Season Preview: How will Chelsea fare under new manager Sarri?

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Chelsea at a glance:

Premier League titles: 6 (Most recent: 2016/17)

FA Cups: 8 (Most recent: Last season)

League Cups: 5 (Most recent: 2014/15)

FA Community Shield: 4 (Most recent: 2009)

UEFA Champions League: 1 (2011/12)

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With Manchester City and Liverpool dominating headlines throughout preseason, Chelsea has managed to fly under the radar in a lot of ways heading into the 2018/19 Premier League season.

With new manager Maurizio Sarri guiding the club, it seems as though the Blues have a coach in place that will be able to get the best out of their talent, which has already shown by his ability to keep Eden Hazard, Willian and N'Golo Kante at the club.

This team is just two seasons removed from hoisting the PL trophy, and with many players still in the prime of their career, it’s not unfathomable that Sarri can guide this club to glory once again.


Chelsea will contend because… the Blues have managed to stave off serious attempts at other clubs hijacking their top talents. To this point, Hazard, Willian, Kante, Courtois and others are all staying put at Stamford Bridge, and on paper, this squad is still one of the two or three best in England.

Chelsea will end up out of the top four mix because…. Manchester City and Liverpool will be too much to handle at the top, and Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United will have their say in the title race as well.

Best possible XI:

Courtois

Azpilicueta — Christensen — Rudiger — Alonso

Jorginho — Kante — Fabregas

Willian — Morata — Hazard

Transfers In: Jorginho (Napoli), Rob Green (Huddersfield Town)

Transfers Out: Jeremie Boga (Sassuolo), Jonathan Panzo (Monaco), Isaac Christie-Davies (Liverpool), Jordan Houghton (MK Dons), Wallace (Unattached), Harvey St Clair (Venezia)

Ranking their offseason: B-

Jorginho’s addition to the club automatically solidifies Chelsea as boasting one of the top midfields in the PL with his partnership next to N’Golo Kante, but while that move will likely prove to be brilliant, the Blues were relatively quiet in the transfer market. Sarri will surely bank on many of the club’s regulars from previous seasons to come back stronger in 2018/19 and lift Chelsea back into the title race, as they were two seasons ago.

Star player: Fresh off of a brilliant showing at the World Cup, Eden Hazard must now carry that over to the PL and show the rest of the world why he should be among the consideration and discussions of best players in the game. Hazard has all the capabilities imaginable as an attacking threat, but for Chelsea to get back into the thick of things in England he’ll need to be special this season.

Coach’s Corner: Maurizio Sarri stepped in relatively late in the game after a back-and-forth battle between Antonio Conte and management, however, the former Napoli boss seems to have brought a calming presence to the club. The veteran Italian has done his job thus far in keeping many of the side’s top talents in London, but now it’s up to Sarri to carry that over and provide the results for a club that always has tremendous expectations.

PST Predicts: Following a World Cup, it’s hard to predict how players will return to form given the strains of overexertion. Man City and Liverpool have earned the rights to be considered heavy favorites, but Chelsea won’t slouch with its current group of players. If Morata and/or Batshuayi finds their form up front, the Blues will boast a very strong front three to go along with a rock solid defensive unit that is now led by Kante and Jorginho sitting in front of the back four.

Haiti stuns Costa Rica to claim Group B at Gold Cup

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Poetic justice, put it in a Song.

Haiti’s Djimy Alexis made up for his early own goal by scoring a deserved winner as Haiti won Group B of the Gold Cup with an upset of Costa Rica on Monday.

[ ROUNDUPS: AFCON | Copa America ]

Los Ticos got everything they could handle from the upstart Gombey Warriors, who are now 3-0 on the tournament, and the World Cup mainstays tossed aside their early lead to meet Mexico in the quarterfinals.

Haiti will challenge Canada in the quarters, guaranteeing the semifinals an intriguing participant.

An early own goal had Costa Rica in control, but Duckens Nason’ 16th international goal was a part of a hard charge from the Haitians in the second half.

The other match saw Bermuda earn a 2-0 win over Nicaragua via goals from Lejuan Simmons and QPR’s Nakhi Wells. That gives the Gombey Warriors a 1-2 record while dropping Nicaragua to 0-3.

Bermuda was ranked 174th by FIFA to Nicaragua’s 129, but that will certainly change next month.

AFCON wrap: Diaby’s sensational rip highlights trio of matches

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The Africa Cup of Nations said hello to six more competitors on Monday, with a thrilling goal amongst the eight tallied across the competitions in Egypt.

[ MORE: Copa America roundup ]


Mali 4-1 Mauritania

Two different men named Adama Traore — neither of them the Wolves winger — joined Moussa Marega on the score sheet but it’s difficult to describe the class and small margins that defined the tournament’s goal of the day.

Sporting Lisbon’s Abdoulay Diaby somehow got this shot off through two defenders and into the upper reaches of the goal to open the scoring in the three-goal win for Mali, which is having some summer when you take into account the U-20 World Cup.

Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa

There were only 13 total attempts in the game, and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija scored the lone goal of a tournament opening win for Les Elephants.

Tunisia 1-1 Angola

A draw was probably fair, as Youssef Msakni’s first half penalty was met by Djalma Campos’ late goal to split the spoils in Group E.

Copa America roundup: Uruguay tops Chile; Full knockout bracket

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Ecuador and Japan drew to allow Paraguay to sew up the final knockout round spot, sending Miguel Almiron and Co. into a match-up with Brazil.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

And Uruguay rode Edinson Cavani’s goal into the other side of the bracket, moving ahead of Chile in a tight match.

Ecuador 1-1 Japan

There was a lot to like in a match with 30-plus shots and the ultimate prize of a match-up with Brazil on Thursday in Porto Alegre.

Shoya Nakajima put the Asian side ahead a quarter-hour into the match, but Angel Mena provided an equalizer before halftime to put both sides in danger of failure to reach the knockout rounds.

Chile 0-1 Uruguay

Cavani scored for the second time this tournament as Uruguay claimed first place in Group A and a knockout round meeting with Peru.

Cavani’s deftly flicked header of a Jonathan Rodriguez pass pushed Uruguay above Chile, which had won both of its group matches and now meets Colombia on Friday.

Knockout round schedule

June 27
Brazil v. Paraguay

June 28
Venezuela v. Argentina
Colombia v. Chile

June 29
Uruguay v. Peru

July 2
Brazil/Paraguay v. Venezuela/Argentina
Colombia/Chile v. Uruguay/Peru

July 6
Third place playoff

July 7
Final

Norwich City adds Switzerland international Drmic on free transfer

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Norwich City has added a new star striker to a unit which produced 93 goals in the Championship last season.

Josip Drmic will join Swiss national teammate Timm Klose with the Canaries for the next three seasons, hoping to bring his Bundesliga and international experience to a Premier League safety campaign.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

Drmic turns 27 next month, and scored two goals in five appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach last season. He has 31 goals and seven assists in 107 Bundesliga appearances between Gladbach, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, and Nurnberg.

Coach Daniel Farke got 30 goals from target forward Teemu Pukki, who plays a similar role to Drmic and has plenty of top flight experience with Celtic and Schalke amongst others.

Drmic can also operate on the wing, usually left over right, and has featured in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. From Canaries.co.uk:

“I’m going to do everything and give 100% on the pitch. I will be ready to give everything for the club. My job is scoring but I also want to help my team and help us be successful.

“When I first came to Norwich, the first thing I noticed was how kind everybody was. It’s given me a lot of positive energy and I’m excited to see what happens.”

Between Pukki and Drmic, Norwich can have faith that its well-prepared to have an answer up top.