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Cesar Azpilicueta, who already won two Premier League titles with Chelsea, reckons the Blues they must try to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City to win the league this season.

“We are the team that have won more titles in recent years in England,” the defender told reporters in the mixed zone postmatch.

“It is true that in the last four years, we haven’t done it well in the season after winning the title.

“But after we didn’t qualify for the Champions League [last season], it is clear that now the target is to be competitive again in the Premier League, to be as close as possible to the title and try to fight for it.”

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Blues manager Maurizio Sarri claims Chelsea are a year behind their Premier League rivals in the title race: Manchester City and Liverpool.

Despite a very good start, where the Italian boss won all the league games until today, Sarri doesn’t think is team can compete for the title glory:

Liverpool are a step forward of us at this moment.

“We have to play against a very, very good team who have worked with the same coach for three years.

“We have started to work together 35, 40 days ago. Less if you include the international breaks. So for us it’s a bit early,” Sarri said.

We have to work, we need to improve, and maybe in one year we will be on that level.”

 

Continuing to speak about today’s game, he said:

“I don’t know where you take the statistics of the match but, in my statistics, we had seven opportunities against their three. So I don’t know.

“I knew that West Ham are a very good team. I don’t know why they lost their first four matches in the league, but they are really a very good team. Maybe now [they are] in confidence after they won away against Everton.

“Maybe we could have done better in the last 25 minutes of the first half. Then, I think that we have played very well… well in the second half, generally, but very well in the last 25 minutes. It’s impossible to win every match. So it’s OK, one point, for today.”

“They were cutting out very well every pass for Giroud, so we needed two wingers, I think. Hazard in the last 25 minutes did very well, more on the right than the left, but it was very difficult for the striker and the two wingers.”

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes his side has yet to take “another step to be at the same level” of Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.

The Italian boss told journalists, speaking at a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game at Cardiff City“At the moment I can answer City or Liverpool.”

“We need another step to be at the same level. I think this season is too soon, but I hope not. The gap was 30 points at the beginning of the season. to cover 30 points in only one season is very difficult.

“We need to improve, and we can improve. My feeling is that now we are not a very solid team in the defensive phase. My feeling during training is that this team can improve”.

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri was very satisfied as he spoke during his post-game press conference at Stamford Bridge after the Blues win over Bournemouth. “I am very happy with my players. They are doing well in the week and the matches”. the Italian manager said. “I am happy with 12 points but I always think we can do more and improve”.

Four win in four games has been a perfect Premier League start so far, but Maurizio Sarri is aware the gap with Manchester City is still huge and he doesn’t want to speak about the title race: “I think it is better now to think about the next match. The gap at the beginning was 30 points, so I think it is very difficult to cover this gap in one season”. Sarri admitted. “I am very happy with the four matches, but only starting from now to the next match”.    

The Blues manager commented also on today’s match: “I am happy with the result and the performance. It was a very difficult game, they are very organised and defended very well”. Sarri explained. “The first half was difficult and maybe we needed to move the ball with another speed and without the ball. In this match you can win in the last 20 minutes”.

Then, on Olivier Giroud replacing Alvaro Morata: “It depends the moment of the pitch. We crossed lots so I thought Giroud in that moment was better, it depends on the situation. Alvaro is improving, maybe he needs more space. However, I am lucky because Giroud is very useful”.

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Roman Abramovich era at Chelsea could soon end: the Sunday Times reports that the Russian tycoon has put the club up for sale, 15 years after he bought it.

The report claim that an asking price of over £2bn has been set, considerably more than the current world record figure for a football club sale: Abramovich has hired Raine Group, the same specialist US investment bank who helped Manchester City’s owners to sell a 13% stake to Chinese investors three years ago to help him to sell the club.

Abramovich has already rejected an £2bn offer from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, earlier this year since he believes he can receive a higher offer for the Premier League club.

The Russian tycoon wants Raine Group to find investors in China, the US and the Middle East over a possible sale of his club.

This news of a potential sale follows the announcement that the West London club had postponed plans for a new 60,000-seat stadium in May: the decision was made after Abramovich was unable to secure a new visa to work in the UK.

 

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Premier League title holders Manchester City were surprisingly stopped at Worlverhampton today.

The Pep Guardiola‘s team had to come back to gain a point after the Wolves took the lead with Willy Boly at 57′, Aymeric Laporte equalised 12 minutes later but the Citizens weren’t able to take the 3 points home.

Arsenal won their first game in this Premier League, 3-1 against West Ham with goals by Nacho Monreal, Issa Diop ( own goal) and Danny Welbeck; Marko Arnautovic had scored the goal that gave the temporary lead to West Ham.

Liverpool won 1-0 against Brighton with a goal by Momo Salah and now are leading the table with 9 points, the only team so far to have won all the games in this start of the Premier League: Chelsea, Spurs and Watford can reach them on the top of the league should they win their clashes this weekend.

Today’s scores

Wolves v Man City 1-1

Bournemouth v Everton 2-2

Arsenal v West Ham 3-1

Huddersfield Town v Cardiff City 0-0

Southampton v Leicester City 1-2

Liverpool v Brighton 1-0

 

Tomorrow’s games

Watford v Crystal Palace 1.30 pm

Fulham v Burnley 4 pm

Newcastle v Chelsea 4 pm

 

Monday 27 August

Manchester United v Spurs 8 pm

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Former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole believes the Blues could have their say in this season’s Premier League title race.

Chelsea have gone about their business a little bit quiet in terms of having a new manager”. Cole told ESPN. “They should be fighting for the title, but I don’t think people are [thinking that way] at the minute”.

Ashley Cole has been encouraged by the way Chelsea have started their domestic campaign. “To get six points from two games, it’s a fantastic start. They’ve just got to keep going.” the former defender added.

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Chelsea players celebrating a goal this season

The Premier League is back and so are football punditry programs.

Speaking about which top teams could miss next Champions League qualification English football legends Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher agreed both Arsenal and Chelsea will miss the top four at the end of this campaign.

The pair was asked to make some predictions about the current season and they both believe Manchester City will lift the Champions trophy again.

Despite Manchester United‘s struggles in this start of the season the former Red Devils and Liverpool defenders are sure Jose Mourinho’s side will find his form again so to qualify for next Champions League.

However, they disagree on who will end the year as top scorer: Neville expects Sergio Aguero, who bagged a hat-trick against Huddersfield at the weekend, to end the year at the top of the pile, while Carragher sees Harry Kane banging in the most goals.

The duo made predictions for a young player to keep an eye on, with Neville expecting a big season from City midfielder Phil Foden and Carragher hoping to see a lot from Fulham’s teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon.

And finally, they each predicted a player to watch: both went for a Liverpool star, with Neville viewing Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker as a great signing from Jurgen Klopp and Carragher thinking the same of Naby Keita.

As you can see, Chelsea and his players were heavily snubbed by both of them.

 

 

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New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is thrilled ahead of tomorrow Premier League game vs Arsenal which will be not only his first official game at Stamford Bridge, but also a London derby.

I’m looking forward to my first [competitive] game at Stamford Bridge, because I will be the coach of one of the most important clubs in Europe, in one of the most important stadiums in Europe, for my first London derby. Sarri confirmed during his pre-game press conference. “I’m looking forward to it”.

The Italian manager gave also updates on the injured players: “Fabregas is out for this match. I hope he will be able to be on the pitch next week. he explained. “I’m not sure. Nothing serious, but he has a very unusual injury. Nothing serious. I hope in the next week we will be able to have him training.”

Also new signing Mateo Kovacic won’t be included in the starting XI because, according to Sarri “he’s not ready now for 90 minutes, but maybe, tomorrow, for the first 30 or the last 30 minutes he could be used. I expect a lot from him because, for me, he’s a very great player. In my opinion, he can improve more.”

Finally, Sarri tried to make some predictions on Chelsea’s season: “I think that, at this moment, in English football there is one club above the others. This club is Manchester City. We have to try to do our best. We have to try to reach 101% of our potential. Then we have to see. I don’t know, now, what can happen. But my feeling is that we can be a very good team.” the Italian said. “We started to work all together only 10 days ago, so we have to work. We have to improve. But, in my opinion, in two months we can be a very good team.”

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Premier League winners Manchester City face FA Cup champions Chelsea in the Community Shield today. Here’s how both teams are expected to start:

Chelsea: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso, Jorginho, Fabregas, Barkley, Pedro, Hudson-Odoi, Morata

Subs: Bulka, Christensen, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Moses, Willian, Abraham

Manchester CityBravo, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, Foden, Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Sane, Aguero

Subs: Ederson, Kompany, Gundogan, Otamendi, Jesus, Diaz, Gomes

HT – CHELSEA 0-1 MAN CITY – Sergio Aguero scores a vital goal for Pep Guardiola‘s men in the 13rd minute. Chelsea struggling to go forward in a tough first period at Wembley. Man City also went close to double the score with Leroy Sané following a sloppy pass in midfield from latest Chelsea signing Jorginho.

FT – CHELSEA 0-2 MAN CITY The Argentina striker, who had two massive chances to score earlier in the second half, put the ball past Caballero following a mistake from Hudson-Odoi, well exploited by Stones, Gundogan and David Silva through a brilliant build-up. The current Premier League champions were dominant also in the second half, with Chelsea going close to scoring just in the 89th minute, when Ross Barkley fed Tammy Abraham, who collided with Man City keeper Bravo.

Chelsea fail to lift the Community Shield for the fifth consecutive appearance (2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018).

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