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Higuain retires from international play with Argentina

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Gonzalo Higuain’s much-maligned international career has come to an end.

The on-loan Chelsea forward revealed in an televised interview on Thursday with Fox Sports Argentina that “my cycle is already over” with the Argentine National Team.

“For the joy of many and not so many, my cycle is already done, as other teammates have also done so,” Higuain said, referring to Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia also announcing their international retirements within the last year. “You can stop worrying if I am in (the national team) or not, to take care of those who are or are going to come for the good of the national team. I want to enjoy my family.”

Higuain revealed that he received an email from Argentina interim manager Lionel Scaloni about joining the squad for Argentina’s two friendly matches in Europe and Africa this month, but Higuain declined the opportunity. Higuain has been the subject of some serious – and sometimes over the top – criticism from Argentina fans for his failures to live up to the big moments in finals. Higuain and Argentina played in three straight finals in three successive years, falling in all of them. Higuain missed terrific goal-scoring chances in each game, leading to much derision.

Argentina fell to Germany, 1-0 in extra time at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and then lost to Chile in successive Copas America, first in 2015 in Chile and next in the U.S. in 2016.

Higuain made just one start for Argentina at the 2018 World Cup as Argentina crashed out of the tournament to France. Per Soccerway, Higuain finishes his time with Argentina with 33 goals in 75 appearances. It’s a successful record of nearly one goal every two games, yet Higuain will likely be remembered more for his misses than makes, something he understood in the interview.

I’ll tell you that it is very difficult,” Higuain said. “In Argentina, what you can’t do is more valued than what you can. I think goals in qualifying are also important and they are given less value.”

The news is ultimately positive for Chelsea, or wherever Higuain will play his club soccer in the future, as he’ll be able to solely focus on his club career instead of flying across the world to take part in games. Higuain’s departure helps keep an opening for Inter Milan’s exciting young forward Lautaro Martinez, who scored for Argentina last week in its 3-1 defeat to Venezuela and looks like the next big thing out of the soccer-mad nation.

Hazard rescues point for Chelsea v. Wolves (video)

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  • Wolves score on lone shot on target
  • Jimenez nabs 6th in last seven PL matches
  • Hazard scores beauty in stoppage time
  • Chelsea remains 6th, Wolves 7th

Eden Hazard‘s vicious stoppage time strike gave Chelsea a point against visiting Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Raul Jimenez’s 12th Premier League goal for Wolves looked to have engineered a season sweep of the Blues.

Wolves take a one-point lead on Watford in the race for seventh in the Premier League, while Chelsea will finish the day at least one point back of fourth.

Wolves beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Molineux earlier this season, with Jimenez and Diogo Jota scoring in the win.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

There wasn’t a lot to write home about in the sluggish first half.

Raul Jimenez was fortunate not to concede a penalty for a handball, and a Wolves handball stopped Diogo Jota’s goal from counting later in the period.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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The second half began with more invention, Gonzalo Higuain seeing a shot blocked and Eden Hazard winning a free kick a yard outside the box that David Luiz blazed off the wall for a corner.

Yet that’s when Wolves struck, Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez leading a counter attack down the right which ended with the in-form Mexican hitting a shot that deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta to beat Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Higuain then won a corner with a hard drive that was seemingly headed wide, but N'Golo Kante mishit the resulting chance. Then Pedro was thwarted by Rui Patricio before Higuain couldn’t tap in at the back post.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek won a central free kick a few yards outside the arc, and Willian‘s effort was pushed over the goal by the wall.

Loftus-Cheek’s stoppage time bid to equalize was partially blocked for a corner kick, and the Blues took advantage of the second ensuing set piece.

That’s when Hazard lashed a shot from the edge of the 18 that zipped across goal and inside the far post.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Pedro leads Chelsea to win over Spurs (video)

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  • Pedro scores 8th of PL season
  • Trippier passes in own goal
  • Spurs drop nine back of PL lead

Pedro was a difference maker at both ends of the pitch as Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to effectively end their London rivals’ title hopes.

Willy Caballero posted the clean sheet for Chelsea in place of embarrassed starter Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Kieran Trippier completed the score line with a Spurs own goal.

Trippier’s own goal was one more ball on frame than his entire attack managed at the other end.

Tottenham is now nine points back of Liverpool and eight back of Man City, sitting just four points clear of Arsenal ahead of the North London Derby.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first quality chance belonged to Gonzalo Higuain, who hit a ball with the outside of his boost that plunked the inside of the post but bounded away from goal.

Eden Hazard laid off for Higuain after a terrible giveaway from Hugo Lloris, but the Argentine spun his shot wide of the far post.

For Spurs, Heung-Min Son was lively in producing a pair of moments in the first 25 minutes. The second was handled neatly by Marcos Alonso.

Spurs continued to grow into the game, and Harry Kane earned a corner when his left-footed shot was blocked by the Blues. And Harry Winks hit a ball over the hand of Willy Caballero but off the cross bar.

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Pedro gave Chelsea its breakthrough, dribbling down the end line and hitting a shot between two defenders and past Hugo Lloris. It wasn’t a howler given the power, but the Spurs backstop will have expected to do better.

And the Spanish goal scorer turned tackling hero in the 64th when he slid to dispossess Christian Eriksen in the Chelsea box, then taking off on a 50-yard dribble.

Toby Alderweireld had the next chance, popping a header wide of the goal in the 67th minute.

Trippier’s own goal was a clinical finish, as Hugo Lloris charged forward to collect a big header from Olivier Giroud and Trippier never noticed the keeper’s unavailability to receive a pass.

Sarri reacts after Chelsea responds with blowout win

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Maurizio Sarri didn’t need 40 minutes to gather his thoughts on this one.

Chelsea hammered Huddersfield Town 5-0 on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, getting a brace each from Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 5-0 Huddersfield ]

The performance stands in stark contrast to their 4-0 loss to Bournemouth at midweek, one that left Sarri without clarity following a long post-match meeting with his players.

From the BBC:

“Today is all positive, we played a full 90 minutes, defended very well, so it was a very good match but we need consistency now, we have to continue to play with the same mentality in all the matches.

“I hope in the future we will not need a lost match to find the right mentality.”

And his old pal Higuain was firing at will.

Sarri says the former Napoli striker is going to be a key part of the Blues attack.

“Higuain is improving, he wasn’t physically at the top when he arrived, because he had a back problem and wasn’t involved, so only played a few matches. He is a great player, he is suitable to play with Eden (Hazard).”

The next is much bigger, Feb. 10 at Manchester City.

Higuain, Hazard too much for Huddersfield (video)

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  • Higuain scores his 1st two Chelsea goals
  • Hazard also scores twice
  • Luiz adds deflected marker

Whatever Maurizio Sarri said after Chelsea’s beatdown by Bournemouth, it was the tonic.

Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard both bagged braces as Chelsea hammered Huddersfield Town 5-0 on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea is likely to stay the weekend in fourth with 50 points (unless Arsenal beats Man City by five or more goals on Sunday).

Huddersfield Town is 12 points off safety.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Both teams tempted the goal early, with Ross Barkley just missing his target with a spinning effort and Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy snapping a shot wide himself.

Higuain put Chelsea ahead from a terrific pass from N'Golo Kante, and the finish was very much as advertised, with touch and power to the short side of Jonas Lossl.

Hazard then took advantage of a chance from the spot produced by a tripping Cesar Azpilicueta and his mark Elias Kachunga. He finished it, then was upset not to win another chance himself in stoppage time.

Town was very unfortunate in the 55th minute, when Andreas Christensen stepped on Kachunga in the box but was not whistled for a penalty.

Hazard turned his mark inside out in the 64th minute, but no one was at the back post for his dangerous cross through the six.

So he did it himself; Hazard ran onto an incisive Barkley pass and broke Lossl’s ankles before slotting inside the near post.

Kante then set up Higuain again, a deflected strike which looked pretty after zipping into the upper 90.

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[ MORE: Premier League stats ]