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Premier League

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JOSE MOURINHO

Now that the ‘champions elect’ have officially been crowned premier league champions, José Mourinho can finally join in on the celebrations, with hopes to do the same next year.

In typical Mourinho fashion, he repeated the need to remain focused until the final whistle. He stated that the team ‘are alert and we know we have a difficult game to play’ in a pre-match interview, before commending them after the game: ‘for a team that is in the middle of the table, to play the way they did I think is fantastic.’

While remaining calm, he spoke full of pride about his team: ‘I came back [to Chelsea] to work and work the best I can. To be champion is a consequence of that work.’

When asked if this title was the most special one, he replied: ‘I dont want to say that… every title is a reason to be happy’

While he aims to attain more silverware in the future, Mourinho spoke about the Premier League with respect: ‘this is not the best country to be a force, but obviously we are going to try.’

 

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Kick-off at 1.30pm in Stamford Bridge, against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace, for a match which could see Mourinho’s squad crowned as Premier League champions.

Today, as all Chelsea fans must know, could be an unforgettable day. Winning the title at home in Stamford Bridge with three matches in advance.

Mourinho got bunch of experience in these situations around Europe, from the season 2002/03 he won two Primeira Liga with Porto, two Premier League on Chelsea bench, two Scudetto with Internazionale and one title in Spain as Real Madrid manager.

About his previous triumphs said: “The titles in Portugal were big because Porto was coming from a very difficult moment, finishing fifth the season before when in Portugal in the last 20 years, the title was normally shared by two teams [Porto and Benfica].

“In Spain it was fantastic because that was a period of real dominance by Barcelona, and Real Madrid had to do it with 100 points and we had to win in Barcelona’s stadium near the end of the season.

“The ones in Chelsea were fantastic because it was the beginning of Mr Abramovich’s era with no title before that. Now, for me, it is a great feeling because it is my club, because of the league and because we are not any more the rich club. We are a top club but a club that lives from the work everyone does in this club.”

Then focusing on today’s afternoon, he reflects: “I have experience of his Newcastle when it was one thing for them to play against Chelsea and one thing to play against other teams,” notes the Blues boss. “Maybe it because Alan is a Chelsea fan. He told me a lot of times that as a kid he was born near and he grew up as a Chelsea fan, but obviously he is a professional and he wants to win.

“The reality is that when Alan’s teams play against Chelsea, they play a different match, so I am waiting for that, I am waiting for a Palace going with everything.”

So prepare your place wherever it will be, at the stadium, in a pub or on your comfy sofa. This is something that deserves to been watched.

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With Chelsea not playing until tomorrow, eyes turned yet again to the enthralling battle for Premier League survival, as well as the other games in the league.

There were seven games today, with Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace (13:30 GMT KO) and Tottenham vs. Manchester City (16:00 GMT KO) taking place tomorrow. Hull take on Arsenal on Monday night (20:00 GMT KO).

Leicester bounced back from their midweek defeat to Chelsea whilst also gaining another huge three points in the battle to stay up as they overcame luckless Newcastle 3-0 at the King Power Stadium. It’s Newcastle’s eighth consecutive loss. The Foxes came out of the blocks like lightening as they took the lead through the resurgent Leonardo Ulloa after just 38 seconds, and Wes Morgan doubled the lead after he poked home with 17 minutes gone. The home side then sealed their fifth win in six games after Ulloa scored from the spot following Emmanuel Riviere’s foul on Marcin Wasilewski. The away side finished the game with nine men – Mike Williamson was sent off first for two yellow cards, and Daryl Janmaat soon followed him down the tunnel for the same reason. Newcastle boss John Carver said after the game that Williamson got himself sent off “on purpose”.

Sunderland kept up the pressure on Leicester however after they claimed a huge win over Southampton. Two Jordi Gomez penalties was enough to secure a massive 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light, despite Sadio Mane pulling one back for the visitors. Gomez opened the scoring after 21 minutes following a foul by Jose Fonte on Billy Jones. Mane equalised just 73 seconds later however, by Gomez restored the advantage 10 minutes into the second half after a foul by James Ward-Prowse, which saw the midfielder receive a straight red card from referee Mike Jones. The Saints stay seventh, whilst the Black Cats are just a point behind Leicester in 18th with a game in hand.

Burnley are now all-but relegated after they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against West Ham. The Clarets were only able to muster half-chances throughout after going a goal down after 24 minutes at Upton Park. Michael Duff tripped Cheikhou Kouyate in the box, and was then dismissed somewhat harshly by Jon Moss. Mark Noble made no mistake with the resulting spotkick, and although the Hammers had 22 shots in the second half, more than any other team in the second half of a Premier League game this season, they couldn’t force a second. It didn’t matter though, and Burnley will return to the Championship after just one season in the top flight if they fail to beat Hull. West Ham move to ninth.

Aston Villa claimed an impressive win over Everton at Villa Park, ending the Toffees six-match unbeaten run in the league. Christian Benteke grabbed a brace in the first half, netting his 10th and 11th goals in the last nine matches in the 10th and 45th minute. Romelu Lukaku scored from the penalty spot just before the hour mark after a clumsy tackle from Ron Vlaar. Tom Cleverley then rifled the ball past Everton keeper Tim Howard to restore the two goal advantage 10 minutes later. Phil Jagielka’s goal did provide a nervy finish, but Villa held on to win 3-2. The win, however, only keeps them above the relegation zone by two points.

In the other Premier League games, Steven Gerrard scored the winner three minutes from time in his penultimate game at Anfield to secure a narrow 2-1 win for Liverpool over QPR. The Hoops are down if they lose their next game. Before kick-off, however, there was a sombre mood around the ground and both sets of teams wore black armbands following the death of the wife of QPR defender Rio Ferdinand following a battle with breast cancer. Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring against the run of play with a brilliant effort, but inexplicable misses from both Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling kept the score at 1-0. A plane was seen flying overhead with a banner saying “Rodgers out, Rafa in”, and that seemed to spur the away side on as Leroy Fer then volleyed in the equaliser with just 17 minutes to play. Gerrard should of restored the lead after Martin Skrtel was fouled by Nedhum Onohua, but the Reds’ skipper’s effort was easily pushed oit by QPR keeper Rob Green. But, after Onohua was sent off for a second yellow, Gerrard headed home the winner with three minutes left to maintain Liverpool’s slim hopes of Champions League qualification.

Liverpool’s Champions League hopes were kept alive following Manchester United’s surprise defeat at home to West Brom. Robin van Persie missed a penalty as United suffered their third consecutive defeat, with Jonas Olsson deflecting in Chris Brunt’s freekick just after the hour mark. The Baggies have now reached the 40-point mark, but have keeper Boaz Myhill to thank after the Welshman guessed correctly to deny van Persie following Saido Berahino’s handball. Fourth-placed United are now just four points ahead of fifth-placed Liverpool with three games remaining. WBA move to 13th.

Swansea left it late to beat a stubborn Stoke side 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium. Stoke held out well until the 76th minute, when Jefferson Montero met Jonjo Shelvey’s cross with a diving header. Having seen defender Marc Wilson sent off for a second bookable offence, Swansea then secured the three points when Ki Sung-Yueng calmly finished off a flowing counter attack. It’s the fourth win in six games for the Swans, whilst the Potters have won just once in their last seven games as they fell to 10th. Swansea remain in eighth.

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Chelsea midfielder Willian claims the support from the fans against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge will make this Sunday a day to remember in Chelsea history.

“We are playing at home, we have the support of the fans behind us and we have a great chance to win the game. The fans are very important, we need them to come to the game and support the team. It gives us added motivation.

“Sometimes you have to forget about the supporters and get on with your job out on the pitch but, of course, Sunday is a day when they can be a very big help for us.”

Speaking about Chelsea’s Wednesday night win at Leicester, the Brazilian said: “I was pleased with the performance of myself and the whole team, it was a difficult game, everybody gave their best and we were very happy with the result. 

“The first half was tough for us but in the second half we played much better and scored three goals, in the end I felt we deserved to win the game.”

Willian has been a key part of the Chelsea midfield this season, but he was quick to highlight the importance of the decisions of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho: “Sometimes when the way you are playing isn’t working you have to change it. The manager did that at half-time and it paid off. In the second half we had a lot more possession and played with confidence. Because of that we created more chances, which enabled us to score the three goals.”

 

 

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The recent taunts against Chelsea being ‘boring’ can be overturned – by analysing the stats about the team, and the individual players that make it, this season.

Starting with the win on the opening day of the Premier League in mid-August at Turf Moor against Burnley, Chelsea went straight to the top of the table and have stayed there since. That’s 245 days (and counting) that Jose Mourinho has been looking down at current title holders Manchester City, Liverpool, and the rest. Only Manchester United have done better, where in the 1993/94 season they spent 262 days at the top, but the Blues will surely break that record after a prolific season.

Chelsea, who have scored 68 goals this season, claim the second best attack in the league – just two less than Manchester City. But the very best defence in the league, with only 27 goals conceded. They have 24 wins and 2 losses so far this season, including the fact that they are unbeaten at Stamford Bridge.

Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard – PFA Player of the Year and leader of the Chelsea team this season

How do you consider a team who have had just two 0-0 draws, and that averages two goals per game, to be boring? Boring or not, Chelsea have a 13 points lead over Arsenal at present. This is the second largest gap in the last 29 Premier Leagues – only Manchester United in the 1999/00 season, with and 18 point gap, have fared better.

However, when it comes to Chelsea’s success, one can’t avoid mentioning the PFA Player of the Year, Eden Hazard. The Belgian has had a prolific season in London, creating 90 chances, completing 158 of 260 attempted dribbles (61%) and 1182 passes in the final third. This comes with the 18 goals he has provided in all competitions.

We could discuss other players as well, Costa with 19 goals in the Premier League for example, just two behind Tottenham striker Harry Kane, but the Spaniard has played 267 minutes fewer. Incredibly, seven of those goals came in Chelsea’s opening four games – Kane didn’t score his first league goal this season until November.

Maybe, with these factors taken into account, one can understand why Mourinho isn’t the happiest of chaps when his side are labelled with the ‘boring’ tag, by a side who haven’t won the Premier League in 10 years: “We don’t get enough credit, we are top of the league, we have the most points and people find us boring because we’ve been top since day one.”

Render unto Chelsea the things that are Chelsea’s.

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CHELSEA CRYSTAL PALACE fans
Chelsea can secure the Premier League title against Crystal Palace

Chelsea have the chance to win their first Premier League title since 2010 as they face Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (13:30 GMT KO).

Following their win against Leicester on Wednesday night, the Blues now need three points from their remaining four games to become champions.

Palace have had a productive season under former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, and the Eagles have the best current away record in the Premier League – they have won six from their last seven away from Selhurst Park ahead of their short trip across London.

 

Team News

Chelsea: 

– Diego Costa is still out with a hamstring problem, which may keep him out for the rest of the season.

– Thibaut Courtois should be fit to return after a minor hip injury which forced him to sit out of the game at the King Power Stadium.

– Loic Remy could be back in contention after a calf injury.

 

Crystal Palace:

– Palace are hopeful that defender Joel Ward will recover from a shin injury in time for the game.

– Frazier Campbell and Marouane Chamakh remain on the sidelines.

– January signing Lee Chung-Yong will be hoping for his first Palace start having last week made his debut as a substitute following a foot fracture.

 

Stats:

– Palace have lost just one of their last eight away matches in the league, earning 17 points (W5, D2, L1).

– Chelsea have only lost once to Palace in 11 Premier League meetings (losing last season at Selhurst Park). They have won eight and drawn two of the others.

– Stamford Bridge has only ever seen two Palace victories – in 1976 and 1982.

– Chelsea have won nine, drawn four and lost only one of their last 11 games.

– The home side have kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (16), while Palace have kept six, the joint-fewest.

 

Last time out:

Chelsea (away vs. Leicester, won 1-3): Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Fàbregas, Matic. Ramires, Willian, Hazard, Drogba.

Crystal Palace (home vs. Hull, lost 0-2): Speroni, Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Souaré, Puncheon, Jedinak, McArthur, Zaha, Murray, Bolasie

 

 

 

 

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CHELSEA CRYSTAL PALACE

Ahead of Chelsea’s game against Crystal Palace on Sunday (13:30 GMT KO), we take a look at the odds offer, a win being all Chelsea need to lift their first Premier League title since 2010. 

(All odds provided by SkyBET)

 

Full-time score:

Chelsea win: 1/3

Draw: 4/1

Palace win: 17/2

 

First goalscorer:

Eden Hazard: 7/2

Loic Remy: 7/2

Didier Drogba: 4/1

Oscar: 5/1

Cesc Fàbregas: 7/1

No goalscorer: 12/1

Glenn Murray: 10/1

Dwight Gayle: 12/1

Yannick Bolasie: 12/1

Jason Puncheon: 14/1

Wilfried Zaha: 16/1

 

Chelsea to win and both teams to score: 9/4

Draw and both teams to score: 5/1

Palace to win and both teams to score: 16/1

 

Chelsea not to score: 13/2

Palace not to score: 5/6

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On Friday morning’s media conference ahead of the match at Hull on Monday Arsenal’s boss Arsene Wenger gave a reply to Mourinho, who after the chant “boring, boring” from Gunners’ supporters turned the table back saying: “You support the club and you’re waiting, waiting, waiting for so many years without a Premier League title, so that’s very boring.”

“The biggest thing of managers is to respect each other and some people have to improve on that,” Wenger told the press when asked about the taunts. “Everybody lives with his own internal problems and I live with mine and that is enough.”

The chase of the Premier League title is basically over since Blues need only a win to hold the crown, but Arsene Wenger highlights that: “We have to look at it in a realistic way,” he continued. “I feel we have made progress and so I look at it in a positive way because what you want in the season is your team to become better. We faced a big challenge because Chelsea didn’t drop their level and thats why we didn’t catch them but overall we feel we have made progress.”

 

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Two good old friends are facing each other on Sunday clash in Stamford Bridge. Crystal Palace is visiting Chelsea, who is keen to make the win to hold the Premier League.

Last meeting between Alan Pardew and Jose Mourinho was back in December when Pardew was still on Newcastle bench and the Magpies made Chelsea suffer one of the only two defeats of the this season (a 2-1 at St. James’ Park).

Alan Pardew says: “Last time we met I was at Newcastle, Jose was pretty upset. We beat them 2-0. He didn’t come for a drink after that one. I hope he’s cheered up a little bit.”

That match must seem a lifetime ago, now Mourinho’s squad is just a win away to secure the title and they want to celebrate in West London this weekend, and Crystal Palace already achieved their goal since they are safe from relegation.

Pardew admits: “It’s a good game for Chelsea because we’ve achieved our objective. Our players have lost a little focus. At this level, two per cent less focus is enough to lose a game. I expect Jose to get Chelsea over the line [and win the title] but I don’t want him to do it against me on Sunday.”

Speaking on what Chelsea did this season he is sure that: “Chelsea have entertained us. Certainly for the first half of the season, they were the best team by some distance. Nobody said then they were boring. Recently there has been a little bit more ‘let’s not lose’ mentality and I get that. When you are making sure [of the title] you start not being as flamboyant. You have to admire Jose’s functionality. Any other team in their position might have had a wobble but, when Jose gets into these positions, he gets the job done.”

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