David de Gea

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: Blues superb in win

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  • Chelsea out-attempts Utd 18-10
  • Morata heads home winner
  • Jones o.g. called back for foul

Alvaro Morata led Chelsea to a controlling 1-0 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

It was Morata’s eighth Chelsea goal, and the fifth to come courtesy of a Cesar Azpiliecueta assist.

Chelsea stays fourth with 22 points, one behind Spurs and United and nine behind Man City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chelsea believed it had a 1-0 lead, but only for a moment, when Alvaro Morata shoved Phil Jones into a cross for what would’ve been an own goal. Jones went down rather easily, but focus is magnified inside the box.

At the other end, Marcus Rashford mistimed his leap to meet a fine cross from Ashley Young, popping the ball over the frame.

Blue-haired Tiemoue Bakayoko missed a solid chance when Davide Zappacosta‘s cross eluded three players to find him at the back post. He took another chance moments later, deflected out for a corner kick.

Then…

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A testy first half continued into the second half, as Ander Herrera stamped on Eden Hazard‘s foot after the Belgian cut past him.

De Gea caught a Hazard rip that had vicious pace but improper aim.

That’s when Morata put Chelsea ahead running between Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling to head a beautiful Azpilicueta cross past a helpless De Gea.

Morata took a superfluous touch after Cesc Fabregas dispossessed sub Marouane Fellaini, missing a chance to try for a brace in the 65th.

Bakayoko stripped Fellaini and hit a right footed effort wide of the goal in the 75th minute. De Gea stopped Hazard moments later.

Thibaut Courtois made a fantastic save on Fellaini in the 90th minute, getting horizontal to slap away his header.

Three things from Liverpool’s frustrating day vs. Man Utd

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Let’s not beat around the bush: This is a game that Liverpool, at home, should’ve won.

Instead, Manchester United barely passed its first major test of the Premier League season.

[ MORE: JPW’s match recap | Player ratings ]

Let’s dig into the why.

Revolution No. 9, No. 9, No. 9

There are two positions that ail Liverpool, and they are the main reason the Reds will not challenge for a Premier League title this season despite their bevy of electric and dizzying attackers.

The first is a bit harder to digest if you take a myopic view of Saturday’s contest, because Romelu Lukaku was one of Manchester United’s more disappointing performers.

But if you plugged Lukaku or the starting frontman from any of the other main competitors into Liverpool’s lineup, the Reds win 2-0 or 3-0 Saturday.

Lacazette, Morata, Kane, Lukaku, they are all burying a biscuit or two on Saturday, to borrow a hockey term. And perhaps this is the main reason Liverpool’s Merseyside rival will also struggle to meet its goals. We can talk 3-5-2, or 4-5-1, or 3-4-3, but that Alan Shearer or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang type remains as important as ever in football.

De Gea, the king

Simon Mignolet is a fine keeper, and gets far more grief than he should due to his position as the backstop on an important world club in Liverpool.

But just like striker, this is one position where Liverpool lags beyond its competition. Lloris, De Gea, Ederson, Cech, Courtois… is there any doubt where Mignolet (or Loris Karius) ranks?

Let’s not make this just about Liverpool, though: De Gea was fantastic again on Saturday, assuring any voter who plugged him into the Ballon d’Or Top 25 that the right decision has been made regarding this year’s top keepers.

His leg save on Joel Matip in the first half was marvelous, but — warning: another hockey reference — De Gea reminds me of former USA and Buffalo Sabres backstop Ryan Miller in his prime, in that he is always in position to make extraordinary saves look routine. How often is a well-hit shot right into his safe arms, looking far less dangerous than it should? Often.

Disappointing Man Utd does Mourinho’s bidding

United is off to its joint-best points haul to start a Premier League season, and it could very well have had its best ever had one moment went its way.

Lukaku moved into the 18 during the first half and saw Mignolet make an excellent save on his hard shot toward the center of the goal.

While that point admittedly flies in the face of the above two things, the fact is Lukaku finishing that chance makes this result an essential pair to any number of Mourinho’s 1-0 defensive masterclasses at Chelsea.

Let’s face it: With respect to Phil Jones and Co., Mourinho is again producing clean sheet after clean sheet without impenetrable components. Eric Bailly has the chance to move into an elite class, but right now this is just vintage Mourinho.

Given the entertainment value, we have to add a ‘like it or not.’

Ballon d’Or shortlisters revealed: Alexis, Pogba, Bale left off

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France Football has released the names on its 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon D’Or.

[ MORE: Yedlin fills USMNT void ]

The list includes seven Premier League players, one each from Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool.

Before we get to who is on the list, how about who isn’t? Gareth Bale of Real Madrid and Wales is absent, as is Bayern Munich backstop Manuel Neuer and Premier League stars Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, and Hugo Lloris.

Remember: the list takes into account play with both club and country.

Here’s the entire list. Who is the most notable omission?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan/Italy)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus/Italy)
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain/Uruguay)
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/Brazil)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
David De Gea (Manchester United/Spain)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Argentina)
Edin Dzeko (Roma/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Radamel Falcao (Monaco/Colombia)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/France)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)
Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich/Germany)
Isco (Real Madrid/Spain)
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur/England)
N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal)
Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain/France)
Dries Mertens (Napoli/Belgium)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil)
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid/Slovenia)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona/Uruguay)

Mourinho excited for UCL at Old Trafford; Updates GK plans

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Did absence make the heart grow fonder for Manchester United’s supporters?

Jose Mourinho thinks so, as the club went from perennial UEFA Champions League contenders to missing the competition entirely last season (United did win the Europa League).

[ MORE: Palace makes change ]

Speaking to the press ahead of his group stage debut as United boss, Mourinho expressed hope that the Old Trafford supporters will be respond well to the bright lights of the UCL. From the BBC:

“For some players there’s the motivation of playing in it for the first time, so we look forward to the match and I hope also Old Trafford feels it in the same way we are feeling it.”

Mourinho is without suspended defenders Phil Jones and Eric Bailly, and will start Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling in front of David De Gea. He also has an injury question in Marouane Fellaini, who has a calf problem.

More on De Gea: Mourinho says he’s not going to trot out specified keepers for each competition, as he did when Sergio Romero led the club through the UEL.

UEFA Super Cup: Real holds on to top Man Utd (video)

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  • Madrid wins fourth Super Cup
  • One shy of Milan, Barcelona
  • United now 1-3 in Super Cups

Casemiro and Isco helped Real Madrid to a two-goal lead, then watched as Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United nearly came back to force extra time in the UEFA Super Cup Final on Tuesday in Macedonia.

The 2-1 win gives Real its third Super Cup in four seasons, with Barcelona winning the outlier in 2015.

United will turn its attention to Sunday’s Premier League opener at West Ham, while Real will meet rivals Barca in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday. The second leg is Aug. 16 in Madrid.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Those expecting a parked bus from Jose Mourinho don’t appreciate the confidence he has in his Manchester United charges, as evidenced by the start of the match.

United was on the front foot from moment one against Real, who started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. The chances were minimal, though, and the biggest danger came in the 16th minute at the other end of the pitch when Casemiro headed a cross off the cross bar. At the other end, a decent United counter turned into a wasted rip from distance by Paul Pogba.

Real worked its way into the match, however, and United was pushed back into its own end when an ever-so-slightly offside Casemiro beat Victor Lindelof to Dani Carvajal’s diagonal ball and slotted home with his left foot.

David De Gea made a nice horizontal slap save of a Luka Modric shot as the match neared halftime, largely sleepy for the final 20 minutes.

Isco made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, and it was clear United was second best. The 25-year-old Spaniard worked a 1-2 with Gareth Bale to easily pick apart Man Utd’s back line.

United should’ve equalizer when Keylor Navas spilled Paul Pogba’s header into the path of Romelu Lukaku, but the big Belgian blazed wide of the goal.

Momenst after Bale cranked a shot off the cross bar, Lukaku restored some hope to United when Navas’ saved Nemanja Matic‘s rip into the path of the big money striker. Lukaku wouldn’t miss twice from that area, and it was 2-1 with just under a half hour to play.

A facial injury to Marouane Fellaini caused a three-minute delay in the match with about 15 minutes to play, though the Belgian was repaired suitably and didn’t leave the pitch for more than a minute.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan played Marcus Rashford through for a would-be equalizer, but Navas tipped the shot wide for a corner that Real handled well.

Cristiano Ronaldo subbed into the match in the 83rd minute.

Fellaini was stymied by Navas in the first minute of stoppage, and De Gea denied Marco Asensio at the other end.