Ademola Lookman

Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Europa League: Arsenal hang 6 on BATE; youthful Everton impress

Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Thursday’s action in Europe’s “other” club competition, the Europa League…

[ MORE: Key battles in this weekend’s Manchester derby ]

Arsenal 6-0 BATE Borisov

Having already locked up the top spot in Group H, Arsene Wenger could have continued on playing a youth-heavy side in Europe, but the likes of Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere (perpetually), Francis Coquelin and Mathieu Debuchy are all either working their respective ways back from injury or needing minutes for fitness purposes, thus spelling an extremely tough night for Belarusian side BATE.

Debuchy, Walcott and Wilshere each scored in the first half to make it 3-0 at halftime, the first of which came very early on and in stunning fashion from the Frenchman.

An own goal six minutes into the second half made it 4-0, followed a penalty kick from Giroud and an exclamation-point sixth from Mohamed Elneny in the 64th and 74th minutes, respectively, for 6-0.

Apollon Limassol 0-3 Everton

Everton’s 2017-18 Premier League season has been, by their own lofty standards and expectations, a disaster. Now that Sam Allardyce has replaced Ronald Koeman as permanent manager — though he wasn’t in attendance on Thursday, due to a previously schedule medical appointment — perhaps the Toffees are set to hit their stride and pick up a run of positive results.

The most encouraging part of Thursday’s thrashing of Cypriot side Limassol was the youth which did the majority of the damage. A pair of 20-year-olds — Ademola Lookman (times two) and Nikola Vlasic — got the goals for a side which also featured 18-year-old Fraser Hornby at forward, 19-year-old Beni Baningime at right back, 18-year-old Morgan Feeney at center back and 21-year-old Harry Charsley at left back.

The future appears to be quite bright for Everton if: 1) they can survive this season, and 2) Allardyce gives the youngsters the games they need to develop into PL players.

Rijeka 2-0 AC Milan

Milan’s disastrous season continued with a defeat away to Croatian side Rijeka on Thursday. After spending wildly in the summer, the Rossoneri have struggled to a ninth-place standing in Serie A and largely limped their way to progression from Group D in the Europa League.

Thursday’s team was a strong mixture of big-money names and promising youngsters, and still, Gennaro Gattuso is seeking his first win as manager after two games in charge.

Elsewhere in Europa League

Villarreal 0-1 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Zorya 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Real Sociedad 1-3 Zenit St. Petersburg
Zulte-Waregem 3-2 Lazio
Atalanta 1-0 Lyon
Hoffenheim 1-1 Ludogorets Razgrad
Hertha Berlin 1-1 Oestersunds FK
Crvena Zvezda 1-0 Cologne
Vitesse 1-0 Nice
Marseille 0-0 Red Bull Salzburg

Everton unravels, eliminated from Europa League

Dan Istitene/Getty Images
2 Comments

The verdict is in on the the 2017/18 Everton side, and it’s not a good one.

The Toffees suffered its latest setback — a major one — on Thursday as the Premier League side was eliminated from the UEFA Europa League following a 3-0 defeat against Lyon.

[ MORE: Premier League player power rankings — Week 11 ]

Everton conceded three times in a span of 20 minutes after halftime, which proved to be the English side’s downfall.

Bertrand Traoré, Houssem Aoua and Memphis each scored for the French side, which began in the 68th minute as former Chelsea attacker, Traore, pegged Lyon ahead.

The agony was only exaggerated late on as Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off after earning his second yellow card in the 80th minute for Everton.

Idrissa Gueye had one of the first solid chance of the second stanza for the visitors, after Ademola Lookman picked out the Everton attacker. However, Gueye’s shot was saved in the bottom left corner by Lopes.

The Toffees were forced to make a switch prior to halftime when Cuco Martina was stretchered off the pitch in the 43rd minute.

The 28-year-old landed awkwardly after colliding with Lyon’s Maxwel Cornet, which prompted the change from Everton manager David Unsworth.

Lyon and Atlanta currently lead Group E with eight points each, while Apollon Limassol keeps its slim hopes of advancing alive after capturing a draw against the latter on Thursday.

Premier League releases 25-man squads for 2017-2018 season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the close of the transfer window, Premier League rosters are now set for the season.

On Friday evening, after teams submitted their squads, the Premier League released each team’s 25-man squads for the current season.

There are some notable omissions. Arsenal left out Santi Cazorla, who continues to recover from an achillies injury while Chelsea left Abdul Baba Rahman off its list. However, Diego Costa was included on Chelsea’s roster despite the Spanish international’s attempts to force a move away. Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk and Everton’s Ross Barkley made their club’s squads as well.

There are six Americans currently registered for the upcoming season. Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron, Newcastle United’s DeAndre Yedlin and Huddersfield Town’s Danny Williams are registered as senior squad members. Bournemouth’s Emerson Hyndman, Arsenal’s Gedion Zelalem and Chelsea’s Kyle Scott are registered as Under-21 players, while Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers, on loan at Sheffield United for the season, is also registered as an Under-21 player.

 

Per Premier League rules, no more than 17 players who don’t fulfill the league’s “home grown” requirements can be registered. A home grown player is someone who has been registered by the FA or the Welsh FA for three years before the age of 21.

Under-21 players, those born after January 1, 1996, are eligible to play in the Premier League this season without being registered. Teams can update and change their squads

Here’s a look at the 2017-2018 Premier League squads:

(more…)

Three things we learned from Chelsea’s win vs. Everton

1 Comment

LONDON — Chelsea had fun in the west London sun on Sunday as they breezed past a jaded Everton side 2-0.

[ MORE: Chelsea, Everton reveal transfer plans ]

First half goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata did the business for Antonio Conte‘s side who put in their best display of the embryonic Premier League season to right the ship ahead of the international break.

The reigning champs are almost back to their best.

Here’s what we learned from Stamford Bridge.


CHELSEA’S RAPID RECOVERY

Whether they were actually hurtling towards another season of turmoil can be debated, but the signs were not good for Chelsea over preseason and early in the campaign.

Things looked a lot better for Antonio Conte in the bright sunshine at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Those reports of him being the favorite to be the next PL boss to leave his position and Chelsea seeking out Thomas Tuchel to replace him all seem rather silly now.

On Sunday they showed why there are the reigning Premier League champions in a dominant display despite still missing plenty of key players like Eden Hazard, Gary Cahill and Diego Costa.

This recovery has been a rapid one.

On the opening day they lost 3-2 to Burnley in a bizarre game where they went down to nine men. They followed that up by beating Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley in a gritty, yet truncated display.

This performance suggested the Blues are back to their best and they could have won by a more comfortable margin had Morata, Pedro and Victor Moses converted second half chances.

Chelsea have recovered rapidly from what many were calling an early-season meltdown. In the final days of the transfer window it appears they will strengthen further with a tough UEFA Champions League group stage challenge coming up, but with star players to return and new signings Tiemoue Bakayoko, Morata and Antonio Rudiger settling in well, things are slowly but surely coming together for Chelsea.


STATIC MORATA DELIVERING

With two goals and two assists, all with his head, in his first two Premier League home games it is safe to say Alvaro Morata is settling in rather well at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s most-expensive signing took time to adapt after arriving from Real Madrid for $96.5 million in July but he was given a standing ovation as he was subbed off late on in Sunday’s win.

The scary thing is that Morata has plenty of room for improvement.

He doesn’t charge around like Diego Costa up top and Conte cajoled his Spanish international striker on multiple occasions to try and close down Everton’s defense when they had the ball.

Morata is arguably a much better finisher than Costa and his ability in the air is well-suited to Chelsea’s game with crosses coming in from Marcos Alonso, Willian, Pedro and Fabregas.

As he came off Morata looked either slightly miffed at being substituted or perhaps it was disappointment in his own display.

That proves he knows he can deliver a better all-around performance but while he irons out the kinks and gets used to leading the line in the PL it won’t do him any harm to keep scoring and assisting.


EVERTON’S STRIKER SHORTAGE

Everton boss Ronald Koeman cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as Stamford Bridge sweltered in the afternoon sun.

His Toffees looked like a side which had played at Man City on Monday and then in the Europa League on Thursday before traveling back from Split, Croatia. In midfield they were sluggish with Tom Davies and Idrissa Gana Gueye giving the ball away and the former was hooked off at half time.

Jordan Pickford‘s kicking was off and center backs Michael Keane and Ashley Williams collided on more than one occasion as they tried to clear the ball. Simply put, it was an off day for an Everton side who looked to be feeling the effects of three away games in seven days.

Yet up front is where the biggest problem remains for Koeman.

In their first three PL games all they have is Wayne Rooney‘s two goals in his opening two PL games back at Everton. Sandro Ramirez cut an isolated figure up top on his own with Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson in support of him. Rooney was booked and looked agitated throughout as he snatched at a shot and was heckled by the home fans just a few days after announcing his retirement from the English national team. The hope is that Rooney’s England retirement would rejuvenate his club career and provide the goals Everton need to achieve their lofty ambitions.

They will need a lot more than that and reports linking them with an outrageous move for Chelsea’s wantaway striker Diego Costa seem far-fetched but given the financial muscle the Toffees have shown this summer nothing seems too outlandish at Goodison Park right now.

Koeman’s insistence that he still needs a striker in the final four days of the transfer window is legitimate. Rooney teed up Sandro in the second half but the Spaniard hesitated and had his shot blocked when clean through. Sigurdsson and others buzzed around but there was no cutting edge, no real threat up top in a narrow 3-4-2-1 formation for the Toffees.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman are top young talents who possess pace and can possible score 5-10 goals per season, at best. But if Everton are to challenge for the top four, as they hope to, they’ll need more than that.

There is a Lukaku-sized hole in Everton’s attack and no matter how many top-class attacking midfielders they have, they’ve simply lacked a cutting edge in the final third and weren’t near Chelsea’s box often enough.

Stream Live: Chelsea vs. Everton (Lineups)

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton’s murderers’ row of early season opponents continues with a trip Stamford Bridge to face champions Chelsea on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: Chelsea-Everton ]

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Andreas Christensen move back to Chelsea’s bench as Cesc Fabregas returns to the lineup and David Luiz sits in the middle of a back three.

Both Dominic Calvert-Lewin an Ademola Lookman are on the bench for Everton.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso, Willian, Morata, Pedro. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Tomori, Bakayoko, Kenedy, Musonda, Batshuayi.

Everton: Pickford, Baines, Jagielka (c), Williams, Keane, Holgate, Davies, Gana, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Sandro. Subs: Stekelenburg, Lennon, Martina, Besic, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Kenny.