Tags Posts tagged with "title race"

title race

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Chelsea managed to maintain their unbeaten record under Guus Hiddink with a London derby win at the Emirates. After a lively opening 15 minutes in which Chelsea looked largely on top without any real clear chances. Until the 18th minute when Willian played a delightful through ball for Diego Costa to latch on to, only for Per Mertesacker to slide in and catch Costa. And deemed as last man, Mark Clattenburg had no choice but to show him the red card.

In a more advanced role Cesc Fabregas pulled the strings from midfield making a big influence on the whole of the first half, and just 5 minutes after the Mertesacker sending off the Chelsea pressure told. With the ball falling to Ivanovic wide right, he whips the ball across goal for Costa to place it past former Blue Petr Cech. Costa soon after had another great chance in the first half but couldn’t get the better of Cech for the second time. This was closely followed by an Ivanovic header that was cleared off the line.

The second half proved largely cagey, with no clear cut chances. Whilst Arsenal battled back into the game and the entrance of Alexis Sanchez really spurred on the home side with his burst of pace from the midfield which caused a few edgy moments in the Chelsea box. Although Cesc Fabregas had a huge penalty shout turned down when he was barged aside by Laurent Koscielny.

But the Blues held on for a well deserved victory over their London rivals and puts them in a good position moving forward, while still searching for that vital top four spot.

 

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Chelsea Ladies took one more step to securing their first WSL title with a 0-4 win over Liverpool Ladies.

A double from Ji So-Yun and strikes from Eniola Aluko and Fran Kirby secured a comfortable win for Emma Hayes’ side.

The home side hit the woodwork twice with the score at 0-0, but Chelsea were clinical when it mattered.

The Blues have now also secured Champions League football for the winter of 2016/17.

They can win the title if they beat Sunderland next Sunday.

Liverpool Ladies: Stout, Harris, Bonner, Omarsdottir, Dowie, Smorgard (Oshoala 77), White, Ryland (Pacheco 46), Zelem, Staniforth (Hodson 64), Murray.

Substitutes not used: Derbyshite, Easton.

Chelsea Ladies: Lindahl, Blundell, Flaherty, Fahey, Davison, Aluko (Borges 71), Ji, Rafferty, Kirby, Chapman (Bright 57), Spence (Coombs 74).

Substitutes not used: Hourihan, Ayane.

Attendance: 1,013

 

In the league’s other games, Bristol Academy’s disastrous season finally culminated in relegation after they lost 6-1 at Manchester City. The hosts led 3-0 at the break thanks to goals from Jill Scott, Isobel Christiansen and Lucy Bronze.
Nikita Parris added a fourth, Christiansen netted her second from the spot and Georgia Stanway made it six.
Caroline Weir netted a consolation goal as Bristol were condemned to WSL2. City meanwhile ensured that the WSL1 title race would go down to the final day.

Sunderland’s slim hopes of Champions League football next season were dashed as they lost 1-3 to Arsenal, who themselves have kept their title hopes alive. Striker Ubogagu stabbed home the opener, only for Beth Mead to to round Sari Van Veenendaal for the equaliser.
Another close-range finish from Ubogagu made it 2-1 before Natalia Pablos curled in a third for Arsenal.

In WSL2, Doncaster and Reading both secured promotion to the top flight after Yeovil failed to overcome Oxford.

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jose mourinho

Chelsea’s Champions League match against Maccabi Tel Aviv tomorrow night is most important of the season, it coming off the club’s worst start to a season in a generation. 

That a new campaign is before them should give the team the chance to start afresh and escape from their current domestic woes. Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Everton was perhaps the worst performance of the season, although it was slightly less embarrassing than the home loss to Crystal Palace before the international break.

Despite Mourinho’s words after that the team is currently being unlucky, it is clear that there is something very wrong with the team in all areas. Star performers from last season have been unheard of so far- Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard being the most obvious- and those known for their steadfastness and consistency- Ivanovic and Terry- have been more like liabilities than assets.

The game at Goodison Park showed that the defence is porous- Everton cut through it three times with minimal effort- and the attack impotent- Tim Howard had little to do other than throw the ball back after Matic’s superb first half strike- and previous games this season back that up. The team above all looks unfit, perhaps due to too casual a pre-season, rather than suffering from any hang up over the drama with Eva Carneiro, the controversy from which was largely manufactured by the tabloid media.

Jose Mourinho must ultimately take responsibility for that, as he must for all things related to the team, but one must be cautious before regurgitating the predictable platitudes about threats to his job. The fact is that Mourinho, who the club recently gave a new contract to, remains its most precious asset, and the one we must give credit to when the team regains its form.

That could well come tomorrow night, and we must be thankful Chelsea have a chance against relatively weak opposition. Maccabu Tel Aviv will no doubt see it as a chance to take a point or more from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea must see it as chance to exert frustration. The backlash, when a successful side suffers an embarrassing defeat and wins the next game by several goals, has become part of football semantics and tradition, Wednesday night appears to suit it quite well.

A convincing win will not mean Chelsea’s problems have gone away but rather show that they can, when they have fixed the technical problems it is suffering, produce the performance that they did consistently 12 months ago, and give the team a timely boost ahead of the weekend’s game against Arsenal.

It feels strange to suggest that a mid-September week is of such importance, and it isn’t for Chelsea’s or Mourinho’s immediate future, but it could determine how quickly the side regains its confidence and form. A A defeat will leave it either completely out of the title race or facing a similarly difficult struggle in the Champions League that it is currently in the Premiership, two wins will see the season reset.

 

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vincent kompany

Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany assures that he’s not interested in the season Chelsea are doing so far, but he is sure Mourinh’s side will recover from this bad moment.

The Belgian defender had some physical problems in the last campaign, where his team didn’t bring home any silverware, but after the terrific start it seems that this year can be a lot better for both:

For me, to have a season like last season wasn’t acceptable and I’ve done what I’ve always know when times were tough.

I just got back to basics, worked even harder and I’ve come back stronger. Right now, what I see in this team which I haven’t seen – probably ever – is just a level of focus.

It’s probably because most of us have got so much to deal with in the past 12 months. Everyone knows we cannot afford ourselves a mental rest until we’ve finished the job.

I’m trying generally not to care (about Chelsea’s start). I’m focused on ourselves. Teams like Chelsea, Arsenal… the big teams will always come back so it’s a matter of time.”

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JOSE MOURINHO
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea travel to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow afternoon in what is bound to be one of, if not the most, important matches of the season against Manchester City.

The events of last weekend have made it more so- Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Swansea City in which the the Blues twice gave a lead away and ended up with ten players after Thibaus Courtois was sent off, and Manchester City’s win at West Brom.

Should Chelsea lose it will leave them five points behind City and without a win after two games. A win, however, will take them above City, such is open state of the Premiership table. This early on in the season it is probably wrong to suggest that this game, although between the two favourites for the league title, will have a bearing on who comes first at the end of the season, but it is safe to say that being five points back st any time is a very bad thing and something Mourinho will avoid above anything else.

Last season Chelsea won the title thanks to their dominance over their direct rivals; they were unbeaten against Manchester City, United, Arsenal and Liverpool, and took 14 points in total against those teams. The only blemish against the other top sides in the league was the horrendous 5-3 defeat at White Hart Lane against Spurs, but that game was remarkable for being unusual as much as it was humiliating for Jose Mourinho’s side.

 

It is notable that despite the massive points advantage Chelsea had over tomorrow’s opponents, did not beat them last season. Both games were overshadowed by the presence of Frank Lampard, playing for City after leaving Chelsea. This time there is no such situation, neither side has lost a player to the other, and there is no chance of Lampard hurting Chelsea with a trademark delayed run into the penalty area. Had Chelsea beaten Swansea City and not suffered a red card then it is likely Mourinho would put more emphasis on the two draws last season and the need to show once and for all that his group of players trump Manuel Pellegrini’s.

The result last weekend, and the second choice ‘keeper Asmir Begovic, means that this game must not under circumstances end in defeat. It will be of no surprise if Mourinho adopts the same approach that he did away at City last season and at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal when Chelsea settled for a draw after a bright start, the latter of those being the last big game Chelsea played before winning the title.

Against Arsenal Chelsea started quickly and could, had the referee made a different decision, had the lead through a penalty, but the team sat back to guarantee the draw late on. Earlier on in September at City they sat back to begin with and almost won the game having taken the lead with 12 minutes left through Andre Schurrle, before the infamous Lampard equaliser.

Tomorrow’s game will be tense, and probably more exciting for its lack of goals as opposed to the quality of the attacking play from England’s two best sides, and ultimately Chelsea’s approach may be out of their hands if, probably when, the home side take the initiative. To win the game is undoubtedly a bigger prize for City, one does think that they will need a lead to give themselves the momentum into the Autumn and Winter given Chelsea and Jose Mourinho’s experience in winning league titles. The game itself will not decide the title, but it could well determine the first half of the season, with either side having an early advantage.

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yaya toure

Speaking about the upcoming season Manchester City player Yayà Tourè said the Pellegrini’side are ready to come back stronger in the league, so to challenge Chelsea for the title.

As for predictions, I don’t want to say we’ll do this or that – just that we have our targets and we want to make the fans and this club proud,” he revealed.

“Last season was disappointing by our own standards because we know we could have done better.”

“We are looking forward to bouncing back very strongly.”

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Gary Neville reckons Chelsea are still the team to beat in the Premier League.

The former Manchester United defender, now a pundit at Sky Sports, said:

We’re in July when teams haven’t completed their business yet; that’s something I think you’ve got to be very careful about at this stage.

“But as I stand here today now, I think it would be very difficult to look to past Chelsea. However, who knows what is going to happen in the next month in terms of signings and how those signings will then come in and adapt.

“Things can always happen and you could look at a team in a month’s time and think ‘they’re going to take some stopping with the people they’ve signed’, we haven’t seen the transfer market flush itself out yet.

But certainly now, without the business having been done, you aren’t as informed as you’d like to be, but Chelsea would be the team to beat and I think everyone would say that.”

 

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CAHILL

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill spoke during a commercial act in London.

The centre-back revealed that despite being a top footballer with a very good wage he leads a very normal life:

“It is nice if people say you are grounded because I think it is important to be that way,” the English player claimed.

“Everyone is different. That is just me. My personality is that. I play football.

I feel I am in a privileged position, but I work hard to be where I am. Away from football, I lead a normal life.”

My family around me are just normal, everything in my life is normal, apart from my trophy cabinet, which is great,”

During the past season Cahill had a moment of low form – that is quite normal in a season that lasts ten months- around January, where Kurt Zouma took his place in some games. Reminding that period, he said:

 

Criticism puts fire in your belly. I got a lot of criticism halfway through the season and it’s satisfying to get to the end of the season and you’ve won a couple of things.

“You always want to strive to be the best and if people doubt you you want to prove them wrong.

“I’m sure it will happen again at some stage in my career, so I just keep working hard.”

Looking to next season he admitted:

We have started to build something here but without getting too ahead of ourselves we have done really well, but next season will be a great season.

And he accepts the challenge Manchester City pose to Chelsea next year will be anything but normal.

“We have even spoken among ourselves that we know it will be even harder to retain it”.

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ARSENE WENGER

Speaking to TalkSPORT Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn said that Arsenal is still to weak to challenge teams like Chelsea and Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

The former Gunners defender, in fact, claimed:

If you look at it, he has got to spend money because the Premier League is the one.

Chelsea were better this year and more consistent. He’s not missing too many players, he just needs two or three players – they still need a leader.”

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fellaini

Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has said that he is confident of his side’s credentials for next season.

The Belgian thinks his side can challenge the champions, Chelsea, in the title race in the 2015-16 campaign, after finishing a disappointing fourth in Louis van Gaal’s first season in charge at Old Trafford.

Speaking to Goal.com, the 27-year old admitted:

“Of course we can catch Chelsea. We have the quality, I think we will sign some new players, so why not? We have to.

“We have the quality and we are a big team, so we have to.”

 

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