Antonio Rudiger

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Chelsea 1-0 Swansea: Rudiger the hero

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Chelsea beat Swansea City 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday with Antonio Conte sent to the stands just before half time but his team got the job done on the pitch.

Antonio Rudiger headed home the only goal of the game in the second half as the Blues wasted several chances and Lukasz Fabianski made several fantastic saves for a woeful Swans outfit.

The win keeps Chelsea three points behind second-place United and they’re on 29 points, while Swansea remain second bottom in the table.

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Morata had a shout for a penalty kick early on as he went down under a challenge from Mike Van der Hoorn but no PK was awarded.

Pedro, Willian and Morata then went close for Chelsea as they continued to press for an opener with Pedro’s rasping shot tipped wide by Lukasz Fabianski and then Morata sent a header straight at the Swans goalkeeper.

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Fabianski then pushed Morata’s volley from a Cesc Fabregas pass over the bar and Willian had a shot deflected wide with Swansea sitting back and soaking up wave after wave of Chelsea attack.

Conte was sent to the stands before half time as he complained about a goal kick being awarded when he thought it should’ve been a corner as the Blues boss was apoplectic with rage.

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Moments into the second half N'Golo Kante‘s shot deflected across goal and Rudiger was on hand to net a diving header to score his second Chelsea goal and put the Blues, deservedly, 1-0 up.

Marcos Alonso went close soon after Chelsea took the lead as Swansea dropped deeper and deeper with Morata going close once again but Fabianski saved again.

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Chelsea created plenty of chances to extend their lead but Swansea rarely threatened and grabbed all three points at hom.

Report: Kante, Drinkwater to reunite at Chelsea vs. Man United

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From Leicester City to Chelsea, N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater are finally set to be reunited on the field.

According to a report from The Guardian, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is set to bring back the title-winning partnership in central midfield as a way to shakeup the lineup following a 3-0 bashing at Roma midweek. Drinkwater has made just three appearances this season for Chelsea after rehabbing from a calf injury that he suffered prior to his deadline-day move.

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If Drinkwater does start alongside Kante in midfield, it could mean a move to the bench for Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoué Bakayoko or a change in formation. Chelsea has continued to use Conte’s preferred 3-4-3 formation but the Blues have struggled when Cesar Azpilicueta plays as a wing back instead of with the centerbacks. That was the case at Roma, when Antonio Rudiger played in central defense.

With Manchester City nine points ahead in the standings, Chelsea’s margin of error in the Premier League has dropped significantly. Perhaps the return of a Kante-Drinkwater partnership can help Chelsea find its mojo again.

CL Wrap: Chelsea pummeled in Rome, Man United eases by Benfica

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Roma 3-0 Chelsea

Stephen El Shaarawy scored a brace, with his first coming 40 seconds into the match, and Chelsea was dropped from the top of Group C. Antonio Rudiger had a brutal match, partly at fault on both goals from El Shaarawy. The second was particularly ugly, with Rudiger almost allowing the ball to reach the Italian like a door swinging open. Diego Perotti scored Roma’s third in the second half to add insult to injury.

Chelsea has now leaked ten goals in its last five matches across all competitions, and drops to second in the Champions League group, three clear of Qarabag with two matches to play. Tuesday’s result is Chelsea’s heaviest Champions League defeat since 2012, when they became the first defending champions to be eliminated in the group stage.

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Qarabag

A near-stunner in Spain saw the teams share the points as Azerbaijani club Qarabag took the lead on 40 minutes but conceded early into the second half in a 1-1 draw. Fittingly, Spanish striker Michel scored the opener, delivering a fabulous header directing a corner past Jan Oblak.

Atletico would hit back in the 56th minute on an absolutely stunning goal by midfielder Thomas. Qarabag defended well as Atleti attacked down the right, but the ball fell to the 24-year-old Ghanan at the top of the penalty area and he left fly a vicious, curling effort that spectacularly found the top-right corner.

Pedro Henrique was then shown a straight red minutes later for a karate kick to see the visitors down to 10 men, but the visitors were able to see out the point amid an absolute tidal wave, as Atletico finished with 35 shots, 11 on target. They were helped when Atletico was also reduced to 10 men as Stefan Slavic was given a second yellow card.

Manchester United 2-0 Benfica

Anthony Martial had a penalty saved by Mile Svilar, but the 18-year-old was unlucky to concede an own-goal just before halftime as the Red Devils saw themselves to victory and confirming qualification to the Knockout round as a result.

The goal came in first-half stoppage time as Nemanja Matic rifled a long-range effort on net that clanged off the left post. Svilar had thrown himself unsuccessfully at the shot, leaving him sprawled out on the ground as the ball clattered off the post, came back off Svilar’s hip, and into the back of the net. Daley Blind was on hand to ensure the victory, cooly finishing a penalty with 12 minutes remaining.

The result leaves Manchester United six points clear of both CSKA Moscow and Basel in Group A, all but assuring them qualification with two games to play, and very likely to top the group.

Sporting CP 1-1 Juventus

Bruno Cesar pocketed a rebound to put Sporting CP deservingly in front of Italian giants Juventus in Portugal, but Gonzalo Higuain came to the rescue to share the spoils. The home side went ahead in the 20th minute, but Higuain chipped Sporting goalkeeper from a tight angle in the 79th minute. Still, Juventus failed to capitalize on Barcelona’s slip, leaving the Spaniards still three points adrift at the top of Group D.

Olympiakos 0-0 Barcelona

The Catalans held 69% possession and attempted 19 shots, but couldn’t find a way past Olympiakos as they come to a 0-0 draw in Greece. It’s the first time in five years that Barcelona has been held scoreless in a Champions League group stage match.

Celtic 1-2 Bayern Munich

Javi Martinez gave Bayern Munich the win, scoring with 12 minutes remaining to give the Germans all three points in Scotland.

Kingsley Coman had scored a controversial goal in the first half, beating sleeping defender Dedryck Boyata but handling the ball as he collected and scored. Celtic thought they had served justice as Callum McGregor equalized on a completely broken play, but the visitors struck back just three minutes later to retake the lead. Martinez headed in powerfully on a baseline cross from David Alaba.

Paris Saint-Germain 5-0 Anderlecht

Neymar created PSG’s first and scored their second as the home side blasted Belgian stalwarts Anderlecht in the French capital. The Brazilian found Kylian Mbappe at the top of the box, who immediately fed Marco Verratti completely unguarded on the left flank for PSG’s first right on the half-hour mark. They scored again before the break, with Neymar dribbling all the way in from the corner flag, cutting across the box and firing a simple finish off the hands of Frank Boeckx and into the back of the net.

Layvin Kurzawa then took charge, scoring a 2nd half hat-trick to put the game out of sight.

The win sees PSG qualify for the knockout round, in addition to keeping pace with Bayern. The three points leaves PSG free at the top of Group B by that margin, with the German club sitting just behind them as both look likely to move on.

Basel 1-2 CSKA Moscow

Luca Zuffi and Alan Dzagoev appeared to have cancelled each other out, but Pontus Wernbloom scored a 79th minute winner to muddy up Group A. Manchester United is in control at the top, but the win for the Russians puts CSKA level with Basel in second place, both on six points with two more matches to play.

VIDEO: El Shaarawy scores rocket 40 seconds into Champions League match

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Roma took a stunning early lead at home against Chelsea in their Champions League group stage match on a goal just 40 seconds into the game.

Federico Fazio (again?!) delivered a gorgeous ball from the left flank, and Edin Dzeko was there to meet it. Instead of putting a speculative effort on net, the Roma striker instead flicked it back into the path of a sprinting Stephan El Shaarawy, who ripped a howitzer into the back of the net with the outside of his foot.

The goal at the time put Roma above Chelsea in the Group C standings, should the result hold.

There were a number of Chelsea culprits on the play. Cesc Fabregas let Fazio deliver the ball with minimal pressure on the wing. Dzeko split between Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz to make his run, while the latter defender failed to pressure on Dzeko’s header, instead sagging back anticipating the striker to collect the ball. Finally, Marcos Alonso was beated to Dzeko’s header by El Shaarawy, and did little to challenge the shot.

It’s this kind of lackluster defending that has seen Chelsea struggle of late. The Blues had conceded eight goals in their last five matches coming into today with just one clean sheet along that span.

Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea: Hazard makes the difference

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  • Blues with back-to-back Ws
  • Cherries remain 19th
  • Hazard scores lone goal

Eden Hazard‘s second half goal was enough to earn Chelsea all three points in a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

It was the first Premier League goal of the season for Hazard, who has scored twice in the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea moves back atop Arsenal for fourth in the PL, a point back of Tottenham.

Bournemouth remains 19th with seven points.

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Alvaro Morata tapped in a rebound from Cesar Azpilicueta, but the defender was ruled offside before Asmir Begovic made the initial stop.

Begovic haunted his former mates deep into the first half, including a spectacular leg stop on Alvaro Morata in the 34th minute.

Hazard broke the deadlock with a near post bullet beyond the reach of Begovic in the 51st minute. Morata collected an assist on the marker.

Jordon Ibe had a 57th minute chance, his belt taking a slight turn off Antonio Rudiger to rise over the bar.

Thibaut Courtois made a quality positional save on Steve Cook in the third minute of stoppage time to preserve the win.

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