Chelsea Win Holds Off Rampant Man Utd In Race For Premier League Top Four

Chelsea's Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (L) and Watford's English mifielder Tom Cleverley after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on July 4, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) /
Chelsea’s Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (L) and Watford’s English mifielder Tom Cleverley after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on July 4, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) /

 

 

Chelsea held on to their place in the Premier League’s top four by bouncing back to beat Watford 3-0 on Saturday after Manchester United briefly powered past with a 5-2 rout of struggling Bournemouth.

Third-placed Leicester also got back on track with Jamie Vardy reaching 100 top-flight goals in a comfortable 3-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Arsenal dealt a blow to Wolves’ Champions League chase by winning 2-0 at Molineux on Saturday.

United’s fearsome front four of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, who netted twice, were all on the scoresheet as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men hit five goals in a home Premier League game for the first time since 2011.

“Confidence is sky high. You get energy and confidence by performances and results and we are getting that at the minute,” said Solskjaer, who is feeling the benefits of a 16-match unbeaten run.

“I have enjoyed the last few games to be honest and it is healthy. You don’t age as quickly!”

Bournemouth are moving fast in the other direction as they remain second bottom and the Cherries’ defensive problems were quickly exposed after they took a shock 16th-minute lead through Junior Stanislas.

Greenwood got the comeback started as he smashed home from Fernandes’s pass before Rashford, from the penalty spot and Martial, with a stunning shot into the top corner, scored their 20th goals of the season,

“Mason is one of the best if not the best finisher I have worked with and seen,” added Solskjaer. “He is so calm. He knows where to finish if it is on the training ground, here or in his garden at home.”

Bournemouth were given hope when Josh King scored from the spot after Eric Bailly handled inside his own box just four minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.

But there was no stopping Solskjaer’s men going forward and Greenwood restored their two-goal cushion with another powerful drive, this time on his weaker right foot, before Fernandes then capped another influential display with a fine free-kick.

Chelsea shrugged off a shock 3-2 defeat at West Ham in midweek with a routine win at Stamford Bridge.

Olivier Giroud was recalled up front and repaid Frank Lampard with a smart finish to break the deadlock before Willian’s penalty made it 2-0 before half-time.

Ross Barkley added the third in stoppage time to move Chelsea back two points ahead of fifth-placed United.

A third defeat in four games since the restart leaves Watford still just one point above Bournemouth and Aston Villa in the battle to beat the drop.

Arsenal kept their hopes of European football next season alive moved by ending Wolves’ eight-game unbeaten run in impressive fashion to move up to seventh.

Bukayo Saka celebrated signing a new long-term deal this week by hooking in the opener just before half-time and Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to seal all three points for Mikel Arteta’s men four minutes from time.

“Every game you have no margin for error, we know that we try to win every game,” said Arteta of Arsenal’s top-four chances.

Defeat leaves Wolves five points behind Chelsea.

 

100 up for Vardy

Arsenal face Leicester next on Tuesday, but the Foxes go into that game with a much-needed confidence boost after a first win in five games.

Leicester have struggled to score goals of late, but were helped back to winning ways by some calamitous Palace defending for Kelechi Iheanacho to open the scoring and Vardy to tap into an empty net for his Premier League century.

Vardy struck again in characteristic fashion in stoppage time, sprinting in behind before dinking the ball over the advancing Vicente Guaita.

“To get the two goals and the three points is all you can ask for,” said Vardy. “We know it’s down to us. We are in this position on merit and we have to keep going. If we play like that between now and the end of the season, we will pick up a quite a few points.”

Norwich manager Daniel Farke conceded his side are heading for relegation after Leandro Trossard fired Brighton nine points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Carrow Road.

The Canaries are seven points from safety with five games remaining after losing all five games following the coronavirus hiatus.

“It was more or less our last chance to get back in the mix,” said Farke.

“After a few losses, we don’t have the right to make any fighting messages or to make any unrealistic claims.”

 

 

-AFP

Lampard Focused On Finishing Third Rather Than Crowning Liverpool

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will happily play a part in crowning Liverpool champions for the first time in 30 years, but only because it would mean his side have taken points from Manchester City on Thursday.

Should Liverpool beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday, City will need to win at Stamford Bridge to keep the title race alive for another week before they host Liverpool on July 2.

Chelsea are in need of the points themselves to cement their place in the top four, with Lampard keen to catch Leicester in third before the season is over.

“I have had absolutely no thought of Liverpool’s situation, it makes no odds to us at all,” said Lampard.

“We respect Liverpool and Manchester City as two fantastic teams, in the last two to three seasons they’ve been dominant, but we can only look at what this match means for us.”

Chelsea famously played a big part on the night Leicester clinched the league in the 2015/16 season, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Tottenham in what became dubbed “The Battle of the Bridge” after nine of the Spurs side were booked.

“I don’t think you can compare a Chelsea-Tottenham game to potentially stop Tottenham winning the league,” added Lampard on the rivalry between the London sides.

“I am aware of the situation, but I can only focus on us.

“We have a job to do and our job is to go up against one of the best teams in the world over the last few seasons and try to get a result.”

 

 

-AFP

Man Utd Make Top Four Move, Liverpool Lie In Wait

Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) clears the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) clears the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) 

 

Manchester United closed to within two points of the top four thanks to Anthony Martial’s hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Sheffield United on Wednesday before Liverpool hope to move to the brink of a first title in 30 years.

Victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men over Crystal Palace at Anfield will mean Manchester City have to win at Chelsea on Thursday to deny the Reds being crowned champions.

United are still far off challenging again for titles at the top of the table, but there are growing signs of momentum for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as they extended their unbeaten run to 13 games.

Martial produced two predatory first-time finishes before half-time to put the Red Devils in command.

Sheffield United were riding high in March before football’s shutdown for three months, but the Blades have now picked up just one point and failed to score in their three games since the restart.

United could have pilled on much more pain after the break, but were content with one more goal as Martial completed his first career hat-trick with a cheeky chip from Marcus Rashford’s pass.

Fifth-place could still be good enough for a place in next season’s Champions League depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competition.

And Wolves remain level on points with United in fifth by continuing their perfect restart with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

Just as in a 2-0 victory at West Ham on Saturday, Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez combined to break the deadlock as the Mexican powered home a header for his 24th goal of the season.

Defeat leaves Bournemouth still in the bottom three on goal difference and there are now three teams tied on 27 points as Aston Villa struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.

Dean Smith’s side look set to rue a host of missed chances before half-time when Dwight Gayle put the Magpies in front.

However, Ahmed El Mohamady’s scrappy finish from Conor Hourihane’s corner salvaged a precious point.

Any hope of Norwich hauling themselves out of trouble now looks forlorn as the Canaries fell to a second home defeat in a week.

Michael Keane scored the only goal as Everton won 1-0 at Carrow Road to move above Arsenal into 10th.

Norwich remain rock bottom, six points adrift of safety.

 

 

-AFP

Chelsea’s Willian And Pedro Sign On For Rest Of Season

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020.
MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP

 

Chelsea wingers Willian and Pedro have extended their contracts until the end of the current campaign, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday.

Both Brazilian star Willian and Spanish playmaker Pedro could have left Chelsea on June 30 when their original deals were set to expire.

With the Premier League season set to run until the end of July due to the coronavirus hiatus, that would have been a blow to Chelsea’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

But now the pair will be able to feature for Frank Lampard’s team until the campaign is concluded.

“As a result of the global pandemic and the subsequent delayed conclusion to the campaign, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to be allowed to enter into short-term contract extensions with players whose deals were due to expire at the end of this month,” a Chelsea statement said on Tuesday.

“Willian and Pedro were among those affected, and they and the club have now mutually agreed to extend contracts until the finale of the current season.

“It means they will be available for our remaining Premier League fixtures in 2019/20, as well as any future involvement in the FA Cup and Champions League.”

Willian has been a key figure for Chelsea this season, while Pedro has mostly appeared as a substitute.

Chelsea are currently fourth in the Premier League and face Manchester City on Thursday.

They also have an FA Cup quarter-final date with Leicester on Sunday and are still in the Champions League, albeit trailing 3-0 after the first leg of their last 16 tie against Bayern Munich.

 

AFP

Liverpool’s Title March Delayed By Everton Stalemate, Chelsea Sink Villa

 

Liverpool’s march towards the Premier League title was delayed as the leaders returned to action with a goalless draw against Merseyside rivals Everton, while Chelsea fought back for a 2-1 win at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side picked up following the top-flight resumption on Wednesday needing two wins to secure their first English title for 30 years.

But Liverpool looked rusty in their first game in 106 days following the coronavirus lockdown.

Despite their underwhelming display behind closed doors at Goodison Park, Liverpool are now 23 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City.

If City drop points at home to Burnley on Monday, then Liverpool can clinch the title against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

A City victory would delay Liverpool’s coronation until at least their clash with Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad Stadium on July 2.

Liverpool have won just two of their last seven games in all competitions.

“It was a real fight. Both teams showed they understood it was a derby,” Klopp said.

“Most of the time we were dominant but they had the biggest chance. We were not smart enough to use the space.

“That is normal when you start to play again. Football looks slightly different (since the coronavirus) but I take that.”

Reds star Mohamed Salah was left on the bench due to fitness concerns, while Andrew Robertson was also sidelined and they were not at their best as a result.

Liverpool improved after the break and Naby Keita fired just wide before Virgil van Dijk’s header was saved by Jordan Pickford.

But it was Everton who came closest to a winner on the break when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s effort was saved by Alisson Becker and Tom Davies fired the rebound against the post.

Frank Lampard believes Christian Pulisic can be Chelsea’s trump card in the race to qualify for the Champions League after his decisive cameo at Villa Park.

Lampard’s side were rocked when Kortney Hause put Villa ahead against the run of play in the first half.

But Pulisic came off the bench to equalise after the break before Olivier Giroud bagged his fourth club goal of the season two minutes later.

Chelsea’s quick-fire blitz moved the fourth-placed west Londoners five points clear of Manchester United in fifth as they fight to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Welcome boost

A first away league win of 2020 was the ideal way for Chelsea to return to action in their first match since the Premier League was suspended in March due to the coronavirus.

It was Pulisic’s first appearance since January after an abductor muscle injury and Lampard feels the United States winger is ready to make an impact again.

“He will start games for us, of course, and I think he’s going to be a big player for us, not just in this run-in but going forward,” Lampard said.

“The ability he’s got to arrive in the box, it’s a big thing, I’ve spoken about it with him all season.”

Steve Bruce hopes Joelinton is finally ready to deliver after the Brazilian ended a Premier League goal drought stretching back to August in Newcastle’s 3-0 win over 10-man Sheffield United.

Joelinton’s close-range finish in the 78th minute completed the scoring after goals from Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie.

It was a welcome boost for Joelinton, who has struggled since his move from Hoffenheim last year and missed a glorious opportunity in the first half at St James’ Park.

Joelinton was also at the centre of the game’s significant moment when he raced away from John Egan in the second half and was hauled back, triggering a red card for the Blades defender that sparked the visitors’ collapse.

“He personally has suffered in the lockdown more than anybody. He’s had no family here, no friends, holed up in an apartment somewhere,” Bruce said.

“He’s a really genuinely good lad and he gives his all for the team. We’re just delighted that he’s managed to score a goal. He can only get better.”

Giroud Strike Hands Chelsea Narrow Win Over Villa

chelsea-news-giroud.
Chelsea’s French striker Olivier Giroud ( R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

 

Chelsea staged an impressive second half fightback to beat Aston Villa 2-1 as Olivier Giroud’s winner consolidated their place in the Premier League’s top four on Sunday.

Frank Lampard’s side were rocked when Kortney Hause put Villa ahead against the run of play in the first half.

But Christian Pulisic came off the bench to equalise after the break before Giroud bagged his fourth club goal of the season two minutes later.

Chelsea’s quick-fire blitz moved the fourth placed west Londoners five points clear of Manchester United in fifth in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

A first away league win of 2020 was the ideal way for Chelsea to return to action in their first match since the Premier League was suspended in March due to the coronavirus.

Villa’s failure to hold onto their lead leaves Dean Smith’s second bottom team one point from safety with eight games left to avoid relegation.

As has been customary in every match since the restart on Wednesday, a minute’s silence was held for victims of COVID-19, while both teams took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter cause.

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek was making his first Premier League start since May 2019 after recovering from a serious Achilles tendon injury sustained during a friendly in the United States.

Loftus-Cheek, who had been close to full fitness before the lockdown, nearly marked his return with a goal when he headed just wide after powering past Tyrone Mings.

Lampard says his recent signings of Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech and Leipzig striker Timo Werner will put pressure on Chelsea’s youngsters to be more consistent next season.

With that message in mind, he picked Giroud up front instead of Tammy Abraham, keeping faith with the French veteran after his impressive form before the hiatus.

Mason Mount, another of Chelsea’s breakthrough stars, did start and the midfielder tested Villa keeper Orjan Nyland with a stinging long-range drive.

– Inspired move –

Nyland got away with a terrible blunder during Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against Sheffield United when he stumbled over the goalline while holding onto the ball, only for Hawk-Eye to fail to award the clear goal.

And he was fortunate to escape after another miscue when Mateo Kovacic’s shot slipped towards his own net before the Norwegian got back to scoop it off the line.

Both teams were given an unwanted soaking when the grass sprinklers briefly spurted into life.

But the sight of Villa, who had lost their last nine Premier League games against top four sides, taking the lead in the 43rd minute was even more unexpected.

Douglas Luiz chipped a delicate cross over the Chelsea defence to Anwar El Ghazi, whose shot was pushed out by Kepa.

With Chelsea’s defence slow to react, Hause alertly flicked home from close-range for his first Premier League goal.

Having held 77 percent of possession, it was yet another case of Chelsea being punished for failing to turn territorial dominance into goals.

Cesar Azpilicueta headed wide from Willian’s cross early in the second half and moments later Lampard sent on Pulisic and Ross Barkley in a bid to ignite Chelsea’s spluttering attack.

It proved an inspired move as US winger Pulisic equalised in the 60th minute.

Azpilicueta whipped over a cross from the right and Pulisic arrived at the far post to guide a half-volley into the roof of the net for his first goal since November.

Two minutes later, Chelsea’s comeback was complete.

Mount and Giroud exchanged passes to open up the Villa defence before Azpilicueta picked out Giroud, whose shot on the turn deflected off Conor Hourihane on its way past Nyland.

A slip by Andreas Christensen gave Jota the chance for a late equaliser, but the Villa substitute dragged his shot wide.

Chelsea Sign Timo Werner From RB Leipzig – Club

Leipzig’s German forward Timo Werner (R) celebrates scoring his side’ second goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match RB Leipzig v Fortuna Dusseldorf on June 17, 2020 in Leipzig. (Photo by Ronny HARTMANN / various sources / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO

 

Chelsea announced the signing of German international forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig on Thursday in the first major move of the summer transfer market.

“The 24-year-old has agreed personal terms with the Blues, and will remain at the German club for the rest of the Bundesliga season,” Chelsea said in a statement. “He will link up with his new team-mates in July, subject to passing a medical examination.”

-AFP

Chelsea Star, Hudson-Odoi, Says He Has Been Cleared of Rape

Chelsea’s English midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi controls the ball during the English League Cup semi-final first-leg football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on January 8, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Callum Hudson-Odoi will not face any further action regarding a rape allegation, the Chelsea winger said on Saturday.

Hudson-Odoi was arrested on May 17 and released on bail.

But the England international has now said the police will not be pursuing the matter.

“At a time where there are bigger things happening in the world right now, you may also be aware of serious allegations that were made against me,” Hudson-Odoi wrote on Twitter.

“I have stayed silent and assisted the police fully throughout their enquiries, as I knew the day would soon come when my name would be cleared.

“Following a full and thorough investigation, the police have now confirmed they will take no further action.”

The 19-year-old added: “I would like to use this platform to thank everyone who has stood by my side and supported me during this difficult period.”

Hudson-Odoi made a full recovery after becoming the first Premier League player to test positive for COVID-19 in March and has been taking part in Chelsea’s preparations for the Premier League resumption next week.

Chelsea Close To Signing Werner In £53m Deal – Reports

RB Leipzig’s German striker Timo Werner (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first Leg football match between Tottenham Hotspur and RB Leipzig at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, on February 19, 2020.
Glyn KIRK / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Chelsea are closing in on a deal to sign striker Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, British media reported Thursday.

The 24-year-old had been thought to be attracting interest from Premier League champions-elect Liverpool but it appears Chelsea have in fact met the German’s reported release clause of some £53 million ($67 million).

Were Chelsea to bring Werner to Stamford Bridge it would be a major feather in the cap of the west London club.

For the past year, there has been speculation linking Werner with a move to Anfield but time appears to be running out for the Reds, with the forward’s release clause expiring on June 15 — two days before the Premier League is set to restart after a coronavirus-enforced break of several months.

The Germany international has scored 31 goals for Leipzig in all competitions.

Chelsea have already agreed on a deal to sign Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech.

AFP

‘I Was So Discouraged,’ Drogba Recalls Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League Triumph

File photo of Didier Drogba

 

Exactly eight years after winning the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea, Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba has narrated his experience during the final of the competition.

Chelsea’s 2011/2012 campaign was almost in shambles after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked midway into the season in March 2012.

A resurgent Blues, however, overturned a 4-1 first leg quarter-final deficit against Napoli, before defeating competition-favourite, Barcelona to pitch them with Bayern Munich in the final of Europe’s elite club championship.

In the final played at Bayern’s Allianz Arena, the German side, expectedly, enjoyed a lion’s share of possession and were rewarded with a goal by Thomas Muller in the 83rd minute.

READ ALSO:Paralympic Champion Oyema Receives Four-Year Doping Ban

While recalling the Champions League win on May 19 2012, Drogba said in a post on his official Instagram handle that he had given up after the Bavarians netted their goal.

Even though the situation on the pitch that night looked gloomy, teammate, Juan Mata was still optimistic, the Ivorian legend narrated.

According to Drogba, Mata told him he had “to believe” his side can turn the game around.

The former Galatasaray star was to later grab Chelsea’s equaliser and forced the game into extra time after heading home a corner from Mata. And in what many Blues’ fans describe as the London side’s most glorious moment, Drogba scored the winning penalty in the shootout to hand Roberto Di Mateo’s men the trophy.

“Eight years ago,” Drogba began in his post, “the manager had been sacked by the club and we, the players, had a team meeting where we recognised being partly responsible for his departure.

“The captain John Terry spoke, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and other leaders in the group too.

“We decided to all give this competition everything, despite our 4-1 defeat against Napoli. We had been chasing this trophy for eight years and couldn’t do better than the runner-up. Everyone agreed to put egos aside and challenge each other for the same goal.

“After that meeting, I asked a young 23-year-old Juan Mata, ‘Please Maestro, help me win the Champions League.’ ‘He looked at me like, ‘Man you’re crazy, you’re Didier Drogba you are gonna help me win it!’

“I then told him, ‘I’ve been here for eight years and never won it, so I believe you’re the one who is gonna help us win. I’ll even give you a present if we win it.’ That was the end of February.”

Narrating further, he said: “Three months later, we were in Munich, in the final, in their stadium, submerged with a red wave. The hosts took the lead with eight minutes to go and on my way to kick the ball for the last eight minutes I was so discouraged, the young man said to me, ‘Believe Didi, you have to believe.’

“Almost in tears, I answered after looking at the time score, ‘Believe in what? It’s almost over.’ I was gonna cry like a few months ago when I lost the final with the Ivory Coast.”

“Last minute, last corner, I mean the first corner for us against eighteen for Bayern Munich. Guess who took that corner kick… Juan Mata. And the rest is history. The lesson is ALWAYS BELIEVE!”

 

See Drogba’s post below:

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I bet you’ve all seen videos of the @championsleague final so I just wanted to tell you a little story of mine months before winning this trophy Eight years ago, the Manager had been sacked by the club and we, the players had a team meeting where we recognised being partly responsible for his departure. The captain @johnterry spoke, @franklampard @petrcech and other leaders in the group too. We decided to all give this competition everything, despite our defeat 4-1 against Napoli. We had been chasing this trophy for eight years and couldn’t do better than runner up. Everyone agreed to put egos aside and challenge each over for the same goal. After that meeting I asked a young 23 years old @juanmatagarcia “please Maestro, help me win the champions league “ he looked at me like “man you’re crazy, you’re Didier Drogba you are gonna help me win it, I then told him I’ve been here for 8 years and never won it so I believe you’re the one who’s gonna help us win. I’ll even give you a present if we win it, that was end of February. Three months later, we were in Munich, in the final, in their stadium, submerged with a red wave. The hosts took the lead with 8 minutes to go and on my way to kick the ball for the last 8 minutes I was so discouraged, the young man said to me “believe Didi, you have to believe” , almost in tears I answered after looking at the time score “believe in what? It’s almost over, I’m gonna cry like a few months ago when I lost the final with Côte d’Ivoire. Last minute, last corner, I mean first corner for us against eighteen for Bayern Munich. Guess who took that corner kick… @juanmatagarcia and the rest is history. The lesson is ALWAYS BELIEVE !!!! @chelseafc Happy 8th Birthday to US. 💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙 #theprideoflondon #ktbffh #munich2012

A post shared by didierdrogba (@didierdrogba) on

COVID-19: Chelsea Opt Against Pay Cut, Urge Players To Donate To Charity

In this file photo taken on May 21, 2017 Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich applauds, as players celebrate their league title win at the end of the Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London. Ben STANSALL / AFP
In this file photo taken on May 21, 2017 Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich applauds, as players celebrate their league title win at the end of the Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Chelsea have said they won’t impose a pay cut on their first-team squad in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But the Premier League side added Saturday they had asked players to continue donating to charities during the ongoing pandemic.

It has been reported the west London club have been in talks with their players about a salary reduction of around 10 percent in a bid to reduce costs at a time when football has been suspended because of the virus.

That figure, however, is significantly lower than the Premier League’s suggestion of 30 percent for all clubs.

But that has not stopped the Stamford Bridge side from taking their own course of action as they highlighted the #PlayersTogether initiative launched by Premier League players earlier this month, which aims to raise and distribute funds for charities supporting Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

“Representatives of the Chelsea board have recently held extensive talks with the men’s first team to discuss how they can contribute financially to the club during the coronavirus crisis,” said a club statement.

“The objective of these talks has been to find a meaningful partnership around ensuring we preserve jobs for staff, compensate fans and participate in activities for good causes.

“We are grateful to the team for having played their role in assisting the club with community activities as well as all the charitable causes they have been supporting in their respective home countries and through the Players Together initiative supporting the NHS.”

The statement added: “At this time, the men’s first team will not be contributing towards the club financially and instead the board have directed the team to focus their efforts on further supporting other charitable causes.

“As this crisis develops the club will continue to have conversations with the men’s first team regarding financial contributions to the club’s activities.”

Meanwhile the Blues said they would not be taking advantage of the British government’s coronavirus job retention or furlough scheme, with casual workers and matchday staff being compensated by the club through to June 30.

Newcastle and Norwich are currently the only two Premier League clubs using the furlough for some of their non-playing staff, while Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth were all forced into U-turns after their plans to use the scheme were met with widespread criticism.

AFP

Giroud Extends Chelsea Contract Until June 2021

Chelsea's French striker Olivier Giroud celebrates after Chelsea's English midfielder Ross Barkley (unseen) scored his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on October 7, 2018.
Chelsea’s French striker Olivier Giroud celebrates after Chelsea’s English midfielder Ross Barkley (unseen) scored his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on October 7, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Chelsea have triggered the option to extend France striker Olivier Giroud’s contract by a year until June 2021, a source said Saturday.

Giroud, 33, signed for Chelsea in winter 2018 from cross-city rivals Arsenal.

The 33-year-old has scored 39 goals in 97 appearances for France, making him his country’s third-highest goalscorer behind Michel Platini (41) and Thierry Henry (51), and the striker will be vying for a spot at next year’s European Championship.

 

AFP