Tag Archives: EPL

Chelsea Ends Arsenal’s Hope For Next Season Champions League

Eden Hazard scored two goals and made another to help Chelsea thump London rivals Arsenal in Baku and win the 2018/2019 UEFA Europa League.

Victory gave Blues boss Maurizio Sarri the first trophy of his managerial career and ensured the Gunners will miss out on next season’s UEFA Champions League.

With only about 5,000 fans from both sides able to make it to Azerbaijan, there was an eerie atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, which appeared less than half full.

That was the surreal setting for a match played 2,500 miles away from both teams’ home, and the game itself was devoid of action before the break before bursting into life early in the second half.

Former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock when he met Emerson’s clipped cross with a powerful near-post header that zipped past Petr Cech.

Cech, also facing his old side and playing the final match of his career, could do nothing about Chelsea’s second goal either, with Pedro sweeping home a Hazard cross.
Hazard made it 3-0 from the penalty spot soon after, sending Cech the wrong way after Ainsley Maitland-Niles fouled Giroud.

Read Also: Breaking: UEFA Europa League Final: Arsenal, Chelsea release starting XI
Substitute Alex Iwobi briefly gave Arsenal hope with a powerful first-time strike moments after coming on.

But Hazard quickly made sure of victory, playing a one-two with Giroud and firing home Chelsea’s fourth goal.

The Belgium forward said after the game it was likely to be his Chelsea “goodbye” as he continues to be linked to Real Madrid.
Chelsea’s triumph brought them their fifth European title and their first since they won the Europa League in Amsterdam in 2013.

An emotional Sarri celebrated with his players on the pitch, but his future remains in doubt despite ending his first season at Stamford Bridge on a successful note.

(BBC Sports)

‘Salah, Robertson, Henderson Should Be Fine Before Sunday’ Klopp hopes ahead of Premier League Finale

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Mohamed Salah , Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson fit for Sunday ’ s Premier League finale against Wolverhampton Wanderers as the Reds aim to end a 29 – year wait to win the title.

Klopp ’ s men trail Manchester City by one point at the top of the table and need the champions ’ 13 – game -winning run to come to an end at Brighton if they are to win the league .

Liverpool are in high spirits after a stunning 4 – 0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday that booked their place in a second consecutive Champions League final , a match top scorer Salah missed after suffering a concussion in the Reds ’ 3 – 2 win at Newcastle last weekend.

“ Mo looked good around the celebrations after the game , to be honest , ” said Klopp .
“ The day before yesterday and yesterday he was running outside and will be part of training today . ”

Klopp confirmed Roberto Firmino remains out with a groin tear as Wolves visit Anfield, but is hopeful the Brazilian will be ready for the Madrid final against Tottenham Hotspur on June 1 .

Robertson had to be replaced at half -time against Barca and Henderson required a pain – killing injection at the break after taking a kick on the knee late in the first half .

“ The famous three words of this week in the dressing room : ‘ It’ s only pain , ‘” added Klopp .

“ Unfortunately , Robbo could deal with the pain but only the rest of his body couldn ’ t because he couldn ’ t really activate the muscle anymore, some nerve hit or whatever . They should be fine (for Sunday ) . ”

Klopp hailed his side ’ s thrashing of a Barca side containing Lionel Messi as “ one of the best moments in football history ”, and he is hoping a crazy week that also saw Spurs come from 3 – 0 down on aggregate to beat Ajax in the other Champions League semi -final has another twist .

“ It was a week of miracles , of big football moments and there could be a big football moment for us on Sunday , ” added Klopp .
“ Most people expected me to sit here today saying now we are out of the Champions League and it is pretty difficult to become champion .

“ The only thing we can do is to win the game . In this situation, it seems like Wolves and Brighton are only there and that City will win , and we will win , and they will be champion . But there is a game to play . ”

(AFP)

‘We’ ve Learnt From Last Season’s Mistakes – Aubameyang

Arsenal striker Pierre – Emerick Aubameyang , says the club has learnt from last season ’ s mistakes in the Europa League after his hat – trick against Valencia sealed their progress to the final of the competition on Thursday .

A 4 – 2 win at the Mestalla gave Arsenal a convincing 7 – 3 aggregate victory over Valencia to take the London side to their first European final since 2006 . They will face Chelsea in an all- English affair in Baku on May 29 .

Aubameyang , who signed for Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January last year, was ineligible for the Europa League last season .

The Gunners fell at the semi – finals to eventual champions Atletico Madrid , after failing to take advantage of a red card in the first leg and losing 2 – 1 on aggregate .
“ We are through to the final and we are all happy , ” Aubameyang told Arsenal’ s website . “ It meant a lot . I think we ’ ve learnt from last season and this year we didn ’ t make the same mistakes. ”

It was Aubameyang’ s first hat – trick for the club and Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal praised him and his strike partner Alexandre Lacazette , who provided the assist for the first goal and also got on the score sheet in the second half .

“ We needed him and we needed Laca , ” Monreal said . “We ’ re so proud of him because he ’ s scored three goals in a semi – final .

“ He ’ s helped us a lot but it’ s not only him , it’ s every player. He scored a hat – trick , so we are all really happy for him . ”
Lacazette said Arsenal had to push on now and win the trophy to qualify for the Champions League next season , with a top – four spot and automatic qualification nearly out of reach.

This was after they picked up only four points from their last six games.
The north London club , who are fifth in the Premier League, require a win , an unlikely eight – goal swing and for fourth- placed Tottenham to lose on the final day to finish in the top four.

“ We want to play in the Champions League and we want to win this trophy, ” Lacazette said .

“ We ’ ve played badly in the last month in the Premier League , so we have to be better now.

“ We ’ re going to the final , so we have to use this opportunity to win and go to the Champions League . ”

FIFA rejects Chelsea’s Ban Appeal

The FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by Chelsea FC against the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to sanction the club with a ban on registering new players at both national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods.

This ban applied to the club as a whole – with the exception of the women’s and futsal teams – and did not prevent the release of players.

With respect to all men’s teams, the ban on registering new players, both nationally and internationally for two registration periods, has been confirmed by the FIFA Appeal Committee, with the following exception:

The FIFA Appeal Committee believes that Chelsea’s wrongdoing consisted in not respecting the prohibition from internationally transferring or registering for the first time foreign minor players. In the committee´s opinion, imposing a ban on registering each and every minor would not be proportionate to the offence committed.

Consequently, the FIFA Appeal Committee decided that, as far as youth categories are concerned, the ban shall not cover the registration of minor players under the age of 16 who do not fall under the scope of art. 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, which refers to international transfers and first registrations of foreign minor players.

Additionally, the FIFA Appeal Committee confirmed the fine of CHF 600,000. The decision issued by the FIFA Appeal Committee was notified today.

‘Sarri not at fault for my Injury’ Kante Defends Manager

N’Golo Kante has defended Maurizio Sarri after his manager admitted responsibility for his midfielder’s hamstring injury while also issuing a rallying cry for Chelsea to turn a turbulent season into a great one.

The 28-year-old went off injured in the ninth minute of Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Watford on Sunday and is battling to be fit for a possible Europa League final on 29th May.

He is expected to miss out the next two matches this week as Chelsea bid to get to the final in from their second leg with Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge with the tie still in the balance at 1-1.

They will then play Leicester City on Sunday, but the match has little at stake with the club having already secured their place in the Champions League through a top-four Premier League finish.

Yet, despite Sarri saying that he made a ‘mistake’ in using Kante on Sunday, the midfielder refused to blame his manager and is preparing for his recovery.

“No. I was just fine and it just happened,” Kante said at Stamford Bridge. “I’m ok, I just have pain through my hamstring and I just need a bit of time to check what it is. That is one possibility [that I will be out until the final], but first, we need to check and take the time to check everything to see how long it will take.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s top-four finish ensures that the club doesn’t face two consecutive seasons out of Europe’s elite competition as both Arsenal and Manchester United failed to win this weekend, allowing Sarri’s side to confirm their lucrative return to the Champions League.

Sarri’s side were booed at half-time as Watford dominated but the victory turned the Stamford Bridge atmosphere into a positive one on the final whistle. Kante admits that Chelsea have deserved the adverse reaction at times this season, but he still thinks the squad can deliver a ‘great finish’ to the season.

At the end, we all want a good season and to finish well. So we hope we can get what we want on Thursday and go to the final. We want to qualify for the Champions League and get a trophy. It would be a great finish.

“Why not? It can make this season be cheerful. But step by step, the first step is to get to the final.”

Kante has been in the spotlight this season after the PFA Player of the Year for 2017 changed his role in the midfield under his new manager to accommodate the club’s £57 million signing Jorginho.

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