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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri spoke at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game as the Blues take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The Italian boss said: “It’s a very difficult match because in the last three matches at home they were able to not concede a goal to the opponent, then they are very dangerous on the counter attack. We have to play against a very dangerous team, especially with it being away”.

Chelsea are currently struggling to cope with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Man City, however Sarri believes only two teams are “a step ahead of the others” in Premier League at this stage.

“As I said from the beginning, there are two teams a step ahead of the others, Liverpool and Man City” he added.

“Now there is a little gap but I think City will be able to cover the gap, I think the title will be fought for between City and Liverpool”.

 

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Man City manager Pep Guardiola believes also Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal are currently involved in the race to lift the Premier League title in May. Liverpool are currently leading the table with 42 points, one above the Citizens.

The Spaniard, speaking after his side’s away defeat against Maurizio Sarri‘s men at Stamford Bridge, told journalists: “We are in December, also Tottenham or Chelsea or Arsenal can win the Premier League: everybody can win the Premier League.”

 “Last season it happened the same in that period. I said that isn’t going to happen. Yesterday they asked me in the press conference and I said again that isn’t going to happen. We are not here to be invincible, we are here to try and be champion, to try and make one point more than our opponents”.

Guardiola added: “We monopolise the ball like Chelsea, we create the chances, we have two thousand million passes”.

“They beat us in one counter-attack and one set piece. We played the way we want to play. After that, when the opponent is good it’s always to congratulate them, shake hands and improve for the next game.”

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Chelsea sealed a crucial win at Stamford Bridge against Man City and get back to winning after two away defeats (against Tottenham Hotspurs and Wolves, last time out).

The Blues deserves an extra credit as they scored with their first attack in a tough first half.

Goals from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz are enough and mean that Chelsea are still in the race for the Premier League title after getting 34 points from 16 games so far.

Maurizio Sarri, who marked his first ever win against Pep Guardiola, held the Citizens to their first defeat in the league. For the visitors, David Silva limped off with a hamstring injury

Liverpool are now leaders of the Premier League table with 42 points, one ahead of City and 8 ahead of Chelsea.

 

CHELSEA (4-3-3) Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Barkley 64′); Pedro, Hazard (Giroud 88′), Willian (Loftus-Cheek 74′)

MAN CITY (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph; B Silva, Fernandinho, D Silva (Gundogan 66′); Mahrez (Foden 83′), Sterling, Sane (Jesus 52′)

Scorers: Kante 45′ David Luiz 78′
Bookings: Jorginho Pedro

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Chelsea are already working for their new signings in the summer transfer window.

According to reports by the Evening Standard, the London club have made a first official offer to sign Borussia Dortmund‘s player Christian Pulisic.

The bid apparently wasn’t enough, as it didn’t match the £70 million price asked by Borussia Dortmund.

Moreover, also Liverpool are keen on signing the American player.

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Chelsea will face Burnley on Sunday in the Premier League and this will be an important game for Maurizio Sarri‘s side who want to be in the title race until the end of the season.

Blues defender Gary Cahill is aware of the difficulties of this match:

It (the battle for the Premier League) is certainly going to be tight this season. As far as the Burnley game goes, these are the matches you need to win if you are going to compete at the top”. Cahill told the Evening Standard. “This is a very difficult game – going away to Burnley. Everyone knows that. These are the fixtures you have to churn out the victories in. That is how I have seen it over the years and this season will be no different”.

Moreover, the season is still very long and Chelsea have now one more rival, according to Gary Cahill: “Arsenal are on an incredible run of form at the minute. When they lost at our place (in August) and already points off the top, people were writing them off”. the defender went on. “All of a sudden they have been in unbelievable form. That’s what can happen. We did it the last time we won the League after losing at Arsenal and at home to Liverpool. Then we won 13 games in a row, which is why people should wait till the new year.”

In any case Chelsea are now in a good position and they can compete to win the Premier League: “I think if you are in a good position after Christmas and coming into January, you feel like you have a chance,” Cahill said. “There are loads of games to play until then, a lot can happen. It’s just a matter of going from one weekend to the next and building a momentum.  It’s great when you go back into training after getting three points. It’s the same going into training today after winning in the Europa League (against BATE Borisov) last night. It’s much better than going in after a loss. That’s why I say momentum is key and we have that right now.”

 

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Chelsea climbed up the table moving level on points at the top of Premier League table, along with Man City and Liverpool following a goalless draw between Reds and Citizens at Anfield earlier this evening.

Ross Barkley scored his first Premier League goal for the West London side, also providing an assist to Eden Hazard. The Belgian star fired home to make 7 goals from 8 games and remains the best in the league so far. Also Alvaro Morata was among the goalscorers in Chelsea’s 0-3 win against Southampton at St.Mary’s Stadium earlier this afternoon.

Maurizio Sarri maintains an unbeaten start to the season, made by 6 wins and 2 draws after 8 games in their campaign.

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More from Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, who had his say following tonight’s home win against FC Vidi in the Europa League.

Meanwhile, the Italian manager’s former side SSC Napoli earned a last-gasp victory over Liverpool on Wednesday night

Sarri, speaking to Sky Sport in Italy was also asked to give a comment on Carlo Ancelotti’s men win against Reds, a team which Chelsea faced twice last week (0-1 in the third round of Carabao Cup, then a 1-1 draw last Saturday).

He said: “That was what I hoped for [a win from his former side]. We had two hard-fought battles against Liverpool them last week, I like to think they were fatigued because of me”.

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Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri had his say following Europa League victory over FC Vidi at Stamford Bridge tonight. The Blues are currently leaders of Group B with 6 points having beaten also PAOK in their first Europa League clash last time out.

The Italian manager told Sky Sport in Italy he’s satisfied with the performance showed against Hungarian side FC Vidi despite several changes have inevitably affected the team balance.

“We changed 8 players and I thing the answer from my players was good, all things considered. In the first half we had opportunities for scoring, we didn’t do it and so the second half has been very hard. I think it was an important three points. We have created a lot of goal opportunities but we have conceded two, three opportunities to the opponents.”

“I think we have to do better in the defensive phase, in the positions under the line of the ball, to avoid the counter attacks of the opponents. We have to do better I think.”

On Alvaro Morata“Apart from the goal he scored, [Alvaro] Morata linked-up with teammates tonight and he was present. Yes, he also scored a goal which could help him to start again. His qualities are very important, he must find a way to pull them out I think Alvaro can restart from this performance.”

“I hope so [he can be recalled from Spain soon]. But, as I said before, he has to restart again, from the performance. He played very well, better than in the last period and so we can restart with this performance”

Of course, for us he’s a very important player. At the moment we have Alvaro and Giroud, but we have to play every three days for a long time, I think, I hope, and so he’s a very important player for us, for our season. Both, Alvaro and Olivier.”

“The atmosphere was really beautiful at Stamford Bridge, but it’s always like that. You see the crowd so close to the dugout and is sensational, but also playing the Champions League with Napoli you have no common feelings”. 

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Chelsea will face Derby County in the Carabao Cup‘s fourth round in a game which will be played at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues defeated Liverpool last week at Anfield, while Derby County won on penalties vs Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Frank Lampard, Chelsea legend and Derby County’s manager is very thrilled about the chance to be back at Stamford Bridge.

We know how crazy football is. I was driving along with Jody Morris and Chris Jones in the car with me. It’s a great draw for the club and it’s great for myself. Chelsea was my home for many years and it has been a big part of my life”. Lampard said during his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Championship game vs Norwich. “It’s a big deal and I can’t wait. I’m delighted to go back and see a lot of friends behind the scenes, and 40,000 friends in the crowd.”

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri claimed Eden Hazard just “has to score another 33” to reach his full potential as the Italian believes the Blues’ star could be able to score 40 goals this season.

Sarri told journalists: “I think that he’s able to score 40 goals, so he has to score another 33. I think so and he’s trying to do it. I think at the end of the season we can have four or five players with over 10 goals so it’s not only Hazard”.

“I think Pedro, Willian and Morata will be able to score more than 10 goals this season. Pedro already has three”.

Alvaro Morata came off the bench today, while Olivier Giroud was selected in the starting XI for Chelsea. Sarri also spoke about the decision to play with the Frenchman and then replacing him with the Spaniard:

“I want to see at this moment Giroud and Morata because I think it’s right. You know their characteristics. Giroud is very important for his team-mates and I thought today Morata, in the last 25 minutes, was more aggressive than normal. I’m not really worried because we have wingers who are able to score”.

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