A West Bromwich Albion team that allowed nine goals in four games under Pepe Mel had held Chelsea without a decent chance through 45 minutes, extra time of today’s first half arriving at The Hawthorns with the two teams tied, 0-0. With the Blues having surged to the top of the Premier League, many would have expected more from the visitors, whose dominance of the ball (67 percent) couldn’t produce a shot on target during normal time.
Two minutes of extra time, however, gave the Blues an opportunity to claim a halftime lead. Moments before the halftime whistle, a corner from the right was flicked on toward Ben Foster’s far post. There, having lost his man, was Branislav Ivanovic, who pushed the opener home just in time for the teams to leave the field.
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It was the only decent chance of the half. Though West Brom’s strike partnership of Saido Berahino and Thievy Bifouma looked threatening, they never saw enough of the ball to make Petr Cech sweat. At the other end, Chelsea seemed to play the whole half between 18 and 30 yards of goal, though almost every time they ventured forward, a stalwart Albion defense rebuffed them. By the middle of the period, Chelsea had started speculating with long shots.
A late corner converted, Chelsea can now settle into a more comfortable approach. Instead of pursuing goals, the Blues can wait to exploit holes in their opponents’ pursuit. Forty-five minutes away from increasing their lead at the top, Chelsea are putting in a typical Jose Mourinho performance.
Antoine Griezmann is being chased by the biggest clubs in Europe and is the main attacking talent for the French national team.
He just signed a new deal with La Liga giants Atletico Madrid through the 2022 season and despite Manchester United and Barcelona, among others, linked with a move for the predatory striker, nobody really knows where the Frenchman will be beyond this season.
But which league does he want to play in, for sure? Major League Soccer. Yep. That’s right.
In his new book titled “Behind a Smile: The life of the Little Prince” Griezmann says that he wants to follow in the footsteps of his idol, David Beckham, and finish his career in MLS. Griezmann also stated his love for NBA star Derrick Rose and his admiration for David Villa, captain of NYCFC.
Given the fact that Griezmann is 26 years old, it could be some time before he arrives in MLS but maybe he will do so in time to become one of Beckham’s first handful of Designated Players at his long-awaited Miami franchise?
Given the fact that whenever he discusses a potential move to Man United he cites the cold weather as an issue against the transfer, it’s likely Griezmann would want to be in a warmer climate in MLS. His good friend from their time together at Real Sociedad, Carlos Vela, is swapping Spain for Los Angeles in a few months as LAFC’s first DP.
Take your pick, Antoine. LAFC? Miami? NYCFC? LA Galaxy? Atlanta United?
I’m sure anyone would want to sign in a few years on DP-level money if you keep scoring goals like this one last night against AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League…
The latest batch of FIFA World Rankings arrived on Thanksgiving Day and the U.S. men’s national team can be thankful for moving up three places.
Despite their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the managerless USMNT rose three spots to 24th in the latest rankings and are the fifth-highest ranked nation to not qualify for the World Cup.
Mexico remain the top team in CONCACAF and stay in 16th place, while the U.S. has jumped ahead of Costa Rica who fell four places to 26th.
Germany remain in top spot in the rankings, while there were no other movers in the top five with Brazil in second, Portugal third, Argentina fourth and Belgium fifth. Spain moved up two spots to sixth, while Chile is back in the top 10 despite failing to make the World Cup and Switzerland moves into eighth place.
In total, four teams in the top 20, Chile, Italy,Wales and the Netherlands, failed to reach the World Cup. Senegal are the big climbers after their World Cup qualification as they rose nine places to 23, while Sweden moved up seven spots to 18th.
Below is a look at the top 25 nations on the planet, according to FIFA, as the 2017 international season comes to a close.
= 24. USA
= 24. Northern Ireland
WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.
A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.
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A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.
Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.
“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”
Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”
LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.
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The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.
Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.