Chelsea celebrate Andre Schurrle's stunning goals after a sumptous move.

Burnley 1-3 Chelsea: Blues cruise, go top after season opening win (video)

Leave a comment

Chelsea fell behind early to Premier League newcomers Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday but Jose Mourinho’s men rallied impressively to seal a 3-1 win in their opening game of the season.

Scott Arfield stunned the Blues early on as the Scotman controlled and volleyed home to put Burnley in front. However within 10 minutes Chelsea were ahead as Diego Costa finished clinically on his debut and Andre Schurrle scored a beautiful team goal after Cesc Fabregas’ sumptuous through ball.

[Mourinho: “Courtois my number one”]

Chelsea went 3-1 up before the break, as Branislav Ivanovic tapped home from close range. Burnley tried to get back in to the game but Chelsea kept the ball expertly and bagged all three points on a rainy evening up in Lancashire. Mourinho has now won five out of five on the opening day as Chelsea boss.

Mourinho’s men sit top of the standings after week one, will the bookmakers favorites remain their for the rest of the season?

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

source:
Chelsea celebrate Andre Schurrle’s stunning goals after a sumptous move.

Early on Costa buzzed around and collected the ball on the edge of the box, laid it off to Fabregas and Schurrle’s deflected shot almost crept in after wrong-footing Heaton. Burnley managed to clear the danger.

Inside the first 10 minutes Burnley broke free down the left and Lukas Jutkiewicz wriggled free but sent a tame effort into the side-netting. In the 14th minute Burnley took the lead as a corner from the left wasn’t cleared properly and Matthew Taylor chipped the ball towards the back post where Arfield controlled superbly before volleying an unstoppable effort past Thibaut Courtois to send the home fans wild.

Chelsea didn’t panic after going behind and in the 17th minute there were level thanks to Costa’s first goal in a blue shirt. The Spaniard reacted first as Branislav Ivanovic’s cross from the right evaded everyone, following Fabregas’ beautiful back heel set up, and cannoned back off the post. Costa finished clinically to make it 1-1 as Mourinho punched the air in delight.  Less then five minutes later Chelsea were ahead as Ivanovic again got the ball on the right and dinked it inside to Fabregas on the edge of the box and the Spanish midfielder caressed an exquisite ball into Schurrle who tapped home to make it 2-1 following a perfectly timed run. Majestic flowing football from the away side.

Burnley tried to get going but a calamitous backpass played in Costa who rounded Burnley’s ‘keeper Tom Heaton and went down but referee Michael Oliver booked the Spaniard for simulation. On second viewing there was definite contact and the Clarets were lucky to escape without conceding a penalty and having a player sent off. In the 34th minute Chelsea went 3-1 up as Ivanovic tapped home from a corner after some schoolboy defending from the home side. Some good build up play down the left saw Danny Ings direct an effort wide of the target as the home side tried to pull a goal back but it was 3-1 at the break.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

source: AP
Arfield celebrates his opening goals after Burnley took the lead vs. Chelsea.

After the break a long ball over the top saw Ings get free but he dragged a low shot wide but the home side were buoyed by the effort. Arfield came so close to grabbing a second spectacular goal of the game as the Scotsman brought ball down on the right, cut inside and curled an effort towards the top corner which Courtois tipped wide superbly. Burnley were in the ascendancy. Chelsea knocked the ball about and kept possession for large chunks of the second half but Burnley looked dangerous on the break and Jutkiewicz drilled an effort just wide in the 60th minute.

Late on both teams made a raft of substitutions, including a second Blues debut for Didier Drogba who almost scored with an audacious volley, as Chelsea saw the game out with minimum fuss and get their campaign off and running in the perfect fashion with a comfortable win.

LINEUPS

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee; Arfield, Jones, Marney, Taylor (Kightly, 70′); Ings (Sordell 82′), Jutkiewicz  (Barnes, 70′)

Goal: Arfield (14′)

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Schurrle (Willian, 78′), Oscar (Mikel, 82′), Hazard (Drogba, 83′); Costa

Goals: Costa (17′), Schurrle (21′), Ivanovic (34′)

Chelsea adds No. 2 goalkeeper from Portugal’s EURO winning squad

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 11: Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo  during the meeting with the countries President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for the Portugal Euro 2016 Victory ceremonies at Lisbon on July 11, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images
1 Comment

Chelsea have added some depth at the very back.

Eduardo’s the name, and the 33-year-old Portuguese backstop arrives at Stamford Bridge with a decent resume, having been on the roster for his country’s EURO 2016 triumph.

[ MORE: Stambouli, Bentaleb reunited ]

USMNT fans will remember him from his time between the sticks for Portugal at the 2014 World Cup. He has 35 caps, and has been with Dinamo Zagreb since 2014.

From ChelseaFC.com:

‘All the colleagues I have always say the dream is to come to the Premier League, where there are the best clubs and the best players, and the opportunity to come here arrived at this moment.

‘I am happy to be here and I hope I meet the expectations people have for me.’

Eduardo certainly won’t be taking over for Thibaut Courtois, but will definitely provide competition for No. 2 Asmir Begovic.

UEFA Europa roundup: West Ham bounced by Astra Giurgiu; Genk, Gent, Anderlecht roll on

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham and Takayuki Seto of FC Astra Giurgiu battle for possesion during the UEFA Europa League match between West Ham United and FC Astra Giurgiu at the Olympic Stadium on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Ham dominated the game but not the score line against Romanian side Astra Giurgiu, who advanced to the UEFA Europa League group stage with a 1-0 win at London Stadium on Thursday.

Well-traveled French midfielder Filipe Teixeira did the damage for Astra Giurgiu, as the former West Brom and Barnsley man scored in the 45th minute to give the visitors a 2-1 lead on aggregate after the sides went 1-1 in Romania last week.

The Irons carried possession and a wealth of shots, but couldn’t find their way past Romanian international goalkeeper Silviu Lung, Jr.

[ MORE: Stambouli, Bentaleb reunited at Schalke ]

Sassuolo star Domenico Berardi scored in a 1-1 draw with Red Star Belgrade, completing a 4-1 score line.

Elsewhere, a hat trick from Slovan Liberec’s Jan Sykora led the Czech side to a 3-0 second leg win, and 4-0 aggregate defeat of Cypriot side AEK Larnaca.

Gent got a pair of goals from giant Malian striker Kalifa Coulibaly as the Belgians completed a 6-1 aggregate win over Shkendija.

Full scoreboard
West Ham United 0-1 (agg. 1-2) Astra Giurgiu
Astana 2-2 (agg. 4-2) BATE Borisov
Arouca 1-2 (agg. 1-3) Olympiacos
Midtjylland 0-3 (agg. 0-4) Osmanlispor
Trencin 2-0 (agg. 0-4) Rapid Wien
Lokomotiva 0-2 (agg. 2-4) Genk
AEK Larnaca 0-3 (agg. 0-4) Slovan Liberec
Dinamo Tbilisi 0-2 (agg. 0-5) PAOK
Austria Wien 2-1 (agg. 4-2) Rosenborg
Beitar Jerusalem 0-0 (agg. 1-2) Saint-Etienne
Vojvodina 0-0 (agg. 0-3) AZ Alkmaar
Gabala 0-1 (agg. 3-2) Maribor
Slavia Prague 0-3 (agg. 0-6) Anderlecht
Fenerbahce 2-0 (agg. 3-0) Grasshopper
Panathinaikos 1-1 (agg. 4-1) Brondby
Krasnodar 0-0 (agg. 4-0) Partizani Tirana
Gent 4-0 (agg. 6-1) Shkendija
Istanbul Basaksehir 0-2 (agg. 1-4) Shakhtar Donetsk
SonderjyskE 2-3 (agg. 2-3) Sparta Prague
Sassuolo 1-1 (agg. 4-1) Red Star Belgrade
Goteborg 0-3 (agg. 1-3) Qarabag
Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-2 (agg. 3-3) Hajduk Split

Spurs’ Bentaleb off to Schalke on loan, joining PSG’s Stambouli

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Nabil Bentaleb of Spurs U21 looks on during the Barclays U21 Premier League match between Leicester City U21 and Tottenham Hotspurs U21 at The King Power Stadium on March 18, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Schalke’s quest to rejoin Germany’s elite was buttressed by a pair of interesting pickups on Thursday.

The Royal Blues have added Benjamin Stambouli from Paris Saint-Germain and Nabil Bentaleb from Tottenham Hotspur.

The Bentaleb deal is a loan, as the oft-injured attacker looks to shake off his underperforming reputation. The 21-year-old has 19 caps and three goals for Algeria.

[ MORE: Boufal to Saints ]

Stambouli joins on a four-year deal. A defensive midfielder, Stambouli left Spurs for PSG last year and made 27 appearances for the French champions.

The side nabbed high-profile prospect Breel Embolo earlier this offseason, and should be a problem for most opposing sides when the season begins this weekend.

Schalke finished in fifth place last Bundesliga season, and brings back captain Benedikt Howedes and Olympic star Max Meyer.

Ranking toughness of UCL groups for Leicester, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man City

Kompany and City's defense struggled to contain Messi and Barca in the first half.
Getty Images
4 Comments

Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all entered the UEFA Champions League at the group stage and they found out their fate on Thursday following the draw in Monaco.

[ MORE: UCL group stage draw ]

Right now Leicester, Arsenal and Spurs will be feeling pretty good about their chances of advancing to the UCL’s Round of 16. As for Man City, boy, it will be a tough route through the group stage once again for them.

[ MORE: Ronaldo wins top award ]

Below is a look at the toughness of the group stage draw for all four PL teams.


GROUP G: Leicester City, FC Porto, Club Brugge, Copenhagen

Their first-ever season in the UCL, the draw could not have gone any better for reigning PL champs Leicester in terms of their dreams of advancing. Claudio Ranieri‘s side have FC Porto, who will be a very tough test, but in Club Brugge and Copenhagen they drew two of the easier teams they could have faced. Overall, this is not a tough group especially when you see the full draw. Looks like the fairytale for the Foxes will go deep in the Champions League this season. Toughness ranking: 3/10


GROUP A: Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, FC Basel, Ludogorets

Arsenal will fancy their chances against PSG and when it comes to FC Basel and Ludrogorets they will expect to take two wins from each of these teams. But this is Arsenal so they’ll probably need a 3-0 win in their last group game to make the knockout rounds… Seriously, though, Arsene Wenger will be a relieved man to avoid the likes of Bayern Munich and Barelona in the group stage but Arsenal’s games against PSG will be pivotal in their chances of getting a good draw in the last 16. Overall, could’ve been a lot tougher. Toughness ranking: 4/10


GROUP C: FC Barcelona, Manchester City, Borussia Monchendgladbach, Celtic

It just had to happen for Pep Guardiola, didn’t it? He will return to the Nou Camp in his debut season at City to face his beloved Barcelona and Man City’s fans will be sick of the sight of Lionel Messi and Co. after they knocked them out of the competition in two of the last three seasons. That said, there will be two magnificent games between the giants with Barca the favorites to win the UCL this season. As for Monchengladbach, they are quietly a very strong team and even Celtic (who famously beat Barca in the group stage in 2012) will provide a tough challenge for City at Celtic Park in the away game. All in all, couldn’t have been tougher for City but they will likely squeeze through with Barca to the Round of 16.

Toughness ranking: 8/10


GROUP E: CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham Hotspur, Monaco

Maurcio Pochettino’s side will be grinning like a Cheshire cat with this draw. Arguably it is even easier than Leicester’s with CSKA Moscow perennial strugglers in the UCL, plus German side Bayer Leverkusen very beatable and Spurs have done well against Monaco in the Europa League recently. Overall, if Spurs don’t win this group they will be very disappointed. A great draw for the north London club. Toughness ranking: 3/10