Willian

(AP Photo/Stew Milne

Barkley scores two as Chelsea tops New England

Leave a comment

Chelsea had little trouble dispatching the New England Revolution on Wednesday, but the match was secondary to its meaning.

The “Final Whistle on Hate” match saw Chelsea beat New England 3-0 at Gillette Stadium, but the focus for many was on the cause.

[ MORE: Derby County reaches playoff final ]

According to RevolutionSoccer.net, the match “acknowledges the ongoing rise of hate crimes around the world, with the Revolution and Chelsea working together to harness the power of sport and bring people together to tackle prejudice in all forms. In addition to $1 million donations from each club’s owners, all proceeds from the match are dedicated to initiatives combatting antisemitism and all hate crimes. The match’s beneficiaries include the World Jewish Congress, the Tree of Life synagogue, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Holocaust Educational Trust, with more still to be named.”

New England said on Twitter that it expected to raise $4 million from the evening.

Ross Barkley scored the first of his two goals in the third minute, and Olivier Giroud also bagged a goal as the Blues waltzed to their win.

Playing against MLS’ last place side, Chelsea used its final match before the Europa League Final to give its full roster a run.

Chelsea first half: Arrizabalaga, Zappacosta, Luiz, Christensen, Alonso, Barkley, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.

Chelsea second half: Caballero, Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Emerson, Barkley, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Higuain, Willian.

Chelsea second half subs: Gallagher, James, Chalobah.

Hazard, Kepa, Giroud train with Chelsea at Harvard

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea has brought a strong squad to the Boston, Massachusetts area to take part in a friendly match to raise awareness and funds to fight antisemitism and hate around the world.

Chelsea is in the U.S. as part of a charity match titled the “Final Whistle on Hate,” which was set up by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft. Both owners are Jewish and the game was set up shortly after the terrorist attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the match will be donated to 15 different anti-hate organizations, including the Anti Defamation League, Kick it Out, and the Holocaust Education Trust. Both Kraft and Abramovich have pledged to donate $1 million each.

Ahead of the match, Chelsea is spending time training at Harvard University’s facilities, meeting with fans both at training and at a Boston Chelsea fan club event on Monday evening.

Here’s Chelsea’s squad for the match against the New England Revolution, set for Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. Chelsea still has two weeks before heading to Baku, Azerbaijan for the Europa League final against London rival Arsenal.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Willy Caballero, Rob Green, Marcos Alonso, Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Gonzalo Higuain, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Olivier Giroud, Davide Zappacosta, Willian, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Emerson Palmieri, Marc Guehi, Reece James, Ike Ugbo, Trevoh Chalobah, Conor Gallagher.

LIVE – Europa League semifinal: Chelsea, Arsenal go for final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur into the Champions League final for the first Premier League duo to match up in the finale of the competition, Arsenal and Chelsea can make further history by marking England as the first country to make up all four participants of the two European championship games.

Arsenal travels to Valencia holding a 3-1 lead after the home leg, with the Spanish side clinging to their away goal. A 2-0 victory would do the ticket for Valencia, otherwise they would need to beat Arsenal outright on aggregate to win in the 90 minutes of regulation.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

Chelsea, meanwhile, hosts German side Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge after a 1-1 first leg result on the road. The away goal proves precious to the Blues who are yet to be beaten at any point in the Europa League this season. They have been even stronger at home, winning all six home Europa League matches to this point, including four clean sheets. It also could be Eden Hazard‘s last home game for Chelsea as all signs point to a move to Real Madrid this summer.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Willian, Giroud, Hazard.
Bench: Caballero, Alonso, Cahill, Zappacosta, Barkley, Pedro, Higuain.

Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp; Abraham, Hinteregger, Falette; Hasebe; Da Costa, Gacinovic, Rode, Kostic; Rebic, Jovic.
Bench: Ronnow, Chandler, Haller, Fernandes, de Guzman, Ndicka, Paciencia.


Valencia: Neto; Piccini, Paulista, Garay, Gaya; Wass, Parejo, Coquelin, Guedes; Gameiro, Rodrigo.
Bench: Domenech, Roncaglia, Soler, Diakhaby, Lato, Torres, Mina.

Arsenal: Cech; Monreal, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles; Torreira, Xhaka; Kolasinac, Özil, Aubameyang; Lacazette.
Bench: Leno, Mustafi, Elneny, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah.

Three things learned: Man United v. Chelsea

Leave a comment

An intense battle to finish in the top four of the Premier League saw Manchester United and Chelsea grind out a draw at Old Trafford, with Chelsea the happier of the two teams with a point.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Juan Mata put United ahead but Marcos Alonso equalized after a mistake from David De Gea, as the top four battle remains intense with two games to go.

Here’s what we learned from a tense battle which summed up the tight race for UEFA Champions League qualification.


ANOTHER DE GEA HOWLER COSTS UNITED

By his own very high standards, David de Gea is having a horrible few weeks. High-profile mistakes against Barcelona, Man City and now Chelsea have seen the man who is so often United’s savior cost them dear.

De Gea, 28, is in the midst of plenty of speculation regarding his future as his contract situation rumbles on, and it would be a little too easy to point to that being the main reason for this poor run of form. It is a reason, but this poor form has arrived sporadically dating back to the end of last season as it surfaced during the 2018 World Cup.

The Spanish goalkeeper has been named United’s Player of the Season in five of the last six seasons for a reason. He is their rock in defense and among all of their problems, his stunning form was the one constant United could rely on. Not anymore. And that’s probably why United won’t finish in the top four this season, the main aim for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after he took over in December. At a crucial time of the season, United’s most reliable star has endured a nightmare spell and has probably cost them being among Europe’s elite next season. Whether he will be at United next season or not remains to be seen, but this is far from vintage DDG.


NOBODY WANTS TO WIN THIS TOP FOUR RACE

Tottenham and Arsenal lost in disappointing fashion this weekend, and neither United or Chelsea could make the most of their slip ups in the top four race. It’s almost like these teams don’t want to play in the UEFA Champions League next season…

The lackluster second half displays from United and Chelsea summed up this top four race. Teams are running out of steam and are inconsistent and whoever does finish in fourth will have limped over the line.

What their ineptitude does is set up the top four race for a thrilling finish to the campaign. With two games to go Tottenham in third are five points ahead of Man United in sixth, with just three points between Chelsea in fourth and United.

With Spurs in the UEFA Champions League semifinal against Ajax and both Arsenal and Chelsea in the semifinals of the Europa League, Man United could have the edge with their remaining games easier, on paper, than their top four rivals. But this draw for Chelsea puts them in a very good position.

Here are the games the four teams fighting for third and fourth have remaining:

  • Tottenham – Bournemouth (A), Everton (H)
  • Chelsea – Watford (H), Leicester (A)
  • Arsenal – Brighton (H), Burnley (A)
  • Man United – Huddersfield (H), Cardiff (A)

CHELSEA’S ATTACK STUTTERS, BUT SARRI COULD BE A SUCCESS

Gonzalo Higuain just couldn’t stay onside for most of the game on Sunday, let alone score a goal. We all know the Argentine striker loves to play on the shoulder of the last defender, but he yet again failed to offer that much in attack and Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard couldn’t get going underneath him.

It looks like Chelsea are now favorites ahead of Arsenal and United finish in the top four, and coupled with their run to the League Cup final and Europa League semifinal, Maurizio Sarri‘s men aren’t doing too badly at all. If he stays, which is looking more likely, Sarri can turn things around at Stamford Bridge after a rough few months.

But the Italian coach knows his attack may well look very different next season with Eden Hazard likely to leave, Christian Pulisic coming in and the futures of Higuain, Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi still up in the air. Unless Hazard scores, Chelsea struggle to score and that is the main problem for Sarri to sort out this summer. For all of their intricate play in midfield and solid defensive outings (at least in recent weeks), Sarri must find a way to reignite Chelsea’s attack if they’re going to be genuine title contenders next season. They are the lowest scorers in the top six and still have a Diego Costa size hole in their attack.

Three things learned: Liverpool v. Chelsea

Leave a comment

Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s side overcame their biggest remaining hurdle, on paper, in the Premier League title race.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah 144 seconds apart in the second half did the damage, as Eden Hazard missed two glorious chances and Chelsea couldn’t cope with wave after wave of Liverpool attack.

[ MORE: Klopp reacts to victory

Here’s what we learned from an intense, dramatic encounter at Anfield, as Liverpool went back to the top of the table and put the pressure back on Manchester City.


SALAH STANDS TALL FOR LIVERPOOL, AGAIN

A few weeks ago Mohamed Salah was having a slump and was suffering during a long goal drought. But he has now well and truly regained his mojo. Salah scored a sensational goal to make it 2-0 against Chelsea, the type of goal that seems likely to be played time and time again over history. He scored a massive goal at Southampton last Friday in a 3-1 win, and his header forced Tottenham to score an own goal right at the end of Liverpool’s 2-1 win the week before. Salah is back to making key contributions for Liverpool and he couldn’t have timed his return to form any better with the Reds so close to winning their first title in 29 years.


HAZARD FLUFFS HIS LINES

Eden Hazard played very well in a false nine position against Liverpool, but he will be the first to admit he should have scored twice. When Chelsea went 2-0 down he had two glorious chances. When clean through on the first occasions he hit the post, and on the second occasion he scuffed his shot straight at Alisson. Hazard knew he should have done better and he really let Liverpool off the hook at a pivotal stage of not only the game, but the season. Chelsea look a much better team when Hazard has players close to him when he is playing in a false nine and Willian did that well on Sunday. There wasn’t much between these teams but Liverpool took their chances and Hazard missed Chelsea’s.


TITLE RACE ONE OF THE BEST EVER

When one team wins, the other answers, emphatically. This title race shows no signs of slowing down as both Liverpool and Manchester City are doing everything they can to get over the line and be crowned Premier League champions. This title race has the potential to be the best in history, and it feels like it will go down to the final day, just like it did in 2012 when Sergio Aguero delivered the title for City just when it looked like Manchester United would prevail.

Star players are stepping up for both Man City and Liverpool, with Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling in stunning form at Crystal Palace, and both Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson delivering for Liverpool. With the quality of play on show and both teams in the last eight of the Champions League, you can easily argue this is the best title race we have ever seen in the PL. If Liverpool win their last four games they will finish the season on 97 points. If Man City win their remaining five games, they finish on 98 points. City broke the record for most points in a top-flight season last season with 100, and that goes to show you how incredible this title race is.

Below is a look at the games that remain for both, as City clearly have a tougher schedule with both Man United and Spurs still to play. The crucial game in this run-in looks like being the Manchester derby on Apr. 24. Let the battle continue, as both teams continue to cope brilliantly with the pressure and both Klopp and Guardiola are saying the same things: all we have to do is win all of our games.

Liverpool: Cardiff (A), Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (A), Wolves (H)
Man City: Tottenham (H), Man United (A), Burnley (A), Leicester (H), Brighton (A)