Reports

REPORT: CHELSEA 2-0 BRIGHTON

Chelsea narrowed the gap on second placed Manchester United to just one point with a 2-0 win against Brighton on Boxing Day. Alvaro Morata returned from his one-game suspension, but Andreas Christensen missed the game through illness, with Gary Cahill slotting in at centre-back. A switch in formation also meant Pedro and Willian both dropped to the bench, with Antonio Conte preferring a 3-5-2. The visitors made it extremely difficult for Chelsea in the first half, which was almost reminiscent of our stalemate at Goodison Park against Everton. Tiemoue Bakayoko had a golden opportunity in the 18th minute to put Chelsea in front after Antonio Rüdiger headed the ball down for him, but the pass came as a surprise for the Frenchman, who stabbed the ball wide from close range. Mathew Ryan in the Brighton goal denied Victor Moses a few moments later, after the Nigerian was…

REPORT: CHELSEA 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON

Chelsea racked up another three points with a hard-earned victory over Southampton on Saturday, thanks to a genius strike from Marcos Alonso before the break. Surprisingly, Antonio Conte continued with the same front free that dismantled Huddersfield in midweek, despite Alvaro Morata returning to the matchday squad. Both teams looked pretty sluggish in the opening 15 minutes minutes, with a lot of the action taking place in the middle of the park, causing a real lack of chances. The first notable strike of the game came through Tiemoue Bakayoko in the 18 minute, but his shot from the edge of the box went well wide. Chelsea did up the pressure now and had two shots by Alonso and Gary Cahill saved in quick succession, before Kante was also denied three minutes later. It looked like Fraser Forser in the Southampton goal was having one of those…

REPORT: WEST HAM 1-0 CHELSEA

Chelsea suffered their first Premier League defeat in eight thanks to an early goal from Marko Arnautovic for West Ham at the London Stadium. Marcos Alonso returned to the starting XI, while Davide Zappacosta, somewhat surprisingly, replaced Victor Moses at right wing-back. Following a very passive start from Chelsea, West Ham took the lead after just six minutes. Marko Arnautovic received the ball from Manuel Lanzini just inside the box, and the midfielder curled his shot past Thibaut Courtois to make it 1-0. Chelsea struggled to really get in the game. Alvaro Morata’s penalty appeal in the 14th minute was our only real sight at goal up until this point, but it was rightfully waved away by the referee. Eden Hazard came very close five minutes later, when his volley flashed just wide of the far post. With Chelsea growing in confidence, Adrian was forced to…

REPORT: CHELSEA 1-1 ATLÈTICO MADRID

Chelsea missed the chance to finish top of their group after only drawing 1-1 with Atlético Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. Antonio Conte made several changes to his side, with Marcos Alonso rested and Davide Zappacosta starting on the left hand side. Tiemoue Bakayoko returned in midfield after being left out of the side for two matches. It was former Chelsea striker Fernando Torres who had the first chance of the game, but his shot was blocked by Cesar Azpilicueta and flew over the bar. A handful of fouls in midfield stopped both sides from building any real momentum, but the visitors in particular were disappointing, especially since they needed a win to qualify. Eden Hazard, who was outstanding against Newcastle, grew into the game with every minute, and his link-up play with Alvaro Morata gave Atlético’s defence plenty to think about. It was…

REPORT: CHELSEA 3-1 NEWCASTLE

After a sloppy start to the game, Chelsea bounced back in style to beat Newcastle 3-1 thanks to goals from Eden Hazard (2) and Alvaro Morata. Victor Moses returned to the starting XI for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up at Crystal Palace in October. Drinkwater joined Fabregas and Kante in midfield, while Hazard also started after being rested in midweek. The visitors certainly didn’t look like a side just above the relegation zone in the opening 15 minutes. A great move, helped by some sloppy defending from Marcos Alonso, gave Dwight Gayle an opening after just 12 minutes, which he made full use of as he slotted the ball past Thibaut Courtois. Going a goal down was a blessing in disguise for Chelsea, with the Blues now finally finding their rhythm. Morata was denied a clear penalty when goalkeeper Karl…

REPORT: CHELSEA 1-0 SWANSEA

Antonio Rüdiger’s first Premier League goal was enough to give Chelsea an important win against struggling Swansea City on Wednesday night. Several players were rested by Antonio Conte, with Cesar Azpilicueta being left out of the starting XI for the first time since December 2015. Eden Hazard also started on the bench, while Tiemoue Bakayoko was dropped after a poor performance at Anfield. As expected, it was Chelsea who dominated from kick-off, with both Alvaro Morata and Davie Zappacosta testing Lukas Fabianski in goal early on. Swansea really struggled to keep possession, and on-loan midfielder Renato Sanches, voted best young player for Portugal at Euro 2016, had an absolute nightmare of a performance. You could argue that Morata should have had a hat-trick in the first half, but the Spaniard kept being denied by a number of great saves. It was one of those days for…

REPORT: LIVERPOOL 1-1 CHELSEA

Chelsea earned a well-deserved point at Anfield on Saturday evening, thanks to a late goal from substitute Willian. Perhaps the must surprising change to the side was the inclusion of Danny Drinkwater, who made his first start since signing for the club in January. Andreas Christensen, Alvaro Morata and several other players, who sat out in midweek against Qarabag, returned to the side. Both teams were mainly focused on keeping possession early on, and it took until the 21st minute until there was a notable chance. Hazard unleashed a venomous strike from the edge of the area, which produced a fine save from Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool goal. Hazard was absolutely outstanding throughout the first half and dictated Chelsea’s play whenever the attacking players hit the Merseyside club on the counter attack. Drinkwater, of all people, found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper only two minutes later,…

REPORT: QARABAG 0-4 CHELSEA

Chelsea secured their place in the knockout stage of this season’s Champions League with a 4-0 win against Qarabag in Baku. Several players were rested for the big game against Liverpool on Saturday. Alvaro Morata was left on the bench, with Eden Hazard playing as a false number nine. David Luiz returned to the starting line-up for the first time since his spat with Antonio Conte against Roma. Chelsea, as expected, controlled possession early on, but it was the hosts who created the first big chance of the game. Sloppy defending allowed Michel to get a free shot at goal, which bounced off of the woodwork. Any kind of hopes for Qarabag were cruelly shattered five minutes later, when captain Rashad Sadygov was sent off for a foul on Willian in the box. Hazard stepped up and gave his side an early lead from the spot. The red…

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