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Burnley vs Chelsea: Christian Pulisic hits hat-trick as Frank Lampard’s Blues roll on



Christian Pulisic scored his first Premier League goals for Chelsea with a hat-trick and Willian added another in an entertaining 4-2 win at Burnley on Saturday.

Pulisic, who made his first league start since the end of August, was on target twice in the first half and made it 3-0 with a sublime header after the break before Willian got the fourth, stretching Chelsea’s streak to seven successive wins in all competitions.

The win left Chelsea fourth while Burnley are 11th after a tepid performance in their 200th Premier League fixture and 100th at Turf Moor.


The 21-year-old American, who became the youngest Chelsea player to score a hat-trick, fired the visitors ahead in the 21st minute after shaking off two defenders and doubled their advantage with a deflected shot on the stroke of half-time.

The US international capped a stellar performance in the 56th before the lively Willian fired an arrowed shot into the far corner from 12 metres after neat footwork in the area.

Chelsea then had a penalty rescinded after a VAR check before Burnley scored two late goals, as Jay Rodriguez rifled in a piledriver from 25 metres in the 86th minute and Dwight McNeil drove home a deflected effort three minutes later.



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Ajax vs Chelsea: Five things we learned as Michy Batshuayi seals victory for Frank Lampard’s Blues



1) Tomori is the future cornerstone of Chelsea’s defence

Lampard started with a back three against Valencia and Lille, but in Amsterdam, with three centre-backs having no one to mark given that Dusan Tadic was occupying the false nine role, Lampard went for a back four for the first time in this Champions League campaign.

But after initial jitters, the back four kept out a lightning Ajax forward line. Fikayo Tomori appeared to embody that, losing the ball early in the first half on the halfway line and being pulled left, right and centre.


Tomori spoke before the game of wanting to repay the faith Lampard had shown in him, and eventually he did so on this occasion, which was no better symbolised by standing his ground and averting danger when Kepa had carelessly cleared the ball to Hakim Ziyech.

There were moments of luck for Chelsea, the offside flag and post denying Quincy Promes and Edson Alvarez respectively, but there was defensive flexibility and improvement which was most notable from one of Chelsea’s numerous young stars.

2) Ajax may have lost some star power but the verve remains

At times it has felt that Ajax have missed the metronomic effect that Frenkie de Jong has provided to the side, and Matthijs de Ligt’s high-profile departure left fears that this Ajax side may not prove to be the same relentless force as they were last year.

But in a game where the fire of youth was on show for all to see, Ajax demonstrated that the verve and tenacity did not ebb away with the departures of De Jong and De Ligt.

Hakim Ziyech was dangerous if a touch unlucky whenever his left foot touched the ball, Joel Veltman looked solid at centre-back having begun his career at full-back, while Quincy Promes and Donny van de Beek often started Ajax attacks midway in Chelsea’s own half.

3) Cesar Azpilicueta is once again Chelsea’s Mr Reliable

Chelsea supporters will not be surprised to hear that Cesar Azpilicueta made a goal-saving challenge in Amsterdam, and on the occasion of his 350th Chelsea appearance, here was the umpteenth example of why he leads Frank Lampard’s side.

The statistics that were doing the rounds before the game showed that the Spaniard had missed just two of 415 possible matches through either injury or illness, a player managers can always rely on as a mainstay throughout the season.

But that reliability once again extended on to the pitch, and while forays forwards may have been slightly more limited, there were still the crucial interceptions at the back.

A brilliantly timed sliding challenge denied Promes the chance of putting the offside goal behind him, and when stretched it was often the right-back who came to Chelsea’s rescue.

Cesar Azpilicueta was once again Chelsea’s rock at the back (Reuters)

4) Hudson-Odoi’s end product is a work in progress

Mason Mount was at times delightful, Tammy Abraham industrious. But for all of the space and tricks in the book, Callum Hudson-Odoi cut a frustrated figure symbolic of the visitors’ ineffective game going forward.

One of the better chances of the first half fell to the winger, but in attempting to replicate Mount’s drive at the near post, Hudson-Odoi fluffed his effort wide in a first-half display that saw him float a cross straight into the hands of Andre Onana from an ominous break.

Amongst his meteoric rise it is often very easy to forget just how young the England winger is, and while there will undoubtedly be more days where he fires blanks, Lampard will be encouraged by the frequency of which he managed to get himself into such promising positions.

Callum Hudson-Odoi endured a frustrating night in front of goal (Getty)

5) Giroud’s Chelsea days appear numbered

Tammy Abraham’s dogged performance, chasing lost causes and attempting to unnerve Ajax’s backline, meant that he was eventually replaced by Lampard.

But it was Michy Batshuayi, not Olivier Giroud, who replaced Abraham it what appeared to be another indication of Lampard’s striker hierarchy.

The Belgian eventually vindicated Lampard’s decision by scoring the winner three minutes from the end, having blown a golden opportunity earlier in the half.

The goal was a bittersweet moment for Giroud, who in that moment would have seen another nail added to his career as a Chelsea player.

Having moved to west London to ensure his participation for France at the World Cup, it now appears inevitable that he will have to seek a move away from Stamford Bridge to compete in next year’s European Championships.



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Chelsea transfer news: Blues told to re-sign Nathan Ake by club scout



Chelsea should re-sign Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake according to club scout Piet de Visser. 

The Dutch defender was signed to the Cherries for £20million in June 2017 after a loan period with the south coast side.

Ake made just 17 appearances for the Chelsea senior side before his signing to Bournemouth, where he has already made over 100 appearances. 


Frank Lampard has regularly chosen to play a young side this season with the likes of Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham being given game time. 

The Blues scout believes that Ake could have made a breakthrough into the first team along with the rest of this young talent.

De Visser said to the Dutch newspaper De Volksrant: “Ake should have played for Chelsea by now. He’s so good.

“How often does he not score with his head? He has timing and insight. I hope they buy him back.

“That boy is perfect for them and he has played with Lampard.”



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Trump uses White House reception with victorious St Louis Blues players to complain about impeachment and Pelosi



A White House reception for the St Louis Blues hockey team took a not entirely unexpected turn on Tuesday after Donald Trump quickly segued from the group’s sporting successes to the ongoing efforts to remove him from office.

The Blues were invited to Washington to mark their achievements after beating the Toronto Maple Leafs to lift the NHL’s Stanley Cup trophy.

However, after less than two minutes of scripted praise for the team lined up behind him in the Rose Garden, Mr Trump began to segue on to politics – discussing the Turkish invasion of Syria, trade deals, and the impeachment hearings currently being led by house Democrats.


“China is happening”, he told the sportsmen as his speech moved away from their actions and onto his own, “Mexico-Canada is happening if they can ever get it approved – I doubt they will because it’s Nancy Pelosi. They’re too busy working on impeachment.”

He added: “And by the way we just hit the greatest economy we’ve ever had – but let’s impeach the president, isn’t that a good idea.”

Turning to the players behind him, who had remained silent throughout his quips, he added: “I wouldn’t worry about it fellas. Don’t worry too much.”

Sporting ceremonies at the White House have been a flashpoint for the president throughout his tenure – leading to invitations being rescinded from the world cup winning Women’s football team and the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles.

In both instances ,players had publicly said they would not take part in a traditional Washington reception due to Mr Trump’s views and policies.

However the entire Blues team, as well as its owners and coaches, attended Tuesday’s event – with forward Jaden Schwarz, who Mr Trump referred to as “Jason”, saying the visit was “something you’ll remember forever”.

“Being able to see the Oval Office and get a tour of the White House, it doesn’t get much better than that,” he added.



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Chelsea news: How Sven-Goran Eriksson convinced Roman Abramovich to buy Blues instead of Tottenham



Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed how he managed to convince Roman Abramovich to buy Chelsea instead of Tottenham in 2003.

The former England manager advised the Russian billionaire to opt for the Blues because he would “have to change the whole team” to win trophies with Spurs.

Eriksson suffered embarrassment on his first encounter with Abramovich though, mistaking the oligarch for a chauffeur.


“We met at Les Ambassadeurs (a casino in London),” Eriksson told The Times. “There were three men standing there. One is properly dressed, the other is so-so and the third, I thought he was the driver. Of course that was Roman.

“He wanted to buy a club in Moscow so we went to Moscow for three days. We saw all the clubs and I said buy Dinamo. They had the best facilities.

“I went on holiday and his right-hand man phoned. Roman changed his mind. He wants to buy a club in London.

“Tottenham or Chelsea? I said, ‘What does he want to do?’ He said he wants to win.

Roman Abramovich almost opted for Spurs over Chelsea (Getty)

“I said, ‘So buy Chelsea. You have to change half the team. Tottenham you have to change the whole team.’”

The pair remain friends, with Abramovich winning 16 trophies in his time in west London, with Spurs picking up one trophy since the Russian’s takeover at Stamford Bridge.



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Petr Cech: Former Chelsea goalkeeper clarifies concerns over Blues role ahead of ice hockey debut



Petr Cech maintains his switch from football to ice hockey will not impact his current role at Chelsea after signing for British fourth-tier outfit Guildford Phoenix.

The former Czech international goalkeeper ended his playing career at the end of last season with Arsenal before rejoining the Blues as a technical and performance advisor in June.

He said he would play for the Phoenix in his spare time.


“I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get match experience,” Cech, who will play as a goaltender, said in a statement on the club’s website.

Cech, who played the sport as a youngster before switching to soccer, could make his debut for the Surrey-based side on Sunday when they take on Swindon Wildcats 2.

Petr Cech will play ice hockey for Guildford (@PetrCech )

“I hope I can help this young team to achieve their goals for the season and try to win as many games as possible when I have the chance to play,” Cech added.

“After 20 years of professional football this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid.”

Cech maintains his newfound role in ice hockey does not impact his role with Chelsea as Technical and Performance Adviser.

“Some people seem to think I changed my job,” Cech wrote. “No I didn’t. Luckily my job as the Technical and Performance Adviser at Chelsea FC doesn’t stop me in my spare time from playing the game I loved as a kid and which I’ve been playing for years.

Petr Cech will play ice hockey for the Guildford Phoenix (Getty)

“While being a professional footballer I couldn’t play the game for obvious reasons… Now I can.”

Cech spent 11 years as a player at Chelsea, winning 13 major trophies, including four Premier League titles, the Champions League and Europa League, before moving to London rivals Arsenal in 2015.



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Southampton vs Chelsea result: Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount on target again in Blues’ victory



Chelsea closed in on the Premier League’s top four and their in-form striker Tammy Abraham scored his eighth league goal of the season after an excellent first-half performance helped them to a 4-1 win at struggling Southampton on Sunday.

The result lifted Chelsea into fifth place on 14 points from eight games, behind fourth-placed Leicester on goal difference, while Southampton stayed 16th on seven points, one point above the relegation zone.

Abraham fired Chelsea ahead in the 17th minute as he latched on to a clever pass from Callum Hudson-Odoi and looped his shot over advancing keeper Angus Gunn, with the ball crossing the line before Maya Yoshida’s desperate clearance.


Mason Mount blasted the ball past Gunn in the 24th after taking a fine Willian pass in his stride before Danny Ings pulled one back for the Saints, poking the ball in from close range after Yann Valery’s darting run.

More slack defending from the home side allowed Chelsea to restore their two-goal advantage shortly before half-time, when N’Golo Kante’s fierce shot from outside the penalty area took a deflection off Pierre Hojbjerg.

The pace dropped in the second half as Chelsea packed their midfield before late substitute Michy Batshuayi, who came on for Abraham, put the icing on the cake for the visitors with a clinical 89th-minute finish.

Reuters



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Chelsea news: Blues must be less wasteful in front of goal, says Willian



Willian has called on Chelsea to be more ruthless in front of goal after they squandered a host of chances against Brighton.

The Blues had 17 shots on goal in the first half but still trooped in goalless at the break.

They needed a Jorginho penalty, after Adam Webster tripped Mason Mount, to finally break the deadlock before Willian struck late on to secure a first home league win of the season.


“We needed it,” the Brazilian told the club’s website. “We have been working hard every day, every game and this time we finally got the result, got the three points at home and we have to carry on. We have to continue in the same way.

“The game could have been 3-0 or 4-0. In the first half we created a lot of chances and I think we have to be more clinical.

“We cannot miss chances like this and we have to now think about the next game.

“The clean sheet means we get confidence now. We will have more confidence in the next games and we have to carry on the same way.

Willian scored Chelsea’s second goal in their victory over Brighton (Getty)

“If we want to stay at the top of the table we have to win points and win games, so we go for it. We have to keep pushing and working hard, and I think we can do that.”

Brighton came close to equalising when Dan Burn’s downward header bounced up and clipped the Chelsea crossbar.

But Burn admitted: “I thought Chelsea were the better team on the day and we didn’t do what we do as well as we have done in other games.

“They had some good chances, but we were frustrated with the penalty because I didn’t think it was at the time.

“I could have scored with that header as well, so it was very frustrating. We are creating chances and we have to take them, which is what the top teams do.”

PA



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Chelsea vs Liverpool: Reds lose control but not their heads as Blues show belated promise



Liverpool remain domestically unstoppable, although only after one big stoppage in play, and a lot of stomach-turning bumps.

That, however, just made Jurgen Klopp relish it all the more; made it all the better.

One VAR ruling ensured an ultimately nervy 2-1 win over Chelsea, which itself ensures Liverpool’s perfect start to this season is maintained with a sixth successive victory, to go with a 15th successive league win going back to last season.


That is now only three off Manchester City’s all-time record, but comes as Liverpool looked a little off their best.

Chelsea by contrast have now lost two in a row after the Champions League defeat to Valencia, but Frank Lampard will feel encouraged by the nature of the second-half resurgence. They didn’t fold on having the game, and one big decision, go badly against them. They displayed a resolve that will be far more important to the future than any single result here.

None of this really applies for Liverpool. The result really was all.

This fixture was one of the eight games Liverpool didn’t win last season, making victory all the more valuable, all the more emboldening.

It represents the kind of progress required, even though last season’s performance was possibly superior.

But then that’s perhaps the point. It’s not quite the cliche that Liverpool won without playing all that well, but that they are still learning to win in a slightly different way; maybe the last way required.

They dug in, having sat back, in a way you wouldn’t really see from Jurgen Klopp’s sides. 

Firmino celebrates after doubling the lead for Liverpool (AFP/Getty)

It could yet be a key for a scene they haven’t seen at Anfield for 30 years: winning the title.

Lampard will meanwhile have seen a little more he liked in this Chelsea, even if the current run of results do not look that good.

He can point to other positives in this game.

That change in the game, meanwhile, was all the more marked given the magnificence of Liverpool’s first-half display.

This wasn’t even a case of Klopp’s team exploiting the vast gaps Lampard’s approach leaves behind Chelsea’s midfield. The gap between the teams was enough for that to be unnecessary.

Liverpool just overpowered them early on, almost every move reflecting a side now so sure of themselves in everything they do, so confident in what they are.

Chelsea are by contrast still finding their feet, but aren’t yet fully sure where they’re meant to be standing.

All of this was illustrated in the first goal.

As Trent Alexander-Arnold so assuredly and pristinely struck that laid-off free-kick, the shot was itself so difficult to stop, but the full-back enjoyed the benefit of Jorginho pulling out of his block and Emerson Palmeri ducking.

N’Golo Kante of Chelsea celebrates with Kurt Zouma (Getty)

That should especially irritate Lampard given that full commitment is “the least you’d expect”, and Chelsea did show it immediately after. It was the source of that ruled-out goal.

They displayed the value of persistence, refusing to let Liverpool clear it, until Cesar Azpilicueta literally forced it over the line.

They were just a bit too persistent. Mason Mount was marginally offside, so the goal was correctly – if belatedly – ruled out.

While there may be fair complaints about the time that took after the actual moment of offside, there should be none about the space. This wasn’t like Tottenham Hotspur against Leicester City. Mount was visibly offside.

The further problem with that for Chelsea was Liverpool being so far ahead as a team. The sense was always they were only going to get a limited number of chances with the game in the balance, and that was displayed all too brutally.

Liverpool just went up straight up the other end and went further ahead in the game. It was from yet another set-piece – reflecting another growing problem to fix for Lampard – as Andy Robertson curled in a perfect cross for Firmino to benefit from imperfect marking. The Brazilian was left to rise and head straight past Kepa Arrizabalaga, as Alonso – the replacement for the injured Emerson – barely got off the ground.

It was evidently something Lampard began to address at half-time, though, because Chelsea did display admirable persistence in another manner.

They refused to give up. They began to press Liverpool back.

If the expectation after Firmino’s goal would have been that Chelsea having to open out to see that defence overwhelmed, and leave N’Golo Kante with too much to do, the opposite happened.

Kante wasn’t plugging holes, but creating them in the other side. He began to surge forward with the rest of the Chelsea team, firing that fine strike to make it 2-1.

It was all the more frustrating for Klopp as he’d clearly seen it coming, having been manically gesturing to his players about this beforehand, and then reacting furiously after it.

His players could have done with some of that emotion. A limpness – maybe complacency – had conditioned their game, allowing Kante to just go through unchallenged.

The European champions had lost control of the game, precisely because they tried to just control the space, to just sit on their lead.

It’s not something they’re that comfortable or confident in.

It was something they just about managed, though.

They may have lost control, but didn’t lose the lead.

They instead just keep winning.

And it means the question is again rising: where will they slip up?

Potential answers feel limited, because they’ve found a few new responses of their own.



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Chelsea vs Liverpool: Reds lose control but not their heads as Blues show belated promise



Liverpool remain domestically unstoppable, although only after one big stoppage in play, and a lot of stomach-turning bumps.

That, however, just made Jurgen Klopp relish it all the more; made it all the better.

One VAR ruling ensured an ultimately nervy 2-1 win over Chelsea, which itself ensures Liverpool’s perfect start to this season is maintained with a sixth successive victory, to go with a 15th successive league win going back to last season.


That is now only three off Manchester City’s all-time record, but comes as Liverpool looked a little off their best.

Chelsea by contrast have now lost two in a row after the Champions League defeat to Valencia, but Frank Lampard will feel encouraged by the nature of the second-half resurgence. They didn’t fold on having the game, and one big decision, go badly against them. They displayed a resolve that will be far more important to the future than any single result here.

None of this really applies for Liverpool. The result really was all.

This fixture was one of the eight games Liverpool didn’t win last season, making victory all the more valuable, all the more emboldening.

It represents the kind of progress required, even though last season’s performance was possibly superior.

But then that’s perhaps the point. It’s not quite the cliche that Liverpool won without playing all that well, but that they are still learning to win in a slightly different way; maybe the last way required.

They dug in, having sat back, in a way you wouldn’t really see from Jurgen Klopp’s sides. 

Firmino celebrates after doubling the lead for Liverpool (AFP/Getty)

It could yet be a key for a scene they haven’t seen at Anfield for 30 years: winning the title.

Lampard will meanwhile have seen a little more he liked in this Chelsea, even if the current run of results do not look that good.

He can point to other positives in this game.

That change in the game, meanwhile, was all the more marked given the magnificence of Liverpool’s first-half display.

This wasn’t even a case of Klopp’s team exploiting the vast gaps Lampard’s approach leaves behind Chelsea’s midfield. The gap between the teams was enough for that to be unnecessary.

Liverpool just overpowered them early on, almost every move reflecting a side now so sure of themselves in everything they do, so confident in what they are.

Chelsea are by contrast still finding their feet, but aren’t yet fully sure where they’re meant to be standing.

All of this was illustrated in the first goal.

As Trent Alexander-Arnold so assuredly and pristinely struck that laid-off free-kick, the shot was itself so difficult to stop, but the full-back enjoyed the benefit of Jorginho pulling out of his block and Emerson Palmeri ducking.

N’Golo Kante of Chelsea celebrates with Kurt Zouma (Getty)

That should especially irritate Lampard given that full commitment is “the least you’d expect”, and Chelsea did show it immediately after. It was the source of that ruled-out goal.

They displayed the value of persistence, refusing to let Liverpool clear it, until Cesar Azpilicueta literally forced it over the line.

They were just a bit too persistent. Mason Mount was marginally offside, so the goal was correctly – if belatedly – ruled out.

While there may be fair complaints about the time that took after the actual moment of offside, there should be none about the space. This wasn’t like Tottenham Hotspur against Leicester City. Mount was visibly offside.

The further problem with that for Chelsea was Liverpool being so far ahead as a team. The sense was always they were only going to get a limited number of chances with the game in the balance, and that was displayed all too brutally.

Liverpool just went up straight up the other end and went further ahead in the game. It was from yet another set-piece – reflecting another growing problem to fix for Lampard – as Andy Robertson curled in a perfect cross for Firmino to benefit from imperfect marking. The Brazilian was left to rise and head straight past Kepa Arrizabalaga, as Alonso – the replacement for the injured Emerson – barely got off the ground.

It was evidently something Lampard began to address at half-time, though, because Chelsea did display admirable persistence in another manner.

They refused to give up. They began to press Liverpool back.

If the expectation after Firmino’s goal would have been that Chelsea having to open out to see that defence overwhelmed, and leave N’Golo Kante with too much to do, the opposite happened.

Kante wasn’t plugging holes, but creating them in the other side. He began to surge forward with the rest of the Chelsea team, firing that fine strike to make it 2-1.

It was all the more frustrating for Klopp as he’d clearly seen it coming, having been manically gesturing to his players about this beforehand, and then reacting furiously after it.

His players could have done with some of that emotion. A limpness – maybe complacency – had conditioned their game, allowing Kante to just go through unchallenged.

The European champions had lost control of the game, precisely because they tried to just control the space, to just sit on their lead.

It’s not something they’re that comfortable or confident in.

It was something they just about managed, though.

They may have lost control, but didn’t lose the lead.

They instead just keep winning.

And it means the question is again rising: where will they slip up?

Potential answers feel limited, because they’ve found a few new responses of their own.



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