Tags Posts tagged with "title race"

title race

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Chelsea and Manchester City will play the Carabao Cup final at Wembley at the end of February.

Before that, the two teams will play their Premier League game on Sunday at Etihad Stadium and, according to Pep Guardiola, also this game will be like a final: “This is a real final for us this weekend. If we are able to take these points, we are going to take a huge step forward.” Guardiola told reporters on Wednesday night in his post-game press conference after Manchester City win vs Everton.

Guardiola is also aware Maurizio Sarri‘s side is very strong and Chelsea are having more time to prepare the game: “We started well with Arsenal and Everton but now comes a really, really big test — a big bull,” Guardiola explained. “Chelsea is an exceptional team with seven days to prepare that game. We will try. We have to prepare well”.

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Tomorrow Chelsea will play their first game during the Christmas period, hosting Leicester City at Stamford Bridge.

We have to just think about this match. They are a technical team but have players very fast, so a dangerous mix”. Maurizio Sarri explained during his pre-game press conference. “We need a good performance to gain three points”.

The Italian manager also underlined the Blues are not a contender for the Premier League title:  “I have never seen Chelsea as title contenders for the PL. There are two teams ahead of us”. Sarri admitted. “80 points is a high average and it is not easy in the Premier League”.

For tomorrow’s game vs Leicester City only Christensen is injured: “We have a little injury with Christensen, with his hamstring”. Sarri claimed. “The doctor said it is not serious but needs to rest for one week”.

Finally, Sarri himself spoke about the chance to use Eden Hazard as a “false nine”:  “We started two matches with Hazard as a striker. Then I wanted to see the solution to work in other situations, so I need two or three matches to see it. I explained the point of view to Giroud, then we will see. The solution is good I think. We played a good match against City and against Brighton we were dangerous for 60 minutes”. the Italian manager undelined. “Then it was a different match, more physical. We needed to kill the match before, the players thought it was under control. We lowered the level of application. We need to avoid this as we have to think to kill the match. I don’t know yet. Giroud played 90 minutes on Wednesday, Morata has just started training after ten days out. There isn’t a best position for Hazard. He is a wonderful player, you have to let him be free on the pitch”.  

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In his pre-game press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game vs Manchester City at Stamford Bridge the Blues manager Maurizio Sarri explained he is confident his team can get a good result vs Pep Guardiola‘s side.

At the moment we have no serious injuries. I think that every player will be able to play. But, of course, I have to see the last training [session]. The match, for us, is really very important”. Sarri said. “You know very well it’s a very difficult match against, maybe, the best team in Europe at the moment. So we know very well it’s very difficult. It’s impossible to beat them in a long period, of course, in this moment. But in a match, everything can happen.”

However, the Italian manager he is not sure also his players have the same kind of confidence at the moment: “I don’t know, but I think we have a problem to manage the match at the moment. In the last two matches we played well for 55/60 minutes but then, at the first difficulty, we went in black out”. Sarri admitted. “The first match we were lucky because they didn’t score. In the last match, we were a little bit unlucky because, for the opponents, there are five shots and only two on target, and we conceded two goals. But, after the first goal, we went in black-out and were not able to react.”

So, to overcome this difficult period, Sarri is trying to understand what he and the team can do: “We need leaders, but I think also we need a collective target. A collective target. That can give us motivation, and the motivation can give us determination”. the Italian explained. “I saw that, in some matches, we lack determination. Like in the last match. I think we were not able to have the right determination to win the match.”

This target, motivation and determination can help Chelsea reduce the gap with Manchester City:  “We started with 30 points of difference. We have to work to reduce the gap. I think that we are improving, but they are improving also, so it’s very difficult to recover the gap”. Sarri went on. “I don’t know the difference at the moment. We started very well, this season, but now we have to face some difficulties. I think it’s normal. Sooner or later, it’s normal to have some difficulties in a new way of playing. It’s normal. We have to work, we have to try to solve problem by problem, day by day. And to improve in a definitive way.”

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After the defeat vs Wolverhampton on Wednesday night, Chelsea have fallen 10 points behind Manchester City and the Blues will face Pep Guardiola‘s team on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

For Maurizio Sarri‘s side another defeat can mean the end of their Premier League title’s hopes, even if Marcos Alonso believes, whatever Saturday’s result will be, it’s too early to write Chelsea’s title hopes off.

It’s too early to talk about it, obviously. If we lose we are going to be 13 points from the top and that’s a lot of points but we have to think, prepare for the game well, and not pay attention to the table at the moment”. Alonso told Sky Sports. It is the perfect opportunity to come back. It will be a great game for sure, everyone will be very motivated to play”.

Also, Marcos Alonso explained where Chelsea have to be better if they want to get a good result vs the current Premier League champions: “We have to play more as a team. It’s something we have to analyse, we will try our best to improve as soon as possible,” Alonso added. “We’re not doing very well at the moment. More individually (than) as a team, we have to get better as a collective. We had the chances to win, we were controlling the game and started the second half having a couple of chances. The last few games we were not loyal to our style of play and, even if we did not deserve it, we lose”.

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Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has tried to explain the reasons which led to the Blues’ defeat in the Premier League game vs Tottenham on Saturday.

Our team was not as compact as it always is. The first pressure wasn’t being made, I believe it wasn’t being made”. Jorginho told ESPN Brazil. “So the defensive line ended up going down a lot and our team got very stretched.”

Also the Italian midfielder claimed the team have a lot to do if they want to have a real chance in the title race: “From the beginning, when you have City in the competition, it’s already difficult”. Jorginho explained. “But I don’t think we have to look ahead. We have to look at today, now, because there is much to improve, a lot to change.”

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In his pre-game press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game vs Tottenham, the Blues’ manager Maurizio Sarri admitted he and his players spoke about the problems they had in the last games of this season.

I think it is a mental problem. In the last three matches we had a problem with the approach of the match. But not only. We have to be careful and be focused on this problem”. Sarri explained. “For sure it is not a physical problem, we have some difficulties. It is not a tactical problem. In the last 15 minutes of three matches the opposition was more determined than us, we have to approach the match in a different way”.

The Italian manager, then confirmed Mateo Kovacic is fit and he can play tomorrow: “No big problems. As usual after international break there are some issues, a little tired, but fortunately no big problems. Kovacic is doing better” Sarri revealed. “He had an ankle problem, he has been doing all the training. I think he will be able to play”.

A win at Wembley in the London derby will boost Chelsea ambitions to win the Premier League title, but Maurizio Sarri believes this will be a very difficult task because at the moment Manchester City are still better than Chelsea: “They are stronger than us and we have to work hard to cover the gap, but it is still there”. Sarri admitted. “We have to do it [cover the gap], we can recover but in the first season I don’t think we can recover 30 points”.  

 

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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 are currently fighting for the top spot in the Premier League table, but Blues’ midfielder Cesc Fabregas believes Maurizio Sarri‘s team could still improve, especially in their “killer instinct” when it comes to score goals.

I believe a lot in this team. As long as we are winning, the confidence of the team will be higher and higher. It’s impossible to be perfect but be as close to perfection as possible” Fabregas said. “Sometimes one nil, two nil, it’s not enough. If we want to be a top team, sometimes we need to go for the kill.”

The Spanish midfielder also said once more what it is his favourite way of playing: “Sometimes you need to take risks. You have to fight for your team-mates and for the club”. Fabregas went on. “My type of football has always been to play with the ball, to have the ball, to create chances, have a forward mentality. Having movement with or without the ball”.

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Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley stated the Blues are serious contenders for Premier League title this season:

“We’re serious. A lot of the team have already achieved the success of winning the league and that’s a goal of mine,” the former Everton player claimed after today’s win against Southampton.

“Our end goal is to win the league but we’re taking each month as it comes to reach our goals and at the moment we’re achieving them.”

Barkley then added:

“I’ve had to bide my time: I had a difficult time when I first came here with a few little niggles but that was expected after a long-term injury. I’ve stuck at it, worked hard, believed in myself and I’m showing what I’m capable of. I want to keep improving and scoring goals.

“I’ve got to back myself and show what I’m capable of and not go into my shell, which I know I do sometimes. I’ve got to show confidence in my ability which I’m showing right now.”

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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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