Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Image

Chelsea: Conte issues updates on Terry, Zouma, Fabregas

Leave a comment

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has an in-form side which is about to add a trio of big names.

Only one of the three, John Terry, could come back this weekend, though, as Kurt Zouma and Cesc Fabregas are moving towards a return after the international break.

[ MORE: Cameron out for USMNT ]

Conte also said he’s not considering Fabregas’ future with the club. Despite rumors of a January loan or transfer, the Chelsea manager said it’s too early for such talk.

On Terry, from Sky Sports, the defender’s return is based on variables outside of his fitness:

“I give one more day for selection, to take the best decision for the team. It is difficult to change the team when we’re playing well.

“John is available, he is in good form. After his ankle injury he is there a second whole week. He trained with us, he’s in good form. I don’t see any problem.”

These are interesting times for Terry’s future at Chelsea, as Conte must deal with the defender’s legend status at the club in addition to concerns over whether the English center back can work well in his 3-5-2 formation.

That’s especially true considering that Zouma is coming back, and Chelsea only has Premier League play until the FA Cup begins for PL teams in January. Playing time is scarce, as Chelsea will have several CBs in the mix for playing time alongside David Luiz.

Special Ceballos keys Arsenal win over West Ham

Leave a comment

Arsenal – West Ham: It takes special moments to beat dedicated, packed-in back lines, and Arsenal found a pair in a 2-1 win over improved West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette scored goals off classy team goals, as Dani Ceballos drove the Gunners to a 2-0 start and sent West Ham to 0-2.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Up next for the Gunners: a trip to Liverpool.

West Ham will host Wolves next, buoyed perhaps by the improvement shown from a Week 1 loss to Newcastle.


3 things we learned from Arsenal – West Ham

1. Arteta’s magic touch springs winner: Lacazette got the start and scored but Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was not afraid to take off the goal scorer and replace him with… a goal scorer. Nketiah ran into the heart of the box to be available for Dani Ceballos’ cutback of Bukayo Saka’s through ball and the Gunners fought through the congested 5-4-1 for a 2-1 win.

2. Steely lineup (kinda) works for Moyes: A week after leaving Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson, and Andriy Yarmolenko on the bench against Newcastle — and seeing Haller look strong in the League Cup — David Moyes again opted for a bit more steel and a lot more defending. Moyes’ men were set to counter in a 5-4-1 and they really limited Arsenal’s attack. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was kept from the danger areas apart from his assist, and it took a real touch of class in possession and movement for the Gunners to find their winner.

That said, Arsenal was a bit open at the back and was forced into playing Sead Kolasinac when Kieran Tierney pulled up with an injury before the game. Might Anderson and Yarmolenko have been able to produce a second goal?

Arsenal - West Ham
West Ham United’s Michail Antonio (right) and Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhaes (Photo by Will Oliver/PA Images via Getty Images)

3. Super Ceballos: His assist came from a great run and the appropriate final ball to Nketiah, but the Real Madrid loanee was exactly what Arteta needed on a day the Gunners were treated much like Man City was when the manager helped Pep Guardiola and Co. find its way through a packed-in group of defenders.

For his stat line, see “Man of the Match” below.

Man of the Match

Ceballos had 119 touches and completed 90-of-98 passes. He won 8-of-12 duels and collected three tackles, three interceptions, three clearances, and two blocked shots. A complete performance.


Arsenal – West Ham recap

Angelo Ogbonna had the first chance of the game but Declan Rice’s headed flick didn’t have enough power for the defender to head past Bernd Leno.

The Gunners soon asserted themselves on the game and Aubameyang put it on a tee for Lacazetteto head home and provide a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.

West Ham tied it when Antonio got in front of Rob Holding to tap Ryan Fredericks cross home after great work from Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Arthur Masuaku’s dangerous cross looked set to give West Ham a shock lead early in the second but Antonio couldn’t meet it cleanly and Leno cleaned up the mess.

Arsenal sprung a counter to earn a corner but a foul foiled the Gunners.

Willian was lively but was taken off in the 65th minute for Nicolas Pepe, a nice change for a manager to have in his locker.

Antonio popped a header off the bar in the 67th with West Ham in search of all three points.

Eddie Nketiah replaced Lacazette in the 77th.

The Irons were focused on stifling Arsenal and stayed well-drilled as the game reached its final 10 minutes.

Solskjaer reacts to Manchester United loss to Palace, transfer market

Leave a comment

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer knows his Manchester United team wasn’t good enough in Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to Crystal Palace.

He also thinks the club needs to add some players in the transfer market.

[ MORE: Van de Beek deems loss “really bad” ]

“You can see we are short and they deserved the points,” Solskjaer said after the game. They were sharper than us in challenges, tackles. We started off slowly and that had a knock-on effect for the rest of the game when they got the first goal. We had a long season last season and we didn’t finish until August 16 and we have not had enough preparation time to be sharper. We’ve worked hard with the ones who’ve been here, there have been a few players away on internationals.”

Sure, that’s true, but Solskjaer should know those excuses wouldn’t be afforded to Liverpool or Man City, clubs he’s trying to reach, and so they aren’t adequate now.

Whether the club needs to buy some better talent or not, few will argue that United doesn’t have the ammunition to stick with Palace at home. Juan Mata wasn’t in the 18 and probably would start for at least half of the Premier League’s clubs.

But Solskjaer’s men were wobbled, especially at the back, and the Norwegian manager left big buys Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek on the bench. The latter came off the bench to score United’s lone goal.

The Red Devils have spent plenty on players — yes, even under Solskjaer — and did get a very good performance out of Bruno Fernandes that was wasted by out-of-sorts Daniel James, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford.

“We will improve quickly, hopefully quicker than we’ve seen today,” Solskjaer said. “Today was a performance that you don’t see very often from these players because these players are better than that.”

As for transfers?

“We are always looking to improve if there is something out there that is available at the right price. We always want to strengthen. But we can all look ourselves in the mirror, instead.”

Manchester United’s Van de Beek: “We lost 3-1 at home, that’s really bad”

Leave a comment

Donny van de Beek scored off the bench for his Manchester United debut, but it didn’t mean that much coming in a troubling 3-1 home loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Van de Beek came on for Paul Pogba with United down 1-0 and quickly saw his side dip two goals down on a controversial penalty.

[ RECAP: Man United 1-3 Crystal Palace ]

The former Ajax midfielder then snapped a reaction shot inside the far post to pull United within 2-1, but finished the day with not much more than the goal in 23 minutes. Van de Beek was credited with 30 touches, a tackle, and 18-of-23 passing.

“First match for the club, a day you want to win,” Van de Beek said to Manchester United TV. “It doesn’t matter how, you want to win and I’m really disappointed that we lost 3-1 at home, that’s really bad. In the week of training we did really well, we trained good so my feeling was really positive. But today we played too slowly, too long with the ball and I think against an opponent like Crystal Palace you need to speed up the game to create something. That was not good enough.”

It may take Solskjaer some time to get his best XI in order and the Red Devils were playing a Palace team with a PL match and League Cup outing under their belt. Still, the performance was poor and Van de Beek may find himself starting soon.

Zaha double helps Palace sink sloppy Manchester United

Leave a comment

Manchester United – Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha scored twice and Crystal Palace earned a deserving 3-1 win over sloppy, disinterested Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Andros Townsend opened the scoring before Zaha’s penalty made it 2-0. Substitute debutant Donny van de Beek took one back for 0-1 United before ex-Red Devils winger Zaha iced the three points.

[ MORE: Van de Beek reacts ]

The win was Palace’s second-straight at Old Trafford after the South London side went 30 years between wins at the Theater of Dreams. Patrick van Aanholt keyed a Palace upset of the Red Devils in August 2019.

Palace moves to 2-0 and sits atop the PL table for now.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   


3 things we learned from Manchester United – Crystal Palace

1. United backs slumber continues: United was caught off guard on the opening goal and its midfield and center backs made a number of errors in possession that allowed Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew chances to make the game 2-0. The Lindelof handball to give Palace its two penalty bids was a tough break, but Zaha’s second came off Lindelof’s mishit poke and Harry Maguire being left between two minds.

2 Van de Beek says hello, Ole scratches head: The former Ajax star came off the bench for Pogba and reacted quickly to side-foot a loose ball across goal and inside the side netting, giving United a little bit of hope on a day it was without vigor from many of its players (McTominay had his moments but was mostly sloppy).

Questions will again be asked of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his expensive sub got on the score sheet, but this was more about off days from Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Pogba. Really poor from three stars around the always-lively Bruno Fernandes, who was credited with five key passes but got absolutely nothing from the aforementioned three and fellow starter Daniel James.

3. Zaha waves to the transfer market: Too expensive for the top sides he’d like to play for and clearly a step above the rest of Palace’s players, Zaha was stroked home his penalty and was too clinical for Lindelof on his second goal. Roy Hodgson will be hoping suitors continue to be put off by the price tag because “Wilf” is the key to Palace’s success (Well, perhaps after Hodgson, who is getting so much out of these Eagles).

Man of the Match

You can’t get past Zaha, but Palace’s midfield was so good on the day. James McArthur is already building off a career year and both Jeff Schlupp and Townsend were busy out wide. Palace was simply better in form and execution for another win at Old Trafford.


Manchester United – Crystal Palace recap

Palace was all over United to start and it was no more than they deserved when Townsend snapped Jeff Schlupp’s cross past David De Gea when Luke Shaw lost sight of the English winger.

United found some footing after 15 minutes and Paul Pogba forced Vicente Guaita into a stooping save. And Scott McTominay’s rip was slightly deflected by Cheikhou Kouyate to go just wide for a 22nd-minute corner.

Palace was otherwise largely unthreatened in the half despite a lack of possession, aside from a penalty shout of marginal interest.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought on Mason Greenwood for an ineffective Daniel James.

Jordan Ayew helped turnover McTominay early in the first half and took a bounding low shot that De Gea handled in the 49th.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah nearly turned the screw on his former loan side when he spotted Greenwood at the back post at the hour mark but the latter couldn’t turn his header on goal.

Zaha was offside before scoring for the second week in-a-row, the AR’s flag raised and video not required after another United error at the back.

Donny van de Beek entered for a United debut in the 67th minute, an ineffective Paul Pogba making way for the Ajax product.

A corner kick soon came to United and McTominay’s flicked header to the back post came too quick for Lindelof to wrap his body around the ball. The chance leapt over the cross bar.

VAR had a look at an in-tight penalty shout when a Palace shot turned off Lindelof’s arm and into the arms of De Gea.

It was given and De Gea quickly got low to stymy Ayew’s poor effort. But VAR saw De Gea’s back foot raised above the line and a retake awarded to Palace. Zaha nailed it.

Van de Beek pulled one back for United with quick thinking off a bungled clearance, but Zaha darted past Lindelof to shoot between the defender and Harry Maguire for 3-1.