Authors Posts by Lorenzo Semino

Lorenzo Semino

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke ahead of next Premier League clash against Huddersfield (kick-off time 8PM BST), but today the UEFA Champions League draw paired the Blues with current La Liga leaders Barcelona.

The Italian manager, when asked by Standard Sport about the game, claimed: “I think our priority must be the Premier League, to try to stay up and fight for a Champions League place. That must be our priority in this moment. Then when it will be the moment to play against Barcelona we will start to think of the game against Barcelona”. 

 Then Conte added: “We must be very realistic to understand that this league is very dangerous. We have to go game by game, play every game with 120% of our strength. Otherwise we risk to have a bad surprise at the end of the season.”

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We reported previously that Chelsea could face only a quartet of the winners from their Champions League groups, as no side can play another from the same country in the Round of 16. Anyway, Liverpool joined Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United in the 1st pot for the knockout stage after beating 7-0 Spartak Moscow last night, leaving Chelsea a two-out-of-three chance to play against either Paris Saint-Germain or Barcelona in the next round. Also Besiktas were included in the possible trio, but the Premier League champions will face the La Liga giants in the last-16.

Chelsea will face a terrific opponent so early in their Champions League return. Here’s the UEFA Champions League draw in full:

Juventus – Tottenham Hutspur

Basilea – Manchester City

Porto – Liverpool

Sevilla – Manchester United

Real Madrid – Paris Saint-Germain

Shakhtar Donestk – AS Roma

Chelsea – Barcelona

Besiktas – Bayern Munich

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“We have three possibilities – said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte ahead of the upcoming Champions League draw – To play against Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona or Besiktas, but now it is very important for us to be focused on the league, to go game by game, to try to find the right energy to play every three days and to take three points in the kind of game we had against West Ham”.

“There is a problem in this league: there are six top teams and only four places for the Champions League. You have targets and also, if Manchester City has many points over you, you have an important target to try to go in the first four and to play Champions League”.

The Italian manager reminded: “Don’t forget, two years ago Chelsea missed this target and last season we didn’t play European games. Last season Arsenal and Manchester United were out of these places. Then Manchester United won the Europa League, otherwise they were out [of the     Champions League] and also Arsenal, for the first time in 19 years”.

“To reach this target is not simple. It’s very important for me, the players, for all of us. This league is not simple to reach the top four positions”.

We will follow the Champions League draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon live. More to follow…

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Pep Guardiola won his clash with Red Devils‘ manager José Mourinho, who suffered his 3rd defeat in the current Premier League season. Goals from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi, who restored the lead after Marcus Rashford’s equaliser in the first half, secured Manchester City a vital 1-2 win for their title hopes so far.

The Citizens are now 11 points clear at the top of Premier League table above Manchester United, while Chelsea remain 3rd (with 32 points) after losing a tough London Derby against West Ham United yesterday.

(From SkySportsHQ)

 

Arsenal remain three points behind Chelsea after draw against Southampton

Chelsea remain 3rd as Wayne Rooney rescue a point for Everton against Liverpool

 

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Liverpool were dominant in today’s Merseyside derby against Everton, but the score says 1-1 after 90′. The Reds took the lead with former Chelsea star Mohamed Salah, before Sadio Mane missed a clear chance to score again a few minutes before the halftime whistle.

A controversial decision in the second half, gave Everton a penalty with 15′ left to go, and Wayne Rooney sent his team back into the game. Dejan Lovren fumed and was still complaining to referee Craig Pawson at the decision after the game.

This result means that Jurgen Klopp’s men failed to climb up the table and reach Chelsea level on points, as they remain 4th with 30 points, one above Arsenal and two behind the Blues.

 

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Arsenal missed a huge chance to reduce their gap on Premier League champions Chelsea, as Southampton stopped the Gunners at St.Mary’s stadium earlier this afternoon.

An early goal from Charlie Austin put the Saints in front after just 3′, before Olivier Giroud, who came off the bench in the second half, scored a late equaliser in a tight battle. Chelsea will face Southampton on 16th of December at Stamford Bridge, following their trip to Huddersfield next week.

Liverpool can go level on points with Chelsea if they beat Everton at Anfield today (the  are leading the game at halftime, goal from former Chelsea star Mohamed Salah).

 

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Speaking on the Sunday Supplement, the Daily Telegraph journalist Matt Law said “Chelsea played really badly” in the London Derby against West Ham United yesterday.

“They started off really slow and they keep conceding the first goal. – he added – The worrying thing is that it’s getting to the stage where if you stop [Eden] Hazard, you stop Chelsea. Conte has changed the system, taking Pedro and Willian out of the team and he’s playing Hazard alongside Alvaro Morata which puts so much pressure on Hazard. If you get him on a quiet day or you manage to stop him, they just fall down in the last third and that’s what happened against West Ham. That was the surprising element. I wasn’t surprised he said that ‘we were done’. He’s sort of been heading that way for a couple of weeks. He’s kept saying that it’s going to take something amazing to catch Manchester City”.

He added: “You felt for the last few weeks that he hasn’t really believed but this little add of ‘we were never in it’ is a flippant remark because he was upset about the defeat and that’s what made you look, as that will go down really badly with the Chelsea hierarchy. He was being honest about his own views, and it’s just another insight into how upset Conte was with how the summer went, and how frustrated he was that he didn’t get all of his targets. It just seems that whenever he has a bad spell or another defeat he can’t quite help himself going back to have another little dig at not getting what he wanted.”

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Chelsea struggled in a tough first half, opened with Marko Arnautovic’s opener after just 5’: the West Ham striker was really fast in the penalty area, getting away from Christensen and Azpilicueta before firing past Courtois from a close range. Assist by Manuel Lanzini.

Chelsea went close to scoring twice with N’Golo Kante, whose curled shot was easily deflected from Adrian, and Alvaro Morata. Great performance from West Ham left-winger Masuaku.

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Victor Moses starts from the bench in Chelsea‘s game against West Ham United at the Olympic Stadium today. Antonio Conte, questioned ahead of the upcoming clash about the omission of the Nigerian star from the starting XI, said: “It’s normal rotation, against Atletico Madrid Marcos Alonso started from the bench, Davide Zappacosta was [on the bench] against Newcastle, and today Victor Moses. We spend many energies, but we are happy because Victor has recovered very well from injury”.

I think November, December and January are a busy period for every team, and we must be ready with the whole team. I think we have to look at ourselves to take point and try to climb the table, we don’t look at the others”. 

About today’s opponent: “A difficult challenge, West Ham don’t deserve their position on the table so we have to pay attention today”.

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Teams are underway as West Ham United will face Chelsea at the Olympic Stadium at 12.30PM (BST) today. And official line-ups for the game have been announced:

WEST HAM (3-5-1-1): Adrian, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Obiang, Masuaku, Lanzini, Arnautovic, Antonio.

Subs: Hart, Rice, Fernandes, Sakho, Ayew, Carroll, Chicharito.

Manager: David Moyes

CHELSEA (3-5-2): Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Christensen, Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard, Morata.

Subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Moses, Ampadu, Willian, Pedro, Batshuayi.

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

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