Diego Costa, Dean Hammond

Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City: Costa scores again, Hazard ensures win (video)

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The big names delivered for Chelsea, as Diego Costa and Eden Hazard scored 14 minutes apart to lift the Blues to a 2-0 start and a 2-0 win over Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea now stands at first in the Premier League with a +4 goal differential, and Leicester stays at one point on the season.

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A sleepy affair, one we’ve seen from Jouse Mourinho’s Chelsea against lesser competition, nearly found Leicester on top when Riyad Mahrez danced around the 18 before ripping a shot that Courtois dove to corral. The Blues had dodged a bullet, but it remained scoreless after 32 minutes.

The scoreless halftime had Chelsea up in arms, and the Blues came out of the tunnel with a vengeance, nearly scoring on several occasions. They would’ve, if not for Kasper Schmeichel, and one save from Leicester City keeper led to a counter attack breakaway for David Nugent, who was brilliantly-foiled by a sliding Courtois.

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Chelsea kept knocking, as chances fell for Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas, Oscar. Nothing, until Costa arrived to poke home a loose ball in the 63rd minute. After a Branislav Ivanovic cross hit him in the chest, Costa did what he did in tight to beat Schmeichel.

Hazard doubled the lead with a low, deflected shot that rolled under Schmeichel in the 77th minute.

Didier Drogba arrived at midfield for a substitution and was greeted by a standing ovation. Even owner Roman Abramovich was smiling and on his feet at the sight of Drogba back in Chelsea blue.

Willian was injured well into stoppage time and was led off the field holding his lower back.

Lineups

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Schurrle (Ramires, 64′), Oscar (Willian, 70′), Hazard; D Costa (Drogba, 80′)

Goals: Costa (63), Hazard (77)

Leicester City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Mahrez (Albrighton, 68′), King, Hammond (Taylor-Fletcher, 73′), Schlupp, Ulloa, Nugent

Ahead of huge title clash, influential Leicester scout transfers to Arsenal

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06:  Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Ben Wrigglesworth might not be a man you’ve heard a lot about, but he has been influential in helping Leicester City’s unlikely charge to the top of the Premier League.

Now, he’s been poached by Leicester’s main title rivals: Arsenal.

[ MORE: Spurs, Arsenal to battle for title?

Ahead of the monster clash between the Foxes and Gunners at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday (Watch live, 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) the man who unearthed the likes of Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante has transferred to Arsenal and is now their First Team Video Scout.

Wrigglesworth, Leicester’s former Head of Technical Scouting, announced he would be leaving the Foxes via his Twitter page (see below) and he has now accepted a new role as part of Steve Rowley’s team at Arsenal.

It is believed he will not only help with the scouting of players but will also analyze Arsenal’s first team and the opposition.

[ MORE: Recapping Week 25 in the PL ]

Arsenal will unveil a new player performance center at their training HQ this summer and have recently purchased a soccer data company based in America, statDNA, to help them with scouting and player analysis.

With several Premier League teams now having huge player databases monitored by a team of talented individuals — often, like Wrigglesworth, with no pro playing experience — scouring the globe for the next bargain, the Moneyball vibe is strong.

VIDEO: Top 5 Premier League goals of Week 25

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Week 25 of the Premier League saw some stunning goals scored.

[ MORE: Recapping Week 25 in the PL ]

But which were the best?

In the video above are the top five strikes, as Jesse Lingard‘s stunning swivel and finish for Manchester United against Chelsea must be the top strike. Right?

Take a gander and see which is your favorite.

American takeover of Everton edging closer

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19:  A general view during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Leicester City at Goodison Park on December 19, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Soon there could be an American flag fluttering at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Spurs, Arsenal to battle for title?

Following reports in December stating that former San Diego Padres owner John Jay Moores and his associate Charles Noell were in talks to buy Premier League club Everton, a new report from the Liverpool Echo states the $300 million takeover could be completed in the next two weeks.

Long-time Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has come under increasing scrutiny from fans of the Toffees this season about their lack of spending in the transfer market and the businessman has reportedly been in talks with many interested parties over the years to try and sell the Merseyside club.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The report from the Echo says Moores and Noell have spent the last six weeks carrying out due diligence and have been in talks with the biggest shareholders, chairman Kenwright, plus Robert Earl and Jon Woods, about buying them out.

If Moores and Noell do become the majority shareholders of Everton and the controlling owners would mean the Toffees would be the seventh current PL club to be owned by Americans.

Manchester United, Sunderland, Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Aston Villa all have majority owners who are from the U.S.

West Ham confirm talks underway to give Payet new contract

Dimitri Payet, West Ham United FC (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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West Ham United have announced they are in talks with star man Dimitri Payet about a new contract.

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Just over halfway into his first season in the Premier League the Frenchman, 28, has become a cult hero at Upton Park with his dazzling skills delighting the West Ham faithful.

However, reports in the UK on Tuesday had stated that Payet and his representatives were demanding a huge raise amid reported interest from other suitors but the club has moved swiftly to deny those claims.

Here’s the statement in full from West Ham:

Following reports in today’s media, West Ham United would like to clarify that at no time have Dimitri Payet or his agent made any demands to the Club over a new contract. However, the Club can confirm that due to Dimitri’s outstanding impact since his arrival at the Boleyn Ground, they have initiated amicable and productive talks about an improvement and extension to his contract.

Those talks are progressing well and it is hoped they can be concluded shortly. Dimitri would like to make clear that he is very proud to play for West Ham United and he appreciates the support he has received from the Board, manager and fans since he joined the Club in the summer.

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Payet has been a revelation since arriving from Marsielle in the summer for $15 million. He leads West Ham in PL goals (6), assists (4) and chances created (67). His mercurial flicks and tricks has seen admiration from around the league as the Hammers chase a top six finish under Slaven Bilic during his debut season in charge. Ahead of their move to London’s Olympic Stadium in the 2016-17 season, it’s likely Payet will lead this new-look West Ham side into an exciting new era.

He has a strong connection with fans of the east London club who sing his name loud and proud.

Payet released the following message via Twitter to calm any fears about him leaving.