Arsenal closes ground on Chelsea (video)

Leave a comment
  • Chelsea with 64 percent possession
  • Arsenal takes 2-0 halftime lead
  • Arrizabalaga strong in defeat

Chelsea had most of the ball but Arsenal produced almost all of the danger in a 2-0 defeat of the visiting Blues at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny scored for Unai Emery‘s men, who avenged a 3-2 loss at Stamford Bridge in August to move three points back of the fourth place visitors.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chelsea’s opening moments were anything but stable, with a couple silly fouls and a flubbed chance by Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette off a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang feed.

Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga bailed his team out when Laurent Koscielny jabbed a hard header at him off an Aaron Ramsey free kick.

The ensuing corner kick saw Lacazette put the Gunners ahead with a hard chipped finish past Arrizabalaga at the near post.

Koscielny’s shoulder turned a Sokratis shot over Arrizabalaga and inside the far post at the 40th minute.

Chelsea was a bit of a mess, but Marcos Alonso nearly pulled the deficit back to one when he headed off the post in the 45th minute.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Pedro blazed a cutback pass from Willian over the bar after running into a promising 56th minute position.

Sead Kolasinac inspired danger in the 64th minute, but Arrizabalaga stood tall for Chelsea.

Arsenal suffered a significant setback in the second half, as Hector Bellerin‘s knee appeared to buckle on a non-contact injury. His leg was strapped down and the Spaniard was stretchered off the pitch.

Willian wins it for Chelsea v. Newcastle (video)

Leave a comment
  • Luiz sets up Pedro opener
  • Clark levels before half for Newcastle
  • Willian scores beauty off Hazard assist
  • Magpies drop into 18th

Stop us if you’ve read this one before: Chelsea has firmed up its Top Four credentials and Newcastle United is back in the drop zone.

Keep reading anyway, as the Blues got goals from Pedro and Willian in an entertaining 2-1 win over the Magpies on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Ciaran Clark scored for Newcastle, who is now a point back of Cardiff City and Southampton. The Magpies host the Bluebirds next weekend.

Chelsea now has a six-point advantage on fifth place Arsenal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pedro made it 1-0 in the ninth minute, as David Luiz played the Spaniard over the top of the Newcastle defense. Ciaran Clark lost Pedro, who chipped Martin Dubravka with the Irish defender draped all over him.

There were not a ton more chances early, with Newcastle center back Florian Lejeune hitting a ball into the hands of Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 27th.

A surprising rush saw a nice flick by Salomon Rondon spring Ayoze Perez on goal but the lunging Spaniard hit the ball wide of his countryman’s near post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Pedro almost regained the lead for Chelsea but was denied by Dubravka in the 47th minute.

Willian restored Chelsea’s lead with a goal that earned a collective gasp from the crowd, as he cut right to earn space past Yedlin for a shot that took a slight turn off Jamaal Lascelles‘ head on its way into goal.

Perez had calls for a penalty unheard, and Willian came close to scoring again at the other end as Chelsea warmed to its attack. Dubravka made the save, but Lascelles was injured in the event.

Rondon missed with a bid to head a Javier Manquillo cross past Arrizabalaga.

Newcastle youngster Sean Longstaff earned a corner with a deflected shot deep in stoppage time. Ritchie’s service was played shot and wasted by Christian Atsu.

Chelsea boss Sarri plenty upset with VAR decision for Spurs

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
Leave a comment

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri doesn’t have a problem with Video Assistant Referee, but he sure thinks it wasn’t used well in Tuesday’s League Cup semifinal between his Blues and the host Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.

[ RECAP: Spurs 1-0 Chelsea ]

VAR awarded a penalty to Harry Kane about 90 seconds after the Spurs striker was ruled offside moments after Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga chopped him down in the box.

Sarri understands the use of technology, but thinks the people making the decision got it wrong.

[ MORE: Spurs react to VAR-infused win ]

Apparently, they should’ve asked for the Chelsea camera! From the BBC:

“A few minutes ago I watched the video from our camera. It was offside,” Sarri said. “Our camera was in line with Harry Kane. Offside with the head, the knee. Offside. It was really important the linesman carried on running, he had a big impact on our defenders. … I don’t think English referees are able to use the system.”

Sarri was not disappointed in his team’s performance, as just the finishing touch was missing at Wembley Stadium.

Chelsea out-attempted Spurs 17-6, and deserved better than a 1-0 deficit.

“We played into the opposition box 70 balls,” he said. “Tottenham had 10 balls into our box. We had 17 or 18 shots, nine on target. I think we played very well. In this moment it is not easy to score but I am happy with my players.”

Spurs react to VAR helping award Kane decisive League Cup penalty

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment

Harry Kane has received the benefit of video in other competitions, but this time Video Assistant Referee directly helped his club, Tottenham Hotspur, take a 1-0 lead over Chelsea after 90 minutes of their League Cup semifinal.

Kane was initially ruled offside when he was chopped down in the box by Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

[ RECAP: Spurs 1-0 Chelsea ]

VAR came to the rescue, though, and Kane has no doubts about the call made before he converted his penalty kick to make it 1-0.

“I played to the whistle and nicked it round the keeper,” Kane said. “It was a clear penalty. VAR is there for a reason and they got it right.”

Believe it or not, his manager wasn’t wild about it. Not because it isn’t right to implement VAR, rather concerned what could happen if it isn’t running smoothly when it comes to the Premier League.

Here’s the boss in question, Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino:

“I don’t like the VAR. Today we get the benefit of it but after watching the World Cup and another league like La Liga I see that nobody is happy from day one that they started to use it. To get the benefit is nice but I am unhappy to win the game like this. I prefer the technology but in a different way. Being clear: I am pro technology because you cannot stop evolution. But we are waiting so long, it is not clear what are the rules.

“We all have to agree, the players, the coaching staff, I watch every week La Liga and nobody is happy, the big clubs and the small clubs. If you are playing to win the title or to stay up nobody is happy. … We have six months to improve the system and there is a lot of work to do.”

If he doesn’t like it, just imagine what Maurizio Sarri is going to say about it. Also, perhaps it’s worth noting that rumored Real Madrid target Pochettino is watching a lot of Spanish football. Just perhaps, because he did talk about a possible 20-year reign in North London earlier this week.

Kane said Chelsea had a point to prove in its latest visit to Wembley Stadium to meet his Tottenham Hotspur, and Danny Rose agreed with his striker.

Rose praised the home side for digging in against a team which was inspired by a 3-1 loss in the same venue during league play, and thinks the second leg sets up nicely for Spurs.

“There is going to be a bit more pressure on them to come out and attack us now, but we are one of the best counter-attacking teams in the league so we are looking forward to it,” Rose said. “We won’t go there and try to protect the lead, we will play our game.”

Kane’s VAR penalty gives Spurs first leg lead over Chelsea

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment
  • VAR awards Kane penalty
  • Chelsea pours it on in second half
  • Blues out shoot Spurs 17-6
  • Backup GK Gazzaniga key for Spurs against lively Hazard

Video Assistant Referee played a huge role in the League Cup semifinal first leg between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.

Harry Kane converted a penalty awarded via VAR as Spurs grabbed a 1-0 lead in match that otherwise favored the Blues.

The margin was razor-thin, and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri thinks VAR got it wrong.

[ READ: PL Player Power Rankings ]

The second leg is Jan. 24 at Stamford Bridge. The other semifinal between Manchester City and Burton Albion begins Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

Kane was taken down in the box by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but the penalty was not awarded as the Spurs man judged to be offside.

The video reviewed the call, though, and found that Kane was onside. The English captain didn’t miss from the spot, and Spurs led 1-0.

Eden Hazard was particularly vivid for Chelsea, though the Blues star could not find the back of the goal and his teammates struggled to put the finishing touch on his playmaking.

Youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Bayern Munich target, played 79 minutes in the match.