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Report: Chelsea in pursuit of Bayern Munich’s David Alaba

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A new, natural left-back may be on his way to Stamford Bridge this winter.

Chelsea are weighing in on placing a $78-million (£60 million) bid for Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, according to a report.

Longtime left-back favorite, Marcos Alonso, has fallen in Frank Lampard‘s pecking order, making just eight Premier League appearances this season. As a result, the 41-year-old has recently instead shifted captain Cesar Azpilicueta from his natural right-back position to the left side.

20-year-old Reece James now features as the Blues’ right-back, a glaring indicator that Lampard isn’t sold on either Alonso or 25-year-old Emerson Palmieri.

Alaba, 27, has a contract with the German giants until the summer of 2021, meaning that the transfer price is not coming at a reduced price.

Debuting for Bayern’s first team in 2010, Alaba has since made 250 Bundesliga appearances, scoring 22 goals and jotting 25 assists. This season, he’s featured 17 times for the champions throughout all competitions.

At the age of 17, Alaba earned his first cap with Austria; since then, he’s registered a total of 72 caps.

The Blues are free to engage in the transfer market after their appeal on a two-window transfer ban was ratified by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in early December.

Lampard praises Chelsea’s ‘spirit and desire’

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Frank Lampard led the celebrations in north London for the second weekend in a row.

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His Chelsea side have now beaten London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal in their last two away games to boost their hopes of finishing in the top four, as they won 2-1 at Arsenal on Sunday and secured their first comeback win of the season in spirited fashion.

Lampard was delighted at the full time whistle but his side were 1-0 down early and he hooked off Emerson Palmeri after 30 minutes and brought on Jorginho as he changed their shape from a 3-4-3 to a 4-2-3-1.

“We were so awful for 30 minutes we were slow, nervous, lethargic. The opposite of against Tottenham. We gave them everything they wanted,” Lampard explained. “We made the change early, felt it had to be done. After 10 minutes or so it was clear Arsenal had seen us play against Tottenham, they made us into a back five instead of a back three, pushed their wingers up, and they were on top and there was a lack of balance in our team. The sub gave us another man in midfield and gave us more urgency.”

Chelsea totally dominated the second half of the game after Arsenal came flying out of the traps with new manager Mikel Arteta taking charge of his first home game as Gunners boss.

Lampard admitted that was a factor in Chelsea’s early struggles but also revealed he launched into a lively half time team talk to get his boys going.

“From my point of view you can accept a miss-pass but you can’t accept lethargy in a London derby. The players were told that and they delivered,” Lampard said. “The second half was nothing to do with tactics it was all to do with spirit and desire. I still haven’t bounced back from Boxing Day mentally (loss to Southampton). Our next home games we’ll do everything we can to turn the corner. We’re still in fourth and want more and the home games have been different so we have to focus on them when they come around.”

This young side Chelsea are very Jekyll and Hyde right now as they’ve won away at Spurs and Arsenal but lost at home to Bournemouth and Southampton in their last four Premier League games.

As they head into 2020 and they’re now able to buy players in the January transfer window, Lampard’s priority will now be to pick up a new left back and to find more consistency from this young team.

At the start of the season if you had said Chelsea would be in the top four at the halfway point and in the UCL last 16, they would have snapped your hand off for that.

There have been speed bumps in the road so far but Chelsea continue to surprise us and trailing 1-0 at a fired up Arsenal, Lampard’s brave tactical and personnel switch paid off as his team dug deep and showed their character.

Chelsea stun Arsenal with late comeback

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Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as the Blues fought back from an early deficit and scored twice late on to seal a dramatic victory against their London rivals.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead early on but the Gunners couldn’t build on that goal as Frank Lampard changed Chelsea’s formation and subbed on Jorginho after 30 minutes. That worked a treat as Jorginho equalized and then Tammy Abraham popped up with the winner late on.

With their first comeback victory of the season Chelsea remain in fourth place on 35 points, while Arsenal stay in 12th on 24 points after suffering their fourth home defeat in a row, which is the first time that has happened since 1959.


3 things we learned

1. Lampard’s brave switch pays off: Lampard knew the 3-4-3 wasn’t working and he was brave enough to admit it. He hooked off Emerson and brought on Jorginho with only 30 minutes gone and Chelsea wrestled back control of the game. Lampard may not persist with 3-4-3 for much longer unless he can buy a quality left wing-back in January. This was a big call from the young manager and it swung the game in Chelsea’s favor.

2. Arsenal fade badly after strong start: The Gunners were dominant early on and should have been at least 2-0 up, but they couldn’t build on it. Mikel Arteta was unlucky with injuries as Chambers was forced off in the first half and Mustafi came on and struggled. Arsenal’s players were applauded off for their effort but that will be of little solace as their hopes of a top four finish look all but over after Bernd Leno‘s mistake and Mustafi’s poor positioning cost them dear.

3. Jorginho has huge, controversial impact: He came on in the first half and helped the Blues wrestle back control of the game but he could have been sent off in the second half. Jorginho picked up a yellow for a foul on Lacazette and should have had another. He then won a free kick cleverly and from that Leno’s mistake allowed him to equalize. Given the form of Kovacic and Kante, Jorginho has been the odd man out after a fine start to the season. Chelsea need the Italian midfielder back pulling the strings.

Man of the Match: N’Golo Kante – Helped Chelsea wrestle back control of the game and, as always, was everywhere. The Blues surged back and won the midfield battle and Kante had to be at his best to drive them on.


Arsenal came flying out of the traps and got their reward as they took the lead within the first 15 minutes.

A corner from the left was flicked on by Calum Chambers and Aubameyang reacted first to send home a diving header and make it 1-0.

It was all Arsenal early on as Ainsley Maitland-Niles played in Reiss Nelson who crossed into the box and Aubameyang set up Alexandre Lacazette but he couldn’t control the ball as N’Golo Kante arrived to clear.

Chambers was forced off with a knee injury as Skhodran Mustafi replaced him, as Chelsea improved the longer the first half went on and Lampard made an early tactical change as they switched from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 with Emerson hooked off as Jorginho replaced him.

Matteo Guendouzi then appeared to pull Tammy Abraham down in the box but nothing was given and VAR wasn’t used to check the incident. Arsenal had a half chance just before the break but Aubameyang fired it into the side-netting as the Gunners were in control against their London rivals.

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Kante had a low shot which flew wide at the start of the second half as Chelsea took the game to Arsenal in the second half.

A lengthy delay ensued after Antonio Rudiger and Mustafi clashed heads in the penalty box and the final stage of the games saw the Blues pin the Gunners back in pursuit of an equalizer.

David Luiz then blocked superbly as Abraham closed in on goal as Arsenal struggled to get out of their own half.

Abraham then sent a header straight at Bernd Leno as Chelsea wasted a good chance to equalize. Substitute Joe Willock then fired just wide as a glorious chance for Arsenal to wrap up the win came and went.

Chelsea then launched an incredible comeback as a free kick was missed by Leno and Jorginho tapped home to make it 1-1, and moments later it was 2-1 to the Blues.

Willian raced clear on the break and fed Abraham who turned and finished through Leno’s legs to make it 2-1 to the Blues as the away fans and Lampard went wild.

Lucas Torreira volleyed wide late on as Arsenal had a half chance to equalize but Chelsea held on to secure a big away win.

PL Preview: Arsenal v. Chelsea

Premier League preview Arsenal v. Chelsea
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Two longtime Premier League midfield generals meet for the first time as managers when Arsenal and Chelsea tangle in a Sunday morning London Derby (Watch Live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea and Mikel Arteta‘s Arsenal need wins in a bad way ahead of a meeting at the Emirates Stadium.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Arsenal has one win and eight draws in its last 16 matches, the most recent result a 1-1 draw in Arteta’s first match in charge of the Gunners.

That draw came while Chelsea was losing 2-0 to Southampton at Stamford Bridge, giving the Blues two wins from their last seven league outings.

An Arsenal win would open the door for either Sheffield United or Tottenham Hotspur to move into the Top Four. The Gunners open the day in 11th place on 24 points.


Injuries/suspensions

Arsenal: OUT —  Kieran Tierney, Sead Kolasinac. QUESTIONABLE — Dani Ceballos, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Gabriel Martinelli.

Chelsea: OUT — Ruben Loftus-Cheek . QUESTIONABLE — Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud.


Probable lineups

Arsenal: Leno, Saka, Mustafi, Luiz, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Tomori, Zouma, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante, James, Pulisic, Pedro, Abraham.


What they’re saying 

Arteta on starting Mesut Ozil versus Bournemouth: “To be fair, his attitude in training since the day that I walked in the building has been incredible. I’ve seen this and I said I would give a clean slate to everybody and that was for him too. When we were preparing and watching where we could hurt the opponent, we believed he could be a key point. Like this, he responded, did what he had to do and we could have put two or three goals in the net because of him.”

Lampard on Chelsea’s poor run: “Teams are making it difficult here. We are not making enough chances, we were at the beginning of the season. We are being asked a different question at home. At the moment we are not answering them. We do not manage to pick up that final pass,” Lampard said. “Against Tottenham we had space to make runs and today we had none. It changes things. We did not do it right today. I think If at the start of the season we would have been happy where we are. We are good away but we have to make it difficult to come here.”


Prediction

It’s the same old story for Arsenal: Goals will come, but will the defending? Injuries seem to tilt the scales for Chelsea, but the home stadium will be buzzing for Arteta and we think the new bounce might be enough for a 2-2 thriller.

Bournemouth beats punchless Chelsea to end losing streak

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Bournemouth snapped a five-match losing streak in a place that feels like home, toppling Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

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Chelsea’s attack was woeful and Bournemouth needed VAR help to get Dan Gosling‘s winner on the board.

The Blues fall for the fourth time in five league matches, and have seen their Top Four cushion slip to a maximum on five points.

Bournemouth gets some relief, rising 14th with 19 points.


Three things we learned

1. Bournemouth still loves the Bridge: Chelsea has now lost to Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge three times since 2015. The Cherries have back-to-back victories over the Blues for the first time ever. These are good things for Eddie Howe, and it was a much better show than the loss to Liverpool.

2. VAR helps Cherries to win: Gosling’s winner was a clever bit of football, the back-to-the-goal midfielder looping over Arrizabalaga. The linesman’s flag was up but Gosling had beaten the fray of people and an offside-appearing teammate had nothing to do with the play. A quality finish deserving of a winner.

3. Poor attack weakens Top Four cushion: Very poor from Chelsea’s attackers as a whole, with Willian the only players truly in-form on the day. Tammy Abraham was the best of an otherwise poor bunch, with Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount poor as starters and Callum Hudson-Odoi and Michy Batshuayi nearly irrelevant off the bench.

Frank Lampard hinted earlier this week that the club still needs to replace Eden Hazard. Transfer ban lifted, his men did little to convince him otherwise on Saturday.

Man of the Match: With respect to Simon Francis and Jefferson Lerma, the honor goes to Gosling for his creativity at outsmarting the Blues back line and beating Arrizabalaga.


Mason Mount’s sloppy touch betrayed a 26th minute Chelsea attack set up by Willian.

Christian Pulisic nearly nodded home at the back from a very tight angle in the 39th minute, one of few moments of danger for either side.

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Bournemouth regrouped at the break and Chelsea’s defenders had several strong moments in keeping shot attempts from reaching Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Pulisic led a charge into the right that led to a corner kick, and the Blues won another off a Willian shot.

Aaron Ramsdale made an incredible stop on Emerson‘s solid point-blank header of a Cesar Azpilicueta flick.

Gosling thought he’d scored in the 84th minute with a clever shot, but the offside flag was raised.

VAR fixed that, and the losing streak ended in London.