Premier League: Hector Bellerin’s injury-time strike ends London Derby in thrilling 2-2 draw

In one of the most thrilling encounters of the Premier League this season, Arsenal and Chelsea had to settle for a point apiece in the London Derby at the Emirates Stadium as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

 The Londoners shared an incredible 33 shots on target in the game, but the heroics of Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois on either side of the goalposts meant that only 4 goals were scored between the two.

The game started off brilliantly with both teams dominating equally. The first real chance came when Morata was clear on goal after a defensive lapse from Arsenal, but the Spaniard curled wide on a rather sitting one-on-one opportunity with the keeper. Arsenal came close to opening the score just two minutes later as Alexis Sanchez’s shot hit both the posts before Courtois could grab it.

Following a goal-less first half, it was Jack Wilshire who scored his first goal of the season to give Arsenal the lead after a superb team game. But Chelsea hit back within minutes as Eden Hazard converted a controversial spot-kick to level the game. A brilliant piece of skill on the wing by Davide Zappacosta teed up Marcos Alonso for a tap-in that gave Chelsea a 2-1 lead just seven minutes from time.

However, Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin had some other ideas as his injury-time strike leveled the scores at 2-2 and gave Arsenal a thoroughly deserved point at home. A later drama was shunned as Davide Zappacosta hit the crossbar deep in injury time to maintain the scoreline.

Arsenal stands sixth on the table with 49 points while Chelsea is 3rd at 46 points. The two teams face each other next Wednesday in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg before meeting once more in the second leg next week.

Source – Daily Mail, Firstpost

Alvaro Morata joins the Blues

Chelsea Football Club has confirmed the signing of 24-year-old Spanish striker Alvaro Morata on a 5-year deal from Real Madrid. The deal is estimated to be worth an initial £58 million, with add-ons that could increase the figure to a sum of £70 million.

Chelsea announced on Wednesday that a deal with Real Madrid had been successfully negotiated, thus ending their month-long quest for a striker. Morata was just one of several names, including the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Gonzalo Higuain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andrea Belotti, touted to replace Diego Costa at Chelsea.

Known for his pace finishing, and intelligence, Morata has become the third high-profile signing of the summer for a Chelsea side who have also acquired the services of Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger from Monaco and Roma respectively. Morata will meet up with his Chelsea team mates on the Singapore leg of Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Asia. The striker will also be reunited with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who he briefly played under during his time at Juventus in the Serie A.

Morata has a sizeable trophy cabinet in spite of his relatively young age, and has won two Serie A titles with Juventus, two Champions League and La Liga titles apiece with Real Madrid. His experience in Europe’s top competition will be an added bonus as Chelsea return to the Champions League after a season of absence.

 

News Sources- Chelseafc.comThe Guardian

John Terry goes Second Division, signs for Aston Villa

In a rather eye-popping transfer, this summer, ex-Chelsea legend and former England captain John Terry has signed a one-year deal with Aston Villa. Terry’s contract with Chelsea ended on the 30th of June and he was moved to the Championship side on a free transfer.

John Terry, who has played more than 700 games in the Blue outfit, said that the fear of facing Chelsea as an opposition was his only reason to move to a second division side. However, the England international said that his 100% commitment would be towards the club and to ensure Premier League promotion the next season.

Incidentally, John Terry had made his Chelsea debut against Aston Villa in 1998 as a late substitute in a League Cup fixture. He has played only for two Premier League sides in his two-decade long career including a short spell at Nottingham Forest in 2000.

Although Terry admits he had more lucrative offers from other top flight clubs as well as China and Galatasaray, his understanding and respect for Villa coach Steve Bruce and director Steve Round helped him make this decision.

 

News Source- BBC Sports 

FA Cup Round-Up: Lincoln City continue cup-run, Millwall sink struggling Leicester and Super-Sub Ibra saves United

Third-tier Millwall and Non-league Lincoln City scored late winners as Premier League champions Leicester City and Burnley were defeated on a historic day in the FA Cup. Lincoln scored an 89th-minute header through Sean Raggett, helping the underdogs, who play in the fifth-tier National League, shock Burnley 1-0 in one of the competition’s largest upsets.

Ten-man Millwall, seventh in League One, defeated their third top-flight opponent in this season’s competition by dramatically beating a lacklustre Leicester side 1-0 via a 90th-minute goal by Shaun Cummings. Pedro and Diego Costa scored in the second half at the Molineux to help Premier League leaders Chelsea win at second-tier Wolverhampton Wanderers, who defeated Liverpool in the previous round.

Elsewhere, Harry Kane scored a hat-trick on Sunday to help Tottenham ease past fellow Londoners Fulham, while Ibrahimovic continued his great run of form by coming off the bench to save the day for United and secure a 2-1 victory.

The quarterfinal draw has served up interesting fixtures, with Chelsea vs United standing out as the first real meeting between title contenders in the competition. Other draws include a London derby featuring Millwall and Tottenham, and a match between Middlesborough and the winner of the replay between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town. Arsenal have the chance to end not one, but two Cinderella stories, as non-League minnows Lincoln City have been drawn against the winner of the match between Sutton United and Arsenal.

Sources: 1] Yahoo

2] Mirror

 

Premier League Round-up: Week 21

It was an exciting Premier League Weekend, with a flourish of goals and scintillating display of performances.

Whether it was Tottenham star Harry Kane’s hattrick against West Bromwich Albion, or Manchester City’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Everton, the weekend was full of action.

The main surprise of Week 21 was Pep Guardiola’s team struggling against a formidable Everton, with City losing 4-0 against The Toffees. Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirrallas’ goals have effectively ended the title hope of the inconsistent, City.

Pochettino’s Spurs eased past West Brom’s poor performance with three goals by the unstoppable Harry Kane and a rookie own goal by the latter’s Gareth McAuley. This game takes the Spurs to 2nd position at the table, seven points behind Chelsea.

After being pushed to 5th position, Arsenal came back with an indomitable spirit and crushed Swansea 4-0. Well-timed goals by Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, along with two own goals by The Swans’ Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton have sent the Gunners back into the top four. With a poor defense and at 20th position on the table, Paul Clement’s men face relegation.

The much-awaited match between Manchester United and Liverpool demonstrated that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a force to be reckoned with. Mourinho’s men put up an average performance against the fast-paced team led by Jordan Henderson, when James Milner’s 27th minute penalty was equalized by the United forward, just 6 minutes before full-time.

Chelsea and West Ham United comfortable beat Leicester City and Crystal Palace respectively, with a clean 3-0 win, each. Even without the threatening foot of Diego Costa, Chelsea have proved that talent like Marcos Alonso and Eden Hazard can secure them a win. After two consecutive losses against Leicester and Manchester United, The Hammers put up a brilliant performance, with hidden star Andy Carrol’s over-head goal being a match highlight.

Burnley beat Southampton 1-0, solidifying the impact on The Saint’s losing Charlie Austin to injury woes. Sunderland’s relegation chances have increased after suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the powerful Stoke City, with goals by the Peter Crouch and the dependable Marko Arnautovic. Both Watford and Middlesbrough have been unable to secure a win after three consecutive weekends, and were unable to break the deadlock this week as well, ending the game at 0-0. Defeating Bournemouth 3-1, Hull City secured a win for the first time since November 6. They yet still need to perform better to move out of the relegation zone.

The weekend ended with Chelsea sitting comfortably seven points clear of Tottenham, who are followed by Liverpool and Arsenal in 4th position.

 

REFERENCE LINKS: BBC, The Guardian

IMAGE SOURCE: Premier League website

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Match Report

It has been in erratic start to the season for both Arsenal and Chelsea as they look to steed a continued Premier League title contest. But after yesterday’s match, it was the Gunners who gunned down Chelsea 3-0 and became the winners at the Emirates on Saturday. Under Arsene Wenger, little has changed from previous season and the team still lacks a sagacity of flexibility in the attacking segment. Though Alexis Sanchez, who was the key player for Arsenal last season, seemed out of form and Mesut Ozil was unable to find his signature pass to free his strikers, Arsenal somehow managed to take advantage of the opponent’s mistakes and played with great versatility.

Chelsea, still adjusting to the different play style of their new coach Antonio Conte, fumbled greatly in both attack as well as defence. There have been optimistic marks from Conte as he imparts a sense of defensive sturdiness to the team. The signing of N’Golo Kante shows signs of potential as he beats the middle third and Eden Hazard seems to have revealed his form from the two seasons before.

The character of the false nine was termed by the football realm to define the drive and positioning of Lionel Messi under Pep Guardiola when he drifted in an almost free role at the socket of the Barcelona attack. In actuality, the role has been present for much longer and can be traced back to the early to mid-twentieth century. As far as this game was concerned, we witnessed the Chilean international Alexis Sanchez play in the false-nine position in a remarkable strategic furrow initiated by Arsene Wenger.

With Mesut Ozil , Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott moving behind in the attacking midfield sections, Arsenal utilized the players that were capable and prepared to float across the width of the ground to find and create space. Hector Bellerin played a major role in this and would progress wide from the full back region and Walcott would effectively utilize the gamble to move into the half space to round the holes in the Chelsea defence line.

This match was a pointer to the fact a much more fluid Arsenal would be in play at the final third of the season. The idea to use Sanchez in the false nine role unfastens space and opportunities for a more upright attacking game from Arsenal than we have possibly ever seen. The score line of 3-0 was essentially gratifying to Chelsea as Arsenal attacked in rollers and interlaced passing moves that cut straight and concluded in the destruction of the Chelsea defensive block. With this way of experimentation, Arsene Wenger is essentially showcasing his ability to utilize his squad in the perfect manner, which has been lacking, according to critics, in Jose Mourinho this season.

Source: SkysportsGoal

Oscar brace enough to fire Chelsea past Milan in friendly clash

Chelsea raced past AC Milan, securing a 3-1 victory, as Oscar, the Brazilian mid-fielder scored a brace, before youngster Bertrand Traore gave the Premier League side an early lead in the 24th minute.

The Italian side should have gone up in the very 2nd minute, when right back Ignazio Abate almost scored with a header, but for a save from Thibaut Courtois. The second big chance of the match also went to the Rossoneris, but Courtois again came to the rescue by saving an one-on one with Niang.

The West London Club scored against the run of play, when Nemanja Matic had acres of space to play in Victor Moses, whose effort was well fizzed out, before the loose ball fell on to Traore, who had not much to do, to finish the move. Chelsea came back strongly after scoring, but sometimes a moment of brilliance turn the dynamics of an entire match. Giacomo Bonaventura, the Italian midfielder, produced a sublime free-kick, curling the ball over the top of the wall, well past keeper Courtois.

Chelsea failed to carry the momentum in the 2nd half, and only Milan’s wasteful finishing helped them to take the game away. Eden Hazard was the only live wire on the pitch for Chelsea.

Chelsea was gifted the match in a platter, when Andrea Poli handed the ball in the box and Oscar converted the spot kick to put the Blues ahead in the 70th minute. Oscar again put his name on the scoresheet, as he clinically slot past Donnarumma three minutes before stoppage time handing Chelsea the insurance goal.