Magic Batshuayi Strike Seals Narrow Dortmund Win

Dortmund’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi (L) vies with Salzburg’s goalkeeper from Germany Alexander Walke during the Europa League Round of 16 first leg football match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Salzburg on March 8, 2018 in Dortmund. PHOTO: Bernd Thissen / DPA / AFP

 

A superb goal off the outside of his boot by Michy Batshuayi gave Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win over Hanover on Sunday and kept them third in the Bundesliga.

Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season, gave Dortmund the three points at home with a wonderful piece of individual skill midway through the first-half.

The Belgian international claimed arguably the best of his eight goals in just 12 games for Dortmund by flicking the ball into the net from a corner.

Having hit the post after just 35 seconds, Batshuayi has his back on goal when he stabbed at Andre Schuerrle’s cross on 24 minutes and his effort sailed past Hanover’s goalkeeper.

It was his sixth German league goal in seven Bundesliga games with Dortmund after spending the first half of the season stuck on Chelsea’s bench.

“I saw the path to the goal wasn’t clear, but there was just a small gap and luckily it came off,”  Batshuayi told Eurosport about his wonder goal.

“We were very physical and mentally very strong. You could see that the team really wanted the three points.”

Hanover had their chance to equalise on 81 minutes when Brazilian striker Jonathas headed on from a free-kick and the ball was poked over the line, but the goal was ruled offside.

“We lacked that bit of final luck,” lamented Hanover goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner, but Dortmund deserved the win after creating 25 shots on goal to just nine by the visitors.

Just before the final whistle, Dortmund winger Maximilian Philipp hit the post as the hosts tried to stretch their lead.

The home win buoyed Dortmund after Thursday’s disappointing Europa League exit in the last 16 when Borussia was held to a goalless second-leg draw at home to Red Bull Salzburg after losing 2-1 in Austria.

The home Bundesliga win at Signal Iduna Park leaves Dortmund 18 points behind runaway league leaders Bayern Munich, who are at RB Leipzig on Sunday night.

Dortmund’s win and Schalke’s 1-0 victory at Wolfsburg on Saturday mean Bayern’s confirmed title victory must be put on ice until after next weekend’s international break.

Later on Sunday afternoon, Bayer Leverkusen can draw level with Dortmund on 48 points if they win at bottom side Cologne in the Rhineland derby.

AFP

Chelsea’s Batshuayi Joins Dortmund On Loan

Chelsea's Batshuayi Joins Dortmund On Loan
(Files) Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi (R) celebrates scoring his third, and his team’s fifth goal during the English League Cup third round football match against Nottingham Forest on September 20, 2017. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Borussia Dortmund signed Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi on loan from Chelsea just before the German transfer window closed on Wednesday — hours after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure to Arsenal.

Having sold Aubameyang to the Gunners, who spent a club record £56 million ($79.2m, 63.7m euros), Dortmund have already secured his replacement, just before the country’s transfer deadline of 1800 (1700 GMT).

The 24-year-old Batshuayi has been signed until the end of the season to fill Aubameyang’s boots having spent the season on Chelsea’s bench behind Alvaro Morata.

“Michy is a young, very interesting striker, who has a high quota of goals,” Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc told the club’s website.

“He has proven his exceptional quality at both Chelsea and Olympique Marseille, in the Belgian league and the national team.”

Batshuayi has scored 12 goals in 26 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions this season having made just 12 starts for the Blues.

He is clear of his aim for the rest of the season.

“The World Cup takes place this summer and in order to reach my big goal, I want to play as much as I can and score many goals.”

AFP

Chelsea Sign Giroud From Arsenal

Chelsea Sign Giroud From Arsenal
Oliver Giroud moves to Chelsea

 

Chelsea signed France striker Olivier Giroud from London rivals Arsenal on Wednesday’s transfer deadline day, freeing up Michy Batshuayi to leave Stamford Bridge on loan to German side Borussia Dortmund.

Premier League champions Chelsea revealed on their website that Giroud had signed an 18-month contract, with the 31-year-old saying: “Chelsea is one of the biggest teams in the Premier League. They have won maybe the most trophies in the last six or seven years.

“It’s a massive club and I am proud to sign for Chelsea, and I’m looking forward to playing.”

AFP

Conte Defiant Over Batshuayi Snub

Antonio Conte defended his tactical approach in Chelsea’s goalless draw at Everton as he limited stand-in forward Michy Batshuayi to a 20-minute substitute appearance.

Conte was without suspended striker Alvaro Morata on Saturday but opted to start with a forward line that featured Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard rather than an orthodox number nine.

The move didn’t pay off as Chelsea failed to turn their dominance into goals, but Blues boss Conte said his striker-free team was his only option because Batshuayi isn’t fully fit.

“Don’t forget today our striker Morata was out. And I think for us this player is very important, he is our finisher,” Conte said.

“In the end we played with a second option, with three numbers 10’s – Willian, Pedro, Hazard – and we created many chances to score. We must be more clinical.

“Today we played without our striker but in this season we played many times this way.

“Don’t forget that Michy started many games at the star of the season then he had an injury. He’s still coming back from injury and just played 75 minutes against Bournemouth (in midweek).”

Still, although Batshuayi did indeed miss the month of November, the forward has only started two league games for Conte this season.

“I think there is nothing to explain,” said Conte when asked why he opted not to start Batshuayi at Goodison.

“I decided to play with Hazard, Willian and Pedro. This is not the first time.

“I think that I have to make the best decision for my team and I think today I did take the best decision for my team.”

The Italian bemoaned Chelsea’s lack of luck, with Phil Jagielka clearing two first half efforts off the Everton line in quick succession and home defender Ashley Williams heading against his own post in the second half.

– Personality –

But the failure to see off Allardyce’s team left Chelsea stuck in third place and with virtually no chance of catching leaders Manchester City.

“We must be disappointed because this type of game we deserve to win, we deserve three points,” said Conte.

“To play away in this way, with great personality and with great intensity, with great concentration – and then to defend with great attention to avoid the counter-attack.

“It is another clean sheet but if you want to win this type of game, you must be more clinical, you must take your chances.

“But I am very happy with the commitment of our players. It is a pity we dropped two points but we played very well.”

Everton have now won five and drawn two – against Liverpool and Chelsea – of the seven games since Allardyce agreed to take over as manager from Ronald Koeman.

And although defender Michael Keane missed a glorious chance to win the game in the 90th minute for his team, Allardyce was also aware that he owed a debt to his goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, whom he first came across when managing him at Sunderland.

“I knew he was a talented goalkeeper but his growth has been miraculously quick for a goalkeeper,” said Allardyce.

“He’s 23, going on 30. He looks at me sometimes like ‘Why are you talking to me like that? I’m a great goalkeeper!’ which I quite like.

“He seems to be able to get to the right spot, his starting positions are exceptional, and that’s why he is making the saves he is.

“Hopefully he is going to get as far as he can by doing a great job for us.”

AFP

Batshuayi Brace Gets Chelsea Back On Track

Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi (R) celebrates his second, and the team’s fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge. Ian KINGTON / AFP

Michy Batshuayi stepped off the bench to inspire Chelsea’s fightback as Antonio Conte’s side eased the pressure on their manager with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Watford on Saturday.

Conte’s position has come under scrutiny after back-to-back Premier League defeats and claims of player unrest over his training methods.

The Italian appeared set for another difficult afternoon when Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra overturned Pedro’s glorious opening goal for the hosts.

But Batshuayi, on for Alvaro Morata, kickstarted the comeback in the 71st minute before completing the win with a second in the fifth minute of added time after Cesar Azpilicueta had restored Chelsea’s lead.

A difficult week would have got a lot worse for Conte had Chelsea suffered a third successive league defeat for the first time since the final months of Jose Mourinho’s second spell in charge two years ago.

Pedro’s 12th-minute effort provided the perfect start for the champions, although Watford were convinced the opportunity should never arisen.

Referee Jon Moss awarded a corner after the ball appeared to go out off the foot of Eden Hazard.

Hazard collected a short corner from Cesc Fabregas and pulled the ball back into the path of Pedro, who whipped in a curling, right-foot shot that clanged into the net off Heurelho Gomes’s right-hand post.

Chelsea should have doubled their lead in the 17th minute when Morata’s cross sent Fabregas clear with only Gomes to beat, but he managed only to chip the ball into the keeper’s arms.

Watford were fortunate to escape, but having survived, they began to gain a foothold in the game.

– Richarlison miss –

Confirmation Conte’s side had lost their grip came in the second minute of first-half injury time when Doucoure fired home with a first-time shot after David Luiz failed to clear Jose Holebas’s long throw.

The equaliser shifted the mood inside the stadium and there were sounds of dissent from the home supporters as the two teams left the pitch.

The opening moments of the second half suggested worse was to come, with Richarlison somehow managing to steer Kiko Femenia’s excellent low cross wide from just six yards out.

Fortunately for the highly rated Brazilian, he atoned quickly by teeing up Pereyra for a goal that put Marco Silva’s men ahead.

Tiemoue Bakayoko had been a doubt before the game and the Chelsea midfielder, poor throughout, was slow to react when he was dispossessed by Pereyra in the middle of the pitch.

The Watford midfielder pressed forward and when the ball found its way to Richarlison wide on the left via Troy Deeney, the Brazilian picked out the unmarked Pereyra, who finished impressively from 12 yards.

Had Richarlison not missed a second clear chance –- this time a free header from five yards out –- the game might have been over.

Desperate to inject fresh energy into his side, Conte introduced Batshuayi for Morata and the decision was rewarded when the Belgium striker headed home from Pedro’s 71st-minute cross.

The match could have gone either way, with Watford’s Christian Kasabele guilty of missing two free headers.

But it was Azpilicueta who delivered the telling blow, heading home Willian’s cross in the 87th minute to ease the pressure around Stamford Bridge, before Batshuayi wrapped things up.

AFP

Conte Commends Dramatic Comeback At Atletico

Conte

Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to snatch a 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday with the last kick of the game, taking Antonio Conte’s side top of Champions League Group C.

France international Antoine Griezmann rammed a penalty beyond former Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to give the home side a barely deserved lead in the 40th minute, scoring the first European goal at their new stadium after striking the first Liga goal there this month.

Former Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata, who also spent time in Atletico’s youth system, pulled Chelsea level by glancing in Eden Hazard’s cross in the 60th minute after the visitors had failed to make their first-half dominance count.

Batshuayi replaced Morata with seven minutes remaining and inflicted a first home defeat on Atletico since September 2015 by turning in a Marcos Alonso cutback from close range deep into stoppage-time.

“I am very happy and we must be pleased because for the performance, for the personality, for the right spirit we showed tonight against Atletico Madrid,” Chelsea coach Conte told a news conference.

Conte also praised Batshuay’s patience and work rate in waiting for a chance in the Chelsea first team.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone agreed with his counterpart that Chelsea deserved the win.

Reuters 

FA Cup: Liverpool Crash While Arsenal, Chelsea, City Advance

Liverpool Crash Out Of FA CupChampionship side Wolverhampton Wanderers held on to oust Liverpool and reach the FA Cup fifth round with a deserved victory at Anfield.

Richard Stearman put the visitors ahead after only 53 seconds and Helder Costa set up Andreas Weimann to double Wolves’ lead later.

Divock Origi scored a late consolation for the largely subdued Liverpool.

The result is the second defeat in cup competition in four days for Jurgen Klopp’s side after they lost to Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

However, it was a massive win for Arsenal in spite of the manager Arsene Wenger’s touchline ban.

A Danny Welbeck brace, followed by a Theo Walcott hat trick ensured that the Gunners trashed Southampton 5-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium.

In other FA Cup matches played on Saturday, Sean Dyche’s Burnley knocked out championship strugglers Bristol City with a 2-0 win  at Turf Moor, while league leaders Chelsea put four goals past Brentford with Willian,  Pedro, Branislav  Ivanovic and Michy Batshuayi all getting on the score sheet.

Elsewhere, Manchester City put their troubles in the league behind them to beat Crystal Palace 3-0.

Blackburn Rovers also defeated Blackpool 2-0 while League One side, Oxford pulled off the biggest upset in the round with an impressive 3-0 victory over promotion chasers Newcastle United.

Stewart Downing’s superb 69th minute strike sent Middleborough through to the next round as Aitor Karanka’s men beat Accrington Stanley 1-0.

Tottenham came back from behind to beat League Two side Wycome Wanders 4-3 as South Korean forward Son Heung-Min scored a stoppage-time winner.

FA Cup: Chelsea Cruise Past Peterborough 4-1

FA Cup: Chelsea Cruise Past Peterborough 4-1Pedro scored twice but captain John Terry saw red as Chelsea eased to a 4-1 win over Peterborough United in the third round of the English FA Cup on Sunday.

The Blues made nine changes for the third-round tie with Michy Batshuayi and Willian both getting goals.

Chelsea will know their fourth round opponents in Monday’s draw.

Liverpool’s youngest ever starting eleven failed to break down an obdurate Plymouth defence as they were held to a goalless draw at Anfield.

Ten-man Middleborough made it into the fourth round with a 3-0 win over championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

Fulham beat Cardiff City 2-1.