How did Chelsea’s players grade out in their run to the title?

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When a team goes wire-to-wire as table toppers, it’s very difficult to find much to dislike about the players.

Chelsea’s charge toward its Premier League title is no different, with very few players sinking failing to play an on-field role in the victory.

[ CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Five things to watch in the semis ]

Twenty-two players have hit the pitch for Chelsea so far this season. Let’s grade them out in order of import:

INC: Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The youngster got into a single match for Chelsea. Can credit him for accomplishing that feat, and can’t fault him for much else.

D: Mohamed Salah, Filipe Luis, Juan Cuadrado

Luis is right to feel a little slighted here, as appearing in 12 games isn’t a bad thing, but Cuadrado failed to make much of an impact since coming over from Fiorentina in the swap deal for Salah. The latter has been fantastic at Fiorentina, but that’s not Chelsea, is it?

C: Andre Schurrle, John Obi Mikel, Loic Remy, Oscar, Didier Drogba

This is a useful class of players, as Remy and Oscar combined for 11 goals, but ultimately all four fell short of expectations. Some will point to Oscar’s six goals and eight assists as the measure of the man, but he’s hit or miss, brutal in possession and a borderline nothing in defense.

source:
The useful Ramires made 12 starts and 12 sub appearances in the run to the title.

B: Ramires, Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Willian, Kurt Zouma, Petr Cech, Gary Cahill

Zouma proved his worth in stepping into a holding mid role when Chelsea needed to slam the door on attack-minded teams, while Ramires moved in for Nemanja Matic and barely missed a beat. Cech could’ve caused a lot of problems in backing up the younger, less-accomplished Courtois but instead further cemented himself as the ultimate gamer. Cahill got a lot of guff from supporters, but was borderline Grade A.

A: Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, John Terry, Diego Costa, Branislav Ivanovic,

Hazard is the most exciting players in the Premier League, a whirling dervish that happens to have the mental acumen to outthink teams as much as he can outmaneuver them. He was also fouled an absurd 105 times, as hurting Hazard was the only plan to slow him (and it didn’t work).

Ivanovic seemed to come up big whenever he was needed, and Costa became the No. 1 villain in the league within minutes of arriving at Stamford Bridge. Terry earned himself another year at Chelsea with his title-carrying season, while Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic made sure that the Blues were in charge at the front and back of the engine room.

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]


PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Elsewhere
FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

Wednesday
BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”

Nooooooooooo.

Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.

Janssen leaves Spurs for Liga MX in $8M deal

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Vincent Janssen‘s less-than-ideal tenure with Tottenham Hotspur has come to its end, and he’s moving his way to this side of the Atlantic.

Liga MX side Monterrey has agreed to buy Janssen, Spurs announced Tuesday. The deal is for a reported $8 million.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

The Dutchman turned 25 this summer. He played just 42 times for Spurs after arriving from AZ Alkmaar for around $25 million in 2016, scoring six times, but did manage five goals and four assists in a half-year loan to Fenerbahce in 2017-18.

Janssen saw his time with the Netherlands national team peter out during his tenure at Spurs. After a red-hot start, he has not been capped since 2017. Janssen has seven goals in 17 caps.

His time at Spurs cannot be labeled as anything but a gigantic bust, but Janssen is still pretty young and has a chance to recapture his career momentum.

And he looks pretty happy about it.

Transfer gossip: Newcastle eyes 2nd Brazilian, USMNT’s Arriola on move

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Two players from the Western hemisphere may be heading across the Atlantic, one of whom is very familiar to American eyes.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

DC United winger Paul Arriola could be leaving Major League Soccer in a return to Liga MX or a move abroad to Europe.

CBS’ Roger Gonzalez says some of the big boys in Mexico are after the former LA Galaxy youth product who got his start at Club Tijuana.

Arriola, 24, has 28 caps with five goals and five assists for the USMNT, blooded by Jurgen Klinsmann in 2016. He has 12 goals and 10 assists in 57 matches for DC United since arriving from Tijuana.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Next up: Newcastle United may be in for another Brazilian attacker.

Marrony is the name, and Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol says the Magpies were alerted to his potential by the same source who claimed they were after Joelinton (who signed today after a $50 million deal).

The 20-year-old has a reported $37 million release clause, a left winger has a goal and an assist in two seasons with Vasco da Gama in Brazil. He also scored five times in 15 appearances for the club in the state league.

It feels a bit like a red herring or straight-up agent speak, but the Joelinton deal seemed unusual as well (albeit in a different way).