Eden Hazard has been rewarded for his return to form with the Premier League Player of the Month Award for October. Chelsea’s dip last season was mirrored by that of their star forward, but Hazard has been reinvigorated, like the rest of his team, by the arrival of Antonio Conte as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor. The Belgian playmaker beat his teammates Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante to the gong, as well as Liverpool’s man of the moment Philippe Coutinho and Manchester City’s most impressive summer signing Ilkay Gundogan. Hazard scored three goals and registered an assist for his side, who won all four of their games without conceding in October, including the 4-0 demolition of Manchester United. The former Lille man had been a doubt for Chelsea’s clash with Middlesbrough on Sunday, after he suffered a kick to the ankle playing for his country last week, but he is expected to have recovered in time to face Aitor Karanka’s men.
Two Nigerian soccer players have accused a Portuguese club of gross mistreatment after they allegedly refused a pay cut at the start of the 2016-2017 season. In a flurry of tweets on Thursday, BBC sports writer Oluwashina Okeliji outlined the accusations of strikers Uche Nwofor and Michael Uchebo, who alleged that top-tier team Boavista treated them “like a slave” at the end of their tenures. The players, both of whom played elsewhere in Europe, as well as on Nigeria’s 2014 World Cup team, said Boavista executives have refused to pay them their salaries. The players also say club executives isolated them from the rest of the team, including barring them from training and other events. “(It’s) a crazy situation,” Nwofor, 25, told Okeleji. “We had to start keeping evidence. You’re working, they don’t pay you and use security to harass you. This is slavery.” Nwofor and Uchebo reportedly recorded video of their interactions with Boavista security personnel, which Okeleji posted to Twitter on Thursday.
Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi is yet to make an appearance under Antonio Conte. And the Nigeria international will reportedly be offered the chance to test himself in France or China if he does so. Mikel arrived at Stamford Bridge ten years ago with a reputation as one of world football’s most exciting teen talents. And despite the fact he has failed to live up to that billing, he has been able to forge a career as a reliable defensive midfielder. Mikel has played a role in securing two Premier League titles, one Champions League, one Europa League and seven more trophies during his time at Chelsea.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been named Premier League Manager of the Month for October. The Italian led his side to victory in all four matches they played in the month, as they scored 11 goals and conceded none. Chelsea’s 4-0 drubbing of Manchester United – led by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho – was the undoubted highlight.
CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko has been banned from football for two years after testing positive for cocaine. The 29-year-old Finland international was tested after CSKA’s 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on 14 September. He scored the Russian club’s equaliser. His ban runs until 6 October 2018. A UEFA statement said: “The analysis of the A sample revealed the presence of cocaine and its metabolites.”
Gareth Southgate will meet Football Association officials on Monday for what will effectively be his interview to become the next England manager. Southgate, who has just finished a four-game spell as interim manager after the departure of Sam Allardyce, will hold talks and present his case to FA chairman Gregg Clarke, Chief Executive Martin Glenn, Technical Director Dan Ashworth and two other independent members of a panel, Howard Wilkinson and Graeme Le Saux. The meeting is expected to take place at St. George’s Park and the final decision will be taken by Clarke, Glenn and Ashworth, with Wilkinson and Le Saux invited to give their input into the process. The FA stress there is no time frame on the appointment and at this stage no other interviews have been lined up.
The Premier League has agreed its biggest-ever overseas broadcast sale in its new TV rights deal in China. The three-year contract with Chinese video streaming service PPTV could be worth up to $700m (£560m). If the reported value is confirmed, it would be worth ten times more than the league’s current China TV deal.