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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois earned his 150th appearance for the Blues in the 1-2 win against Burnley at Turf Moor. The Belgian international failed to celebrate the occasion with a clean sheet as Burnley scored at 64′ with Ashley Barnes.

Courtois, who conceded 44 goals from 42 games this season so far, recently told Belgian newspapers: “I feel at ease, knowing that I will still be at Chelsea next year”.

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Chelsea loanee Kenedy, who’s enjoying a fruitful spell at Newcastle United, has confirmed he would be open to discuss a permanent move with Magpies at the end of current Premier League season.

The Brazilian winger told The Daily Mail“I am enjoying my time at Newcastle, but obviously I have a contract at Chelsea. If something occurs then I will be more than happy, it is a good place for me. I like it”.

“Rafa helps me a lot, every day. But the thing I am most thankful for is that he had belief in me and gave me this chance. I never imagined it would have gone so well. They have amazing fans, they are crazy for the team — fanatical, beautiful, I feel privileged to be around them.

“My first goal was an amazing sensation. When I saw the celebration in the stand, that gives you the energy to do whatever it takes.”

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Arsene Wenger will leave his managerial role at Arsenal when the 2017/18 campaign comes to an end, the Frenchman has announced through an official statement this morning.

We read: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.
 
“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.
 
“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.”

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When asked if Alvaro Morata‘s mistakes from a close range in the game against Burnley influenced his decision to take the Spaniard off with 20 minutes left to go, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte stand firm to back the striker.

The Italian manager said: “No, no, no. Honestly. Around 70 minutes I thought that it was better to put fresh strength with Hazard. He is a player that has different characteristics to Morata. But I must be honest I am very pleased for Morata and Giroud’s performances, they played very well.”

“To see Giroud and Morata, to play in this way and see good combination and link with them and then the desire to run and press with and without the ball, this is the right way to have satisfaction in the future.”

When asked about Morata’s reaction on the bench, he added: “I am not angry at him, Alvaro must be angry, because when you have the chance to score you have to score, especially for a striker because it can change your confidence. I think he was very angry with himself for his missed chance. But I have to see his whole performance and also even if he didn’t score I was very happy”.

“It was a situation I had in my mind and it wasn’t possible in the past to play with two strikers. They played very well and did a great job, as did the whole team. It is not simple to see two strikers and we must be pleased to see them sacrifice without the ball.”

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed his choice to play with both Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata, who was replaced by Eden Hazard later in the second half, could be proposed again as the run for a Champions League spot goes on.

The Italian boss told journalists: “This could be an option, a possibility for Sunday or the future. This was the first time we try this solution with two strikers and we had great responses about them. For sure in the future it could be an option, a good option”.

“When you have players to show you the desire and will to sacrifice for the team without the ball it is great. We surprised Burnley with two strikers.”

When asked if Morata’s mistakes from a close range influenced his decision to take him off with 20 minutes left to go, Conte added: “No, no, no. Honestly. Around 70 minutes I thought that it was better to put fresh strength with Hazard. He is a player that has different characteristics to Morata. But I must be honest I am very pleased for Morata and Giroud’s performances, they played very well.”

“To see Giroud and Morata, to play in this way and see good combination and link with them and then the desire to run and press with and without the ball, this is the right way to have satisfaction in the future.”

When asked about Morata’s reaction on the bench, he added: “I am not angry at him, Alvaro must be angry, because when you have the chance to score you have to score, especially for a striker because it can change your confidence. I think he was very angry with himself for his missed chance. But I have to see his whole performance and also even if he didn’t score I was very happy”.

“It was a situation I had in my mind and it wasn’t possible in the past to play with two strikers. They played very well and did a great job, as did the whole team. It is not simple to see two strikers and we must be pleased to see them sacrifice without the ball.”

 

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BURNLEY – Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Barnes, Wood.

Subs: Heaton, Bardsley, Taylor, Marney, Hendrick, Wells, Vokes.

Manager: Sean Dyche

CHELSEA – Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (c), Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Emerson, Pedro, Morata, Giroud.

Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Willian, Hazard.

Manager: Antonio Conte

Venue: Turf Moor

Kick-Off: 7.45PM BST

 

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Chelsea captain Gary Cahill admitted, speaking in an exclusive interview with London Evening Standard, this season “has been tough so far”.

The defender said: “It has been hard having to sit out massive games, watching us fall by the wayside and not being able to have a huge impact on that. People can argue that as a captain you can still have an impact in the dressing room but it’s difficult when you’re not playing in those big games”.

“We have slipped out of the Champions League and are now in fifth position in the table, so that’s disappointing. I don’t want to say it has been a surprise to be left out; it was more disappointing. I don’t care what anyone says about form, in certain moments of the season and in certain big games, I could finish tomorrow and be proud of what I’ve done in the past”.

“I have proved myself over the years. No doubt, the last few months have been hard to take. I have never missed that many big games on the bounce since I’ve been here. But obviously the team is the most important thing.”

Cahill still have more than a chance to be included in Gareth Southgate‘s 23-man list to play the World Cup in Russia next summer. “Of course I want to go to the World Cup in the summer,” added Cahill.

“I have played in virtually every qualifying game so if I were to miss out at the final hurdle, it would be disappointing.”

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Burnley midfielder Jack Cork spoke ahead of tonight’s clash against Chelsea, where the 28-year-old spent more than a decade at the start of his career.

Cork told the Clarets’ official website: “Now it’s really concentrating on the last few games and making sure we can really push it towards the end and make sure that position is safe and secured and then maybe look at other teams in the FA Cup to get results that we need”.

“It would be a great achievement and I’m sure everyone, if we got the opportunity, would love to do it. We have found some great form in what’s been a great season for the club, so it’s all about not wasting what we’ve done in the last five games and making sure we try and get the points on the board.

“It’s been a great time. Everyone knows we had a sticky patch, so for us to follow it up with five wins on the bounce has really put is in great shape towards the last five games to have a real good push.”

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Marcos Alonso will miss today’s clash at Burnley, the FA Cup semi-final against Southampton and away game at Swansea following a three-games ban for misconduct.

Antonio Conte confirmed Chelsea had the chance to respond after the Football Association charged the Spaniard, however an official statement read: “Marcos Alonso will miss Chelsea’s next three matches. He denied the charge and further submitted that if found proven the suspension would be excessive, however, this was rejected following Wednesday’s hearing.”

 

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The Clarets are currently sitting 7th on the table, driving forward a winning run to make sure their qualification to next season’s Europa League. Following their away victory over Chelsea in the Premier League opening week, Burnley have a huge chance to get their first double over the Blues since 1968/69 season, when they secured a 2-1 win at Turf Moor before beating Chelsea even at Stamford Bridge.

Former Chelsea youngster Jack Ckork, who spent ten years in London at the start of his career, believes a win would “make it sure” as Burnley have a clear chance to overpass Arsenal in 6th place. Also Southampton, despite a struggling Premier League season so far, would clinch a place in the Europa League if they won 2017/18 FA Cup and Burnley would be outplayed.

Cork told the club’s official website: “I don’t think we’ve beaten one of the top six teams since that day”

“We’ve had some good draws and points, but it would be great to follow that up with another win. It’s never going to be easy. Any game in the Premier League is tough and against the bigger teams these days it does seem that little bit harder”.

“So for us to get the points we need to be at our best and play like we have done in recent weeks.”

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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois earned his 150th appearance for the Blues in the 1-2 win against Burnley at Turf Moor. The Belgian international failed to celebrate the occasion with...