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Lukaku fails to impress on return and three things we learned as Chelsea breeze past Tottenham

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Lukaku fails to impress on return and three things we learned as Chelsea breeze past Tottenham

Chelsea down Tottenham

Chelsea came out on top of a semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge against local rivals Tottenham at a raucous Stamford Bridge.

The damage was done in a whirlwind first half, where Antonio Conte’s Tottenham looked unable to string more than two passes together, and fell behind in the opening minutes thanks to a goal from Chelsea forward Kai Havertz.

Spurs never really recovered, and a calamitous second meant that it was always likely to be an uphill struggle in front of a noisy Chelsea crowd.

And, while the visitors improved in the second half, they rarely tested Chelsea shot-stopper Kepa.

Here are 3 things that 101 picked out from the clash.

Both sides abandon their traditional ways

Perhaps more out of necessity rather than choice, Thomas Tuchel abandoned his favoured 3-4-3 formation that he has used for the majority of his Chelsea reign, in favour of a flat back four and three in midfield.

Saul Niguez, who had been mooted as a potential right wing-back for Tuchel in the absence of Reece James, instead played in his more familiar central midfield role.

And the system tweak was enough to force Tottenham boss Antonio Conte into changing his side, initially deployed in a 3-4-1-2, at the half time break, after a 45 minutes which had seen Chelsea dominate and take a 2-0 lead.

To see both of the most stringent advocates for a back three depart from it in the same evening, especially given Conte’s success with the system in the Premier League with Chelsea, was a sight to behold, and offers more tactical intrigue for the second leg, due to take place next week.

Romelu Lukaku- not the comeback he hoped for

It has been a rollercoaster of a week for Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku.

After stating in an unauthorised interview with Sky Italy that he was not happy at the club, just three months after joining the Blues for a record 97 million pounds, the Belgian forward was dropped from the squad for his side’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

An apology video since followed, and Lukaku was handed a chance at winning the fans back over, and a starting berth, against Tottenham.

However, he failed to impress.

The Chelsea no.9 had a quiet night in front of goal, failing to provide a goal or assist for his side, despite managing to stay on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes. It is safe to say that, after recent antics, he will have plenty more to do to make amends to the Chelsea faithful.

Tottenham left with a mountain to climb

The result has left Tottenham with a mountain to climb when they host Thomas Tuchel’s side next Wednesday evening at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Generally better at home than they are away, Spurs will nonetheless have to be significantly better than they were this evening, against a Chelsea side that will only get stronger, in order to stand any chance of making it to Wembley for a second consecutive year.

And while they remain 8 games unbeaten in the Premier League under Antonio Conte, they could find themselves out of both the Carabao Cup and the Europa Conference League under the tutelage of the Italian.

Can they turn it around next week?

Read more:

“Big big miss” Tottenham fans rue absence of one man amid defensive fiasco against Chelsea

Lukaku fails to impress on return and three things we learned as Chelsea breeze past Tottenham






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Bielsa provides update on Bamford’s status for Leeds vs Newcastle

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Marcelo Bielsa on Patrick Bamford’s status for Newcastle & latest Leeds double blow

 

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has, on Sunday, provided an update on the fitness of star striker Patrick Bamford, as well as several other members of his squad.

Harrison bags hat-trick

Bielsa, of course, guided his troops back into action a short time ago.

After seeing the club’s FA Cup hopes brought to an end at the hands of West Ham last weekend, the Whites returned to the London Stadium, this time eyeing a 2nd successive victory in the Premier League for the first time all season.

And, when all was said and done, make it six points from six is precisely what Leeds went on to do.

A game of the season contender, featuring drama, chances and goals galore, ultimately culminated in the visitors emerging on the right side of a 3-2 scoreline.

Jack Harrison proved the star of the show, bagging all three of Leeds’ goals, to deal a hefty blow to West Ham’s top-4 hopes.

‘Could be an option’

Whilst they eventually emerged victorious on Sunday, though, Leeds’ endeavours at the London Stadium came at a cost.

This came as yet another pair of key members of Marcelo Bielsa’s squad were added to the lengthy list of walking wounded in west Yorkshire.

Remarkably, in the space of 60 first-half seconds, both Junior Firpo and Adam Forshaw pulled up with hamstring problems, eventually resulting in the pair limping out of proceedings.

Speaking to the media post-match, Leeds’ boss was therefore inevitably asked for an update on the wellbeing of the latest additions to the treatment table at the club.

And Bielsa simply went on to confirm that Firpo and Forshaw have picked up ‘muscular problems’:

Even more significant, meanwhile, was an update on the fitness of Patrick Bamford.

Hitman Bamford, who missed out once more this afternoon as a precaution, ‘could be an option’ to feature in Leeds’ next outing versus Newcastle, Bielsa confirmed.

Also in with a shot of facing the Magpies, albeit less likely, are both Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts:

‘(Patrick) Bamford could be an option [for the next game], but also after a long period of inactivity and slightly less chance (Jamie) Shackleton and (Tyler) Roberts.’

 

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This article was edited by
Josh Barker.

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Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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How close Liverpool pair are to breaking all-time PL defender assist record

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How close Liverpool pair are to breaking all-time PL defender assist record after Brentford

 

The latest assists bagged by Liverpool pair Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold during the club’s meeting with Brentford have seen the defenders inch ever closer to an impressive Premier League benchmark.

Minamino amongst the goals

Jurgen Klopp’s under-manned Reds were of course back in action earlier today.

Sans the services of the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita, Liverpool welcomed Thomas Frank’s Brentford to Anfield, eyeing a return to winning ways on the back of just two points secured from the club’s last three Premier League outings.

And, when all was said and done on Merseyside, emerge with a comfortable victory is precisely what the day’s hosts managed.

On the back of a disappointing first-half display, Klopp’s men returned for the 2nd-half looking revitalised, eventually culminating in all of Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino finding the net en route to a 3-0 result:

Robbo closing on Baines

As so often proves the case for Liverpool, the club’s full-backs proved central to their eventual triumph on Sunday afternoon.

Both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson looked attacking threats throughout, with the stoppers having eventually been rewarded for their efforts courtesy of the assists for Fabinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain respectively.

And, in the process, both inched ever closer to etching their names indellibly into the history books of the Premier League.

As per William Hill, Robertson, despite having played less than half the number of games, is now just nine assists off breaking Leighton Baines’ record as the all-time top assisting defender in the Premier League.

Alexander-Arnold, meanwhile, in 56 games fewer than teammate Robertson, sits just two assists back of the Scot:

 

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This article was edited by
Josh Barker.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Chelsea FC 22 28 43
3 Liverpool FC 20 34 42
4 West Ham United 21 12 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 0 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 20 -6 23
15 Everton FC 19 -10 19
16 Leeds United 19 -16 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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Kurzawa clarification & a hint over loanee’s return

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Chelsea left-back latest: Kurzawa clarification & Hint dropped over loanee’s return

 

A fresh insight into the efforts of Premier League giants Chelsea to secure a new left-back, has, on Sunday, been forthcoming online.

Chilwell’s untimely blow

The subject of personnel woes has of course taken its place front and centre when it comes to the headlines at Stamford Bridge of late.

This comes with Thomas Tuchel and co., at such a crucial point in the campaign, having been forced to deal with a remarkable stretch of bad luck.

Owing to a combination of Covid-19 and injuries, Chelsea have navigated the last couple of months, at one point or another, without all of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Trevoh Chalobah.

Of all of their woes, however, none have hit the Blues quite as hard as the loss of left-wing-back Ben Chilwell.

Just as the English international appeared to have rediscovered his best, an ACL injury picked up during a meeting with Juventus late in November ultimately culminated in Chilwell being ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

Chelsea left-back latest: Kurzawa clarification & Hint dropped over loanee’s return

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 23: Ben Chilwell of Chelsea lies injured during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and Juventus at Stamford Bridge on November 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Kurzawa ruled out/Emerson hint?

Chilwell’s absence, in turn, has left Chelsea alarmingly light at left-back, with Marcos Alonso, as things stand, the sole natural senior option at the disposal of Thomas Tuchel.

It therefore shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that, on the back of the winter transfer window swinging open, the transfer chiefs at Stamford Bridge have begun seeking out reinforcements.

And now, on Sunday, a fresh insight into the situation has been provided.

First up comes clarification regarding the Blues’ rumoured interest in bringing in out-of-favour Paris Saint-Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa.

As per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, despite reports to the contrary, those in a position of power in west London have not opened discussions with their PSG counterparts over a surprise deal:

And this could well be linked to the day’s other major news surrounding the left-back situation in Thomas Tuchel’s squad.

This comes in the form of Pensioners loanee Emerson Palmieri being completely omitted from Olympique Lyonnais’ matchday squad to face Troyes in Ligue 1.

Chelsea are understood to be keen to cut Emerson’s loan stint in France short this month, with his absence on Sunday perhaps hinting that the club’s efforts towards precisely that are moving in the right direction.

 

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Chelsea FC 22 28 43
3 Liverpool FC 20 34 42
4 West Ham United 21 12 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 0 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 20 -6 23
15 Everton FC 19 -10 19
16 Leeds United 19 -16 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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