The departing Thiago Silva warned Chelsea's players to set their egos aside, or their "situation will hardly change" next season.

Silva, who will return to hometown club Fluminense in the close season, is gearing up for his final appearance for the Blues after four years at Stamford Bridge, where they host Bournemouth on the final day of the 2023-24 campaign.

A draw would be enough for sixth-place Chelsea to secure a return to European football next season, while they could still overtake Tottenham in fifth with a win and Spurs losing to bottom side Sheffield United.

But despite a positive end to the campaign, during which they have won four successive games and lost just one of their last 14, Mauricio Pochettino's side are a whopping 28 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Silva believes the club deserves better, having spent over £400 million on no fewer than 13 players over the past year, and has urged the squad to prioritise teamwork over their personal ambitions next term.

"I hope [the players] understand that everything they did to get to Chelsea has to be worth it," he told Sky Sports. "Because the season we're having is not worthy of Chelsea. I think they need to do more next year.

"These boys need to be aware that Chelsea has to fight for [for trophies] in the top positions. If we take a little of our ego and put it in favour of the team, I think it will work. If we don't do that, the situation will hardly change, unfortunately."

Finishing fifth in the Premier League would be an "amazing" end to the season for Chelsea, so says Mauricio Pochettino.

Chelsea have reeled off five straight wins to put themselves in pole position to clinch a European spot.

The Blues sit sixth ahead of facing Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. If they win and Tottenham lose to Sheffield United, then they will finish fifth.

However, should Chelsea lose, then they will be overtaken by Newcastle United, should the Magpies beat Brentford.

"It's really important for us to finish in the way we are doing now, with the confidence and the way we are playing in the last few months," Pochettino said.

"It's really important for the team, players, club to achieve one of the objectives, to play in Europe next season.

"If we end up fifth, it'll be amazing for us. We need to do our job then see what's going on.

"It's going to be a really tough game because Bournemouth are doing so well. Andoni Iraola is doing a good job but most important is to finish well and see if we have the chance to get the place [in Europe]."

Bournemouth boss Iraola has been nominated for the Premier League's Manager of the Season award, and this week penned a contract extension.

"I think it was quite fast and quite easy," Iraola said when reflecting on the decision to extend his terms.

"We started talking and with managers I don't feel it's so important, a contract, as with players. In the end, managers have to perform well, you have to keep winning games.

"Otherwise you are going to be in trouble, it doesn't matter the contract you have.

"I think it is more a matter of renewing the confidence. It has been our first season together.

"I am happy that everyone is in a good place and we can continue working together."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chelsea - Cole Palmer

Palmer has scored 14 goals in his last nine Premier League home games for Chelsea. Overall he has scored 16 times at Stamford Bridge this term, with no player ever netting more home goals for the Blues in a single campaign.

Bournemouth - Dominic Solanke

Solanke has scored the most goals (19), the most home goals (10) and the joint-most away goals (nine) of any Bournemouth player in a single Premier League campaign.

MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA WIN

Bournemouth’s 13 wins in the Premier League this term is their joint-most in a single season (level with 2018-19), while as it stands their 15 defeats is their fewest across a single top-flight campaign.

Since the turn of the year, only the Premier League’s top-three teams have picked up more points than Chelsea (38 – W11 D5 L3). They are looking to win five games in a row for the first time since doing so between January and March 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea have won nine of their last 11 Premier League home games (D1 L1), having won just one of their previous 14 at Stamford Bridge beforehand. The Blues have won their last three by an aggregate score of 13-0, last winning more in a row at home without conceding between November and January in 2014-15 (five).

The Blues are unbeaten in four Premier League games against Bournemouth (W2 D2), having lost three of their four against them before this (W1).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Chelsea - 59.5%

Bournemouth - 16.6%

Draw - 23.9%

Cole Palmer says the Chelsea players want to fight for Mauricio Pochettino, and credits him for Chelsea’s late challenge for a European spot this season.

There has been speculation in recent weeks that Pochettino may not remain Chelsea manager after the end of the season, despite their strong run of form. 

Chelsea moved sixth in the Premier League table after holding on to beat Brighton 2-1 on Wednesday with 10 men after Reece James’ late sending-off thanks to goals from Palmer and Christopher Nkunku.

Palmer has proven instrumental for Chelsea in his debut season, scoring 22 goals in the league, but the youngster was quick to move the focus to Pochettino’s work.

"For it to be in our hands to get sixth place is a big thing for us," Palmer told BBC Sport.

"Chelsea are a big club and everyone wants to finish higher than sixth, but you have to look at where we were at the start of the season.

"All credit to the manager. All the players love the manager and want to fight for him."

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League matches, winning each of the last four, meaning they only need to avoid defeat against Bournemouth on Sunday to claim a top-six finish.

Pochettino was full of praise for how his side saw out the win against Brighton, saying: "So happy for the players, they deserve the full credit for the way that we worked, our approach to the game and the way we tried to apply all of the work we were doing on the training ground.

"I am proud. To face a team like Brighton is always difficult here. We are so happy because the three points mean we are closer to achieving what we want."

Chelsea maintained their European charge with a fourth successive win on Wednesday, overcoming Brighton by a 2-1 scoreline at the Amex Stadium. 

Cole Palmer’s excellent header – his 22nd Premier League goal of a fine debut campaign – put the Blues ahead after they had been denied an early penalty by a VAR review.

Both sides enjoyed plenty of chances with Pascal Gross going particularly close for Brighton, but Christopher Nkunku pounced to give Chelsea breathing room in the second half. 

Chelsea captain Reece James was sent off for a petulant kick on Joao Pedro late on and Danny Welbeck halved the arrears in stoppage time, but the visitors held on to ensure a top-seven finish remains in their hands going into the final day. 

Chelsea thought they had an early chance to score from the spot as Facundo Buonanotte's challenge on Marc Cucurella was penalised, but the penalty award was overturned after a VAR review.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side continued to push for the opener as Malo Gusto's deflected effort was tipped over by Bart Verbruggen, and they eventually broke through in the 34th minute.

Cucurella burst down the left-hand side before floating a cross into the box, and Palmer arrived to send a looping header over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Nicolas Jackson had an excellent chance to double Chelsea’s lead deep into first-half stoppage time, but he failed to convert Palmer’s cross on the volley.

Substitute Nkunku then went close shortly after the break, but his driven effort from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.

The Seagulls should have equalised in the 57th minute as Tariq Lamptey’s dipping cross found Gross totally unmarked, but he somehow put his shot wide from inside the six-yard box.

Pochettino's men punished that miss seven minutes later, with Gusto cutting back for Nkunku to pick out the bottom corner with his first-time finish.

James was sent off after a VAR review as stoppage time loomed, having appeared to kick out at Pedro. The Seagulls pilled on the pressure from there as Adingra struck the post on the volley before Welbeck poked home a Pedro delivery, but Chelsea ultimately held firm.

Brighton’s conceding first curse

Brighton have now failed to win in their last 11 matches when conceding the opening goal in the Premier League, in a run which dates back to a victory over Brentford on December 6.

The Seagulls had opportunities to equalise after Palmer’s first-half header, but Nkunku’s goal gave them a mountain to climb, one they were unable to scale even with a one-man advantage. 

A top-half finish is now the limit of Brighton's ambitions. They stay 10th, and a win over Manchester United on the final day will ensure they avoid dropping into the bottom half.

Chelsea’s impressive 2024 continues

Pochettino has started to turn things around since the start of 2024, with Chelsea securing 32 points in the Premier League since the start of January.  

The contributions of Palmer have certainly helped the Argentine, with the young attacker scoring the opening goal in nine league games this season. 

Chelsea supporters wouldn’t have been expecting a late push for the European places, but with the Blues sitting sixth going to the final day, qualification is in their hands. 

Mauricio Pochettino believes it would be "amazing" for Chelsea to secure European qualification ahead of their trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

After replacing Graham Potter in the Stamford Bridge dugout last July, the Argentine oversaw just three wins from his first 10 Premier League games in charge of the Blues this season.

However, his side are finishing the campaign strongly and occupy seventh place – level on points with sixth-place Newcastle United and six behind Tottenham in fifth with two games remaining.

"The team is doing well, in the second part of the season – in the last 26 or 27 games," Pochettino told reporters. 

"If we can compete well in the last two games then there is a possibility to get into Europe, which would be amazing for us.

"If we are able to finish well and get into Europe, for sure, we can start the next season with hope to be in a better position than we were in this season."

Meanwhile, 10th-place Brighton have struggled for form in recent times, winning just one of their last eight league games – albeit that victory came against Champions League-chasing Aston Villa last time out on home soil.

Nevertheless, head coach Roberto De Zerbi is targeting a third successive top-half finish in the English top flight.

"I want us to finish in the top 10," he said during his pre-match press conference. "It’s important because, after Sunday, we go on holiday. When we’re on holiday, if we have no points [from the last two games], it will be a problem for me."

De Zerbi also paid tribute to the departing Adam Lallana, who will leave the Seagulls when his contract expires at the end of this season after four years with the club.

"I've been lucky to work with him because he is an honest guy, a top man," the Italian added. "I have learned a lot from him because he loves football."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brighton and Hove Albion – Joao Pedro

Scoring the match winner against Aston Villa last time out at the American Express Stadium, Pedro became the first Brighton player to bag 20 goals in a single season since Glenn Murray in 2016-17 (23).

The Brazilian has now been on target five times in the Seagulls’ last five Premier League outings on home soil.

Chelsea – Nicolas Jackson

The Senegal striker has been directly involved in five goals in his last three Premier League appearances for Chelsea (four goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 11 such games (three goals, two assists). 

With 14 league goals already this season – none of which have been penalties – he could be the first Blues player to score 15 non-penalty goals in a Premier League campaign since Tammy Abraham in 2019-20.

MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA

Chelsea have won 29 points in the Premier League in 2024, with only the top three clubs – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool – collecting more since the turn of the year. 

The Blues have lost just one of their last 13 league games (won seven, drawn five), and are aiming to win four in a row for the first time since October 2022.

Meanwhile, Brighton have now failed to score more than once in each of their last 11 Premier League outings, their longest such run in the competition.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Brighton and Hove Albion: 33.8%
Chelsea: 37.3%
Draw: 28.9%

Mauricio Pochettino admits it would be "amazing" for Chelsea to secure European qualification ahead of their trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

After replacing Graham Potter in the Stamford Bridge dugout last July, the Argentine oversaw just three wins from his first 10 Premier League games in charge of the Blues this season.

However, his side are finishing the campaign strongly and occupy seventh place – level on points with sixth-place Newcastle United and six behind Tottenham in fifth with two games remaining.

"The team is doing well, in the second part of the season – in the last 26 or 27 games," Pochettino told reporters. 

"If we can compete well in the last two games then there is a possibility to get into Europe, which would be amazing for us.

"If we are able to finish well and get into Europe, for sure, we can start the next season with hope to be in a better position than we were in this season."

Meanwhile, 10th-place Brighton have struggled for form in recent times, winning just one of their last eight league games – albeit that victory came against Champions League-chasing Aston Villa last time out on home soil.

Nevertheless, head coach Roberto De Zerbi is targeting a third successive top-half finish in the English top flight.

"I want us to finish in the top 10," he said during his pre-match press conference. "It’s important because, after Sunday, we go on holiday. When we’re on holiday, if we have no points [from the last two games], it will be a problem for me."

De Zerbi also paid tribute to the departing Adam Lallana, who will leave the Seagulls when his contract expires at the end of this season after four years with the club.

"I've been lucky to work with him because he is an honest guy, a top man," the Italian added. "I have learned a lot from him because he loves football."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brighton and Hove Albion – Joao Pedro

Scoring the match winner against Aston Villa last time out at the American Express Stadium, Pedro became the first Brighton player to bag 20 goals in a single season since Glenn Murray in 2016-17 (23).

The Brazilian has now been on target five times in the Seagulls’ last five Premier League outings on home soil.

Chelsea – Nicolas Jackson

The Senegal striker has been directly involved in five goals in his last three Premier League appearances for Chelsea (four goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 11 such games (three goals, two assists). 

With 14 league goals already this season – none of which have been penalties – he could be the first Blues player to score 15 non-penalty goals in a Premier League campaign since Tammy Abraham in 2019-20.

MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA

Chelsea have won 29 points in the Premier League in 2024, with only the top three clubs – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool – collecting more since the turn of the year. 

The Blues have lost just one of their last 13 league games (won seven, drawn five), and are aiming to win four in a row for the first time since October 2022.

Meanwhile, Brighton have now failed to score more than once in each of their last 11 Premier League outings, their longest such run in the competition.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Brighton and Hove Albion: 33.8%
Chelsea: 37.3%
Draw: 28.9%

Mauricio Pochettino reiterated he plans to still be in charge of Chelsea next season following his side's remarkable win over Nottingham Forest.

Chelsea made it three wins in a row - and four without defeat - thanks to a battling 3-2 victory in Saturday's Premier League clash at City Ground.

Pochettino has repeatedly had his position called into question this season, but the Blues' upturn in form has changed all that.

Speaking on the eve of the Forest game, the Argentinian said he would stay as long as owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali were happy.

And asked again about his future by Sky Sports after the match, Pochettino said: "I had an honest conversation in the press conference. 

"To clarify, if the owner is happy with my job we can continue. I am always a coach who is thinking long term. 

"All departments must be happy for us to be a good team to compete. I still have one more year in my contract and I am thinking to be here."

Chelsea found themselves behind against Forest when Mykhailo Mudryk's opener was cancelled out by Willy Boly and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

However, Raheem Sterling equalised on 80 minutes and fellow substitute Reece James assisted Nicolas Jackson's winner two minutes later.

The 35 points Chelsea have collected since Boxing Day has been bettered only by top three sides Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

"The best thing is the way that we always believe until the end," Pochettino said after his side's latest victory. "Football is about fighting. 

"I am pleased because the players from the bench made a big impact so I am happy with our recovery. 

"It was important for the team to finish the season strong, with the hope to start next season really well.

"If we are honest, we were punished in our first 10 games. Our performance was good but we were not clinical and we wasted big chances. 

"All the data said we were in a false position. After we beat Tottenham, in the last 24 games we are in the top four or five.

"I want to be positive, that is important. We have struggled in these type of games but this young team need to realise how we need to compete."

Chelsea are level on points with sixth-place Newcastle United, who occupy a Europa Conference League play-off spot.

Tottenham are six points better off in a Europa League spot, meanwhile, with two games left to play for both sides.

Asked if his side can still qualify for Europe, Pochettino said: "I hope, yes. But there are still two big games."

Cole Palmer has been hailed as "one of the best in the world" by team-mate Reece James after playing his part in Chelsea's thrilling 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest.

England international Palmer superbly assisted Mykhailo Mudryk's early opener in Saturday's Premier League contest, before Willy Boly's swift leveller and Callum Hudson-Odoi's second-half curler put Forest in front.

Chelsea pulled off a remarkable late turnaround, however, as Raheem Sterling levelled up on 80 minutes and fellow substitute James assisted Nicolas Jackson's winner two minutes later at City Ground.

Palmer's assist means he has directly contributed to 31 goals in the Premier League this season, which is the joint-most in the division alongside Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the late win at Forest, captain James said: "Cole Palmer is one of the best in the world, I think personally.

"At [Manchester] City he didn't play as much as he would like but he has come here and taken the chance with both hands."

Palmer is just the fourth player in Premier League history to score 20 or more goals and provide 10 or more assists in his debut campaign for a club.

The others on that prestige list are Andrew Cole with Newcastle United in 1993-94, Jurgen Klinsmann with Tottenham in 1994-95 and Mohamed Salah with Liverpool in 2017-18.

The 22-year-old, stood alongside James, said of his colleague's comments: "I wouldn't go that far! But it's nice to hear. 

"It's all new to me. This is my first season playing properly in the league. It was a very important win and now we focus on the next one."

Chelsea have now won three Premier League games in a row and are level on points with sixth-place Newcastle United.

Since Boxing Day, only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have picked up more points than Chelsea's 35 in the Premier League, while only leaders City have suffered fewer defeats.

James, who was making his return from a five-month absence, added: "We learn every day. 

"We're still young but we are improving and we're coming strong at the end of the season. Slowly but surely we are finding our feet and reaching a level."

Nottingham Forest must wait to make mathematically certain of their Premier League status after conceding two late goals in a dramatic 3-2 home loss to Chelsea.

Forest began Saturday's thrilling game knowing a point from their final two matches would be enough to secure safety after Luton Town's 3-1 loss at West Ham and Burnley's 2-1 defeat to Tottenham.

After Willy Boly cancelled out Mykhailo Mudryk's strike inside the opening 16 minutes, Callum Hudson-Odoi thought he had won the game with a delightful 74th-minute curler against his former side.

However, Chelsea silenced the City Ground through quickfire goals from Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson in the final 10 minutes.

Chelsea's third win in a row keeps them seventh and level on points with Newcastle United in sixth, while Forest are three points better off than Luton with a game to go, but they are 12 goals better off in terms of goal difference.

Mudryk controlled Cole Palmer's defence-splitting pass and finished across Matz Sels to give Chelsea the lead, but Boly levelled for Forest with a free header from Morgan Gibbs-White's free-kick delivery – the ball taking a touch off Conor Gallagher on its way in.

Jackson had a chance to restore Chelsea's lead before the interval, but his effort was kept out by Sels when played through by Palmer.

Forest also created plenty of opportunities at 1-1 as Ryan Yates clipped the outside of the post and Gibbs-White did likewise from a close-range header, with the rebound dropping to Wood.

The Forest striker somehow blazed over in one of the misses of the season, which almost proved costly as Thiago Silva clipped the post at the other end soon after.

Hudson-Odoi was next to hit the frame of the goal, but it did not appear to matter when he cut inside Malo Gusto and curled the ball away from Petrovic.

Then came a late twist, though, as substitute Sterling scored a similar curler at the opposite end in the 80th minute, before fellow replacement Reece James – returning from a lengthy lay-off – crossed for Jackson to head home a dramatic winner.

Mauricio Pochettino says it would not be "the end of the world" if he were to leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

The Blues have lost just one of their last 12 matches in the Premier League, and they thrashed West Ham 5-0 in their last game to make it four home wins on the bounce.

Chelsea now sit in seventh place with a place in Europe next season within their reach, but rumours continue to spread that Pochettino’s future at the club is not safe.

Pochettino stressed that he wants to be involved in the conversations about the club’s plans at the end of the season, which is when a decision will be made.

He said: "If we are happy, perfect. But it is not only if the owners are happy or the sporting directors happy... You need to ask us also, because maybe [we] say, ‘we are not happy’ and we accept the situation, and we need to split.

“It is not going to be the first time the coaching staff at the end of the season decide to not keep going. But at this end, it is always the opposite way. It is always the owners or the sporting directors.

"If we split it’s not a problem, it will not be the end of the world."

At the other end of the table, Nottingham Forest boosted their survival hopes with a 3-1 win over already-relegated Sheffield United last Saturday to move three points clear of the drop.

With Forest still not safe with two games to go, Nuno Espirito Santo admitted this was his toughest season as a manager so far.

"It’s been hard but I’m repeating myself. Since day one we embraced the challenge," said Nuno.

"There were a lot of things we were not expecting, but we dealt with them in the proper moment and in the right way. With the right attitude and working together, we can overcome the obstacles, and we have had a lot."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nottingham Forest – Chris Wood

Wood has scored more goals than any other Nottingham Forest player in the Premier League this season (12). However, in 11 meetings with Chelsea in the competition, he has never found the back of the net, something he will want to change at the weekend.

Chelsea – Cole Palmer

Palmer has been involved in 30 Premier League goals this season, scoring 21 and assisting nine.

The last Chelsea player to be involved in more was Eden Hazard in 2018-19 (31 – 16G 15A), while 2009-10 was the last time a Blues player scored more in a league campaign (Didier Drogba 29, Frank Lampard 22).

MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA WIN

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games (W6 D5), though they are winless in their last five away from home (D4 L1).

The Blues have won just two of their last 10 away league games against Forest (D4 L4), winning 1-0 in November 1994 and 3-1 in February 1999.

Following their 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge in September, Forest are looking to complete their first league double over Chelsea since 1978-79, when they were reigning top-flight champions under Brian Clough.

Indeed, Forest have only lost their final home league match in one of their six previous Premier League campaigns (W4 D1), doing so against Sheffield United in 1992-93 with a 2-0 defeat that confirmed their relegation.

Chelsea’s Premier League games have seen 129 goals this season (F70 A59), the third most after Sheffield United (135) and Newcastle (134). Only in 2009-10 (135) have the Blues' games produced more goals (F103 A32).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Nottingham Forest – 25.5%

Draw – 27.6%

Chelsea – 46.9%

Mauricio Pochettino is hoping to have Reece James available for Chelsea's trip to Nottingham Forest following the club captain's return to training.

Chelsea confirmed on their official website on Friday that the England international is "back in full team training" after five months out.

James' latest absence came as a result of undergoing surgery on a recurring hamstring injury, which forced him off in the 2-0 loss to Everton in December.

The 24-year-old has played just 452 minutes for Chelsea in all competitions this season - down on the 1,936 he managed in 2022-23.

However, James now has a chance of featuring in Saturday's match against relegation-threatened Forest at City Ground.

"We need to see today but maybe he can be available in the squad, yes," Pochettino said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"The most important thing is Reece James is going to be there for us. We have an amazing relationship and of course he is an amazing player.

"I know it is not easy always when you come from a long-term injury. The most important thing is that he can be available and can be part of the squad. If he can play five, 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes it will be amazing.

"I am happy because we are going to be in the last week of the season and nearly all the players will be fit to be available. It is a good end and to see the future more optimistic."

Chelsea enter the game on a two-match winning run and unbeaten in three, ensuring they remain in the mix for a top-six finish.

After the trip to Forest, the Blues round off their campaign with games away at Brighton and home to Bournemouth.

Pochettino added: "It’s true that some good results in the last few weeks increased our belief and, of course, when you win games and the performance is good also.

"With the circumstances of having 12 or 14 players out, that gives more value to the performance and to the victories.

"I think the team is ready to face the last three games and I think it's important for us. An important objective is to try to be in Europe and of course we are focusing on the next game."

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly believes the Blues' plan is finally starting to come together, hailing the "beautiful football" played by Mauricio Pochettino's men in recent weeks. 

Chelsea have spent over £1billion on players in less than two years under the Boehly regime, but they have had to wait to see any kind of return on that sizeable investment.

Following a dismal 12th-placed Premier League finish in 2022-23, Chelsea endured a difficult start to their first campaign under Pochettino, but a recent upturn has them eyeing European qualification.

Chelsea have only lost one of their last 12 Premier League games (six wins, five draws), beating Tottenham 2-0 and West Ham 5-0 in their last two to move into the top seven.

With games against Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Hove Albion and Bournemouth to come, the Blues have put themselves in with a chance of securing Europa League football for next season, and Boehly is delighted with their progress.

Speaking at a Sportico conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Boehly said: "We've seen the last two and a half games... in the second half at Aston Villa and against Tottenham and West Ham, we played beautiful football.

"It was so fluid, it was exactly the way we drew it up, when we came out of the back, built up and moved up the pitch, it was very organised, then the number of shots we had…

"In those two and a half games, you could really start to see what we were working on coming together." 

Chelsea's 5-0 rout of West Ham last Sunday made it nine wins in their last 11 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge (one draw, one defeat).

Since the start of December, they have earned the joint-most home wins (nine, alongside Arsenal) and home points (28, level with Manchester City) in the Premier League.

Thiago Silva will return to his boyhood club Fluminense when he leaves Chelsea at the end of the season, the Blues have announced. 

Silva joined Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain in 2020 and has made 152 appearances for the club, helping them win the Champions League, Club World Cup and Super Cup.

The 39-year-old confirmed last month that he would leave upon the expiration of his contract in June, pledging to return "in another role" when his playing days are over.

However, that will not be for some time as the centre-back has agreed a two-year contract with Fluminense, who he first joined as a 14-year-old in 1998.

Initially finding opportunities hard to come by with the Rio de Janeiro giants, he had spells with Pedrabranca, Juventude and Dynamo Moscow before returning to Fluminense – initially on loan – in 2006.

He made his name with the club before joining Milan in a €10million deal in 2009, with that move kickstarting the defender's glittering career in European football.

Silva announced he was returning to Brazil on Instagram, posting an image of himself in a Fluminense shirt alongside the caption: "I'm coming home".

Chelsea said Silva will be allowed to train with Fluminense as soon as the Premier League season is over, before becoming eligible to represent the Brazilian side on July 1.

It was feared Silva may already have played his final game for Chelsea when he suffered a groin injury during their 2-2 draw with Aston Villa last month, but he was named in the starting lineup as they thrashed West Ham 5-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Silva has started 26 Premier League games for Chelsea this campaign, with the Blues conceding an average of 1.6 goals per game with him in their lineup, compared to two goals per match without him. 

Declan Rice's absence is to blame for a number of heavy West Ham defeats this season, according to manager David Moyes.

West Ham sold captain and influential midfielder Rice to Arsenal last July for a club-record fee rising to £105million with add-ons.

The Hammers have seen results nosedive since the turn of the year, most recently crashing to a 5-0 defeat away at Chelsea on Sunday.

That was the sixth time West Ham have conceded four or more goals away from home this season, and their fifth loss in six away games overall.

Asked at his post-match press conference exactly why his side are on the end of heavy losses so frequently of late, Moyes said: "Declan Rice."

The Scotsman, due to be out of contract next month, added: "You get the best midfield player in the country, protecting, making sure the moments and times you limit maybe 50 per cent of the attacks.

"It makes you a much better defensive team when you get that. We've lacked protection in front of the back four; we've lacked good enough defending; we've not been good enough on those things in many games.

"You've got to be careful. You're talking about a team sitting in a really, really strong position. We've had a couple of bad days away from home, which we have to try and eradicate and make better.

"I'm trying to put a bit of mental toughness when we need it. The teams I normally prepare would normally have it. You could always lose the way you lose."

West Ham have won just one of their past nine Premier League games, seeing them slip down to ninth place and now out of the top-six running.

United have also failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their past 16 in the competition - only the second time they have done so in a single Premier League season.

The poor run of form, which also includes elimination from the Europa League at the hands of a strong Bayer Leverkusen side, has raised doubts over Moyes' future at London Stadium.

Amid suggestions that former Real Madrid and Spain boss Julen Lopetegui has already been lined up, Moyes reiterated he will wait until after the season to hold talks over his future.

"I'm going to talk to the board at the end of the season, so we’ll do that then," he said.

Guro Reiten starred as Chelsea thrashed already-relegated Bristol City 8-0 to keep their title hopes alive in the Women's Super League on Sunday.

The Norwegian scored four goals, netting the opener from the penalty spot to get Emma Hayes' last home game in charge off to the best start.

She scored the other three in the second half in just over 20 minutes, while teeing up Agnes Beever-Jones for the seventh goal with just two minutes left.

Beever-Jones got two, with Sjoeke Nusken and Niamh Charles also adding to the scoreline to eradicate the goal-difference advantage that Manchester City, who lost to Arsenal earlier on Sunday, had over them.

Chelsea move to within three points of the Citizens, with a game in hand over them, remaining in the fight to lift their fifth-consecutive league title.

Data Debrief:

Chelsea have scored eight goals in a game for the first time since December 2022 against Leicester City, a match they also won 8-0.

The Blues have scored in their last six games in the WSL, though it does not come close to their longest run of games with a goal in the competition - a run of 20 from April 2023 to February 2024.

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