Chelsea 2-1 West Ham: Costa rescues Blues in Conte’s Premier League debut

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Diego Costa probably shouldn’t have even been on the field in the first place, but Diego Costa wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Premier League’s favorite heel survived a potential second yellow card to rescue the Blues with an 89th minute winner, giving new manager Antonio Conte all three points in his first Premier League match.

Eden Hazard buried a penalty to give Chelsea a first-half lead, but it looked a howitzer from James Collins against the run of play with 13 minutes to go would force the two sides to share the points. Conte was unmoved, making tactical adjustments along with pacey substitutions, and the players delivered.

The game was hotly contested from the opening minute. N'Golo Kante received a yellow card just three minutes into the game for pulling down Andy Carroll on a breakaway.

The Blues had the first real chance on goal 12 minutes in as Branislav Ivanovic wrong-footed his defender on the edge of the area with a nice cutback and tried to squeeze a shot inside the near post, but Adrian reacted quickly to keep the game scoreless. Five minutes later Oscar went down at the top of the box looking for a penalty, and in the aftermath Diego Costa earned himself a yellow card, and Collins was cautioned for bringing down the striker on 20 minutes.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Just past the half-hour mark, Hazard rifled just wide from a tight angle after slicing past three Hammers defenders. The rest of the first half was quiet, but the second half started with a bang.

Just a minute in, Michail Antonio barged into the back of Cesar Azpilicueta in the penalty area, leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. Hazard buried the spot kick, and Chelsea had its lead, as well as a milestone goal.

Antonio was yanked by West Ham manager Slaven Bilic just minutes later for Sam Byram, and many on social media noticed the stark lack of communication between the two as Antonio came off the field.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

There was a bit of controversy surrounding – guess who! – Diego Costa, who scythed down Adrian while already on a yellow. It appeared a heavy challenge, but the referee left it unpunished other than awarding a common foul.

In the 77th minute, the game changed. Chelsea seemed in control, but the Hammers earned themselves a pair of set-pieces. Dimitri Payet – on as a substitute – was unsuccessful with a free-kick just outside the box, but moments later the Frenchman delivered a corner that ping-ponged around the box, eventually falling to Collins near the penalty spot who ripped a fizzing equalizer into the back of the net.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Chelsea began to bypass the midfield in an attempt to get back on top, pumping the ball forward over the final 10 minutes, and while the first few attempts were sloppy, substitutes Victor Moses, Pedro, and Michy Batshuyai were used effectively for their pace and technical abilities. Pedro came close in the final five minutes, but Chelsea would have their moment.

A long ball from midfield found the head of Batshuyai, who laid it off to Costa outside the top of the box. A pair of West Ham defenders failed to close him down, and the Spanish international let rip a low effort past Adrian and into the far corner. The goal sent Stamford Bridge into a frenzy, and Conte predictably participated in the pandimonium with a wild celebration.

Nigel Pearson appointed new Watford manager

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Nigel Pearson has been appointed new manager of Watford and been handed a very straightforward — but tall — task for the remainder of the season: avoid relegation from the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Pearson takes over from Quique Sanchez Flores — who only took over from Javi Gracia in September — who left his post at Vicarage Road with the Hornets sitting 20th out of 20 teams in the PL table, already seven points adrift from safety. Pearson’s contract runs through the end of the season.

The 56-year-old Pearson, who last managed in the PL with Leicester City in 2015, was most recently in charge of Belgian side OH Leuven before he was fired in February.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Pearson won’t take charge of Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold). Interim manager Hayden Mullins will see out the week’s preparations and manage the team before handing the reins to Pearson on Sunday.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Matchweek 16 is here in the Premier League as things are heating up very nicely ahead of the festive season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Tottenham 3-0 Burnley – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM] 

West Ham 3-1 Arsenal – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Newcastle 1-1 Southampton – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Man City 2-2 Man United – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 Crystal Palace – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Everton 2-1 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Aston Villa 2-2 Leicester City – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Brighton 2-1 Wolves – (Sunday 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Norwich 2-0 Sheffield United – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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Matchweek 16 of the Premier League season is here, as the busy festive season has well and truly arrived.

Get in there.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today, Sky Sports News, NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Everton v. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Tottenham v. Burnley – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Watford v. Crystal Palace – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Man City v. Man United – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
9 a.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Leicester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
9 a.m. ET: Newcastle United v. Southampton  – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Wolves – NBCSN [STREAM]
9 a.m. ET: Norwich City v. Sheffield United – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Monday
3 p.m. ET: West Ham v. Arsenal – NBCSN [STREAM]

The 2 Robbies podcast: Analyzing chaos at Everton, Arsenal

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In the latest The 2 Robbies podcast, Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle discuss Everton’s decision to sack Marco Silva after their 5-2 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby (0:50), Arsenal’s shocking defeat at home to Brighton (14:00) and Tottenham’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford (22:25).

Plus, thoughts on Gabriel Jesus‘ long-term role at Manchester City (29:00), Jamie Vardy and Leicester City can’t stop winning (35:10), back to winning ways for Chelsea (39:00) and the Underappreciated Performances of the week (43:40).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]