Antonio Rudiger

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UEFA charge Roma after racist chanting witnessed

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AS Roma and its fans could face severe penalties after alleged racist chants were hurled in the direction of Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger.

It appears via broadcast footage from Chelsea’s 3-3 UEFA Champions League draw with Roma at Stamford Bridge this week that after shepherding a ball out of play, Rudiger was subjected to monkey noises and other racist abuse from the away end where the AS Roma fans were congregated.

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In the past, UEFA has ordered either partial or full closures of stadiums and announced fines to the clubs, though it doesn’t seem to have stamped out the problem of racist chanting in Europe.

Hopefully, UEFA will investigate this fully and ban the individuals who allegedly committed the chants.

Rudiger signed for Chelsea this past summer for a reported $44.8 million.

Chelsea facing lineup nightmare as they limp into Champions League play

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With the 2017-18 campaign just two months old, Chelsea has been rocked by injuries, potentially ruining Antonio Conte‘s ability to piece together his famed 3-5-2 lineup that saw the Blues storm to the Premier League title last season.

N'Golo Kante‘s absence thanks to a hamstring injury has seen his midfield torn apart at times, including against lowly Crystal Palace as Chelsea slumped to defeat to the then-pointless Eagles. Fellow former Fox Danny Drinkwater also sits, having yet to make his Chelsea debut with a calf injury vexing the England international thus far.

Wing-back Victor Moses, who has become a star at a position nobody could have seen him excelling at, is also sidelined with a bum hamstring and must be replaced. The Italian boss could call in deadline day signing Davide Zappacosta to fill the role, but it’s not that simple.

[ WRAP: A complete rundown of Tuesday’s Champions League action ]

Complicating matters greatly, Conte has the opposite situation to navigate along his back line. A pair of poor performances in league play has his defense suddenly under fire, thanks to the good form of his replacements who are pushing for more time on the field. With both Antonio Rudiger and young Andreas Christensen putting in solid performances when called upon, there is suddenly increasing chatter that they should be given starts ahead of Gary Cahill, David Luiz, and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Thankfully for Conte, he can once again call upon the services of talisman striker Alvaro Morata, not worrying about the poor form of Michy Batshuayi who had such a bright start to the season.

[ PREVIEW: A full look at Wednesday’s Champions League slate ]

So, his options are thus: he could either call in Davide Zappacosta to fill Victor Moses’s role without changing the base 3-5-2 with Morata and Pedro up high, leaving Rudiger and Christensen on the bench while hoping that Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas can manage in midfield better than against Crystal Palace. Or, he could shuffle the deck completely and shift to another formation.

Another option presented is a 3-4-3, with Morata by himself in the middle flanked by Willian and Pedro, leaving the central midfield pairing even more exposed. However, that option allows the possibility of patching that midfield by pushing David Luiz or even Rudiger forward, allowing another defender to see the field likely in place of Fabregas. That puts more creative duties on Bakayoko’s plate, or sees the Frenchman fall to the bench, although swapping the defensive midfielder for a central defender seems to have little benefit.

These lineup choices are of the utmost importance as Chelsea meets AS Roma in Champions League play on Wednesday, because a victory would give them a perfect nine points out of nine, leaving them with tons of wiggle-room with three matches remaining. That five-point cushion would present the Blues with the ability to rotate the squad moving forward, a luxury so desperately needed with the injury problems and questions to sort out at the back. That could be invaluable not only to Chelsea’s Champions League standing but also their increasingly questionable Premier League health as the Manchester clubs continue to show stunning form at the top of the table.

UEFA Champions League Weds. preview: Chelsea, Man Utd look to break out

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Only one of 16 teams was held off the score sheet on Tuesday. Could the same level of entertainment reach the UEFA Champions League a day later?

Two more Premier League teams take the pitch on Wednesday, with Manchester United facing its stiffest test of the group stage and Chelsea with a tricky visit from AS Roma.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

Manchester United has a significant challenge in Benfica, and may need a man familiar with the Estadio da Luz to help them out. Center back Eric Bailly remains out for United, which could bring Victor Lindelof into the fold to help stop Haris Seferovic, Gabriel Barbosa, Raul Jimenez, and especially Jonas.

Coming off a sleepy weekend draw versus Liverpool in an underwhelming derby, United will take on a desperate Benfica team which is traditionally strong but lost at home to CSKA Moscow and was crushed in Switzerland by Basel.

(AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Speaking of the need to rebound, Chelsea’s loss to Crystal Palace still has many scratching their heads. Fortunately, Roma is also in a mini-funk after a weekend loss to Napoli that ended a five-match winning streak.

There’s a reunion for Antonio Rudiger inside Stamford Bridge with Roma in town. I Lupi has been pretty one-dimensional in terms of offense, with ex-Man City man and reigning Serie A capocannoniere winner Edin Dzeko. He’s scored eight times in nine matches for Roma this season.

Full Wednesday UCL schedule
All kickoffs at 2:45 p.m. ET except where indicated

Qarabag vs. Atletico Madrid — Noon ET
Anderlecht vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Benfica vs. Manchester United
Juventus vs. Sporting Lisbon
Barcelona vs. Olympiacos
Chelsea vs. Roma
Bayern Munich vs. Celtic
CSKA Moscow vs. Basel

UEFA: Germany’s B-team completes 10-for-10 WCQ campaign

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Germany thrashed Azerbaijan, 5-1, on Sunday to become the first (of two possible) side to finish with a perfect 10-for-10 record during UEFA’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

[ MORE: Salah’s late winner ends Egypt’s 27-year World Cup drought ]

Switzerland, the only other side to win its first nine games, are away to Portugal on Tuesday. England, who won eight and drew two (26 points), were the next closest. Poland went 8W-1D-1L (25 points) in their 10 games.

[ UEFA: Lewandowski leads Poland to WC; England finish with another win ]

Leon Goretzka put the defending world champions ahead after nine minutes, courtesy of a clever backheel into the upper-90, only for Joachim Loew’s side to be yanked back to level terms in the 34th minute. Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi suffered what appeared to be a thigh injury in the lead-up to the visitor’s equalizer. After the game, Loew revealed that Mustafi likely suffered a muscle tear, which will keep him out “for a long time.”

[ MORE: France, Portugal one win away from qualifying; Netherlands out ]

Sandro Wagner, Antonio Rudiger and Goretzka — all of whom played major minutes during this international break due to entrenched first-teamers being left out after having clinched their place at next summer’s tournament last window — each scored during a 12-minute stretch (54th to 66th) that blew the game wide open. Liverpool’s Emre Can provided the exclamation point with fewer than 10 minutes remaining, in the form of a seeing-eye rocket from 30 yards out.

Northern Ireland finished as runners-up in Group C and will make their way into the qualification playoffs scheduled for the final international window of the calendar year, next month.

Based on the upcoming edition of FIFA rankings, Germany will be seeded as a Pot 1 team for the World Cup draw on Dec. 1.

Chelsea 0-1 Man City: De Bruyne gets it done

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  • City outshoots Chelsea 8-2 in first half
  • 17-4 for entire match
  • De Bruyne provides break through
  • Four saves for Courtois

Kevin De Bruyne‘s second half goal lifted Manchester City to a deserved 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

City moves back atop Manchester United on goal differential to lead the table with 19 points, five more than fourth-place Chelsea. Spurs are third with 14 points, ahead of the Blues on GD.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Morata supplied a pair of early threats. The first was stifled by John Stones, while the second was a header which drifted wide of the frame.

Chelsea’s midfield was very active and caused havoc to deny Man City early possession, plus Morata dropped deep to help in the build up and transition. Possession, of course, would soon arrive for City.

Man City’s John Stones hurt his hand in an attacking third collision and had to come off the field in the 21st minute for repairs.

A bounding shot through traffic forced Ederson into a late reaction save, and a counter attack nearly saw Raheem Sterling‘s cross lead to an opener.

Morata’s lively early day ended after 34 minutes when the Spaniard asked to be withdrawn due to a left leg injury. Willian entered the fray.

A 45th minute corner forced Thibaut Courtois into a strong save, as Kevin De Bruyne’s offering was ripped on frame by the head of Fernandinho.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A 61st minute short free kick led to an Eden Hazard rip that Ederson parried out of the 18.

At the other end, Marcos Alonso slid to block a dangerous David Silva shot. It was a precursor to De Bruyne’s goal, as the Belgian took a touch following a 1-2 with Jesus before whirring a shot past Courtois.

Antonio Rudiger made an outstanding clearance of a Jesus volley six minutes from time to keep the match in the balance.