Pedro Rodriguez

PL Roundup: City separation; Stunning goal show (video)

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From Pedro‘s pipe cleaner to Boufal’s wondrous solo march, the Premier League’s day started and ended with glorious goals.

[ SUNDAY PREVIEW: Spurs face bogey reds; Everton vs. Arsenal (streams) ]

Manchester United lost for the first time this season along the way, one a few notable score lines on Saturday in the United Kingdom.

[ MORE: Bundesliga wrap ]


Southampton 1-0 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Tony Pulis tried to park the bus, but Sofiane Boufal is a stunt driver. Southampton found a winner late at home to move into the top half.

Huddersfield Town 2-1 Manchester UnitedRECAP

It had been 65 years since Town beat Manchester United, and the way it looked Saturday it won’t be that long before it happens again. Maybe United was beat from the UEFA Champions League midweek, or just wasn’t prepared to answer the bell, but goals from Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre gave Town a 2-0 lead before Marcus Rashford provided for a tighter ending.

Manchester City 3-0 BurnleyRECAP

United’s neighbors took advantage of their loss, as Sergio Aguero converted a penalty before Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane barged down the door and carried all three points with ease.

Swansea City 1-2 Leicester CityRECAP

A Federico Fernandez own goal gave interim manager Michael Appleton an early lead, and red-hot Shinji Okazaki made it 2-0 just after halftime. Alfie Mawson pulled one back for Swans, but that was all she wrote: Leicester had leapt out of the drop zone, and ahead of its hosts.

Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal PalaceRECAP

Rafa Benitez‘s men might’ve been second-best over 90 minutes to Roy Hodgson’s Eagles, but it was a Matt Ritchie corner kick to the noggin of Mikel Merino that did the trick and lifted Newcastle sixth before Sunday’s matches.

Stoke City 1-2 BournemouthRECAP

Mame Biram Diouf’s pull back was not joined by another Stoke goal, as an Andrew Surman goal and Junior Stanislas penalty kick combined to give the Cherries a notable win at the Potteries. Bournemouth is now just one point back of four teams with eight points, including 18th place Stoke.

Chelsea 4-2 WatfordRECAP

When Abdoulaye Doucoure canceled out Pedro’s fantastic 12th minute goal just before halftime, the Blues and Hornets went to the locker room with very different feelings. When Roberto Pereyra made it 2-1 Watford four minutes into the second, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was desperate. Fortunately, super sub Michy Batshuayi scored a brace wrapped around Cesar Azpilicueta’s 87th minute marker to give Chelsea a big win after its midweek draw with Roma in the UEFA Champions League.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Manchester City 9 8 1 0 32 4 28 4-1-0 4-0-0 25
 Manchester United 9 6 2 1 22 4 18 4-0-0 2-2-1 20
 Tottenham Hotspur 8 5 2 1 15 5 10 1-2-1 4-0-0 17
 Chelsea 9 5 1 3 17 10 7 2-1-2 3-0-1 16
 Watford 9 4 3 2 15 17 -2 1-2-1 3-1-1 15
 Newcastle United 9 4 2 3 10 8 2 3-1-1 1-1-2 14
 Arsenal 8 4 1 3 12 10 2 4-0-0 0-1-3 13
 Liverpool 8 3 4 1 13 12 1 2-2-0 1-2-1 13
 Burnley 9 3 4 2 8 9 -1 1-2-1 2-2-1 13
 Southampton 9 3 3 3 8 9 -1 2-2-2 1-1-1 12
 Huddersfield Town 9 3 3 3 7 10 -3 2-2-1 1-1-2 12
 Brighton & Hove Albion 9 3 2 4 9 10 -1 2-1-1 1-1-3 11
 West Bromwich Albion 9 2 4 3 7 10 -3 1-3-0 1-1-3 10
 Leicester City 9 2 3 4 12 14 -2 1-1-2 1-2-2 9
 Swansea City 9 2 2 5 6 10 -4 1-0-4 1-2-1 8
 Everton 8 2 2 4 5 13 -8 2-0-2 0-2-2 8
 West Ham United 9 2 2 5 8 17 -9 2-0-2 0-2-3 8

 Stoke City 9 2 2 5 10 20 -10 2-1-2 0-1-3 8
 Bournemouth 9 2 1 6 6 13 -7 1-1-2 1-0-4 7
 Crystal Palace 9 1 0 8 2 19 -17 1-0-3 0-0-5 3

Jose Mourinho praises Pedro’s Chelsea debut, his quick adaptation to Premier League

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Pedro Rodriguez only completed his transfer from Barcelona to Chelsea on Thursday, but the Spanish attacker went straight into his new side’s starting XI on Sunday and began to win lots of new fans with a goal and an assist on his Premier League debut — including his manager, Jose Mourinho.

[ FULL RECAP: Chelsea go down to 10 men, hold on to win away to West Brom ]

Mourinho, speaking in his post-game television interview (above video), on Pedro’s debut:

“We know he’s a good player — more than good. We have lots of examples of players — top players — coming to the Premier League and [it’s] not easy to adapt, it takes time. It looks like he’s been with us for a long time, because straight away he was in the game, he was important in the game.”

On Pedro being a hard worker for the team:

“This is Pedro. I [managed] in the same league as him for three years, so I know him obviously very, very well. This is why for so many years he wins Cups, he plays for one of the top teams in the world and everyone that speaks about him … everybody speaks so well about him, that doesn’t surprise me.”

As I said on Thursday, there’s a very, very good chance we’re all about to find out that Pedro is very much a world-class player himself, who just happened to be overshadowed by lots of really, really, really good players at Barca. As Mourinho points out, to hit the ground running on his debut is a huge, huge ask in the Premier League.

West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Chelsea: Pedro bags a goal, assist on his Premier League debut

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  • Pedro Rodriguez notched a goal and an assist on his Chelsea debut
  • West Brom scored their first goal of the 2015-16 Premier League season
  • With their victory, Chelsea climb nine places in the league table, now up to 9th
  • With the defeat, West Brom slip from 19th to 20th

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

West Brom were on cloud nine early on, if only momentarily, when Nemanja Matic took down Callum McManaman inside the Chelsea penalty area in the 13th minute. Up stepped James Morrison for the Baggies, but the Scottish international hit his penalty straight down the middle and knee-high, which allowed Thibaut Courtois to make the save with his trailing leg.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Morrison and West Brom were made to pay for squandering their early chance not even seven minutes later, when Pedro Rodriguez scored his first Chelsea goal to put the Blues into the lead. The former Barcelona winger combined brilliantly through the right attacking channel with Eden Hazard, which led to a quick shot that snuck inside Boaz Myhill’s left-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.

Chelsea doubled their lead in the 30th minute, when Diego Costa turned home Pedro’s wayward shot at the back post. After a quick counter attack that flowed through Willian and Pedro, the Spaniard unleashed a shot from a tough angle on the left. With that effort going well wide of the far post, Costa snuck in, cleaned up the scraps and nabbed his first goal of the 2015-16 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Morrison redeemed his earlier miss from essentially the same spot on the field, only through open play, to cap off a free-flowing bit of attacking play by the Baggies. James McClean crossed from the left, to the back post where Salomon Rondon kept the play alive and centered the ball with an overhead kick. Morrison came rushing in near the penalty spot and this time hammered the ball hard, low and through a sea defenders in the 35th minute.

Cesar Azpilicueta restored Chelsea’s two-goal lead just before halftime (42nd minute) with a simple finish from the top of the penalty area. Cesc Fabregas played a ball over the top, Costa chested it down into the path of Azpilicueta and the Spaniard finished low into the left corner.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

John Terry was sent off in the 54th minute for denying Rondon an obvious goalscoring opportunity, meaning the Blues were to finish the game with 10 men. Five minutes later, West Brom made good on their newfound advantage, when Morrison’s flicked-on header looped its way to the far post and snuck just under Courtois’s crossbar.

Watch Live: West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea (Lineups and Live Stream)

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19th-place West Bromwich Albion welcome 18th-place Chelsea to The Hawthorns on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 am ET on USA and online via Live Extra).

Neither side has won a game through two weeks of the 2015-16 Premier League season, with each side drawing one and losing one.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

West Brom and Chelsea each fell to high-flying Manchester City by a score of 3-0 in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. The Baggies won this same fixture last season by a score of 3-0, a week after the Blues clinched the 2014-15 Premier League title.

In team news, John Terry remains in the starting XI for Chelsea after being subbed out at halftime against Man City, while Pedro Rodriguez goes straight into the side after signing from Barcelona on Thursday. For West Brom, Saido Berahino’s absence will only further fuel speculation that he will be sold before the Sept. 1 transfer deadline.

LINEUPS

West Bromwich Albion: Myhill, Brunt, Olsson, McAuley, Dawson, McClean, Yacob, Fletcher, Morrison, McManaman, Rondon; Subs: Rose, Chester, Lescott, Gardner, Gnabry, Anichebe, Lambert

Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Pedro, Willian, Hazard, Diego Costa; Subs: Begovic, Cahill, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Remy, Falcao

Pedro wants to “keep winning titles” after trading Barcelona for Chelsea

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How good it must have felt for Pedro Rodriguez to utter the words, “I am very excited to start my adventure at Chelsea and I am here to keep winning titles,” at his very first press conference upon completing a $34-million transfer from Barcelona to Chelsea.

[ MORE: Henry on “the perfect teammate” ]

Not only does the move see the 28-year-old trade one of the world’s biggest clubs for yet another of the world’s biggest clubs, but does so with a number of his best years still ahead of him and the chance to write his own story once out from under the shadows of the undisputed best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and his pair of superstar sidekicks, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

As stated already, Barcelona is one of — if not the — biggest football club in the world. Their flock of “fans” all around the world is immeasurable, but to the vast majority of them — which is to say, those that live beyond the borders of Catalonia and the rest of Spain, essentially — Pedro is an afterthought.

That pains me to say, because he’s undeniably brilliant as a player — 99 goals (and countless assists along the way) in 321 appearances for the club that gave him his schooling as a youth and his big chance as a professional. But, again, the likes of Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry come to mind well before Pedro when recalling the star-studded cast to wear blaugrana of Barca over the last decade.

[ MORE: The ugly side of the English press — Rooney is tired of knee-jerk criticism ]

Now Pedro moves to the Premier League, the most popular and visible sporting league on the planet, where he’ll not only be out from those daunting shadows at the Camp Nou, but playing week in and week out with the widest-reaching and most vociferous of medias in the world — which is to say, the English-speaking — watching, critiquing and/or praising his every move.

For better or for worse — and it’s undoubtedly better for him, because the entirety of the burden now rests on his shoulders — the world is about to find out just how good Pedro Rodriguez is. He’ll always have those seven glorious, title-filled seasons (five La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey triumphs and three UEFA Champions League winner’s medals) at Barca to remember fondly, but now is his star’s chance to shine.

As a performer — one of the highest quality — what more could he possibly ask for?