Champions League: Giroud Fires Chelsea Into Last 16

Chelsea's French forward Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Stade Rennais FC and Chelsea FC at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, western France, on November 24, 2020. DAMIEN MEYER / AFP
Chelsea’s French forward Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Stade Rennais FC and Chelsea FC at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, western France, on November 24, 2020. DAMIEN MEYER / AFP

 

Chelsea reached the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday with two matches to spare after a late Olivier Giroud strike gave the Blues a 2-1 win over Rennes.

The France forward’s powerful header in stoppage time snatched the points for Frank Lampard’s side after Serhou Guirassy had levelled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s first-half opener.

Chelsea were joined in the next round by Group E rivals Sevilla after the Spanish side won 2-1 at Krasnodar.

Both sides are on 10 points, nine ahead of third-placed Krasnodar and will now do battle for first place come the end of the group stage.

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Chelsea can concentrate on domestic duties, with Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur visiting Stamford Bridge at the weekend, thanks to out-of-favour Giroud, who has been tipped to leave in January as he seeks more regular football ahead of next summer’s European Championship.

“I have a problem because we have Tammy who’s playing well… I have two players in a similar position fighting for a place. That’s a good problem,” Lampard told British broadcaster BT Sport.

“Olly (Giroud) will get his minutes because we have a busy schedule, we’re playing every few days.”

Chelsea started strongly and should have been ahead as early as the seventh minute, when Timo Werner flashed Hudson-Odoi’s low cross over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Their early dominance was rewarded in the 22nd minute following superb play from Mason Mount, who won the ball near his own area before spotting the marauding Hudson-Odoi on the right.

Mount picked out his fellow Chelsea academy graduate with a long pass. The winger took two touches before slotting past Alfred Gomis.

England international Mount was unlucky not to double the away side’s lead eight minutes later when Gomis pulled off a superb save to keep out his close-range effort following a Ben Chilwell pull-back.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a quiet start to his return to the club from whom Chelsea signed him in the summer, but the hosts got a foothold in the contest after a rocky opening period.

James Lea Siliki shot over in the 32nd minute after the ball rebounded to him off Kurt Zouma. Rennes then began to cause Chelsea some problems.

Mendy showed the difference he has made to Chelsea with solid saves from Guirassy and Damien Da Silva towards the end of the opening period.

Chelsea thought they had added a second shortly after the break but Werner’s header was ruled offside and Rennes continued to pose them problems.

Mendy made the save of the night in the 73rd minute when he got his body in the way of a powerful Gerzino Nyamsi header, and then pounced to stop a goal on the rebound.

Rennes thought they had punished Chelsea with five minutes remaining when an unmarked Guirassy thumped a header past Mendy.

But Giroud pounced less than a minute into stoppage time after Gomis’ save from another Werner miss bounced up, allowing the Frenchman to head Chelsea into the last 16.

 

AFP

Arsenal Crush Sunderland 4-1 In League Match

Sunderland, ArsenalArsenal defeated Sunderland 4-1 in an English Premier League match at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger’s side displayed another brilliant performance on the road with fit-again Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez staring.

Alexis Sanchez set the pace for goal scoring as he utilised Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s assist in the 19th minute.

The Gunners maintained the lead till the end of the first half and some minutes after the second half before Jermain Defoe levelled the scores for David Moyes’ side from the penalty spot.

Oliver Giroud subsequently set Arsenal on the lead once more and later added another within six minutes.

In a space of two minutes, Sanchez netted his second goal to secure the victory for the North Londoners.

Arsenal went on top of league table but returned to second place after Manchester City delivered a similar result, by ruthlessly trashing West Brom 4-0 away.

The trio of Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool have with 23 points from 10 matches but City are ahead on superior goal difference with Liverpool in third place.

Meanwhile, Sunderland are last on the table with two points from 10 games.

Arsenal Beat Everton To Revive Title Ambition

arsenalArsenal defeated Everton 2-0 in Saturday’s early kick off in the English Premier League.

Welbeck opened scoring in the 7th minute with Alex Iwobi doubling the lead in the 42nd minute to put Arsenal two goals up at half time.

Arsenal kept the ball for ages until Sanchez quickened things up with a short ball into Ozil. Then he took the return and slid a gentle through pass to Welbeck, who moved smoothly around the keeper to score.

The second was a simple counter-attacking goal. Bellerin curled an excellent long pass that allowed Iwobi to charge through on goal from the halfway line. He ran into the box and slid the ball through Joel’s legs and into the net.

It was Alex Iwobi’s first Premier League start.

Giroud also had a goal disallowed by Referee Mark Clattenburg in the 83rd minute. He headed Sanchez’s corner into the net from six yards, but the whistle had gone for a foul by Iwobi on Jagielka.

The gunners held on to the highly important victory which ensures that they remain third on the log, moving within eight points of Leicester City having played same number of games.

Other Results 

 

Chelsea 2 – 2 West Ham United
Crystal Palace 0 – 1 Leicester City
Watford 1 – 2 Stoke City
West Bromwich Albion 0 – 1 Norwich City
Swansea City 1 – 0 Aston Villa

Lukaku Will Be Arsenal’s Headache – Lukaku

ArsenalArsène Wenger says Romelu Lukaku will provide Arsenal with “another headache” on Saturday.

The Gunners defence faced Barcelona’s feared front three of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar on Wednesday, and will now have to deal with the Belgian international at Goodison Park.

Lukaku has scored five times in his last four appearances and Wenger has been impressed with how the striker has developed since arriving in England as an 18-year-old.

“We knew him from Belgium, but he went to Chelsea,” he said. “He then went out on loan to Everton and I expected him to go back to Chelsea. After that, we were never on the case [to sign him].

“He’s developing well – year after year he’s better. His finishing his better, technical link-up play is better. He is promising a big career, it’s always a sign when the numbers are better year after year.

“We’ve just played against Neymar, Messi and Suarez, so [Lukaku] give us another headache. Our defenders should take encouragement from the performance they put in against Barcelona.”

The Gunners head into Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off against Everton 11 points behind league leaders Leicester City, but with a game in hand.

Wenger’s side have not won a league game since February 14, and the manager feels they must be pragmatic if they are to get back into the race.

“I would say we have to go step by step,” he said. “Let’s get back to winning habits first, that starts tomorrow… if we win tomorrow, we’ll see. That’s our target.

“But at the moment, the only way to achieve something special is first to be realistic and humble enough to deal first with Everton.

“Things will change until the end of the season, that’s for sure. We have to take care of our own destiny, and that’s by producing the performances we expect from ourselves.

“It’s very tight, but I believe the Premier League is far from over. We are in a position where we hope for the best. I agree that a negative result would be very bad for us, but we focus on a positive result. We know now is the time for us to produce the result we want.

“We also have to look behind us because things can change very quickly. We want to move forward, but I’m conscious that our position is not secure, even where we are.”

Arsenal Trash Hull City 4-0 In FA Cup Replay

ArsenalEnglish club, Arsenal, have beaten Hull City 4-0 in an FA Cup fifth-round replay to set up a quarter-final match against Watford.

Oliver Giroud set the pace for the Gunners as he netted the first goal in the 41st minute of the game which lasted till the end of the first half.

The Frenchman scored his second goal in the 72nd minute which gave Arsenal a hope of winning the game.

Theo Walcott remarkably sealed the win for the Gunners when he side-footed in and then rifled in a late shot in the 77th and 89th minutes as they edged Hull City out of the competition.

The Tigers had forced a replay after Arsenal failed to beat them at the Emirates Stadium.