AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Emerson says Chelsea ‘afraid’ that Hazard might leave

Leave a comment

Emerson Palmieri says Chelsea’s nine remaining Premier League matches amount to “nine Cup finals” when it comes to keeping its UEFA Champions League status, and improving the odds of hanging onto its best player.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

Palmieri admits that Eden Hazard is a cut above the rest, even on Chelsea, and says the team has concerns about hanging onto the Belgian star.

“Obviously we have many players of quality in our team but he is on another level, and is one of the best in the world,” says the 24-year-old Italian international. From Sky Sports:

“I personally cannot see him leaving, but you never know in football. Like Chelsea fans, we are afraid that he might leave, I still believe that he will stay and we really want him to stay.”

Hazard has a year left on his Chelsea deal, but the Blues are set for a transfer ban this summer and winter.

For his part, Palmieri has become a big part of Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri. He’s started and gone the distance in five of the club’s last six matches, pushing Marcos Alonso into the background.

Emerson, Giroud lead Chelsea past BATE (video)

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
Leave a comment

Chelsea traveled a long way for Thursday’s Europa League match at BATE Borisov, and Olivier Giroud made sure their trip to Belarus was a success.

Giroud thumped a trademark header home in the 52nd minute, meeting a pinpoint cross from Emerson Palmieri to lift Chelsea to a 1-0 win.

[ MORE: Les Reed leaves Southampton ]

The Blues had 74 percent of the ball and out-attempted their hosts 17-9 in a victory that propels them into the knockout rounds.

Chelsea will win Group L with a single point earned or MOL Vidi point lost over the final two match days.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, David Zappacosta, and Gary Cahill joined Emerson as unusual starters for the Blues.

Hazard’s magnificent goal puts Chelsea past Liverpool (video)

Leave a comment

Eden Hazard and Emerson scored goals as Chelsea overcame a marker from ex-player Daniel Sturridge to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield in League Cup play on Wednesday.

The two teams meet again on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Both sides kept stars on the bench or off the 18, as Hazard and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah were used as substitutes. Roberto Firmino and N'Golo Kante also came off the bench, while Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson Becker, and Kepa Arrizabalaga were rested.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box scores ]

Chelsea nearly gave away the farm in the 46th minute on a terrible back pass by Andreas Christensen.

Daniel Sturridge read it well and ran onto a 1v1 chance that Wily Caballero slapped to the side but still on the striker’s path. Sturridge couldn’t get his body around the shot and missed the wide open goal.

Alvaro Morata nearly nodded Willian‘s cross into the Liverpool goal moments later.

Ross Barkley made a worse play than Christensen before him, but Caballero again rescued the Blues to keep it 0-0 in the 53rd.

Sturridge got his goal in the 59th minute, leaving his feet to thump a Naby Keita rebound past Caballero.

But Chelsea equalized through Emerson, who poked past Mignolet after the goalkeeper pushed Barkley’s header to the top of the six.

It didn’t take longer for Chelsea to go ahead through substitute Hazard, who started and finished an exceptional goal with, well, just scroll back up to the top of the page. Hazard cooks Alberto Moreno at the end, as the Liverpool man raises his hands to say, “At least I didn’t foul him.”

Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea: Rain Dogs

Leave a comment
  • Fabregas nabs 50th PL goal
  • Swans put one shot on target
  • Chelsea stays alive for 4th
  • Swans one point above drop

Hosts Swansea City didn’t quit, but a Cesc Fabregas first half goal was enough to keep the relegation waters muddled with Chelsea’s 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

On a rainy day with players slipping and the ball was sliding, Swansea just couldn’t get the ball to bound the right way against the favored and visiting Blues.

Chelsea is now six points back of third place Liverpool, with a match-in-hand and another against the Reds. The Blues are two points behind fourth place Spurs, who’ve played one less than Chelsea.

Swansea is a single point ahead of Southampton and three ahead of Stoke City. Swans play both teams, are two points behind Huddersfield Town and West Ham United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

An Andy King giveaway cued Chelsea up for a fourth minute goal, with Fabregas sweeping a shot around a flying Lukasz Fabianski.

The ensuing play was very feisty, with Andre Ayew picking up a yellow card after a series of shoves and hard tackles between the two sides.

Alfie Mawson flicked a ball over his own goal from very tight, the Liberty Stadium crowd gasping as it leapt the bar.

Swans showed good fight in the next stanza, winning several balls high up the pitch.

Staying in the match allowed Swans their chance to counterpunch on a slippery, rain-drenched pitch. Andre Ayew saw his header deflected over for a goal kick that should’ve been a corner in the 51st.

Emerson carried a dribble close to 60 yards but could neither find a good angle on goal nor an avenue to slip Eden Hazard through as the score remained 1-0.

Swans’ Jordan Ayew looped a header over goal moments before Chelsea’s Victor Moses nearly turned an effort inside the post at the other end.

Andre Ayew swung a shot just around the far post in the 77th, as Swansea really looked good money to level the score.

Things turned nasty in stoppage time, with Jordan Ayew running shoulder first through Gary Cahill‘s back.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

PL Preview: Burnley vs. Chelsea

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Clarets won 3-2 on Aug. 12
  • Chelsea 8 points back of 4th place
  • Burnley leads all-time 37W-24D-34L

Burnley can climb into sixth place with a win over visiting Chelsea on Thursday at Turf Moor (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s the two clubs’ first meeting since a bonkers Opening Day saw Burnley build a 3-0 lead, then hold on for a 3-2 win against a Blues side which finished with nine men.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Antonio Conte says he’ll use January signing Emerson Palmieri in the match ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Southampton.

What they’re saying

Burnley’s Sean Dyche on how opening win set season’s tone“Apart from the real superpowers everyone waits for that first win and it makes a story if you don’t get that first win in a number of games. That’s gone immediately, so your away win and a win have cleared up. It changes the immediate feel of a season. … And we’ve not really looked back, even with a tough period of 11 games when our performance levels were still pretty decent.”

Chelsea’s Conte on chasing the Top Four: “We have to try until the end to reach this target. If we want to be realistic, then with five games to go it’s not simple to reduce the gap. But we must have the will to fight until the end and the desire to reach this target. We play a really strong team in Burnley, a team having a fantastic season and it won’t be easy to get the three points. But we have to try to win this game. We can’t allow for a start like what happened against Southampton, we have to try to avoid this if we want to keep the hope of finishing in the top four.”

Prediction

Burnley have defied all odds this season and just may chase down Arsenal for sixth if it can beat the Gunners in May and pick up a result here. We think they manage just that in a 1-1 draw against a weakened Chelsea focused on Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal.