the Reds with a travel component but that will just be about the way we manage it. Fortunately we’ve built some depth in our squad and it’s about the squad, rather than a core group of players. We have more periods in Perth, which enables us to train for longer periods rather than being caught travelling. We’ve made a decision to view our travel as a challenge to overcome, we’re embracing that challenge and recognise that the way the draw is setup, all teams have a travel factor. The Thursday night game is something new and exciting for our fans and a game on Sunday suits all the Force families and having the extra home game is a great advantage.” Force coach Dave Wessels

Crusaders too classy for Force

A valiant Force outfit have fallen 45-17 to a clinical Crusaders side in Christchurch, as the gulf in class between the Australian and New Zealand Conference continues to widen.

The Force have now slipped to a 1-3 record as a result of the loss, in which the Crusaders consistently made them pay for a lack of defensive line speed.

Alex Newsome was a shining light for the Force in his first start.

He put the Crusaders’ defensive line under pressure with every touch but his efforts were not enough, as the home side cruised to victory.

The Crusaders only led 28-17 at the half-time break but the first 40 minutes could only be described as one way traffic.

A 16 phase movement to open the match was quickly turned into points for the home side, Digby Ioane crashing over in the third minute.They had their second try 13 minutes later, as repeated defensive efforts by the Force on their own line ended up being in vain – Matt Todd grounding the ball against the goal post.

Force wing Alex Newsome provided a much-needed spark on the left wing for the visitors when he picked off a Todd pass to run 60 metres and dive over under the posts but the Crusaders immediately wrestled back ascendency.

They refused to take shots at goal when the Force were penalised in their own half, opting to look for tries off the back of their powerful rolling maul instead.

The clock had just ticked past the 21 minute mark when Scott Barrett was the beneficiary of the said maul, wriggling his way over as the Force were sent scrambling.Luke Romano scored a bizarre try six minutes later.

Referee Rohan Hoffman awarded the try despite Jermaine Ainsley appearing to have grounded the ball after Chance Peni placed it at the back of the ruck.

Chance Peni showed why his teammates call him “Money” as the half-time siren sounded, though, scoring off a crisp Jono Lance inside ball to keep the visitors in the contest.

But a dour second half scrum-fest was again in the Crusaders’ favour despite three consecutive scrum penalties forcing Hoffman to send reserve prop Tim Perry to the sin bin.

Tries to Codie Taylor off another rolling maul in the 50th, David Havili in the 72nd and Ben Funnell after the siren were exclamation marks on a result that was never in doubt.


Crusaders 45

Tries: Ioane, Todd, Barrett, Romano, Taylor, Havili, Funnell

Cons: Hunt 4, McKenzie


Force 17

Tries: Newsome, Peni

Cons: Lance 2

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Pens: Lance

Blues vs Force: Five things we learned

The Force were blown away by a Blues outfit that just did enough at Eden Park this afternoon.

Here are five things we learned from the 24-15 loss.

1. Gulf in conference quality widens

Two Trans-Tasman Super Rugby clashes for two Kiwi wins so far in round six. Neither the Force nor the Rebels were expected to win but the Blues were not sharp today and the Force could not take advantage of the opportunity. Conversely, when New Zealand teams make line breaks, they have the skill set to turn the opportunities into points. That’s how the Blues kicked clear today. That’s now three wins for Australian teams from their last 34 matches against opposition from across the ditch.

2. Brache at his best at 13

Marcel Brache provided some serious go forward for the Force this afternoon. He shifted to outside centre in place of the injured Curtis Rona and was strong with each carry. A stat line of eight runs for 90 metres, two defenders beaten, three clean breaks and an offload makes for impressing read.

3. Haylett-Petty shows class

Dane Haylett-Petty was dearly missed against the Crusaders last week and he showed his class tonight. His carries from the back produce a consistent platform from which the Force can launch attacks from, though they are yet to capitalise on his prolonged purple patch of form. Just as Brache’s stat line was impressive, Haylett-Petty managed an imposing line of 15 runs for 108 metres, six tackle busts, a line break, three offloads and a try, albeit a consolation one.

4. Force attack yet to click

With the amount of ball and territory the Force had in the opening 25 minutes, a sole Richie Arnold try off the back of a rolling maul was not enough points from the amount of pressure they applied. Bill Meakes’ return to inside centre helped the flow on attack but the statistics say the Force are the worst attacking team in Super Rugby and they did not do much to change that point of view tonight.

5. Polota-Nau powerful in second start

Tatafu Polota-Nau was left out of the Force starting XV in the opening weeks but he has stepped up in place of Heath Tessman. His throws were on the money and he got through his usual amount of work around the park. He said preseason that he still harboured hopes of being Australia’s best hooker. He’s not there yet but consistent form like this can only help his cause.

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Trophy-chasing players would rather join Chelsea over Arsenal – Cole

The former Blues forward believes players would prefer to head to Stamford Bridge in future transfer windows rather than move to the Emirates Stadium

Joe Cole claims players with ambitions of landing major honours will continue to favour moves to Chelsea over their London rivals Arsenal.

Both the Blues and Gunners have enjoyed considerable success during the Premier League era and intend to remain in the hunt for top trophies in the present and future.

Arsenal have, however, favoured a more frugal approach to transfer dealings than their neighbours at Stamford Bridge.

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That is considered to be holding the club back at present, with Unai Emery being given little backing in the recruitment market.

Chelsea have continued to spend big, despite Roman Abramovich curbing elaborate investment somewhat, and are in the hunt for Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League crowns this season.

Arsenal also have continental silverware in their sights, but Cole believes top talent will continue to prefer west over north London if given the choice in upcoming windows.

The former Blues star told BT Sport: “Because the expectation is that they [Chelsea] have always got to be there, which Chelsea have been for the last 20 years, it becomes a crisis quicker than it does at Arsenal. 

“With Arsenal, they’re probably not going to win anything, they’re in a 10-year transitional period. Chelsea demand to win things. 

“If you’re a player, you’d much rather move to Chelsea than Arsenal, there’s a better quality of player there and you’ve got more chance of winning things.”

While Chelsea continue to compete on multiple fronts this season, Maurizio Sarri has faced questions of his methods during a debut campaign in the Blues dugout.

Some of his selection and tactical decisions have left many confused, with pressure having built around him as a result.

The Italian has also taken to criticising the mindset of his players at times, amid struggles away from home, and needed them to prove a point during a Europa League trip to Malmo on Thursday.

Chelsea were able to deliver for their boss as they edged out Swedish opposition 2-1 in the first leg of a last-32 encounter.

Cole, who is now an academy coach with the Blues, said of that result: “The response was excellent, I think Sarri’s put his marker down, ‘I’m going this way, we’re sticking with my philosophy’ and the lads bought into it.

“I don’t think there’s much difference between the Chelsea we saw [against Malmo] and the Chelsea of the first two months of the season. Maybe they ran into a very good Bournemouth team and a Manchester City team on immense form, so it inflates things. 

“It was a massive result for Sarri. If the lads continue with that kind of intensity then the results could flow, they’ve got a cup final to look forward to in a few weeks, the picture could be very different come the end of the month.”

Chelsea’s next four fixtures will see them face Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round, Malmo in the second leg of their Europa League tie, Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final and Tottenham in the Premier League.

Man Utd-linked Koulibaly 'pleased' with transfer interest

The defender has been linked with a Napoli exit and says he wants to demonstrate that he is one of the greatest defenders in the game

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is pleased to be attracting reported interest from the likes of Manchester United and says he is aiming to prove he is one of the top defenders in the game.

Koulibaly, 27, has consistently been linked with a move away from Napoli, where he arrived from Genk in 2014. 

United are among a host of clubs to have been credited with an interest in the defender, as the centre-back continues to impress in Serie A.  

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And while the Senegal international said he appreciated the interest from other clubs, he claims to still have a high level of motivation to prove himself at Napoli. 

“My future? I don’t know if I’m one of the strongest defenders. I always try to give my best,” Koulibaly told Rai Sport.

“Since I’m here, I always try to grow with Napoli. I have a lot of motivation to go on and I want to keep doing this.

“I am pleased that many teams follow me, but I want to demonstrate on the field that I am at the level of the greatest and I want to show it in the future.”  

Koulibaly has made 30 appearances in all competitions for Napoli this season, with the club currently sitting second in the league table.  

Friday’s win for Juventus leaves Carlo Ancelotti’s side 14 points back of the league leaders, though they can close that gap when they take on Torino on Sunday.  

The club are also alive and well in the Europa League, where they claimed a 3-1 win over Zurich in the first leg of their round-of-32 clash on Thursday.  

Napoli will be hoping to hold onto their star centre-back, especially with the club having recently sold long-time hero Marek Hamsik to Chinese outfit Dalian Yifang.

It’s unclear what United’s transfer plans will be in the summer, given the uncertainty over who will be their long-term manager, although the signing of a centre-back would appear to be a priority.

Prior to Jose Mourinho’s sacking, the Red Devils were seemingly keen on a deal for Harry Maguire, while there were also reports of interest in the likes of Diego Godin and Newcastle centre-back Jamaal Lascelles.