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Chelsea blame “tiredness” for West Ham loss; title hopes over?

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Chelsea simply didn’t show up against West Ham United on Saturday.

The reigning Premier League champs lost 1-0 at West Ham as Antonio Conte‘s men looked lackluster from the start and never truly recovered from Marko Arnautovic‘s early goal.

Speaking after the game, Conte revealed his disappointment at the defeat and revealed that fatigue played a big part in his team not performing.

“Our start was bad but today we played a bit tired. To face one game every two games always with the same players is very difficult,” Conte said. “And we have just started this period. You have to move the ball quickly. But I repeat, we saw today a bit of tiredness in my players, especially in the last pass, we did a lot of mistakes. We must be disappointed.”

Conte also seemed to suggest that his focus will no be on Chelsea finishing in the top four with Man City able to go 14 points clear of Chelsea with a win on Sunday.

“I repeat, we create many chances but were not able to score. We have to go and to play game by game, to be focused. Don’t forget in this league it is very difficult. There are six top teams and four go to Champions League. We have to fight and do our best,” Conte said.

Chelsea’s captain Gary Cahill echoed Conte’s sentiments and he didn’t want to blame having too many games for their poor display.

“We were well off it, we allowed them to get the early goal, we have been tight at the back recently and that was a poor one to concede. We just didn’t play our stuff. It’s frustrating,” Cahill told Sky Sports. “We were just not at the races – for whatever reason that is. It’s disappointing to come off and feel like that… This was a huge game for us. We needed to win this game. We have to reflect and try and freshen up.”

You could certainly point the finger at Conte for his team selection on Saturday.

Chelsea made just one change from their midweek draw with Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and had the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Pedro and Willian all on the bench.

With a midweek trip to Huddersfield coming up on Tuesday, you’d have to think Conte will switch things up to try and get a reaction from his players.

Chelsea’s title hopes seem all but over and now it’s all about going far in the Champions League and finishing in the top four of the PL.

Having a small squad and being unable to cope with the rigors of European action and the PL was always likely to bite Chelsea this season. It has. And hard.

Video: Fekir’s brilliant free kick has Lyon leading PSG

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Paris-Saint Germain has established itself as one of Europe’s best sides, but their opponent on Sunday isn’t playing scared against Neymar and Co.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints play to 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s ]

Lyon has taken a 1-0 lead inside the opening two minutes against the Parisians after a stunning free kick by Nabil Fekir caught PSG keeper Alphonse Aréola off his line.

The hosts could move all the way up to second place today with a victory over PSG, who holds the league lead in Ligue 1 with a nine-point advantage.

The 24-year-old Fekir has been a revelation for Lyon in his fifth season with the club, scoring his 19th goal in all competitions on Sunday.

That total has already surpassed his career-high from the 2014/15 season, when he eclipsed 15 goals.

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie injured in Schalke draw

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Look away, U.S. Men’s National Team fans.

American and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of Sunday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Hanover 96 after the 19-year-old collided with Felix Kraus.

McKennie, who entered the match in the 62nd minute for Leon Goretzka, managed to stay on the field for nearly 20 minutes before being substituted out.

To this point there has been no indication that the young USMNT player’s injury is serious.

More to follow…

Watford announces Gracia as Silva replacement

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Watford’s replacement for fired manager Marco Silva is indeed veteran Spanish boss Javi Gracia.

[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]

The Hornets announced the 47-year-old’s hiring on Sunday, hours after firing Silva and blaming Everton’s pursuit of the manager for the club’s fall from European contender to the fringe of a relegation battle.

Watford is still four points clear of the drop following Southampton’s draw with Spurs on Sunday.

Gracia led Malaga to eighth and ninth place finishes in La Liga between 2014-16 before spending last season at Rubin Kazan.

Gracia, 47, has led promotion campaigns in Spain and has plenty of experience with perceived smaller clubs battling the drop zone.

Watford will hope the Hornets don’t reach that point after flirting with the Top Seven for the first quarter of the Premier League season.

Pochettino on sloppy Spurs draw, dismisses Malcom “rumor”

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Mauricio Pochettino knows St. Mary’s well, and the ex-Southampton boss has managed a rainy, sloppy match or three there in the past.

[ RECAP: Saints 1-1 Spurs ]

So he knows it’s possible to play well in those circumstances, leaving him feeling like Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday was a wasted opportunity against a struggling Saints side.

“It is temporary that Southampton are in the relegation zone, for sure they will push up the table,” Pochettino said. “It is two points we are going to miss at the end of the season because it is so tough between six or seven teams.”

[ MORE: Bertrand reacts to draw ]

So why couldn’t Spurs find their foothold? Well, aside from sickness keeping Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out of the lineup, a bug that may’ve affected more on the team, Spurs just weren’t up to snuff.

“We struggled to play,” Pochettino said. “It was in possession, we made mistakes which allowed them to play. To win the game we should do better and play better. It wasn’t great.

Pochettino was also asked about Spurs’ reported pursuit of 20-year-old Bordeaux star Malcom, who has seven goals and five assists in Ligue 1 this season.

“That is a rumor and I don’t want to speak about it. I am happy with our squad. We are open to quality players but you know very well it is difficult in this transfer window.”