Everton 3-1 Chelsea: Naismith treble stuns Blues

  • Hat trick for Naismith
  • Only Matic bests Howard
  • Besic off with injury
  • Chelsea’s worst start in PL era

Steven Naismith wasn’t in the starting lineup, but was the hat trick hero of Everton’s 3-1 defeat of reeling Chelsea on Saturday at Goodison Park.

Naismith scored twice in the first half and again in the match’s final 10 minutes — header, left foot, right foot –as the Toffees moved to eight points in five matches.

Nemanja Matic had a gorgeous answer for Chelsea before halftime to make it 2-1, but that was all the Blues could muster as they sit on four points through five contests. It’s Chelsea’s worst start since 1988.

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Muhamed Besic had to come out of the match before it was nine minutes old after twisting an ankle, bringing on Naismith. The latter was fortunate avoid discipline when he viciously kicked a falling, out-of-bounds Branislav Ivanovic.

And moments later, he took Everton into the lead. Brendan Galloway started a movement along the left side before drifting into position to send a great cross in for Naismith, who raced past John Terry and flashed a header home. 1-0.

Everton looked rampant, as Arouna Kone and James McCarthy each could’ve doubled the lead in the following minutes.

Naismith was the one to make it 2-0. Given room outside the 18 to unleash his left, the 28-year-old Scot buried a low drive past Asmir Begovic.

It’s the first time Chelsea has allowed two or more goals in five-straight matches since… 1991.

Matic made sure Chelsea would go into the break in better shape. He had even more time and room to operate than Naismith, and just pummeled a knuckling left-footed shot into the upper left corner. Not sure what the ball did to deserve that cruel blow, but Chelsea was within one.

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Chelsea caught a massive break in the second half. First, Begovic stopped a left-footed shot from a streaking Romelu Lukaku, and then Terry’s reflexive pass back was collected by the prone goalkeeper. Andre Mariner didn’t call a thing, shaking his head. Pretty shocking.

Naismith remained lively into the second half, providing Lukaku with another chance in the 68th minute (though Begovic was there to shot stop).

The Blues had their chances to counter, and Phil Jagielka made a critical tackle on Diego Costa with around 20 minutes to play.

And then Naismith again. Ross Barkley sucked Terry up as Naismith ducked through the Chelsea back line to nutmeg Begovic for a hat trick.

Daniel Levy calls for all players, clubs to cut wages

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Tottenham chairman has called for Premier League players and staff to take wage cuts to help clubs cope with the suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

Levy is among 550 staff at Tottenham who have taken pay cuts as he pointed to the likes of Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona as their players and officials had talent wage cuts in order to make sure every individual at the club was paid and costs did not spiral out of control during the suspension of leagues.

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Levy confirmed that the “club’s operations have effectively ceased” and “has an annual cost base running into hundreds of millions of pounds” before adding that clubs and players should do their part as clubs, leagues and players’ unions continue to meet to work out a way forward.

“We hope the current discussions between the Premier League, PFA and LMA will result in players and coaches doing their bit for the football eco system,” Levy said.

Tottenham’s chairman also explained exactly what Spurs are doing to help them deal with the new financial reality all soccer clubs are facing, as the UK government is paying 80 percent of wages of staff who have been furloughed (basically told they still have a job but aren’t needed right now) by their employers.

“We have seen some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus take steps to reduce their costs. Yesterday, having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20 per cent utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme. We shall continue to review this position,” Levy added.

Soccer will of course have to adjust to its new reality and the longer the suspension goes on, tougher decisions will have to be made about players and staff taking significant pay cuts to help keep costs down with no matchday revenue coming in. Tottenham’s stadium is being used to help prepare food for vulnerable people in the local and it has been offered to the NHS to be used any way it can help.

Plenty of clubs across the Premier League have vowed to pay temporary staff used on matchdays but many are making use of government help with wages and many are doing plenty for their local communities too. These are unprecedented times and players and clubs are stepping up to make sure the most vulnerable are looked after.

Benzema: ‘I’m F1’ quality compared to ‘go-kart’ Giroud

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It would appear that Karim Benzema lives for exactly two things in life: scoring goals and creating/participating in very public drama.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Benzema, who hasn’t feature for France’s national team since he was allegedly involved in a scandal to blackmail teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape in 2015, slammed compatriot forward Olivier Giroud as the “go-karting” alternative to his own “F1” quality.

His main gripe with Giroud doesn’t appear to actually be with the player himself, but the fact the two get compared to one another so frequently. In Benzema’s absence from Les Bleus, Giroud has been the main beneficiary, leading many to wonder if the team could have reached greater heights with Benzmea in the team instead — quotes from Sky Sports:

“You shouldn’t confuse F1 and go karting and that’s me being kind. On to the next topic. I’m not talking about him [Giroud] anymore. I just know that I’m F1.

“He has his career, he does what he wants and scores the goals that he wants to score. He’s in his corner and I’m in mine, I’m not thinking about him. If we’re talking about playing style, his suits France well.

“It’s good because there are fast players like (Kylian) Mbappe and (Antoine) Griezmann who play out wide or feed off the centre-forward. When Giroud is up front, he’s a handful for defenses, which gives the other two plenty of space to show what they can do.

“He occupies defenders and it works. It might not be brilliant to watch and you won’t say, ‘Wow, that was incredible.’ Does everyone like that style of play? I don’t know, but it suits France well.”

Giroud: 39 goals (third-highest) in 97 appearances for France. Benzema: 27 goals in 81 appearances.

Guardiola: ‘We will come back stronger, kinder … and a bit fatter’

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Through all of the innumerable challenges and tragedies the world is currently facing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is doing his best to not only help the fight back in his native Spain, but also give everyone a chance to smile and laugh at their own expense.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Guardiola, who last week donated $1.1 million to fight the virus in Catalonia, released a video message of encouragement and hope on Monday — encouraging everyone to stay inside, and hopeful of returning to a sense of normalcy in short order:

“We miss football. We miss the life that we had a few days ago but now is the time to listen, to follow our scientists, doctors and nurses.

“You are my football family and we are going to do everything possible to make you feel better. We’ll come back from this stronger, better, kinder … and a little bit fatter. Stay inside, stay safe.”

Germany’s UCL clubs pledge support for cash-strapped clubs

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DUSSELDORF, Germany — Four German soccer clubs have pledged a combined $21.9 million to support other teams struggling to stay afloat after games in the country were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forgo $13.7 million in as-yet undistributed TV money and add another $8.2 million from their own funds. All four clubs played in the Champions League this season, giving them extra income.

The German Football League, which oversees the top two divisions, will decide how the money is distributed. The league has previously said it fears many clubs could face financial collapse if games can’t resume.

“In these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Thursday.

It’s the latest in a string of gestures to help those in need in German soccer. Players at clubs including Bayern, Borussia Monchengladbach and second-tier Karlsruhe have agreed to voluntary pay cuts to help other staff.

[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said clubs had a responsibility to keep other teams running in what could be a long period without income from ticket sales and sponsors.

“We have always said that we would show solidarity if clubs, through no fault of their own, should run into difficulties that they can no longer overcome themselves,” Watzke said in a statement.

“BVB is currently having a major impact on society through a wide range of initiatives. And naturally we are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic.”