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

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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′)

Men in Blazers podcast: Man City-Liverpool review, USMNT preview

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Rog and Davo recap the Top Four battle between Manchester City and Liverpool, ask (again) whether it’s time for Arsene to go, and break down two of the most important USMNT games in modern history.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Germany overtakes USWNT for top spot in FIFA rankings

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The U.S. women have been displaced from their #1 world ranking by a team they beat less than a month ago.

Despite the USWNT 1-0 win over Germany to start the SheBelieves Cup, the subsequent pair of losses hurt them as Germany leap-frogged the United States into the top spot.

The U.S. lost to England and France, marking its first losing streak in three years and the first time in 17 years that it lost two in a row at home. Jill Ellis used the tournament as an attempt to experiment with different player combinations as she looks to navigate the transition between some aging well-known players and a new injection of youth.

France, who won the event, is ranked third, while England jumped Canada for fourth. The Canadians dropped to fifth, Sweden and Japan tied for sixth, and Australia, Brazil, and North Korea round out the top 10.

The last time the United States was not the #1 team in the world was March of 2015, on the heels of a 1-1-2 December and a loss to France in late February.

MLS Week 4 Preview: Portland flying, RSL depleted

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We’re just starting to see things take shape in Major League Soccer. The dangerous teams are clear, the middle of the pack is forming, and the struggling teams know it’s not too late to get a things going.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Week 4 is stretched out over this weekend and next thanks to the international break, so there are only three matches to get to on Saturday. Here’s the outlook:

New England Revolution vs. Minnesota United – 2:00 p.m. ET

There is just one point combined for these two teams through the first three match weeks. They are both bottom of their conference. A basement spot awaits the loser, and a revival awaits the winner. If there is one.

A lot is on the line with these two clubs as they meet in Foxboro. It’s early enough in the season where three points can vault a team halfway up the table, completely alleviating any fears of impending doom. However, it’s at the point where should a team lose this match, the alarm bells begin to go off for fans.

Minnesota, already struggling to begin the season, has been ravaged by the international break and will be without Rasmus Schuller, Kevin Molino, Johan Venegas, and Francisco Calvo. That said, if there’s any time to have a number of players missing, it is nice to have it come against a struggling team like New England who has yet to score a goal from open play yet through two matches. Will New England strike against the lack of opposition depth to spark their goalscoring efforts?

New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake – 4:00 p.m. ET

RSL has to get things going, and they need to do it fast. Unfortunately, they visit an Eastern Conference might as New York welcomes the cross-country travelers with six points already in hand to Salt Lake’s one. To make matters worse for the visiting side, they’re ravaged up and down the roster. Nick Rimando and Albert Rusnák are on international duty, Kyle Beckerman is suspended for his silly red card, and Joao Plata is injured along with Jordan Allen. Tack on the questionable tags for Justen Glad, Aaron Maund, and David Horst, and the outlook is bleak for RSL. Oh, and they just fired their coach too.

That leaves interim coach Daryl Shore little to work with, and they’ll take on a strong New York team that presses hard. Sacha Kljestan struggled in last week’s loss to Seattle, but this team is known for its ability to bounce back. Bradley Wright-Phillips could have a field day if he gets the service, or even if he doesn’t.

Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers – 7:30 p.m. ET

For me, this is the best game of the three. Portland is considered by some to own the best attack in the league, and they’ve shown it through three games, scoring 10 goals against a relatively soft opening schedule. Columbus, meanwhile, picked up three points from a two-game road trip and is back home looking to prove that last year’s struggles are a thing of the past. We still don’t know exactly what to expect from the Crew, but we sure do know what’s coming to town, and that’s the Timbers’ red-hot attack duo of Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi.

22-year-old rookie Alex Crognale made his debut for Columbus last week and contributed heavily to the Crew’s clean sheet. He will be tested heavily should he earn himself a second start. Jonathan Mensah is back from his red card suspension and will add to the defensive abilities. Still, it will be a tough test for Columbus, one which would provide an enormous boost should earn all three points.

MLS Power Rankings — Week 3: Gap developing at the top

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We’re just three weeks in, and while there’s still obviously gobs of time for teams to right the ship, we are also seeing who’s for real at the top of the table, and while the table doesn’t always show it, we’re starting to learn more and more about each team that picks up the points.

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Atlanta continues to win, still yet to lose in MLS play three matches into its inaugural season, and Portland bounced back to prove they’re still in control. At about the 7-8 mark there looks to be a clear gap developing. Can anyone buck the trend moving forward? Your updated power rankings:


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

 

22 (19)

21 (22)

20 (21)

DC United: Six goals conceded, none scored in their last two. Not much else needs to be said.

Minnesota United: Their very first MLS point was an important one, holding on down a man. Still a very long way to go.

New England Revolution: More of the same for New England who admittedly had a tall task against FC Dallas but couldn’t hold on.

19 (20) Columbus Crew: Could this week be the one that starts the climb? Six shots on target out of seven total, that’s efficient. Still need a result against a better team to back it up.
18 (18) Real Salt Lake: No Glad, No Plata, down a man, still almost pulled it out. Still, the defending was poor at times a man down and Beckerman knows better. Need to start picking up points.
17 (16) Philadelphia Union: 14 shots, just two on target. That’s the type of day it was in Orlando. Just 2 points from three is worrying, but they have a shot for their first win against DC before taking on Portland and NYCFC.
16 (12) Chicago Fire: Ouch. It’s hard to take much of anything from a big loss to a smoking hot team playing 79 minutes with 10 men. Still…that one will hurt.
15 (17) Montreal Impact: They held firm against a good NYCFC attack, and actually did the coming back for once.
14 (14) Vancouver Whitecaps: In a vacuum, no shame in losing to Tigres or Toronto, but now they’ve got a bit of poor form with the Galaxy coming to town and then the CCL second leg. Will want to avoid a string of bad results.
13 (15) LA Galaxy: All road wins are good wins. That said, beating a weakened RSL by a goal after playing a man down the entire second half is not exactly convincing. They were second best until Beckerman went off and managed just 4 shots on target.
12 (13)
Sporting Kansas City: Have conceded just one goal. They have a plan, and it’s working so far. Just need to figure it out on the other end.
11 (5) Colorado Rapids: Give the Loons credit, but a draw against 10-man Minnesota is not a good look. The defending has been poor.
10 (7) San Jose Earthquakes: Bit tough to figure out this San Jose team early on, but with Godoy held in check, they were outshot 15-5 by KC.
9 (6) Houston Dynamo: Caught Portland at a bad time. This is still a good team, but maybe with some soul-searching to do after a big loss.
8 (10)
Orlando City: An extra week of rest helped Orlando and Cyle Larin did Cyle Larin things. Six possible points, six taken. Still need to prove themselves on the road after last season.
7 (9) Seattle Sounders: Just like Portland, Seattle got back to what it does best, and that involved Dempsey and Morris scoring. The attack looked dangerous
6 (4) New York City FC: Montreal hacked NYCFC to death and it worked. They’re still a good team, but will have to figure out how to win ugly too.
5 (8) Toronto FC: A very solid bounce-back win without Giovinco, who will be back after the break. The rough start appears to be more of a blip.
4 (3) New York Red Bulls: The ugly wins finally came back to haunt them. Hard to take much from a cross-country road trip, but they fell short in a tough test.
3 (11) Atlanta United: You betcha. This team’s for real. Well, they certainly appear to be with Josef Martinez on fire, but he’s just been injured. Now what?
2 (2) FC Dallas: A win over New England continued FC Dallas’s hot start. It’s mind-boggling how little attention Max Urruti gets.
1 (1) Portland Timbers: That’s more like it. The scary Portland attack bounced back by putting four goals past 2-0-0 Houston.