Monaco Come Back To Stun PSG After Mbappe Double

Monaco’s players and staff celebrate after winning the French L1 football match between Monaco (ASM) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco on November 20, 2020. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

 

Cesc Fabregas scored a late winner from the penalty spot as Monaco came from two goals down to stun reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Kylian Mbappe had netted a first-half brace, including a penalty, against his former side, taking him to 99 goals for PSG and leaving his current team seemingly on course for a ninth consecutive league win.

But German international Kevin Volland struck twice for Monaco after the break and Fabregas converted from 12 yards in the 84th minute after Abdou Diallo had been sent off for conceding the all-important penalty.

PSG remain clear at the top of Ligue 1, but this result is a major setback for Thomas Tuchel’s team before a crucial Champions League tie against RB Leipzig next week.

“I am more surprised than I am angry,” said Tuchel, who was also disappointed to see further first-half goals for Mbappe and Moise Kean disallowed.

“I saw two totally different halves. First of all we completely controlled the game…and then the second half was completely different. I can only say it is our responsibility.”

Niko Kovac’s Monaco climb up to second in the table, four points behind PSG, but Lille can reclaim second spot and move to within two points of the leaders if they beat Lorient on Sunday.

“If you come back from two down to win 3-2 it is for sure something special, but I don’t want to glorify it too much,” said ex-Bayern Munich coach Kovac.

“We cannot stop and say everything is done. It was a big victory but nothing more.”

PSG have been severely handicapped by injuries and suspensions this season, and Neymar was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench at kick-off at the Stade Louis II after missing Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers over the last week due to fitness problems.

– Volland stars –
Mbappe was back in the starting line-up, however, after missing his club’s last two outings prior to the international break with a hamstring injury.

Facing his former club, with whom he won the Ligue 1 title in 2017, Mbappe burst through to put Paris in front in the 25th minute after being released by Angel Di Maria.

He then found the net again in the 37th minute, converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Rafinha by Youssouf Fofana.

His ninth goal of the season leaves him just one away from a century of goals in a PSG shirt since his arrival from Monaco at the start of 2017/18 in a 180 million-euro ($213m) deal. He even had another goal disallowed just before half-time.

Without their French international striker Wissam Ben Yedder after he tested positive for coronavirus, it was a long way back for Monaco but they reduced the deficit seven minutes after half-time when Gelson Martins set up Volland to score from close in.

Volland then equalised with a tap-in after Fabregas, on as a substitute, had beaten goalkeeper Keylor Navas to a cross.

Worse was to come for the visitors, as Diallo — another former Monaco player — clumsily conceded a penalty and was shown a red card after the referee opted to review the images.

Fabregas made no mistake from the spot, as PSG lost a Ligue 1 game after leading by two goals for just the second time since the Qatari takeover of the club in 2011.

Earlier Rennes warmed up for their Champions League rematch with Chelsea in the worst possible fashion, going down to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Bordeaux.

Hatem Ben Arfa scored the only goal of the game against his old club, as Rennes slip to fifth before entertaining Chelsea in a game they realistically need to win to keep any hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 alive.

Fabregas Eyes Champions League Return With Monaco

French refere Benoit Bastien (C) talks to Monaco’s Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas (2ndL) and Monaco’s French defender Djibril Sidibe (3ndR). JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

 

Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas Eyes Champions League Return With Monaco said on Wednesday his main aim is to take the Ligue 1 club back to the Champions League, a trophy he is yet to win in his illustrious career.

Fabregas joined the Principality outfit in January from Premier League outfit Chelsea but they will miss out on European competition altogether as they sit in a lowly 16th position in Ligue 1 with seven games to go.

“For next season the objective set by the club is clear, we are not here for a good time. We are here to take Monaco to the Champions League, it’s my dream,” he said.

READ ALSO: Lukaku Urges United Players To Be Confident In Barca Return Clash

The closest Fabregas has come to lifting European club football’s most coveted prize was as a runner-up with Arsenal in 2006.

A World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, the 31-year-old said he left Stamford Bridge due to a decrease in playing time under new boss Maurizio Sarri, who signed midfielders such as Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic last summer.

“I could have extended my contract with Chelsea. A new coach came in with players like kids. It wasn’t possible for me to play anymore,” Fabregas said.

Fabregas arrived at Monaco to work with former teammate Thierry Henry as the boss but he was sacked and replaced them by the club’s former head coach Leonardo Jardim after less than fourth months in charge.

“It’s true, Thierry’s departure was a shock, but it’s in the past. I’m thinking about Monaco’s future, its rescue and my future, which will be here,” he said.

AFP

Fabregas, Morata Put Chelsea On Cruise Control

Chelsea’s Spanish striker Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football. Photo: GLYN KIRK / AFP

Chelsea lifted Antonio Conte’s spirits ahead of the crucial final days of the transfer window as goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over woeful Everton on Sunday.

Conte has spent the last few weeks grumbling about Chelsea’s failure to land his top transfer targets, and with the window closing next week, the Blues boss is hoping to bolster his depleted squad with several signings.

Against that troubled backdrop, it was essential Chelsea signed off before the international break with three points to keep in touch with Premier League pace setters Manchester United.

The champions achieved that aim with ease as Fabregas opened the scoring in the first half at Stamford Bridge before Morata bagged his second goal since his club record £58 million ($74 million) move from Real Madrid.

Conte’s men have now won two in a row following their shock opening-day defeat against Burnley, but they won’t have many less demanding victories than this one against a lethargic Everton side who barely broke sweat.

Although Morata scored again, the Spain striker was a diffident figure for long periods and Conte knows Chelsea’s hopes of more silverware rest on him being given extra options to juggle the demands of a gruelling season.

Everton’s first league defeat of the season was a frustrating end to what had been a positive week for Ronald Koeman’s men after they drew at Manchester City and qualified for the Europa League group stages.

Back from suspension, Fabregas came in for Tiemoue Bakayoko and was immediately in the thick of the action when Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye escaped with a yellow card after catching the Spaniard with a crude studs-up lunge.

Quickly monopolising possession, Chelsea threatened an early goal as William’s penetrating run teed up Morata in the penalty area.

But Morata opted to pass and the chance was gone when Pedro lifted an ambitious bicycle kick over the crossbar.

David Luiz took a direct approach moments later, bringing Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford into action for the first time with a low strike from just outside the area.

Pedro followed suit with another long-range effort that had Pickford sprawling to his right to save.

Killer blow 

Chelsea’s relentless pressure was rewarded in the 27th minute.

Fabregas flicked a pass to Morata and timed his run perfectly to receive the Spaniard’s headed return ball in stride, nudging in front of Leighton Baines to guide a deft finish past Pickford for his first goal of the season.

Although Everton had a draining Europa League assignment at Hajduk Split on Thursday, even that couldn’t completely excuse a desperately uninspired display.

It was only a matter of time before Chelsea made them pay again and it was Morata who delivered the killer blow in the 40th minute.

After referee Jon Moss played the advantage following a foul on Victor Moses, Cesar Azpilicueta had time and space to whip over a pin-point cross and Morata punished the flat-footed Everton defence with a header beyond Pickford from 10 yards.

Pedro almost made it three just after half-time with a curling effort that whistled wide before Everton finally carved out a chance.

Sandro Ramirez had only Thibaut Courtois to beat when he raced onto Wayne Rooney’s pass, but the striker’s miscued shot was in keeping with his side’s limp performance.

Normal service was soon resumed as Chelsea peppered Pickford’s goal, with Pedro shooting wide and Moses firing too close to the keeper.

Despite Chelsea’s commanding position, Conte remained typically hyperactive on the touchline.

A calmer head will be required when he returns to the transfer maelstrom.

AFP

Conte shrugs off speculation over Costa and Hazard

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said he is more concerned with winning trophies than with attempting to keep all of his players happy, as he played down speculation linking some big names with moves away from the club.

Diego Costa and Eden Hazard have been touted with moves to China and Spain respectively, while even Conte himself was rumoured to be a target for Inter Milan this week.

“It’s normal in this part of the season and this period. It is normal to cope with this situation, with this speculation. But for sure sometimes that you can find the truth. And a lot of times you it is not true. But for sure this part of the season it’s not normal,” he said.

However, the Italian insisted his team were fully focused ahead of playing relegation threatened Middlesbrough at the weekend.

Chelsea lead the Premier League with four games left and are in the final of the FA Cup in Conte’s first season in charge, but the Italian’s preference for stability has resulted in some established players being reduced to impact substitutes.

The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Brazil international Willian have spent a large part of the season on the bench, and when asked on Friday if Fabregas was happy at the club, Conte said the players’ happiness was not his primary concern.

“I like to underline a concept that I mustn’t keep happy the player. We must win,” he said, while also expressing surprise that players would be unhappy in a season when they are fighting for the Premier League title and to win the FA Cup.

Chelsea Storm To 13th Straight Victory

Chelsea Storm To 13th Straight VictoryA Willian brace helped Chelsea beat Stoke City to claim their 13th consecutive Premier League win and equal Arsenal’s record for the most successive victories within the same season.

Gary Cahill opened the scoring from Cesc Fabregas’ 100th Premier League assist – only the fourth player to reach the milestone – before Stoke equalised via Bruno Martins Indi’s first PL goal 56 seconds into the second half.

The Blues made it 2-1 when Willian fired through the crowd after Eden Hazard’s cushioned pass, but Stoke levelled for the second time through Peter Crouch.

Chelsea hit back immediately to take the lead for the third time as Willian rifled into the roof of Lee Grant’s net, while Diego Costa completed the scoring on his return from suspension with his 14th of the season.

Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba scored two late goals as Manchester United deservedly beat Middleborough.

Hal Robson-Kanu scored a stunning winner on his first Premier League start in over three years as West Brom came from behind to beat Southampton.

Managerless Swansea City remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after they were thoroughly outplayed by Bournemouth.

Leicester City beat West Ham United 1-0.

Manchester City, Chelsea Penalised For Etihad Fracas

Manchester City, Chelsea, EtihadManchester City and Chelsea have been fined £35,000 and £100,000 respectively.

The penalty was issued on Tuesday after players from both teams clashed when the Blues visited the Etihad Stadium earlier this month.

The dispute erupted at the end of City’s 3-1 defeat, after Sergio Aguero was dismissed for a tackle on David Luiz.

Fernandinho was consequently sent off after grabbing Cesc Fabregas as the two teams confronted each other.

Visiting Chelsea had earlier been warned they could face a point’s deduction.

The penalty follows the ban placed on City’s Yaya Toure by a court in England, not to drive for 18 months.

The Ivory Coast international, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, was also fined £54,000 as means-tested fine.

He admitted that he was above the permitted limit and did not challenge the charge preferred against him.

Fabregas Confident Of Grabbing Key Role For Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea, Leicester City Chelsea’s midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, is confident that he can play a key role for the club.

The Spaniard made the assertion after scoring an extra-time brace to help the Blues knock English Premier League (EPL) Champions, Leicester City out of the League Cup on Tuesday night.

Fabregas has been on the fringes of Coach Antonio Conte’s squad since the start of the season, having made just three league appearances from the bench.

The 29-year-old, who made his second start in all competitions this season, struck twice in the space of two minutes as Chelsea rallied from two goals down to beat 10-man Leicester City 4-2.

Meanwhile, Coach Claudio Ranieri has admitted that the big difference he noticed between the current season and the previous was that teams were more determined to beat the champions.

Ranieri was aware of the size of the task that faced Leicester in their bid to retain the trophy.

Since the formation of the EPL in 1992, only Manchester United and Chelsea have managed to do so.

Chelsea are fifth on the table with 10 points from five matches while Leicester are 11th with seven points from five games.

Conte Demands Aggressive Football From Players

Antonio Conte, Chelsea,Ahead of the new Premier league season, new Chelsea Manager, Antonio Conte has urged his players to maintain the aggression and high intensity of football shown in pre-season.

This comes after a 1-0 win against Liverpool in the International Champions Cup (ICC) where Chelsea Midfielder Cesc Fabregas was given a straight red card for a rash challenge on Liverpool Defender, Ragnar Klavan and 6 other players where cautioned.

“I like my teams to be aggressive and I like if my team plays with great aggression and high intensity. We train to prepare for that because I want that my team has an identity,” Conte told Eurosport.

“I always gave an identity to my teams. I am searching to transfer this to my players. I am pleased because I see a great attitude. I want to continue in this way because this is the only way to come back very soon for the title.

“Not to speak, but actions. Now is not the moment to talk.”

Chelsea meet European Champions, Real Madrid on Saturday and end their ICC tour against AC Milan on Wednesday.

EPL: Chelsea Set For Norwich, Leicester Loses Kante

EPLChelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has confirmed Brazilian Alexandre Pato could make his debut soon for his side but that there is competition among the strikers.

The English Premier League champions signed Pato from Corinthians in January on loan until the end of the season but the 26-year-old has lacked match fitness.

Chelsea will face Norwich City in Tuesday night’s EPL clash and Hiddink says he is pleased with the progress of his squad since he took over in December.

Leicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri, says midfielder, N’golo Kante, will miss the night’s English Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion with a hamstring injury.

Coach Ranieri said that the defensive midfielder would also miss the trip to Watford on Saturday.

Leicester lead second-placed Tottenham Hotspur by two points with 11 games left and Coach Ranieri admits his side still has a lot to play for.

EPL: Leicester Defeat Norwich, Move Five Points Clear

LeicesterLeicester City moved five points clear at the top of the English Premier League with a 1-0 win over Norwich City in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Leonardo Ulloa kept Leicester’s title bid alive with a dramatic late winner to deny Norwich a priceless point.

The substitute fired in his third goal of the season from close range with just two minutes left

Claudio Ranieri’s side had struggled to break down a stubborn Norwich side who deserved a point.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s resurgence continued as Branislav Ivanovic scored a last minute winner to give Chelsea all 3 points at Southampton.

The Blues fought back from being a goal down thanks to Cesc Fabregas’ cross-cum-shot in the 75th minute before Branislav Ivanovic’s close-range 89th-minute header then secured a victory

Stoke City beat Aston Villa 2-1, while Watford and Bournemouth battled to a goalless draw.

Earlier in the day, Michail Antonio’s 30th minute strike had helped West Ham United beat Sunderland 1-0 in the day’s lunchtime kick-off.

Antonio scored the winner after cutting in from the right and bending in a left-footed effort past Vito Mannone.

Chelsea Defender Admits Man City Game ‘Will Be Difficult’

ChelseaChelsea defender, Kurt Zouma is expecting a tough match away to Manchester City in their Barclays Premier League Match Day 2 fixture on Sunday.

He is, however, relishing the challenge that awaits the team and this is because of the impressive performance he produced against Manchester City at the end of January, when the Premier League’s top two sides met at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea five points clear at the summit.

Four days earlier, Chelsea had beaten Liverpool to progress to the Capital One Cup final when Zouma shone from the off. It was enough to earn him only his second start in England’s top-flight for the visit of their nearest title rivals.

“It is a good memory,” he recalled in a chat with the official Chelsea website. “And it was an important stage in my development.

“First of all I played the game and I was really proud of that. We drew 1-1 and we defended well. For my part I think I did well against a good attack, helping the team to a draw.

“We know we are playing against a good team on Sunday and it will be difficult, but we have a chance to win. I think it will be a very interesting game.

“It’s a chance early in the season to show why we are champions. We want to defend our title. The season after a very good season is always hard but we have to show we are ready to try and do it.”

Zouma showed his versatility in the 2014/15 season when he lined up in central midfield for certain games, most notably the League Cup triumph over Tottenham at Wembley.

He had grown up as a right-sided defender but both in the pre-season game against Barcelona and the Community Shield he featured on the other side of the back four.

Cesc Fabregas would also make his 50th appearance for Chelsea if selected for the game.

The Spaniard’s 49 appearances to date have come in the Premier League (35), the FA Cup (1), the League Cup (4), the Champions League (8) and the recent Community Shield.

Mourinho Confirms Fabregas’ Return Against Everton

FabregasJose Mourinho has confirmed that Cesc Fabregas will return for Chelsea’s game against Everton after missing two matches with a hamstring injury.

Speaking to the media ahead of his team’s clash with the Toffees, Mourinho spoke about Cesc’s recovery and readiness for the match.

“We have only Mikel with a little problem in his knee but he’s the only who is not in conditions to play tomorrow,” he said.

While admitting that he always prefers to have all his players available, he noted that the team got results in the absence of Cesc Fabregas.

However, “to have him back is important for us,” he said.

Chelsea top striker, Diego Costa remains suspended and would be unavailable for the Everton duel and Mourinho maintained that he would be sticking with ageing striker, Didier Drogba and newly signed Loic Remy.

“We need the suspended player but we coped without him, we got results without him,” he stated.

Mourinho, who refused to reckon with the two available strikers’ impressive statistics against Everton, expressed hope that they would deliver the goals on Wednesday night.

On Everton, the manager admitted that the match could be a tough one considering the quality of the team, and the fact that striker Romelu Lukaku is always a difficult opponent.

He also expressed confidence in the Chelsea fans providing a good atmosphere for Fabregas and the rest of the team to flourish against Roberto Martinez’ men.

Everton head to Stamford Bridge unbeaten in four Premier League matches and on the back of three successive clean sheets.