Sixth Win On The Spin Lifts Chelsea To Second In Premier League

Chelsea’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) celebrates with teammates after he scores his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in London on November 9, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea secured a sixth straight Premier League win to move up to second as the in-form Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic struck to beat Crystal Palace 2-0.

Abraham ended Palace’s dogged defensive resistance with a simple finish from Willian’s deft through ball seven minutes into the second half before Pulisic headed home a loose ball 11 minutes from time to seal all three points.

Chelsea edge a point clear of Manchester City and to within five of leaders Liverpool, who host City in a highly-anticipated clash on Sunday.

A 4-4 draw with Ajax on Tuesday took the tally of goals Chelsea’s prior 18 games this season to 70 at an average of nearly four per game.

However, the Blues free-flowing football under Frank Lampard was met with a brick wall of a Palace defence for the first 45 minutes.

Pulisic had scored four goals in his last two Premier League games as the American begins to deliver on his £58 million ($74 million) price tag and only a fine save from Vicente Guaita denied the USA captain another strike early on.

Thereafter, Chelsea were largely restricted to efforts from free-kicks on the edge of the box before the break as Willian curled inches wide.

Gary Cahill was making his return to Stamford Bridge after his seven years as a Chelsea player came to an end in the summer.

And Cahill reminded his former employers of why he won eight trophies for the club with a brilliant block to repel Willian’s goalbound effort in first half stoppage time.

The Palace resistence was finally broken by one moment of genius from Willian as Chelsea’s captain for the day flicked the ball perfectly into Abraham’s path to slot home his 11th goal of the season.

Pulisic tested Guaita again with a rising drive shortly after that the Spaniard did brilliantly to tip over.

Palace’s problem this season has been scoring goals, but they missed a huge chance to snatch a point 20 minutes from time when James Tomkins headed wide from Luka Milivojevic’s free-kick.

Instead at the other end, Pulisic finally got the goal his performance deserved by following up after Michy Batshuayi’s shot had been blocked to nod past a helpless Guaita.

Chelsea Fightback Salvages 4-4 Draw Against Nine-Man Ajax

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (C) celebrates after thinking he’s scored their fifth goal but it is disallowed by the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) during the UEFA Champion’s League Group H football match between Chelsea and Ajax at Stamford Bridge in London on November 5, 2019.
Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea fought back from 4-1 down to salvage a 4-4 draw against nine-man Ajax as a memorable night at Stamford Bridge left both sides with work to do to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

Frank Lampard’s men seemed destined for a second straight home defeat in Europe as first-half own goals from Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga added to Quincy Promes’ header and predatory finish from Donny Van der Beek to hand the Dutch champions a 4-1 lead.

However, after Cesar Azpilicueta brought Chelsea back into the game at 4-2, the visitors were reduced to nine men by second yellow cards for Daley Blind and Joel Veltman in the move that led to the hosts being awarded their second penalty of the night.

Jorginho had briefly brought Chelsea level at 1-1 from the spot in the first half and converted once more.

Reece James then levelled for the Blues and only VAR denied Chelsea a famous victory when Azpilicueta’s strike was ruled out for a handball by Abraham.

Both sides are now locked on seven points at top of Group H with Valencia, who were 4-1 winners over Lille.

Chelsea had won their previous seven Premier and Champions League games with Lampard’s young side earning rave reviews for their attacking intent.

The former England international hailed his side’s 1-0 victory in Amsterdam two weeks ago as the best of his Chelsea tenure to date for the way they added a defensive resolve to their attacking verve.

Chelsea Defensive Lapses

Two weeks on, they were easily undone from crosses as Ajax went in front inside two minutes when Promes’ free-kick flicked off Abraham and into his own net.

Chelsea responded immediately as Christian Pulisic’s promising form of recent weeks continued with a powerful run into the box before he was brought down by Veltman.

Jorginho coolly slotted home the resulting spot-kick and Chelsea had the ball in the net again moments later but Abraham was rightly flagged offside.

Just as Chelsea were beginning to wrestle control, Ajax retook the lead with a wicked cross from Hakim Ziyech picking out Promes to head home.

Ziyech was the creator once more 10 minutes before half-time when his sensational free-kick from near the right touchline came back off the post and rebounded in off goalkeeper Arrizabalaga’s face.

Chelsea started the second half strongly, but any hope of a comeback appeared to have gone when Van de Beek, who scored a number of vital goals on Ajax’s run to the last four last season, rifled home another Ziyech assist.

To their credit, Chelsea never gave up even after an injury to Mason Mount threatened to compound a miserable night.

Azpilicueta sparked the fightback by prodding in at the back post after Abraham had flicked Pulisic’s low cross goalwards.

Then a minute of madness turned the game on its head 20 minutes from time as Ajax had Blind and Veltman sent-off and conceded a second penalty.

Blind was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Abraham and, as the advantage was played, Veltman handled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot inside his own box and was also booked for the second time.

Jorginho calmly sent Andre Onana the wrong way from the spot to make it 3-4.

Three minutes later, Lampard’s men were level when James smashed home after Kurt Zouma’s header came off the bar.

Azpilicueta thought he had completed the comeback only for his second goal of the night to be ruled out for a handball by Abraham after a VAR review.

Hudson-Odoi fired inches wide and Onana made a brilliant save to deny Michy Batshuayi a winner in a frantic finale, but Ajax held out for what in the end was a welcome point after an eight-goal thriller.

Abraham, Pulisic Lift Chelsea Into Third

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on November 2, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea climbed to third place in the Premier League as Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic sealed a 2-1 victory at lowly Watford on Saturday.

Frank Lampard’s side bounced back from their midweek League Cup defeat against Manchester United to make it five successive league wins.

The Blues have won eight of their past nine matches in all competitions as Lampard continues to make a good impression in his first season in charge.

His decision to go with unproven youngsters like Abraham, who opened the scoring, has been a shrewd move, while Pulisic is justifying his hefty price tag after starting the season on the bench.

Gerard Deulofeu’s late VAR-awarded penalty came too late to stop Chelsea recording a seventh successive away win in all competitions.

They are just two points behind second-placed Manchester City despite being unable to sign players in the summer due to a transfer ban.

But with a trip to City looming and Champions League ties against Ajax and Valencia on the schedule, November will provide much sterner tests of Chelsea’s progress than this stroll in the autumn chill at Vicarage Road.

Watford could have lost by a much bigger margin and they remain bottom of the table, without a win in the league this season.

Chelsea made a blistering start that reaped an immediate reward when Abraham accelerated on Jorginho’s sublime pin-point pass and lifted a cool finish over Ben Foster.

It was Abraham’s 10th goal of his breakthrough campaign ending a five-game goal drought for the young England striker, who has scored seven goals in away games this season.

Just as significantly, Jorginho’s role in the goal indicated the Italy midfielder’s improved form in his second season with Chelsea.

Jorginho was disliked by Chelsea fans last season for his anonymous displays, but has already been involved in more Premier League goals (one goal and two assists) than in the whole of the previous campaign (two goals and no assists).

– Foster keeps it close –

Watford had managed just five Premier League goals this season, but they almost grabbed a first-half equaliser, with Deulofeu’s low shot flashing just wide.

That was a rare threat from the hosts and only Foster stopped Chelsea’s dominant display yielding more goals.

Foster kept out Abraham with a fine save, then from Willian’s corner, Pulisic looped a header that forced an even better stop by the Watford keeper.

Having won their previous six games on the road in all competitions, Chelsea were in confident mood and Mason Mount was inches away from their second goal when his long-range blast was pushed onto the bar by Foster’s fine save.

Chelsea had lost just one of their last 58 league games when leading at half-time, at Wolves in December 2018.

Foster was all that stood between the Blues and another away-day success as the 36-year-old denied Mount with another superb stop early in the second half.

Pulisic had scored a hat-trick in last weekend’s win at Burnley and the United States winger was back on the scoresheet to put the result beyond doubt in the 55th minute.

Abraham was the provider with a low cross and Pulisic evaded Watford’s dozing defence to tap in from close range.

Boos rang out when Daryl Janmaat was replaced by Kiko Femenia as Watford fans barraged boss Quique Sanchez Flores with chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

But Watford were given a controversial 80th-minute lifeline when VAR ruled that Jorginho had caught Deulofeu with a trip that drew a theatrical fall from the winger.

Deulofeu dusted himself down to slot home the penalty and set up a tense finale.

Foster, up for a last second free-kick, almost gave Watford a dramatic point, but his header was brilliantly saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was mobbed by celebrating team-mates at the final whistle.

Kante Set For Return To Training, Says Lampard

file photo of N’Golo Kante

 

France’s World Cup winning midfielder N’Golo Kante is due to return to training with Chelsea after almost a month on the sidelines, said Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.

The manager is counting on the  28-year-old’s return to ease the workload being shared by Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, who both played the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 League Cup fourth round defeat by Manchester United on Wednesday.

Defeat ended Chelsea’s seven match winning streak and Lampard suggested that the setback was due to a shortage of midfield options.

“He (Kante) is hopefully going to join in training in the next two or three days,” said Lampard.

“Hopefully he will be back before the international break.

“I would have liked to have given Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic a rest because of the work they are putting in.

“I couldn’t because of N’Golo, Ross (Barkley), and Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) out long term.”

Should Kante’s groin injury not suffer a reverse he could be fit to play a role in Chelsea’s home match with Crystal Palace on November 10.

I Won’t Discuss Diving Issue With Hudson-Odoi, Lampard Says

Chelsea’s English midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi (C) protests for a penalty to Referee Michael Oliver (L) during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on October 26, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Frank Lampard says he doesn’t need to warn Callum Hudson-Odoi to cut out diving after the Chelsea winger was booked at Burnley.

Hudson-Odoi was initially awarded a penalty when he tumbled in the Burnley area during Chelsea’s 4-2 win on Saturday.

But the England international was then booked for simulation after the decision was overturned by VAR.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche was critical of Hudson-Odoi, calling it “shambolic how people just dive all over the place”, while claiming it was worse because it involved a young player.

Yet Chelsea manager Lampard is adamant the 18-year-old did not dive, so he doesn’t need to discipline him over the issue.

“Nothing, I’ve said nothing. I didn’t feel the need to,” replied Lampard when asked what he had said to Hudson-Odoi.

“I asked him on the day of the game, straight afterwards, after my press, he said he got a touch.

“Clearly when you see it back from behind he gets a hand on his back. I know it’s light.

“I’m not saying it’s a definite penalty but it’s not (a dive). I’m not sure if Sean had maybe watched it back and all the angles when he spoke because it wasn’t a dive as such.

“If that becomes a dive you will start analysing every bit of contact. That is the game, those are the grey areas. It was nowhere near a clear cut issue.”

Referee Michael Oliver changed his penalty decision at Burnley following advice from the video assistant referee.

On-field officials have so far been reluctant to use pitch-side monitors to aid their rulings, opting to rely solely on the judgements of their colleagues.

Lampard would like to see that change and he said: “It’s part of VAR and I assumed when it came in to the Premier League that would be the case. I think we’re at the point now where, from my point of view, they have to.

“It’s difficult. I’m not one to bang the drum, it’s not easy. Even with VAR there is an element of a human involved because they are the ones checking it and it’s slightly opinionated.

“Hopefully we find the right middle ground as soon as possible and I think seeing a monitor on the side of the pitch is a way forward.”

Chelsea are on a run of seven wins in all competitions heading into Wednesday’s League Cup tie against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard’s Chelsea reign began with a 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford in August, but that result will have little bearing on his team talk.

“I’ve said nothing about that, it feels like a million miles away, gone,” Lampard said.

“I don’t think the context of that is going to be hugely relevant tomorrow night.”

AFP

Pulisic Stars For Chelsea As Man City Close On Liverpool

Chelsea’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) scores their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on October 26, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Christian Pulisic hit the first hat-trick of his career as Chelsea crushed Burnley 4-2 on Saturday while Manchester City overcame a sluggish start to beat Aston Villa and increase the pressure on Liverpool.

In the early kick-off, a frustrated Pep Guardiola watched his side recover from a tepid first half to defeat Villa 3-0 and close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to three points.

US international Pulisic scored his first goals for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, who have now won four straight Premier League games, while Marco Silva is under pressure after another Everton defeat.

Pulisic, who had not previously scored for Chelsea and has struggled to win a starting berth, emphatically staked his claim with a hat-trick at Turf Moor.

The 21-year-old capitalised on some indecision from Burnley to drive into the penalty area and steer a low left-footed shot into the corner of Nick Pope’s net midway through the first period.

The former Borussia Dortmund winger doubled his tally for the Blues with a second goal just before half-time, benefiting from a big deflection off Ben Mee, and grabbed his third with a second-half header.

Willian added a fourth for rampant Chelsea in the 58th minute to take the score to 4-0 and despite late goals for Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil, the visitors avoided further shocks to win 4-2.

Earlier, City boss Guardiola was frustrated with the way his players struggled to establish any momentum in the first half against Villa despite an ultimately comfortable win at the Etihad Stadium.

“Of course, respect and credit for Aston Villa. The first half we played football but we don’t play in the way we should play,” Guardiola said, after second-half goals from Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan.

“We were better in the second half. I don’t know if it was because of the early goal.

“In the second we play in the way we normally do but we have to try and play 90 minutes. We played just 45.”

City’s second successive league win means Liverpool are under pressure to beat Tottenham at Anfield in Sunday’s clash between last season’s Champions League finalists.

 Tarnished Silva 

At the Amex Stadium, Everton blew a 2-1 lead over Brighton in the final 10 minutes to leave boss Silva fighting to save his job.

Silva’s side recovered from conceding the first goal to lead but Brighton’s Neal Maupay scored an 80th-minute penalty after Michael Keane was controversially ruled by VAR to have fouled Aaron Connolly.

And Everton defender Lucas Digne added to Silva’s woes when his stoppage-time own goal from Leandro Trossard’s cross left Everton two points above the relegation zone after their fifth defeat in their past six league games.

“We have to be more mature to control the last 10 minutes,” Silva told the BBC. “It’s a tough moment for us. We have to stick together.”

Watford remain bottom of the table after a 0-0 draw against Bournemouth.

Lys Mousset, who scored the winner against Arsenal last week, finished a memorable week on a high note with the equaliser in Sheffield United’s 1-1 draw at West Ham.

Saturday’s action could not eclipse Leicester’s incredible 9-0 thrashing of Southampton at St Mary’s 24 hours earlier.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers believes there is even better to come from Leicester after they equalled the biggest margin of victory in the Premier League era.

Leicester are third after hat-tricks from Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy secured the biggest away win in English top-flight history.

“I think we’ll get better, we will improve. Of course the result and performance is perfect,” Rodgers said.

“We have young players who are only going to gain even more confidence. We will get better. We certainly won’t just be content with what we’re doing.”

Aside from the Liverpool-Spurs clash on Sunday, Newcastle host Wolves, Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at home and Manchester United travel to Norwich.

AFP

Lampard Proud Of ‘Best Win’ As Chelsea Manager

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hailed his side’s 1-0 victory at Ajax in the Champions League as his best yet in charge of the Blues.

Lampard made a telling impact with his substitutions at the Johan Cruyff Arena as Christian Pulisic set up Michy Batshuayi to score the winner four minutes from time.

After a difficult start to his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, Lampard has now masterminded six straight wins in all competitions.

“It is (the best win),” the former England midfielder told BT Sport. “I’m so happy, I knew how tough this game would be.

“To play and beat them and deserve to beat them means we are absolutely top all over the pitch. I was so, so proud of the performance.”

READ ALSO: Batshuayi Fires Chelsea To Late Ajax Win

Victory in Amsterdam puts Chelsea level with last season’s Champions League semi-finalists on six points at the top of Group H and back on track to make the last 16 after a home defeat to Valencia on matchday one.

“It was very important after losing the first game against Valencia,” said Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

“We showed a great ability to control the game after the first 15-20 minutes.

“We had a lot of chances to win the game, we were brave, we pressed high and very happy to get a late goal from Michy.”

Batshuayi has had to be patient for his chance to shine under Lampard with Tammy Abraham’s fine form keeping the Belgian international on the sidelines.

Lampard introduced Batshuayi ahead of French international Olivier Giroud for the final 20 minutes and he had the desired effect by smashing in off the underside of the bar from Pulisic’s cut-back.

“The other two (Giroud and Batshuayi) stay patient, work hard, support the group and have talent. He’s waited for his moment and fully deserved it,” added Lampard.

Batshuayi Fires Chelsea To Late Ajax Win

Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Chelsea on October 23, 2019 at the Johan Cruijff Arena, in Amsterdam. John THYS / AFP

 

Chelsea showed that their young side were ready for the European stage on Wednesday after Michy Batshuayi’s late winner fired them to a 1-0 Champions League win at Ajax that puts them square in the fight for the knockout stages.

Substitute Batshuayi struck in the 86th minute to seal a hugely impressive win in Amsterdam that puts Chelsea level on six points with last year’s semi-finalists at the top of Group H.

Valencia will have the chance to draw alongside their group rivals with a win at Lille later on Wednesday.

“It’s feels huge, which always scares me because there’s a lot to do. We’re entitled to be excited about the way we played tonight,” Lampard told reporters.

“That’s the blueprint. No excuses from now to dip from that.”

Frank Lampard’s side had to ride their luck in the Johan Cruyff Arena, with Quincy Promes’ first half tap-in ruled out for the tightest of offsides and Edson Alvarez hitting the post with a diving header near the hour mark.

However, a youthful Chelsea showed they could compete with Europe’s top sides despite losing Eden Hazard in the summer, going toe-to-toe with one of the continent’s most dynamic attacking teams in a tight contest before winning their sixth straight match in all competitions.

They face Ajax at Stamford Bridge in the next round of games in a clash that on Wednesday’s evidence looks to be the key in deciding who tops the group.

“They’re still babies in terms of Champions League minutes… football will continue to give you tests all the time to I don’t want to say they’re there or ‘this is it’,” added Lampard.

“But I thought the balance of young players that are learning quickly and the experienced players who they rely on to set examples feels good.”

Stifled Ajax curse luck

In a match littered with sloppy passing in the final third, it was another substitute in Christian Pulisic who provided a moment of quality to slot a low cross across the area that Batshuyai got to first.

The Belgian’s finish squeezed in off the crossbar to send Chelsea’s players and fans wild and provide Ajax with their first defeat of a season that had seen them continue with the form that bewitched Europe last season.

Chelsea restricted Ajax’s talented attacking side, led by Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech, to just two shots on target, while academy graduates Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham initially led the charge at the other end.

Lampard spoke very highly of Hudson-Odoi on Tuesday and the winger was a threat on the left, even though the youngster was wasteful when he got the ball.

The 18-year-old gave the ball away in attacking positions a number of times in the first half and fired a very presentable chance wide in the 27th minute when a Marcos Alonso cross dropped to him in the area.

The only shot on target in the opening period came from Mount, who played a neat one-two with Hudson-Odoi before forcing Andre Onana into a smart save at his near post.

However it was Promes who came closest to opening the scoring when he pounced on Hakim Ziyech’s deflected shot to tap home, only to see the goal ruled out as he celebrated with his teammates and supporters.

The home fans could hardly believe their luck when Alvarez’s header bounced off the upright after the break, as Chelsea’s defence briefly wobbled before regaining composure and becoming the second team this season to shut out flamboyant Ajax.

Lampard sent on Pulisic and Batshuayi for Willian and Abraham and the move almost paid off immediately, the striker finding himself completely free in the box in the 73rd minute only to lash his finish way over the bar.

However he soon had his winner thanks to American Pulisic, himself just 21, who has been left out of the limelight this season but made an impact when he laid on his attacking partner for a huge winner.

Alonso Strike Gives Chelsea Victory Over Newcastle

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Marcos Alonso (R) shoots to score during the match on October 19, 2019. Oliver GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Chelsea climbed to third in the Premier League as Marcos Alonso clinched a 1-0 win that silenced the Newcastle fans who jeered the Spanish defender at Stamford Bridge.

Alonso’s blistering strike ended Newcastle’s stubborn resistance with 17 minutes left and provided the perfect riposte to the taunts from the stands.

The Chelsea left-back spent the second half of the 2013-14 season on loan at Newcastle’s arch-rivals Sunderland and played in a derby win at St James’ Park.

The Magpies supporters clearly hadn’t forgotten as they booed him throughout Saturday’s match.

But Alonso’s first goal since April gave him the last laugh as Chelsea made it five successive victories in all competitions.

After winning just two of their opening eight games under Frank Lampard, the Blues are beginning to find their stride.

The mature way Lampard’s young side kept probing and found a way to beat obdurate Newcastle bodes well for the future.

And for only the second time in Lampard’s 13 games in charge, Chelsea kept a clean sheet as the Blues boss celebrated just his second home league.

While a title challenge is likely to be beyond Chelsea, they look well equipped to challenge for a top-four finish.

Alonso celebrates after scoring the goal which helped Chelsea climb to third place in the Premier League. GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Newcastle have now won just one of their last 26 league visits to Chelsea after a defeat that punctured the momentum from their 1-0 win against Manchester United before the international break.

Fikayo Tomori, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham all featured for Chelsea, making it five English players in their starting line-up in the Premier League for the first time since February 2013.

Homegrown charge

Hudson-Odoi led the charge of Chelsea’s homegrown youngsters when he cleverly worked space for a cross that Willian headed wide.

Mount was next to contribute when the midfielder collected Hudson-Odoi’s pass and spun for a fierce shot that was pushed away by Martin Dubravka.

Alonso earned a yellow card for a crunching challenge on DeAndre Yedlin, prompting a barrage of abuse from the Newcastle supporters crammed into one corner of the Shed End.

Willian drilled wide from a tight angle as Chelsea monopolised possession without delivering the knockout blow.

Chelsea suffered a blow when Barkley limped off with a leg injury just before half-time.

But Lampard’s team continued to push Newcastle back after the interval and came close to taking the lead through Abraham.

With nine goals already this term, Abraham was inches away from getting into double figures when his header from Willian’s corner crashed against the bar.

Frustrated by Chelsea’s failure to make the breakthrough, Lampard sent on Christian Pulisic for Mount just after the hour.

Abraham was narrowly off-target with a towering header from Chelsea’s eighth corner.

Hudson-Odoi was a constant menace with his mesmerising bursts and when his cross found Pulisic, the United States winger was denied by Dubravka’s fine scrambling save.

Dubravka kept out Willian’s near-post drive as Chelsea poured forward.

The pressure finally told in the 73rd minute when Hudson-Odoi teed up Alonso, unmarked inside the Newcastle area, for a powerful effort that flashed under Dubravka’s hand into the far corner.

It took a superb block from Yedlin to stop Abraham increasing the lead, while Ciaran Clark looped a header just over as Newcastle nearly snatched a draw that would have been cruel on Chelsea.

AFP

Abraham, Mount Fire Chelsea To Victory At Southampton

 

Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount celebrated their England call-ups by firing Chelsea to a 4-1 rout of struggling Southampton on Sunday.

Abraham, Mount and their Blues team-mate Fikayo Tomori were all named by England manager Gareth Southgate in the squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The promising young trio hogged the spotlight once again at St Mary’s as Abraham and Mount netted to maintain their superb starts to the season.

Abraham has nine goals in all competitions for Chelsea this term, underlining why Southgate is keen to get him action in a competitive match to ensure he commits to England.

READ ALSO: Man City’s Title Defence Rocked By Defeat Against Wolves

The 22-year-old striker has won two caps for England in friendlies against Brazil and Germany in 2017, but he had flirted with switching his international allegiance to Nigeria, who he qualifies for through his father.

Tomori, 21, is also eligible to represent Nigeria, but the centre-back showed his England credentials with another composed display to keep Southampton largely at bay.

Mount, 20, bagged Chelsea’s second goal to once again showcase the predatory instincts that have helped the midfielder make a smooth transition to the Premier League following last season’s loan alongside Tomori at Derby.

Danny Ings got one back for Southampton, but N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi struck to make it four successive wins in all competitions for Chelsea, who are beginning to thrive in Frank Lampard’s first season in charge.

Chelsea are up to fifth in the Premier League heading into what promises to be a memorable international break for the club’s three young talents.

Southampton have won just two of their last 13 league games and are winless in their last six home matches.

Southampton threatened in the opening minutes when Nathan Redmond hit a swerving strike that flashed just over from long-range.

Chelsea warning

Callum Hudson-Odoi was starting for Chelsea for the first time in the league this season and the England winger created their first chance with a burst that ended with Abraham shooting straight at Angus Gunn.

It was a warning that Southampton failed to heed as Chelsea took the lead in the 17th minute.

Hudson-Odoi floated a long pass towards Abraham and he nipped ahead of Saints defender Maya Yoshida to reach it on the edge of the area.

With Gunn having sprinted off his line, Abraham lofted his shot high over the keeper and the ball crossed the line despite Yoshida’s despairing attempt to clear with a bicycle kick.

Southampton’s creaky defence imploded again in the 24th minute as Jan Bednarek carelessly surrendered possession to Willian.

Jorginho played a return pass to Willian who slipped the ball through to Mount. The youngster glided into the area and slotted past Gunn.

Mount should have scored again when he drove wastefully wide from Abraham’s pass.

Chelsea had kept only one league clean-sheet in seven games under Lampard and they were breached easily in the 30th minute.

Yan Valery was allowed to drift past four Chelsea defenders without a single challenge and he whipped a cross to Ings, who got across Kurt Zouma to poke his shot past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Valery had played a key role in Southampton’s goal but he was guilty of deserting his post in the 40th minute and Marcos Alonso moved into the space vacated by the defender.

Alonso’s pass found Kante on the edge of the area and the France midfielder unloaded a shot that took a big deflection of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on its way past the wrong-footed Gunn.

Batshuayi came off the bench to wrap up Chelsea’s stroll on the south-coast with a clinical finish in the 89th minute.

Chelsea Boss Lampard Backs Abraham To Shine For England

 

Frank Lampard has backed Tammy Abraham to score regularly for England after his impressive start to the season for Chelsea was rewarded with a call-up to the national squad.

The 22-year-old was named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for this month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria alongside Blues teammates Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori on Thursday.

Abraham has eight goals in 10 appearances this season and Chelsea manager Lampard is pleased to see him back in the England squad after two previous friendly appearances in 2017.

READ ALSO: 2019 NBBF Premier League: Continental Battle Begins On October 13

“Everyone knows his form’s really good. I think he’s been in the equation probably for Gareth all season because of how he’s played and it’s a natural progression for him,” Lampard said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“I’m delighted for him. I know he’s a proud lad, as he should be proud to get a call-up.”

Abraham had flirted with switching his international allegiance to Nigeria, a country he qualifies for through his father, but will be committed to England if he appears in either forthcoming qualifier.

Lampard, whose Chelsea side travel to Southampton on Sunday, was cautious not to load too much pressure on the young forward’s shoulders.

“I think he has all the attributes to go there and be successful but it will be another step for him and I’m sure he has those attributes. I’m sure he has the attitude to take that challenge of being a goalscorer for England,” he said.

“And there’s competition there. When he steps into the squad he’ll see that there are great strikers in that squad already around him so it’s a good challenge for Tammy.”

While Abraham’s selection was expected, especially with the forward eligible for Nigeria, the inclusion of 21-year-old defender Tomori was more of a surprise.

Lampard, who was Derby boss last season, described the former Derby loanee as a “dream to work with” during the past 15 months they have spent together.

“It’s a great step up and it’s in his hands to go there and show what he shows us every day,” he said.

Willian Grabs Chelsea Winner As Lampard Hails Impact Of Young Stars

 

Willian’s brilliant late strike gave Chelsea a precious 2-1 win away to Lille on Wednesday that they will hope kickstarts their Champions League campaign, but it was the young stars in Frank Lampard’s side who stole the show again.

The Brazilian volleyed home in the 78th minute to decide the game under the roof at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on what was his 300th appearance for the club.

Tammy Abraham had earlier put Chelsea in front on his 22nd birthday with his eighth goal already this season, only for Victor Osimhen to equalise for Lille.

Chelsea are now off the mark in Group H after losing at home to Valencia a fortnight ago, although it is Ajax who continue to top the section with a maximum six points.

“Overall it was a good game. It’s never an easy place to play. Give it to the team, what a fantastic performance,” Abraham told BT Sport.

Lampard’s team face Ajax next and will do so with renewed belief after this victory.

“It is such a tough place — the roof was on, the crowd were up for it, the speed in their team and on the counter-attack especially was very evident, so we had to be ready for it and I thought our performance was really good,” said Lampard.

It was a game decided by one of the most experienced players on the pitch but which was bristling with exciting young talent as these clubs adjust to seeing their standout players — Eden Hazard on one side, Nicolas Pepe on the other — depart in the close season.

Lampard fielded two 24-year-olds as well as four more players aged 22 or under in his line-up here, as teenager Reece James started as a right wing-back in a 3-4-1-2 system.

James only made his top-team debut for the club a week ago in a League Cup tie against fourth-tier Grimsby Town. His second-half replacement, Callum Hudson-Odoi, set up the winner.

“This isn’t a game for niceties, we have to go and win these matches and improve all the time and there were loads of signs of team improvement tonight, and individuals,” Lampard added.

“The young players are responding and they have to keep doing it because the Champions League level is something else.”

Much has been made of Lampard’s promotion of youth this season in response to Chelsea’s transfer ban, although their team here also featured N’Golo Kante, with the France midfielder returning from his latest spell out.

Indeed, the average age of Chelsea’s team at kick-off was actually a year older than that of Lille.

Hudson-Odoi helps change game

Chelsea took a 22nd-minute lead when Fikayo Tomori’s ball into the box was not dealt with by the home defence, and Abraham — capped by England but eligible for Nigeria through his father — controlled and fire home.

Lille actually looked the better side going forward for long spells and Luiz Araujo was denied by a good Kepa Arrizabalaga save just after the half-hour.

Moments later they were level, Jonathan Bamba sending in a corner from the left for Osimhen, the gangly 20-year-old Nigerian striker signed in the summer, to head in his seventh of the campaign.

Jorginho struck the outside of the post with a first-time strike from range just before half-time, while Kepa tipped a Benjamin Andre header around the post early in the second half.

However, the introduction of Hudson-Odoi, the youngest of the lot at just 18, for James midway through the second half, and subsequent change of formation, breathed new life into the visitors.

Mason Mount was denied by Mike Maignan soon after, and just 12 minutes remained when winger Hudson-Odoi crossed from the left all the way to the back post where Willian connected with a volley that bounced down into the ground, over the goalkeeper’s head and in.

There was no way back for Lille, who have now failed to win any of their last 13 matches in Europe.

“They are used to playing matches like these every weekend, in Europe every season, and we saw the difference that exists between us,” said Lille coach Christophe Galtier.