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.

DC United acquires Julian Gressel from Atlanta

Atlanta United trades for Julian Gressel
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How much is Major League Soccer’s best assist man worth?

About $750,000.

DC United paid Atlanta United that fee in allocation money for the rights to Julian Gressel, who had been at a contract impasse with the club who drafted him in 2017.

That fee could hit $1.1 million in incentives, and even so could be a bargain.

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Gressel was due to make around $133,000 this season and wanted an improved deal from Atlanta given his massive production since becoming the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

That salary is less than hundreds of players, most of them nowhere near Gressel’s impact. Nineteen Atlanta United players made more than him last season, so it’s understandable that the 26-year-old wanted to get paid.

We don’t know what he was asking, or why Atlanta wouldn’t get there. From MLSSoccer.com:

“If we really wanted to, we could have had him play on $130,000 this season, extend him a bona fide offer at the end of the season and (we’d still own his MLS rights),” said Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra. “We’re also trying to do the right thing for a guy who has given so much to the club and is really just a good kid all around.”

It’s a weird one, given what the club’s been paying others.

Gressel arrived at Providence College from Eintracht Bamberg and immediately started delivering for the Big East side. He finished his four years with 30 goals and 26 assists and All-American status.

There was some adapting to MLS, but he’s gotten better with every season. He scored 10 goals with 13 assists in all competitions last season.

Spurs chairman reportedly met with Real Madrid about Gareth Bale

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As a neutral, the idea of Gareth Bale rejoining Tottenham Hotspur would be a delight to our Premier League matchday viewing.

Obviously this applies to Spurs fans to the nth degree, especially after a dull 0-0 with Watford at the weekend.

In the short-term, Bale would be a terrific stopgap as Spurs struggle to find themselves without Harry Kane in both the PL and Champions League.

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In the long-term, Bale and Heung-Min Son on the wings of Harry Kane would be enough to make any PL power trio blush (unless Liverpool really does add Timo Werner).

A report out of Spain says Real Madrid president Florentino Perez met with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy about several things including the availability of Bale.

The Welsh star has been long admired by Jose Mourinho, and of course knows Spurs well having become a superstar after arriving from Southampton.

Bale is 30 and his wages would easily top Spurs’ pay list. His 21 goals and nine assists in the 2012/13 Premier League season join his 19 and 11 in 2015 La Liga as his top league seasons.

Spurs host Norwich City on Wednesday (Watch live at 2:30 p.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

Guardiola praises Laporte, “the best left central defender in the world”

Pep Guardiola praises Aymeric Laporte
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Manchester City kept its first clean sheet of 2020 on Tuesday, posting a 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

It took the two-time reigning Premier League champions six tries to get there, the previous zero coming against this same Blades side at the Etihad Stadium.

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City manager Pep Guardiola was quick to give credit to a returning hero, as center back Aymeric Laporte returned to the fold for the first time since Aug. 31.

The club was 3W-1D at that point. They went 12W-2D-5L without him.

Here’s Guardiola, from the Manchester Evening News:

“It’s incredible,” Guardola said. “We have missed him a lot, he’s the best left central defender in the world. Imagine the best teams in the world lose their best central defender. We miss him a lot because he’s a specialist left foot where our buildup. He is fast, strong in the air.”

“He has something that we don’t have in the squad. His left foot and many actions to build up to make it quicker and better – we don’t have it, not because the other ones are not good but he has the only left foot as a central defender and for the way we want to play that is so important. His character and mentality and winning, he has all the attributes. For me, when he is fit he is the best left central defender in the world.”

If you read that as a little bit of an explanation for City being 13 points off Liverpool, you’ve similar eyes to us.

Pep is asking how Liverpool would look without Virgil Van Dijk, how Real Madrid appears when Sergio Ramos is out.

It’s not the be-all, end-all, but as I wrote when Laporte went down, this is the key piece to their defending efforts as well as where they begin possession.

We’re also grateful that Guardiola didn’t drop some sort of, “He’s like a January transfer addition,” statement (at least as far as we’ve read.

Chelsea admit they miss USMNT’s Pulisic

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LONDON — Since USMNT star Christian Pulisic was injured in training in the first week of January, Chelsea have lost against Newcastle, drawn with Arsenal and blown away Burnley.

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In the two games where they’ve dropped points they’ve missed Pulisic’s genius in the final third with both Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi easily shackled by Arsenal in their London derby. Chelsea admitted as much when speaking after the 2-2 draw against Arsenal on Tuesday, an Arsenal side who played with 10 men for over 60 minutes of the game.

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk about Pulisic’s adductor injury and if they missed him during the draw against Arsenal, downbeat Chelsea boss Frank Lampard noted that Pulisic, 21, was “playing really well” before his injury.

“Yeah, a game like today could have been a good where he would have been helpful for us because he was playing well for a patch. But other people have to stand up in those situations,” Lampard said.

When will Pulisic be back?

Lampard confirmed he is making good progress but will not be fit until after the mid-season player break in February, which means he will miss their FA Cup trip to Hull City this Saturday and their clash at Leicester City on Feb. 1. He may not be back until Feb. 17 when they host Manchester United in the Premier League, which means in total he will have been out for a period of six weeks.

“In terms of when he’s back, it is not going to be a week, it is probably be the other end of the early February break but he is getting better and he isn’t far away,” Lampard said.

Speaking to Pro Soccer Talk pitch-side at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who scored their late second goal which looked like being the winner, lavished praise on Pulisic when asked about his absence over the last week.

“Christian is a magnificent player. Since he joined us in the summer he has shown us his potential and we know that he can make the difference at any time. Whenever a player is injured it is not good for a team because we lose potential and I hope to have him back soon,” Azpilicueta said.

Chelsea’s skipper is expecting big things from Pulisic when he does return to fitness, as the fourth-place Blues now have just a six-point cushion to those outside of the top four and have played a game more.

It seems like everyone at Chelsea hopes the USMNT star can rejuvenate their attack in the final months of the season.

“After coming to Europe as a young boy to Germany, he came to Chelsea and it is one step forward, playing for Chelsea every game, fighting to win and fighting for trophies,” Azpilicueta said. “In my role I’ve tried to help in settle into the city and the club. He has a brilliant attitude. Always trying to improve. I am sure he will become bigger and bigger.”