Dominant Chelsea beat Brighton

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LONDON — Chelsea beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Frank Lampard‘s side secured their first home win in the Premier League this season and their first clean sheet too.

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Jorginho and Willian struck in the second half to secure the victory, as Brighton barely threatened in attack.

With the win Chelsea move on to 11 points, while Brighton remain on six points.


3 things we learned 

1. Blues wasteful: Chelsea could have won 5-0 on another day, and Lampard will be concerned with their poor finishing. However, he will be happy they cut Brighton to shreds time and time again. Had Barkley, Alonso and Pedro been more clinical in the first half, this would have been even easier than it already was. 17 shots in the first half was their highest in a single 45 minutes since 2013. If they can start to convert a few more of these chances, they will be a force.

2. Brighton played for the draw: The Seagulls were only really in this game for about 10 minutes in the second half. At 1-0 down they hit the bar and went close on a couple of occasions, but Graham’s Potter’s men played for the draw and were totally lacking any cutting edge in attack. It wasn’t too difficult for Chelsea to record their first clean sheet of the season.

3. Lampard breathes sigh of relief: A first PL home win for Lampard sees Chelsea in sixth place on 11 points and all of a sudden things aren’t looking too bad. Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Willian have taken their chances out wide, while the likes of Jorginho is back to his best and the duo of Tomori and Christensen have struck up a nice partnership at center back.

Man of the Match: Jorginho – He scored the crucial opener from the penalty spot and oozed class all game long, clipping over lovely balls and bringing a calm to Chelsea’s display. Without the injured N’Golo Kante alongside him he had to do more of the dirty work too.


Chelsea dominated the early stages and both Abraham and Willian lashed off target after patient build-up play.

On the break Brighton were a threat but Chelsea were inches away form taking the lead. Mount’s free kick from the left found Abraham but his header bounced onto the far post and out.

Kepa was sharp off his line to deny Brighton after a clever attack, while Chelsea went close again through Barkley twice. His first effort was deflected inches and then Alonso picked him out with a wonderful cross but the England international saw his tame effort saved well by Mat Ryan.

Pedro was then denied twice, first by Ryan and his second shot was blocked by Webster, as Chelsea piled on the pressure at the end of the first half and Jorginho was pulling the strings.

Pedro’s cross then picked out Alonso in the box but he somehow smashed well wide from close range.

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At the start of the second half Chelsea were handed a gift as Webster slipped when in possession in the box and then fouled Mount to give away a penalty kick.

Jorginho dispatched the spot kick calmly in his trademark style and the Blues deservedly led. Moments later Pedro was set free but Ryan saved as Chelsea threatened to run away with things.

In a rare chance for Brighton a cross into the box saw Neal Maupay challenge for the ball as it flashed over the bar, and at the other end Abraham nearly get in on goal after a poor back pass but Ryan saved bravely.

Brighton pushed forward in search of an equalizer late on and Alzate’s deflected shot almost snuck in at the near post.

From the resulting corner Dan Burn‘s header hit the crossbar as the Seagulls were inches away from making it 1-1.

But just when it looked like Brighton would grab one back, Chelsea finished them off. A

Substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi surged forward and fed Willian and his shot deflected off Burn and in to seal the win.

Abraham had another chance late on but Chelsea held on comfortably to secure a first home PL win of the season and a first clean sheet too.

Russia banned from 2020 Olympics, 2022 World Cup

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Russia has been banned from competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) voted unanimously to ban the nation from international sport for four years for doping offenses.

[ MORE: Rodgers: “Historic day” as Leicester City extends win streak ]

Individual Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under a neutral banner at this summer’s Olympics. The men’s national soccer team will also still be allowed to compete at the 2020 European Championship, where they will be one of the 12 host nations this summer.

The punishment was agreed by WADA’s executive committee at a special meeting at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland. It is the most severe sanction yet against the country after accusations of systemic doping and deleting laboratory evidence.

[ MORE: Man arrested in connection to racist abuse at the Manchester derby ]

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie said, “For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.

“As a result, the WADA executive committee has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.”

Cruzeiro relegated from Brazilian top flight for first time

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Brazilian side Cruzeiro was relegated from the top flight for the first time in the club’s 98-year history following a 2-0 defeat to Palmeiras on the final day of the season.

Cruzeiro required victory and a loss by Ceara at Botafogo to stay safely in the Brazilian Serie A, but neither came to pass.

Palmeiras midfielder Ze Rafael scored in the 58th minute to send the visitors on their way, with fellow midfielder Dudu finished things off in the 84th minute. Referees ushered the players off the field immediately after the conclusion of the match as Cruzeiro fans rioted in the Mineirao stadium, ripping out seats, setting off smoke bombs, and clashing with police.

Cruzeiro finished 17th in the 20-team table, three points back of Ceara in 16th. In the Brazilian top flight, the bottom four teams are relegated. CSA, Chapecoense, and Avai were also relegated. Cruzeiro had won the Brazilian Serie A as recently as 2013 and 2014, winning four titles in its history. They also have six Copa do Brasil titles, most recently winning the league cup in 2017 and 2018.

Flamengo ran away with the championship, finishing on 90 points, 16 points clear of second-placed Santos and third-placed Palmeiras who both finished level on 74 points. Palmeiras had challenged for the title, but fell off at the end of the season with a five-match winless run through November.

Premier League Preview: West Ham United v. Arsenal

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Two struggling London sides meet Monday when West Ham United hosts Arsenal (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The sides might’ve expected they’d be within close proximity at this point on the fixture list, but two wildly disappointing seasons means the three points between the Gunners and Irons comes with the former in 11th and the latter 16th.

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It’s been nine matches since Arsenal beat someone, 11 since it happened in the Premier League. West Ham hasn’t been much better, winning once in its last 10.

Freddie Ljungberg has yet to win as Arsenal interim boss, while West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini could see his current stint in London end without more results like the Nov. 30 win at Chelsea.

Monday versus Arsenal would qualify.


Injuries/suspensions

West Ham United: OUT —  Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid. QUESTIONABLE — Michail Antonio.

Arsenal: OUT — Dani Ceballos. QUESTIONABLE — Rob Holding.


Probable lineups

West Ham United: Martin; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Fredericks; Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller.

Arsenal: Leno; Kolasinac, Sokratis, Luiz, Bellerin, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.


What they’re saying

West Ham’s Antonio sees an opportunity: “The only three teams that are really performing are Liverpool, Leicester and Man City. Everyone else is getting beaten, and it means we’ve had a missed opportunity so far this season. We started the season off brightly, the best start we’ve had for four years, but then we’ve had a slump. Everyone’s having a slump and this is our slump. Now it’s time for us to start turning up. We’ve been in this situation before and we know how to dig in and pull ourselves up again.”

Arsenal’s Ljungberg on setting targets: “I don’t think we should stop talking about the top four, but for us it’s about concentrating on what we’re doing here now and not look up, down, sideways. We just need to work on our own game and our own confidence.”


Prediction

Really, you wouldn’t want to predict anything from these sides right now besides goals. We’ll give an edge in desperation to the hosts and a 2-2 draw.

La Liga: Sevilla held at Osasuna, Getafe maintains UCL fight

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Sevilla was held to a 1-1 draw at 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, giving both Real Madrid and Barcelona space at the top of the La Liga table.

Munir El Haddadi put the visitors 1-0 up just 11 minutes in, but Ezequiel Avila struck just before halftime to share the points. Sevilla was held to just two total shots through the opening 45 minutes, and despite Osasuna defender Oier Olazabal being shown a second yellow card with 29 minutes to go, Sevilla still managed just 11 total efforts through the 90 minutes, with four on target.

Getafe continued its battle for a top four spot as they won 1-0 on the road at Eibar. Angel Rodriguez bagged his eighth goal of the season to secure the win, cropping up in the 67th minute to finally put Getafe through. They had been turning the screw for some time, forcing Marko Dmitrovic into a pair of big saves just before the opener which came from an absurdly tight angle after Angel had rounded the goalkeeper. The win leaves them fourth, level with Real Sociedad on 27 points.

They were allowed to close the gap after Real Sociedad was held scoreless in a 0-0 draw at 14th placed Real Valladolid. The visitors put just two of their 14 shots on net, and dropped to fifth thanks to Getafe holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Athletic Club also fell back in the race for a top four spot, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road at Real Betis. Joaquin scored a first-half hat-trick, with all three goals coming in the opening 20 minutes to give him five in his last three games. Inaki Williams brought Athletic Bilbao one back before halftime from the spot, and Yuri Berchiche made things interesting with a minute to go, but that was all they could muster as the visitors fell to sixth on 26 points, above Atletico Madrid on goal differential with the two yet to play head-to-head.

Celta Vigo made it interesting as Iago Aspas scored a man-down goal, but Leganes held on for a 3-2 win over the 10-man visitors. Oscar Rodriguez had a first-half brace to help the hosts to a 3-0 lead, but Nestor Araujo and Aspas helped Celta Vigo make things interesting. Still, a 71st minute second yellow card for halftime substitute Gabriel Fernandez hampered the visitors in their efforts for a comeback, leaving Celta Vigo in the relegation zone, a point back of safety, with Leganes is four points behind them in 19th.