Burnley 1-3 Chelsea: Blues cruise, go top after season opening win (video)

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Chelsea fell behind early to Premier League newcomers Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday but Jose Mourinho’s men rallied impressively to seal a 3-1 win in their opening game of the season.

Scott Arfield stunned the Blues early on as the Scotman controlled and volleyed home to put Burnley in front. However within 10 minutes Chelsea were ahead as Diego Costa finished clinically on his debut and Andre Schurrle scored a beautiful team goal after Cesc Fabregas’ sumptuous through ball.

[Mourinho: “Courtois my number one”]

Chelsea went 3-1 up before the break, as Branislav Ivanovic tapped home from close range. Burnley tried to get back in to the game but Chelsea kept the ball expertly and bagged all three points on a rainy evening up in Lancashire. Mourinho has now won five out of five on the opening day as Chelsea boss.

Mourinho’s men sit top of the standings after week one, will the bookmakers favorites remain their for the rest of the season?

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

source:
Chelsea celebrate Andre Schurrle’s stunning goals after a sumptous move.

Early on Costa buzzed around and collected the ball on the edge of the box, laid it off to Fabregas and Schurrle’s deflected shot almost crept in after wrong-footing Heaton. Burnley managed to clear the danger.

Inside the first 10 minutes Burnley broke free down the left and Lukas Jutkiewicz wriggled free but sent a tame effort into the side-netting. In the 14th minute Burnley took the lead as a corner from the left wasn’t cleared properly and Matthew Taylor chipped the ball towards the back post where Arfield controlled superbly before volleying an unstoppable effort past Thibaut Courtois to send the home fans wild.

Chelsea didn’t panic after going behind and in the 17th minute there were level thanks to Costa’s first goal in a blue shirt. The Spaniard reacted first as Branislav Ivanovic’s cross from the right evaded everyone, following Fabregas’ beautiful back heel set up, and cannoned back off the post. Costa finished clinically to make it 1-1 as Mourinho punched the air in delight.  Less then five minutes later Chelsea were ahead as Ivanovic again got the ball on the right and dinked it inside to Fabregas on the edge of the box and the Spanish midfielder caressed an exquisite ball into Schurrle who tapped home to make it 2-1 following a perfectly timed run. Majestic flowing football from the away side.

Burnley tried to get going but a calamitous backpass played in Costa who rounded Burnley’s ‘keeper Tom Heaton and went down but referee Michael Oliver booked the Spaniard for simulation. On second viewing there was definite contact and the Clarets were lucky to escape without conceding a penalty and having a player sent off. In the 34th minute Chelsea went 3-1 up as Ivanovic tapped home from a corner after some schoolboy defending from the home side. Some good build up play down the left saw Danny Ings direct an effort wide of the target as the home side tried to pull a goal back but it was 3-1 at the break.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

source: AP
Arfield celebrates his opening goals after Burnley took the lead vs. Chelsea.

After the break a long ball over the top saw Ings get free but he dragged a low shot wide but the home side were buoyed by the effort. Arfield came so close to grabbing a second spectacular goal of the game as the Scotsman brought ball down on the right, cut inside and curled an effort towards the top corner which Courtois tipped wide superbly. Burnley were in the ascendancy. Chelsea knocked the ball about and kept possession for large chunks of the second half but Burnley looked dangerous on the break and Jutkiewicz drilled an effort just wide in the 60th minute.

Late on both teams made a raft of substitutions, including a second Blues debut for Didier Drogba who almost scored with an audacious volley, as Chelsea saw the game out with minimum fuss and get their campaign off and running in the perfect fashion with a comfortable win.

LINEUPS

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee; Arfield, Jones, Marney, Taylor (Kightly, 70′); Ings (Sordell 82′), Jutkiewicz  (Barnes, 70′)

Goal: Arfield (14′)

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Schurrle (Willian, 78′), Oscar (Mikel, 82′), Hazard (Drogba, 83′); Costa

Goals: Costa (17′), Schurrle (21′), Ivanovic (34′)

NFL’s 49ers purchase minority stake in Leeds United

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One of England’s most famous clubs is receiving investment and strategic business connections from one of the NFL’s most famous brands.

Leeds United and the San Francisco 49ers announced Thursday that 49ers Enterprises, an investment arm of the 49ers ownership, has purchased a minority stake in the Championship club. Multiple reports state that the 49ers now own 10-15 percent of the club, but current Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani remains the majority owner.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

As part of the deal, 49ers President Paraag Marathe gets a seat on the Leeds United board of directors. Per Leeds, the money invested will stay with the club and be used for the first team, as Leeds looks again to make its way back to the Premier League in next season’s campaign.

An American ownership group investing in England is nothing new, but to identify and purchase a stake in a club with history and a decent chance at making it to the Premier League is impressive. In addition, the York Family, who owns the 49ers, has a net worth in the billions, which could help fund Leeds’ push back into the Premier League.

For the 49ers, this is also a savvy business decision. By investing low in a club in the Championship, they hope that they can experience the financial windfall of playing in the Premier League. This season, clubs made a combined $3.2 billion (with a capital B) thanks to revenue sharing, international and domestic TV rights, and other sponsorship deals.

With even the relegated sides taking home nine figures in revenues from the league, who wouldn’t want to invest and take a cut of that?

Now, only time will tell how long it is before the 49ers influence helps – or hinders, based on the 49ers current state of affairs in the U.S. – Leeds reach the pinnacle of English football.

Iniesta joins Japanese club Vissel Kobe

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TOKYO (AP) Former Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta was introduced as the newest member of Japanese club Vissel Kobe on Thursday, a poorly kept secret that’s been rumored for weeks.

Iniesta appeared before a packed news conference at a central Tokyo hotel on Thursday along with Kobe’s billionaire owner, Hiroshi Mikitani.

[READ: Earnie Stewart being considered for U.S. Soccer post]

“I’m pleased to announce,” Mikitani said, “that Andres Iniesta will be signing up play with Vissel Kobe after his historic career at Barcelona.”

Iniesta signed his contract as Mikitani watched, and then spoke through an interpreter.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but Japanese media are reporting he will earn $30 million annually on a three-year deal.

“For me this is a very special day,” the Spaniard said. “This is an important challenge for me. My family is excited to come to Japan and we are very pleased. There were many offers. Other clubs showed interest. But I decided to sign with Vissel Kobe because the project presented to me was impressive.”

Mikitani is also the CEO of Barcelona sponsor Rakuten, a Japanese online retailer.

Iniesta held up the team’s red shirt with his famous No. 8 on the back, and his name written across the bottom.

Iniesta previously had said he would probably retire from international soccer after Spain plays at this year’s World Cup in Russia.

The 34-year-old Iniesta scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final. He also was a key part of Spain’s two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

He announced last month he would leave Barcelona after 16 seasons. His last match for the Spanish club was on Sunday against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.

Vissel Kobe is in sixth place after 15 games in the J-League. It signed Lukas Podolski last year, but the German striker is out until the end of June with an injured calf.

Yaya Toure talks future, wants to play with Paul Pogba

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There is very little debate: Yaya Toure is his own special case.

The longtime Manchester City midfielder does what he wants, flies his own flag, has the worst agent in the game, and is pleased or dismayed in unusual ways.

[ UCL: What would Real 3-peat mean? ]

Toure, 35, has been linked with a move to NYCFC now that he’s leaving Man City, but the Ivorian still wants to play two more seasons for a Champions League or Europa League club.

And he wants to get together with Paul Pogba. You can see where this is going… (from The Manchester Evening News):

“Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go. Technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things.”

That must mean both are going to Paris Saint-Germain because… Yaya at Manchester United? No way, right? Right? Even with last year’s reports from his — again — terrible agent that it was an option, that still seems too villainous.

“I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. … I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job.”

Toure later said he was “no good in an office,” which had us thinking, well, what if they properly celebrated your birthday, Yaya?

WATCH: Miami United midfielder unleashes Open Cup laser

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Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.