Hazard ‘won’t go’ this year; Chelsea title threat?

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard is in line with manager’s Maurizio Sarri’s expectation that the Belgian will not be sold this month or in January.

Leaving just a sliver of thought that he could leave, Hazard says he’s prepared to honor his contract at Stamford Bridge if it comes to that.

[ MORE: Recap | JPW’s 3 things from Stamford Bridge ]

And he’s not going anywhere unless Chelsea does something unexpected. From Sky Sports:

“Everybody knows what I have said after the World Cup. But I’m happy here. I don’t want to talk about it yet. A lot has been said, but at the moment I’m happy. I have two years left on my contract and we’ll see what happens. Leaving this year? I won’t go.

“The transfer market in England is closed. Clubs can still sell players, but not sign new ones anymore. It would be a bit strange that they would sell me now while they can’t sign a replacement. Today we have seen that the fans quite like me. I’m good where I am now. Let’s see what happens in one or two years.”

This is perhaps best case scenario for Chelsea, who we may qualify as a contender for the PL crown along with Liverpool and Manchester City (leaving room for United and Spurs, of course).

The Blues have Europa League football this season but can use their deep corps to navigate the early days of that while their title rivals worry about what could be an unusually difficult Champions League group stage (Liverpool is currently set to be a Pool 3 side and could lead to a group, for example, of Barcelona, Napoli, Liverpool, and Inter Milan!).

Of course, Chelsea will need to quickly adapt to Maurizio Sarri’s system and avoid miserable periods like the end of the first half at Arsenal — JPW deals with all of that here — but they have a four-game run of Newcastle away, Bournemouth home, Cardiff home, West Ham away, before meeting another Top Six rival (Liverpool at Stamford Bridge).

Injuries are going to happen, but this could be Chelsea’s two-deep with Hazard staying and a healthy crop of center backs left over from Antonio Conte‘s three at the back needs.

Kepa/Caballero

Azpilicueta/Zappacosta — Rudiger/Cahill — Luiz/Christensen — Alonso/Emerson

Jorginho/Fabregas — Kante/Drinkwater — Kovacic/Loftus-Cheek

Willian/Barkley — Morata/Giroud — Hazard/Pedro

Bench: Green, Moses, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi, Ampadu

Chelsea’s Sarri “not happy” after scoreless draw at West Ham

AP Photo / Matt Dunham
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Maurizio Sarri is frustrated after his Chelsea side couldn’t find a way past West Ham United on Sunday.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Chelsea ]

It was the Blues first setback of the season, Sarri’s men failing to meet Liverpool’s 6-0 start to the season.

The scoreless draw saw Sarri try a few things, including the second half introduction of Alvaro Morata for Olivier Giroud. Morata proved more of a threat but his luckless run continued in London.

“Giroud is very important to be a point of reference for mates, but in that moment they were handling this kind of pass. So I preferred Morata, a player with movement off the ball.

“Save maybe the last 20-25 minutes of the first half, (West Ham) are really a very good team. Now that they have won away at Everton, there’s confidence.”

Sarri said he was “not happy” with the result, which came after Chelsea had a similar performance but managed a 1-0 win at PAOK in the Europa League.

West Ham, Chelsea scoreless in London

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
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  • Chelsea no longer perfect
  • Blues have most of the ball…
  • But dangerous chances fairly even

Lukasz Fabianski made some solid saves including a terrific stoppage time stop on Ross Barkley, as West Ham United and Chelsea staged a 0-0 draw that betrayed its scoreline at the London Stadium on Sunday.

The draw is Chelsea’s first setback of the season, and leaves them in second. The Blues are two points behind Liverpool and level with Man City.

West Ham remains 17th with four points.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Manuel Pellegrini‘s decision to counter led to some wide open chances for West Ham when the Irons managed to collect the ball, even without the injured Marko Arnautovic.

Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko found plenty of joy on the wings, and West Ham challenged young Chelsea backstop Kepa Arrizabalaga more than once. Michail Antonio was a change of pace from Arnautovic but certainly up for the role of center forward.

Maurizio Sarri would’ve been frustrated with the lack of danger given his tactical decision to rest Eden Hazard, Mateo Kovacic, and David Luiz at midweek for this very reason. Aside from an N'Golo Kante header, there was little to worry Lukasz Fabianski.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Alvaro Morata subbed into the game and brought immediate life to the Blues attack, and also raised the question of whether the finish-lacking chance-monger is just snake bit when Fabianski made a terrific 67th minute save with his face.

David Luiz hit a free kick to Fabianski at one end, and Yarmolenko couldn’t get on the end of Robert Snodgrass‘ inviting cross at the other.

Barkley curled a pretty effort toward goal in stoppage time, but Fabianski got low to slap the effort wide of the frame.

Watch Live: Arsenal vs. Everton

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Richarlison returns for Everton as the Toffees head to North London for a match against Unai Emery‘s Arsenal (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Cenk Tosun is on the bench for Everton at the Emirates Stadium, while Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both start for Arsenal.

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Torreira, Ramsey, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang. Subs: Leno, Elneny, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Iwobi, Guendouzi, Welbeck.

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Zouma, Keane, Digne, Gana, Davies, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Baines, Tosun, Schneiderlin, Bernard, Lookman.

BWP set to miss big clash after yellow for swearing

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Bradley Wright-Phillips would like referees to consider his adulthood.

The New York Red Bulls’ super striker is going to miss a massive MLS clash with Atlanta United last weekend due to yellow card accumulation. RBNY is four points behind Atlanta in the race for the Supporters’ Shield with four matches each to play.

[ MORE: 2 Robbies on Mourinho, Man Utd ]

BWP was given a yellow for swearing at a linesman during RBNY’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Saturday.

Though we don’t know what he said and certainly don’t condone swearing at officials, the player didn’t make a show of it (something that earned Jozy Altidore a second yellow in a USMNT shirt a few years ago).

A fine is coming Wright-Phillips’ way for this one:

“It’s ridiculous man, it’s too big. We’re men. If you can’t take a swear word and what really happened then we’re in the wrong sport man, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “If someone said that to me, I wouldn’t even be like…I’d be like ‘Sorry, I missed.’ It’s a yellow card. The guy was having a nightmare all game. Nightmare.”

One thing that BWP is missing: It’s not the AR’s duty to know you’ll miss a game with a yellow. Still, this is a huge disadvantage for the Red Bulls on Sept. 30 at home.