Abraham scores hat trick, Chelsea hammer Wolves

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Tammy Abraham scored a hat trick for Chelsea as they battered Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 at Molineux on Saturday.

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Chelsea were 3-0 up at the break thanks to a fine strike from Fikayo Tomori, while Abraham grabbed three either side of half time to put the game beyond doubt.

Roman Saiss’ header was knocked in off Abraham to pull one back and Patrick Cutrone made it 4-2 late on, but Chelsea addd a fifth through Mason Mount as he cut inside and curled home.

Chelsea now have their second victory of the season and sit on eight points. Wolves have yet to win any of their five Premier League games.


3 things we learned

1. 3-4-3 formation works well for Chelsea: Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea had been leaking too many goals early in the season and they looked solid and reliable with a three-man central defense. It looks like the switch will stick, for now, and away form home against a very good Wolves team this formation totally nullified the threat of Wolves’ wide players and also supplied Abraham with more support centrally.

2. Wolves’ defensive issues a real concern: Wolves have now conceded seven goals in their last two PL games and the usually dependable Coady and Patricio have been far from solid. Is this a Europa League qualifying hangover? That could be the simple answer here, but Wolves just don’t look as solid and dynamic as they did last season. Nuno Espirito Santo won’t be overly concerned, yet the longer Wolves go without a win, a little pressure will start to build.

3. Abraham taking his chance; Pulisic left out as Englishman lead the way: Abraham has scored seven goals in his last three games and he looks perfect for this Chelsea attack. Mount and Tomori scored the other goals as all 10 of Chelsea’s goals have been scored by Englishman this season. USMNT star Christian Pulisic was an unused sub and after his lackluster displays, he may be out of the starting lineup for a while given this new formation for Chelsea.

Man of the Match: Tammy Abraham – A hat trick says it all, and he has now scored seven goals in his last three Premier League games. That is a wonderful return and Abraham is so sharp in the box and strong in the air, plus his runs behind caused Wolves so many issues. He is getting regular minutes and service, and he has proven he can finish. The youngster has taken his chance.


After a slow start to the game it sprung into life on the half hour mark.

A short corner worked its way to Tomori 35 yards out and the young Chelsea center back curled home a wonderful shot into the top corner to break the deadlock in style.

Moments later Chelsea were 2-0 up as Mount then worked his way into the box and was brought down in the box, but play was waved on and Abraham stroked home to double Chelsea’s lead.

Diogo Jota should have pulled one back for Wolves but then the game was all over.

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Abraham nodded Marcos Alonso‘s superb cross home to score his second of the game and make it 3-0 at the break.

At the start of the second half Chelsea put the game beyond doubt as Abraham wrapped up his hat trick in style. The Chelsea youngster turned Conor Coady inside out and smashed home across goal.

Patrick Cutrone almost pulled one back for Wolves but as he slid in he just couldn’t convert Diogo Jota‘s cross into the net.

Saiss then nodded home a corner to make it 4-1, as his header was saved by Kepa but bounced off Abraham and in.

Cutrone then scored his first Premier League goal to make it 4-2, but Chelsea left Wolves with all three points as Mount curled home in stoppage time to seal the win in style.

Season restart preview: Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton season restart
Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Brighton is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Seagulls when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: If there’s a team whose results don’t show the way they’ve played, it’s Brighton. Graham Potter’s Seagulls have the sixth-best possession percentage in the league, are a tidy seventh in passing, and are mid-table in tackles per game, interceptions per game, and shots per game.

[ MORE: Ranking every Brighton player in 2019-20 ]

The expected goals stats show even less reward for good work, with Brighton scoring 8.35 goals less than expected in open play and 4.38 less from corner kicks.

Despite all these good things, Brighton is two points clear of the drop zone with nine matches to play and has a terribly challenging schedule especially at the Amex Stadium.


Tactical analysis: Graham Potter has put the Seagulls in myriad formations this season, though he’s been utilizing at least four at the back since the calendar turned to 2020. He’s ready to attack but pragmatic given the club’s hopes of staving off the teams below it in the fight for PL survival.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Brighton’s chances ]


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Ryan —–

— Montoya — Webster — Dunk — Burn —

—– Propper —– Mooy —–

— Trossard — Gross — Alzate —

—– Maupay—–

Glenn Murray and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are excellent weapons to have on the bench, and Brighton’s also got a very good center back in reserve in the form of Shame Duffy and an underrated center mid in Dale Stephens who will see playing time, too. On paper, this team is too good to go down.


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Remaining schedule
Home: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle
Away: Leicester, Norwich, Southampton, Burnley

Predicted finish: They’ll do enough to get by, though that home fixture list is simply brutal. Safe before the final weekend.

Social media wrap: All 20 Premier League clubs, many players stand against racism

Premier League social media
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The protests in the United States have inspired anti-racism statements from around the world, including all gestures from all 20 Premier League clubs and many players and managers.

There have been ongoing protests and horrible violence in the U.S. since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

Newcastle United’s American defender DeAndre Yedlin issued an emotional thread (below) as one of a great deal of players to express hopes for change and solidarity, while Schalke’s Weston McKennie explained his wearing a black armband reading “Justice For George” in the Bundesliga this weekend.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

From Ancelotti to Zaha, Antonio to Yedlin, Arsenal to Wolves, we’ve collected many of their sentiments below in what we hope serves as universal disdain for racial prejudice.

Some players like Leicester City’s Wes Morgan and even entire clubs (Arsenal) changed their online identity photos to reflect these troubled times.

All PL clubs issued messages of solidarity, many using the Black Lives Matter hashtag and making no bones about where they stand.

And we’ll start with a longtime PL club currently in the Championship, who blasted a season ticket holder’s rejection of their unifying Tweet.

Here are some other clubs and players worldwide to have noticed what’s happening in the United States.

 

Season restart preview: Bournemouth

Bournemouth season restart
Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Bournemouth when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Tough sledding for the Cherries, who face zero of their fellow bottom-six sides (though 13th place Newcastle and 14th place Saints both visit the Vitality Stadium).

There’s been an element of bad luck to Bournemouth’s woes, with its expected goals stats showing Ryan Fraser, Joshua King, and Callum Wilson have deserved better end product and that the Cherries’ 14 goals from open play should be closer to 22. The defense has been bad and xG says it could’ve been worse, too. Injuries had hit Bournemouth’s defense corps in a big way, too. How much better will they be after the break?

[ MORE: Ranking every Cherries player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: Eddie Howe utilized a 4-4-2 with two defensive midfielders for much of the early season, but has gone between a lone striker with a packed-in midfielder and a 4-3-3 when he thinks an opponent is exploitable.

Howe started a 4-4-2 against almost all of the Cherries’ remaining opponents, choosing a 5-4-1 against Wolves and Man City. There’s no guarantee he’ll continue that, especially when some matches may dictate a draw or limited goal differential damage over wins.


Possible XI (4-3-3) 

—– Ramsdale —–

— Smith — S. Cook — Ake — Rico —

—– Lerma —– Billing — L. Cook —

— Fraser —– C. Wilson —– King —–

Howe prefers to attack when at all possible, but the points will be at a premium against some very challenging opponents. It’s a safe bet that he’ll ask a lot from his forwards while trying to deploy his three relentless midfielders together whenever possible. The question here is whether Aaron Ramsdale returns quickly from his COVID-19 positive test, or if it’ll be Artur Boruc or someone else between the sticks.


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Remaining schedule
Home: Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Spurs, Leicester City, Southampton
Away: Wolves, Manchester United, Man City, Everton

Predicted finish: The Cherries stay up, just, as King and Callum Wilson deliver the goods in front of a determined and improved midfield.

Premier League clubs will reportedly be allowed preseason friendlies

Premier League return
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Premier League clubs will be allowed to play preseason matches ahead of the 2019-20’s restart season later this month.

There will be strict protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, and the matches will likely be officiated by club coaching staffs (We have so many Jose Mourinho as ref quips to make here, but let’s keep going anyway).

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Sky Sports says clubs will be limited to opponents within 90 minutes of their venue, and that players will have to drive themselves to the stadiums and go directly to the field in uniform.

With the League One and League Two seasons still hanging in the balance, it’s likely PL sides will be limited to each other and Championship sides. Presumably clubs will not want to meet others still on their fixture list.

We assume some players will get dressed in their vehicles outside the ground, but allow yourself some levity in these challenging times and imagine a fully kitted-up Virgil van Dijk driving the roads from Liverpool to Wigan Athletic.