Ross Barkley

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Chelsea’s Lampard prepared to go without January signings

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Frank Lampard is not only prepared for, but almost seems to prefer that, Chelsea make no new signings this month despite the club’s transfer ban being reduced to allow the Blues to sign players in January.

[ MORE: Report: Bruno Fernandes to Man United after Lisbon Derby ]

It’s not that Lampard believes he has the perfect squad, but he fears upsetting the balance and good vibes for a young group of players who have performed admirably thus far. Signing players for the sake of signing players would be “a knee-jerk reaction,” according to Lampard — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t want to comment on those deals because I think it’s easy with hindsight. … I think the idea of January being a time to buy players, it’s difficult for everybody: for players coming in — especially if they’re coming from a different league — for the club and for the settlement of the group. I think that’s why we have to think ultra-carefully.

“I don’t want to make some knee-jerk reaction to say: ‘Here’s my first big signing’ because we couldn’t sign anyone in the summer. No, I want to do the right thing for the club. That’s why if I do it I’ll try to consider all things. Hopefully it’s the best thing for us. Whether that’s more of a short-term option or a long-term option, we’ll also have to consider.”

As for potential outgoing players, West Ham United reportedly made a bid to take midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, but Chelsea rejected the offer and have no intention of letting the player leave Stamford Bridge this month.

Chelsea skates through in FA Cup; Spurs held; Palace upset

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Premier League sides didn’t have a particularly elementary journey through Saturday’s FA Cup schedule, and it didn’t look any easier on Sunday as all four teams in play through the early slate had difficulties.

Chelsea got by a pesky Nottingham Forest side 2-0, but Tottenham Hotspur was held to a 1-1 draw, Crystal Palace was dumped out by Derby County, and Sheffield United had a nervy finish against a far inferior opponent.

[ FA CUP: Roundup of Saturday’s action ]

The Blues got going in a hurry as Callum Hudson-Odoi put the Blues 1-0 up just seven minutes in on a beautiful set of one-touch passing that ended with the 19-year-old cutting in on his left and slicing a low shot into the bottom corner. Pedro had a chance on the break to double the lead, but was unable to get by his defender despite the two-on-one advantage. That nearly proved costly as Forest earned a 23rd minute penalty, but VAR wiped it off for offside.

Chelsea remained the better attacking side, and they profited past the half-hour mark with Ross Barkley turning in a rebounded Hudson-Odoi shot. The initial effort was parried by Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith who pushed it the other way, but right to the feet of Barkley who barely had time to react on the doorstep, just barely keeping his feet to turn the ball into the net. Ryan Yates headed in for Nottingham Forest in the 67th minute but it was ruled out as the flag went up.

Tottenham dominated the match against Middlesbrough but failed to create much throughout the first half, with a cross to the far post for Ryan Sessegnon the best chance, although the former Fulham youth product failed to get a touch to Serge Aurier‘s delivery. Spurs’ lack of creativity would come back to haunt them as Middlesbrough came out of halftime firing, and former Manchester United youth product Ashley Fletcher found the back of the net to put the hosts 1-0 up at Riverside Stadium. It didn’t last long, though, as Jose Mourinho rang the changes, bringing on Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela, and it paid instant dividends. Lucas Moura headed in from a deep Aurier cross that the Middlesborough defense misread.

Spurs had chances to win the game, none better than Aurier’s slash with two minutes to go. The shot was from a tight angle, but with acres of space to shoot, he rifled the ball miles over the bar instead of testing Middlesbrough keeper Tomas Mejias. They instead will return to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a replay after the scoreline finished level.

10-man Crystal Palace was upset at Selhurst Park by Derby County, falling 1-0 on a goal by Chris Martin just past the half-hour mark. The task was tougher after Luka Milivojevic was sent off in the second half a nasty kick out at Tom Huddlestone, spotted by VAR.

Sheffield United got more fight than expected from non-league side AFC Fylde, but snuck through by a 2-1 final with Callum Robinson and Leon Clarke on the scoresheet. Robinson’s strike came just eight minutes in and came benefit of a deflection off his mark Neill Byrne. Fylde marked the day with a goal in the 78th minute, but couldn’t find what would have been a shocking equalizer.

Jordan Hugill scored a brace as Queens Park Rangers hammered Swansea City 5-1. Bright Samuel, Lee Wallace, and Josh Scowen tacked on the additional scores, while George Byers picked up a consolation for the visitors.

Kenneth Zohore‘s 32nd minute strike gave West Brom a 1-0 victory at Charlton Athletic. Zohore played a fabulous one-two with Kyle Edwards, receiving the ball back at the near post and poking it through the legs of a charging Dillon Phillips.

Conor Chaplin gave Barnsley a 3-1 road victory over Crewe Alexandra with a 75th minute header that wrong-footed goalkeeper William Jaaskelainen.

Barnsley and Coventry City will require a replay after a 2-2 draw. A 52nd minute own goal saw Coventry City draw level shortly after the second-half restart, and neither side could find a winner.

League Two side Northampton Town advanced after putting four past Burton Albion in a 4-2 victory. They held a 3-1 lead at halftime and cruised from there, advancing past their League One opposition.

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.

PL Preview: Chelsea v. Crystal Palace

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  • Crystal Palace has won 2 of 17 PL fixtures at Chelsea
  • Chelsea has not won 6 straight PL matches since 2017
  • Palace has 8 PL away wins in 2019, third most in the league

A suddenly dilapidated midfield threatens to halt Frank Lampard‘s good form as Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, with kickoff set for 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

Chelsea’s midfield is banged up, with anchor Jorginho suspended for yellow card accumulation while N’Golo Kante has yet to return from a nagging ankle problem and Mason Mount‘s status is questionable after hobbling off in pain against Ajax midweek. Kante was an unused substitute against Ajax and could be in contention to start in place of Jorginho, but it has been a month since his last appearance and the French international has made just three league starts all year. In addition, Ross Barkley was confirmed to miss the match as the midfield continues to lose bodies.

Still, that seems the only thing in the way of the Blues at the moment, with the club riding high after its wild Champions League comeback midweek that saw them erase a 4-1 second-half deficit and very nearly find the winning stroke. With five straight wins in Premier League play on top of that, this Chelsea team is firing on all cylinders. They have scored 13 goals in those five league victories, and have scored 19 goals in eight matches across all competitions since the start of October.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace has struggled through a brutal October schedule and hopes the turn to November will lift its fortunes. The Eagles have failed to win over its last three league games, with losses to Manchester City and Leicester City plus a draw with Arsenal. Now Palace draws Chelsea on the road before a home date with Liverpool rounds out an absolutely ruthless five-game stretch.

Still, Roy Hodgson has maintained a top ten standing despite the rut, with the club currently sitting ninth on 15 points, two ahead of Manchester United in 10th. The boss will take charge of his 300th Premier League game at Stamford Bridge, becoming the 15th person and sixth Englishman to reach that milestone.

Injuries/suspensions:

Chelsea: OUT – Jorginho (suspended), Antonio Rudiger (hip), Ross Barkley (knock), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles). QUESTIONABLE – Mason Mount (ankle), N’Golo Kante (ankle).

Crystal Palace: QUESTIONABLE – Andros Townsend (muscle), Gary Cahill (head), Cheikhou Kouyate (head), James McArthur (back).


Projected Lineups

Chelsea: Kepa; Emerson, Tomori, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Kante, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Willian; Abraham.

Crystal Palace: Guaita; van Aanholt, Cahill, Tomkins, Ward; Milivojevic, Kouyate, McCarthy; Zaha, Ayew, Schlupp.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Lampard on Ajax draw: “There weren’t too many negatives. Some were freakish and some were on us, goals we don’t like to concede. To come back and to draw the game, we should take the positives. The fans were great. It starts with us.”

Palace boss Hodgson on Lampard: “Frank Lampard has done a very good job, there is no question about that. The club have (also) done a good job in encouraging the manager and his staff to blood some of the players that had previously been out on loan. Everyone at the club deserves a pat on the back for that.”


Prediction

Chelsea is in good form, but injuries have them a bit out of sorts, and the defensive performance against Ajax was a complete disaster. It’s been that way all season long in Premier League play, with just two clean sheets on the top flight season. Eventually, this will come back to haunt them, and with Mason Mount potentially out, those issues could combine to spell defeat. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace has shown well against good Premier League sides the last few weeks, and they are nearing a big result. The Eagles will bag an upset at Stamford Bridge with an impressive 2-1 win that gets Crystal Palace the signature win it has searched for over this brutal stretch of games, while leaving Frank Lampard with some defensive adjustments to make over the international break.

Ox, Hudson-Odoi in England squad; Grealish left out

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Callum Hudson-Odoi have been recalled to the England squad after lengthy spells out due to the injury.

England play against Montenegro and Kosovo on Nov. 14 and Nov. 17 respectively. A point against Montenegro will secure England’s qualification to EURO 2020 next summer.

AOC and CHO have both battled their way back to full fitness in recent months and the attacking midfielders have been rewarded with recalls to the Three Lions setup as Hudson-Odoi last featured in March and Oxlade-Chamberlain had a brief return in September.

There is however no place for Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, as the midfielder is nursing a minor injury and didn’t feature in their defeat against Liverpool last weekend.

James Maddison has been called up by Southgate once again, as he is yet to make his debut and didn’t feature last month as he pulled out of the squad due to illness. Much was made about Maddison being spotted in a casino days later, but Southgate has rewarded the Leicester City playmaker for his fine form.

There are some injury concerns for England with Chelsea’s Ross Barkley and Mason Mount struggling with knocks, while Jordan Henderson is suspended for the game against Montenegro.

Below is the squad in full.


England national team squad

Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham)

Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)