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chelsea

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After the great win over Manchester United yesterday at the Bridge, some Chelsea players celebrated attending a Didier Drogba charity event at the Dorchester Hotel, in central London.

Petr Cech, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic, Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard were among the VIP guests at the ball, which helped raise funds for the Didier Drogba Foundation, an organisation which helps to improve life conditions in Africa.

The Chelsea players were all smiles after the victory in the clash against Red Devils, that for them is another step closer to the Premier League title.

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EDEN HAZARD
Eden Hazard © Francesca Ceciarini

Eden Hazard looked back after the important win over Manchester United, in an interview with Chelsea TV. The Belgian’s eighth goal of the season gave the Blues  three vital points in the all-but-finished title race:

“When you win this game it is very important for the rest of the season.

It is always good to win against Manchester United at Stamford Bridgeand we are close to finishing the season and winning the trophy but it has not finished, we have to win two or three more games.

It is close but it is not finished and when you play in the Premier League it is very difficult, and you never know in football.

“It is always good when you score at Stamford Bridge, and against Man United it is very good when the goal gives three points for the team.

“It is my job. I try to score, I try to make assists and to create something for the team and in this game I did it very well, but we realise it is not finished.”

Hazard also praised Kurt Zouma, who did a great job in the middle of the pitch despite usually plying his trade in the back four:

“He is very young, he is very strong and he is very important when he plays as a central defender or in midfield. He played very well and we deserved to win. This guy deserves to be one of the best.”

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Our photo-gallery from yesterday big match at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea obtained a very important victory over Manchester United.

Just click on the photos to enlarge them

Please note that all pictures are © Francesca Ceciarini, every abuse will be prosecuted.

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MOURINHO
José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Jose Mourinho looked quite satisfied after the very important victory over Manchester United this evening at Stamford Bridge: now Chelsea are 10 points clear of Arsenal -that are second in the table and today were playing the FA Cup semifinal against Reading, so they got one game in hand too- and next weekend they will face the Gunners at the Emirates, another crucial game on the route to the title.

But today’s win was another step toward it, and the players seemed very happy after the referee blew the final whistle, celebrating in the end of the pitch, so Mourinho was immediately asked about this in his post-match press conference, and he explained:

The celebrations were because we beat one of the biggest teams in the world: I understand that. The players gave everything to win the game and they felt the result of the work they’d done all week to prepare

The team were fantastic. I’m the one that knows how fantastic they were because the game was exactly what we wanted. When you manage to play the game you want to play, it’s fantastic. The players were magnificent, on top of that Eden had that magic the top players have, especially in big matches

Obviously he was fundamental  for us but Cahill made an amazing block on Falcao, John Terry was amazing, the keeper was there for us all the time, Azpilicueta was for me the best player on the pitch and Ivanovic was fantastic. Matic worked like an animal, Zouma put Fellaini out of the game, our number 11 [Drogba] was another animal, fighting against two kids young enough to be his sons. Hazard was what you know, Oscar worked fantastically well, Ramires came in and gave us what we needed, Mikel came in for two minutes and held the ball”

Mourinho revealed Willian had been ill for the two days leading up to the game

Willian coming on was a bonus I wanted to give him, he’s been in bed for two days and today he came straight from his house, making himself available to give us some help, he was fantastic

Then Mourinho spoke about the next two games, that Chelsea will play away from Stamford Bridge ( Arsenal and Leicester)

It’s three more points. Obviously every point we get now, every victory we get, is one step in the title direction

We need to win matches. What we can say is that we play for nine points at home, we can be champions just from the matches we play at home. But obviously if we can get points away it’s better’.

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LOUIS VAN GAAL MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal gave a somewhat prickly interview after he saw his side lose 1-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Eden Hazard’s winner was enough to all but secure the title for Chelsea, and enough to end United’s already slim hopes of winning the title.

Chelsea are now 10 points clear with a game in hand, and Van Gaal said that after the game, his opinions didn’t matter:

“It doesn’t matter how I feel.

“In football, we only count the goals, and they scored one goal. It was the first shot on goal, and against Crystal Palace I believe, it was the 19th minute so they did it better today.”

United had 70% of the possession, but Van Gaal refused to state that he was frustrated about his side’s performance:

“I’m not frustrated, I am very proud of my team. Why do I have to be frustatred? We played the best match of the season.

Injury forced Van Gaal to name a patchwork side, with five key players out of the squad through injury. When asked how he thought the changes affected the side, Van Gaal said:

“When I say we have played the best match of the season, this is a rhetorical question I think.”

Ander Herrera was booked late on by referee Mike Dean for diving, but Van Gaal said it was up to the referee:

“When you want to influence the referee, you have to influence the first goal. But it’s the main decision of the referee.

“Maybe people can watch on television, repetition.”

 

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EDEN HAZARD
Eden Hazard won the Player of the Year Award last season © Francesca Ceciarini

Courtois 7- Had surprisingly few saves to make, even though Man Utd had the ball for long periods of the game. He was convincing and solid when he needed to be.

Azpilicueta 7 – Did very well to limit the threat from his side, especially in the second half.

Terry 7.5- A brilliant captain’s performance, kept the rest of the team calm when it was under pressure and made a few crucial blocks.

Cahill 7- A much improved performance, made one critical block from Facao when a goal appeared certain.

Ivanovic 6.5- Was beaten a couple of time by Shaw in the second half.

Zouma 8- Very good, worked extremely hard from the first minute to the last and gave nothing away as the game went on. Only beaten to Man of the Match by Hazard.

Matic 7- Started slowly but improved as the game went on.

Fabregas 7- Struggled to find space in the first half but showed considerable creativity when he got the chance. Took part in the goal by passing to Oscar.

Oscar 7- Struggled the same as the rest early on but got better. Set up the goal with a brilliant back heel.

Hazard 8.5- MOTM – By far the most dangerous player on the pitch and scored a superb goal. He must surely win both national player of the year awards. Man of the Match, again.

Drogba 7- Worked hard but is looking his age.

Substitutes:

Ramires 7- Made the defence and midfield tighter when he came on midway through the second half for Oscar.

Mikel N/A- Brought on in stoppage time.

Willian N/A- Same as Mikel, barely touched the ball.

Manager:

Jose Mourinho 8- There was much speculation that he would set up far too conservatively with Chelsea so close to winning the league. He may well have done that as Man Utd dominated the ball to begin with, but in the end, as he mostly is, he ended up being right all along. The team was well prepared to not have the ball and took the initiative when they needed to.

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HAZARD GOAL CHELSEA MANCHESTER UNITED
CHELSEA v MANCHESTER UNITED - Eden Hazard celebrating after scoring the victory goal. © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea are just two wins away from winning the Premier League after beating Manchester United 1-0 in one of the most tense matches to be played at Stamford Bridge this season.

Needing a win to all but ensure the Premiership title, Chelsea started the game quickly, putting pressure on the visitors and pressing high up the pitch when without the ball. Chelsea old boy Juan Mata was especially targeted and surrounded by those in blue. Despite that it was Manchester United who created the first chance on goal- Young found space in behind the Chelsea defence and pulled the ball back for Wayne Rooney whose left-footed shot was so close to Courtois’ right post the United fans at the far end of the ground thought it was a goal, as did David de Gea, to the great amusement of the home fans.

Following on from the first two minutes, it was Manchester United that settled into their game the quickest- putting together a series of good passing moves while Chelsea appeared happy to sit back in their half and counter-attack when they had the chance. One such incident perhaps emphasised the futility of relying on a 37-year-old in the centre-forward postion; Drogba received the ball on the left hand side and only needed to play a simple ball through the middle to Hazard who would have been clear on goal, but the pass was weak and easily collected by Chris Smalling.

Chelsea’s biggest weakness, or so it appeared, was on the wing. The usual problem of playing too narrow was once again evident, the Blues’ attacks being forced into bottle-necks that were easily dealt with by the visitors’ makeshift centre-back pairing. United, however, were able to make constructive use of the Mata and Young and either side, with Shaw and Herrera the overlapping full-backs. Chelsea biggest threat was from set-pieces, a corner just before the half hour forcing de Gea into punching the ball away and causing general confusion in the United back line. De Gea was perhaps lucky to avoid punishment when he appeared to handle a long ball with his hand when McNair, one of the United centre-backs, was caught out of position, the Chelsea fans all rising to their feet in protest, the Spaniard benefiting from the fact that Valencia was so close to him therefore blocking the official’s view.

However, against the pattern of the game Chelsea took the lead in the 38th minute when Hazard ran on from the superb back-heel flick from Oscar, who had received the ball from Fabregas in the United half, and put the ball between de Gea’s legs from six yards as Chelsea showed, as they did last week, their ability to score goals when they are not dominating the game. United forced a corner but did not threaten Courtois’ goal which, despite their possession, could be said of the first half performance generally.

Chelsea started the second half by getting forward, Hazard’s trickery once again proving troublesome but Drogba couldn’t make anything of collecting the ball in the box. When Man Utd had the ball, Chelsea continued in their habit of sitting back, but it appeared to be without being pulled all over the pitch as they were at times in the first half. Wayne Rooney, Utd’s chief attacking outlet, was surrounded when he collected the ball deeply, as he did regularly. Chelsea’s renewed potency on the counter-attack was on display when Herrera lost the ball in the middle and Drogba was let loose with just one defender between him an the goal. It was the sort of incident that five years Drogba would have exploited, but being in his late 30s the Ivorian was only able to force a save from de Gea from which Hazard was unable to convert rebound.

Man Utd’s biggest threat remained down the wing, in particular the left from which Shaw was able to effectively get behind the Chelsea back line a number of times, on one occasions winning a free kick when all Ivanovic could do was bring him down. A cross soon after was chested down by Fellaini and passed back to Rooney, the shot from whom was deflected wide. For their part, Chelsea were happy to ply their attack through the speed of Hazard and the hard work of Drogba. The Belgian had a shot on goal as the game moved beyond the 70th minute, but the pass from Azpilicueta was behind him meaning the shot lacked power. Manchester United tried to apply new pace into their efforts by bringing on Januzaj and Di Maria and Chelsea looked to strengthen further by swapping Oscar for Ramires. Falcao was the recipient of Utd’d first chance in the box when he ran from a ball in behind but could only hit the post from a tight angle.

Wayne Rooney missed a great chance from a Di Maria’s corner in the 82nd minute as Chelsea suddenly appeared vulnerable from set pieces, the free header mercifully going over. Hererrea was booked for a terrible dive in the final minute of stoppage time and when Courtois took the corresponding free kick the final whistle was blown and Chelsea had taken a massive step towards regaining the Premier League title. They will have chance to win the league away at Leicester should they beat Arsenal next week.

 

CHELSEA: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta, Zouma, Matic, Oscar (Ramires 67), Fabregas (Mikel 92), Hazard (Willian 94), Drogba.

Unused subs: Cech, Filipe Luis, Cuadrado,  Solanke.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, McNair, Shaw (Blackett 80), Mata (Janujaz 70), Rooney, Herrera, Young (Di Maria 70), Fellaini, Falcao.

Unused subs: Valdes, Rafael, Pereira, van Persie.

Scorer: Hazard 38

Ref: Mike Dean
Att: 41,422

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Chelsea sit first at the top of the Premier League table and they have the chance to 10 points clear should they win while Manchester United will try and close the gap and grap the second place on the table

What happened in the first half?

Chelsea have had a couple of brief play forward but Fabregas and Hazard look to be their main outlets and despite leading the line, Drogba has struggled to make in an impact on the first 20 minutes

Manchester United have had much of the possession but it is Chelsea who scored first, who else than Eden Hazard. Oscar was at the right place at the right moment and he flicked a pass in the path of the Belgium International. He slotted a finish through the legs of De Gea.

So the two sides go into the break with Hazard’s goal difference.

Let’s see what happens in the second half

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After another weekend of brilliant Premier League football, we round up all of today’s action.

There were only four Premier League games at 15:00 today – Chelsea and Manchester United kick off at 17:30, Arsenal and Liverpool are on FA Cup duty, and there are two fixtures tomorrow (Manchester City vs. West Ham and Newcastle vs. Tottenham).

Leicester took a huge step to ensuring a great escape from relegation as they won 2-0 against Swansea. Leonardo Ulloa, who was only in the starting XI as David Nugent was injured in the warm up, scored the opener after just 15 minutes in what was his eighth goal of the campaign. Andy King then secured the three points late on, with the Foxes winning three games in a row for the first time this season. They are now out of the relegation zone on goal difference, while Swansea, who posed little real threat in the game, lost their first in four.

Tony Pulis came back to haunt his old club as West Brom beat Crystal Palace 0-2 at Selhurst Park. James Morrison sent the Baggies on their way to ending a three-game losing streak, with Craig Gardner grabbing his second in two games as he scored after 53 minutes. Yaya Sanogo was denied a way of pulling Palace back into the contest as his goal was disallowed for offside, as the home side were denied a fifth successive win.

Burnley are now bottom of the Premier League table as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Everton. Ross Barkley had a penalty saved by Tom Heaton after just 10 minutes, but Kevin Mirallas’ goal just before the half hour mark was enough to take the three points at Goodison Park. The home side were helped by the Clarets themselves as they had striker Ashley Barnes sent off in first half stoppage time for two yellow cards. Mirallas then caught Burnley’s George Boyd in what was a nasty tackle, but the Belgian escaped with a yellow – making Burnley boss Sean Dyche no happier.

Stoke grabbed an impressive 2-1 win over Southampton at the Britannia Stadium, as they climbed to ninth. Morgan Schneiderlin opened the scoring for the away side with his first goal since September after 22 minutes. But, the Potters rallied as goals from Mame Biram Diouf and Charlie Adam stole the three points. Peter Crouch missed a golden chance for the home side late on, but it made no difference as Ronald Koeman’s side slipped to a defeat which still leaves them five points off the top four.

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Chelsea-vs-Man-United
Chelsea-vs-Man-United

Here we go with the official line ups for today’s game, Chelsea vs Manchester United!

 

CHELSEA: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta, Zouma, Matic, Oscar, Fabregas, Hazard, Drogba.

Subs: Cech, Filipe Luis, Mikel, Ramires, Cuadrado, Willian, Solanke.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, McNair, Shaw, Mata, Rooney, Herrera, Young, Fellaini, Falcao.

Subs: Valdes, Blackett, Rafael, Di Maria, Januzaj, Pereira, van Persie.

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