Chelsea – 2 Hull City – 0: Blues cruise thanks to Lampard, Oscar (Video)

3 Comments

 

It was total domination by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side as newly promoted Hull City had no answer, falling 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard made the difference on the scoresheet, but it was a team showing for Chelsea who controlled the pace and dictated attack after attack.

Brilliant passing and buildup by Blue shirts up front caused the Hull City squad to tire quickly, leaving them gassed and unable to offer anything on the attack.

Early on Hull City keeper Allan McGregor conceded a silly penalty inside six minutes after coming out of goal to challenge Fernando Torres, catching the striker late on the face with his arm.  McGregor made amends though, as he saved Frank Lampard’s spot kick.

Eden Hazard then had a brilliant chance with space in the box in the 10th minute but whiffed at his first attempt and drilled his second into a defender.

source: Getty ImagesOscar grabbed the lead for Chelsea three minutes later as Eden Hazard found Kevin De Bruyne who settled and expertly played the Brazilian through for the short tap-in. De Bruyne had a fantastic match, as the 22-year-old hardly put a foot wrong and found teammates in space all over the attacking half.

The Blues continued to threaten as McGregor was forced into a wonderful save on a rocket off the foot of Frank Lampard.  That right foot would surface again, as Lampard thundered in a sensational 35-yard swiveling free kick for Chelsea’s second score. Hull City finally managed their first good attack in the 42nd minute, which resulted in a long-range blast on goal by David Meyler that clocked John Terry in the chest at high speed.

Branislav Ivanovic launched a bullet of a header towards McGregor’s goal in first-half stoppage time, and with the naked eye it looks like an obvious goal, but the first test of the brand new goal-decision system proved its use.  The replays and use of the technology showed part of the ball still not over the line on a brilliant double-save by the Hull keeper, who parried it upwards before palming it out.

Chelsea had 18 goal-attempts to Hull City’s two at the half, and the second period was no different. Ivanovic made a run down the right side of the box in the 64th minute, and he went down on a challenge from Robert Brady, who was quite fortunate to not give away a penalty.

The substitute additions of Hull new boys Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone helped them gain a little more possession and a bit of a foothold into the match, but it was nowhere near enough.  Chelsea went to sleep somewhat in the final 15 minutes and it allowed Hull to work in the attacking half but they still hardly got a sniff on goal as they worked towards the goal.

It’s a wonderful start for Mourinho, who will be disappointed with anything but a championship this season.  The decisive win, coupled with those by Manchester United and Tottenham, will put lots of pressure on Manuel Pellegrini to get a result Monday against Newcastle.

Lineups

Chelsea: Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, John Terry; Ramires, Frank Lampard; Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne (Andre Schurrle, 67′), Eden Hazard; Fernando Torres (Romelu Lukaku, 75′).

Hull City: Allan McGregor; Maynor Figueroa, James Chester, Curtis Davies, Ahmed Elmohamady; David Meyler (Tom Huddlestone, 59′), Robert Koren, Robert Brady; Yannick Sagbo, Danny Graham (Jake Livermore, 59′), Sone Aluko.

Conte praises Hazard’s style, wouldn’t want him to be “more selfish”

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Antonio Conte made two bold decisions on Saturday afternoon as his Chelsea side prepared to take on Tottenham in their FA Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu shines with Saints as he prepares for Chelsea return ]

The Italian manager has been known for his innovation and risk-taking in the past, but many were critical of the 47-year-old when his team sheet came out ahead of the match.

Conte left key attacking duo Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench, allowing out-of-favor striker Michy Batshuayi and Pedro to get the starting nod.

Although Hazard nor Costa saw the field for the opening hour, the former made his presence known when he was summoned by Conte in the second half.

Often times Hazard has been known as a facilitator, someone that can pick apart defenses with his tremendous foot skills and clever passing. But the Belgian international has also shown his capabilities of scoring on a regular basis as well, which has prompted great interest from other giant clubs around Europe.

When Conte was asked about Hazard and if his attacker should be more selfish, the Italian gave an emphatic “NO” as his response.

“No, no, no, absolutely not,” Conte said. “I don’t think that a player like Messi is a selfish player. The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent into the team. If you do this, the team [increases] your talent.

“The best players in the world don’t exist without a team. For me, it’s sad to listen to this, that a player must ‘be more selfish’ to reach the top level. That’s very sad. It’s not my idea of football and I will never understand this. Never, never. In my team, I don’t want selfish players.

“I prefer to lose a game than to have a selfish player. For me, I don’t want this and I can’t accept this. I don’t want my club to buy me a selfish player one day. Never. No.”

Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League

Stu Forster/Getty Images
1 Comment

Two sides have now booked their trips to England’s top flight after Newcastle United rattled off its 27th win of the season.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu — The perfectly poised destroyer ]

The Magpies earned a decisive 4-1 victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon at St. James’ Park as the second-place side ensured its finish inside the top two in the English Championship.

Newcastle joins already-promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit atop the Championship on 92 points.

Ayoze Perez paced the hosts with goals on both sides of halftime, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also converted for Newcastle.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for the Magpies but didn’t feature in Monday’s match.

The third and final team to be promoted from the Championship will be decided by the league’s annual promotion playoff, which is held at the end of the season and contested by four sides that finish third through sixth position.

As it stands, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Fulham occupy the four playoff positions.

Marseille making Olivier Giroud top transfer target this summer

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marseille did well to bring in one star this season but could the French side have another trick up its sleeve this summer?

Sky Sports is reporting that the Ligue 1 club is preparing to sign Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud over the summer and the sixth-place side is “willing to pay up to £20m (roughly $25 million).

Marseille made a splash this season when the club re-signed Dimitri Payet, who was playing with Premier League side West Ham at the time.

The team does boast several quality attacking options such as Payet and Bafetimbi Gomis, but Giroud could serve as an ideal target man in the Marseille attack.

Prior to joining the Gunners in 2012, Giroud starred for Montpellier and with a potential link-up in the attack with a creator like Payet, it could present a dangerous attacking threat to the rest of Ligue 1.

Giroud, 30, has scored 95 goals in all competitions since arriving in London with Arsenal.

Report: Chicharito talks heating up with Los Angeles FC

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
1 Comment

We’ve seen MLS teams make major splashes in the past, and one of next year’s newcomers could be a really big draw if they can manage to seal the deal on a Mexican international.

[ MORE: Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS and more in interview ]

According to Metro New York, Los Angeles FC is continuing its talks with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez about a potential deal that would prove massive in terms of MLS spending.

While LAFC won’t debut in MLS until 2018, the club could potentially make the Mexico striker the highest-paid player in league history with an average salary of roughly $10 million.

The 28-year-old Hernandez currently plays in Germany with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he’s plied his trade since joining the club during the 2015/16 season.

Additionally, the former Manchester United man has dominated the international scene for El Tri, scoring 46 goals in 90 appearances for the CONCACAF nation.