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Chelsea’s Abraham hits hat-trick in 5-2 win over Wolves



In-form Chelsea striker, Tammy Abraham scored a superb hat-trick as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 in their Premier League clash on Saturday.

Visiting Chelsea thus spoiled the home side’s celebration of the 130th anniversary of their Molineux Stadium.

The game bursted into life just past the half-hour mark when Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori’s dipping drive from outside the box wrong-footed Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio and flew into the net.

Abraham then struck his first goal three minutes later, making the most of the advantage granted by referee Graham Scott to take a touch and swivel before firing home.

He headed a second before halftime to send his side into the break 3-0 up.

The Chelsea academy product, who has spent spells on loan at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa, completed his hat-trick 11 minutes into the second half before limping off.

He was replaced by Michy Batshuayi in the 77th minute.

Wolves pulled a goal back in the 69th when Romain Saiss’s header went in off Abraham for an own goal and striker Patrick Cutrone bundled home another in the 85th.

But Mason Mount fired home Chelsea’s fifth to complete the rout five minutes after Cutrone’s goal.

Chelsea, who host Liverpool next week, are up to sixth on eight points while Wolves, who visit Crystal Palace looking for their first win of the season, are 19th on three points. (Reuters/)


Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Maharazu Ahmed


Iniesta calls children born because of his goal against Chelsea in 2009



Former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta celebrated the 11th anniversary of his famous Champions League semi-final strike against Chelsea by calling two children conceived after his tie-clinching goal.


Barcelona were two minutes from being eliminated from the Champions League in a tense second leg at Stamford Bridge on May 6, 2009, when Iniesta collected a pass from Lionel Messi and stroked the ball into the top corner from outside the box.

His goal secured a 1-1 draw, sending the Spanish side into the final in Rome on the away goals rule, and prompted an outpouring of celebration back home.

Nine months later, those celebrations had a rather unexpected result, with maternity hospitals in Barcelona telling local media they were struggling to cope with demand amid a spike in the city’s birth rate.

On Wednesday, Iniesta, who now plays for Japanese club Vissel Kobe, posted a video of himself on Twitter  speaking to two children who were born in January 2010.

“Has your mother showed you the goal?” the 35-year-old Iniesta asks Ignacio, who was born on Jan. 18.

“Yes, what a goal,” Ignacio replies.

Ignacio’s mother, Andrea Barri, told Iniesta she found out she was pregnant just before travelling to the final, where Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0.

“If I’d told my mum before travelling she wouldn’t have wanted me to go to the game. So I told her on the plane,” she added

“You told her on the plane you were pregnant and we ended up winning the Champions League, everything was perfect then,” Iniesta replies.

Josep Enric, who was born on Jan. 29, told Iniesta he is his “favourite player ever” along with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.

“They showed me the video of the goal which you scored before I was born. We were all celebrating it,” the 10-year-old added.

Enric’s father, Josep Salvat, told Iniesta it was his brother who connected the dots between the goal and his son’s birthday.

“My older brother is a big Barca fan, football is almost a religion to him.

“He was the one that went and looked at the calendar and made the calculations.

“I remember how much we celebrated that goal, everything was lost but your goal gave us immense jo,” Salvat said

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Chelsea say first team players not taking pay cuts for coronavirus



Chelsea’s first-team players are not taking pay cuts or contributing towards the club financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club said in a statement on Saturday.

Following extensive talks, the players have instead been asked to continue “supporting other charitable causes,” English Premier League (EPL) clubside Chelsea said in the statement.

British media had reported earlier that the club were in talks with players over the possibility of a 10 percent pay cut due to the crisis.

“At this time, the men’s first team will not be contributing towards the club financially,” Chelsea said.

“Instead the board has 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.”

Chelsea added that they would not be using the government’s job retention scheme during the crisis and would continue to pay staff in full.

“The club can confirm we will not be taking advantage of the government’s current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which runs to June 30,” the club said.

“We are not planning any general redundancies or furloughs for our full-time staff who are continuing to be paid 100 percent of their current wages.”

Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth have all reversed initial decisions to furlough non-playing staff during the pandemic in the wake of criticism.

Earlier on Saturday, Norwich City defended their decision to furlough staff.

Premier League clubs such as Southampton and West Ham United have announced wage deferrals for players since English football was suspended last month due to the outbreak.

Arsenal have announced a 12.5 percent pay cut for players and coaching staff.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Chelsea say ex-manager Vialli given all-clear in pancreatic cancer battle



Former Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli has been given the all-clear from doctors following a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, the English Premier League (EPL) club said on Monday.

It was the former Italy and Juventus striker’s second bout with the deadly disease, having announced in November 2018 that he had recovered from a secret year-long cancer fight.

“Gianluca Vialli has been given the all-clear following a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Amazing news,” Chelsea said on Twitter.

The 55-year-old Vialli made his name at Sampdoria before spending four years at Juventus where he won the UEFA Champions League in 1996.

He then joined Chelsea, scoring 48 goals in 78 appearances for the London club before becoming their manager.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Chelsea player defies self-isolation protocol to play in public park



Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount was spotted playing at a football park along with West Ham’s Declan Rice on Sunday, defying the club’s self-isolation protocols which came into place last week.

Chelsea’s first-team players and coaching staff are all in self-isolation after winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

It was reported that Mount and Rice, both England internationals, were playing a five-a-side game at the Trent Park Football centre near Barnet.

It is understood that Chelsea players have been reminded about the self-isolation protocols and are expected to resume training only when they are out of isolation on March 22 to March 23.

West Ham said last week that some club personnel are self-isolating after making direct contact with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta —- who also tested positive for the virus.

But the players were not self-isolating.

The English Premier League has been suspended until April 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic which has been responsible for an unprecedented shutdown of world sports.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 170,000 people and over 6,500 have died.

The UK has nearly 1,400 cases with 35 deaths.


Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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Chelsea beat Liverpool to reach FA Cup quarter-finals



Chelsea completed a torrid few days for Liverpool as goals by Willian and Ross Barkley sealed a 2-0 victory to send them through to the FA Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Liverpool’s 44-match unbeaten streak in the English Premier League (EPL) ended in stunning fashion with a 3-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday and they were rocked again at Stamford Bridge.

Goalkeeper Adrian allowed Willian’s powerful shot to creep past him in the 13th minute and former Everton midfielder Barkley drove home Chelsea’s second goal just past the hour mark.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp made seven changes to the side which lost to Watford but he still fielded an experienced line-up, compared to the team he fielded against Shrewsbury Town.

Sadio Mane wasted several early chances and Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, back for the first time since being dropped in January, made a remarkable triple save before half-time.

But Chelsea, with 18-year-old Billy Gilmour impressive in midfield, were merited winners as they moved through.

For Liverpool, a season of utter dominance has suddenly hit a slump with three defeats in four games in all competitions.

They lost to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie before the weekend defeat by Watford.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)


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Liverpool won’t field weakened team in FA Cup tie at Chelsea, Klopp says



NNN: Liverpool’s regulars will return to the starting line-up for Tuesday’s FA Cup clash at Chelsea, manager Juergen Klopp said on Monday.

The Anfield club had fielded their under-23 players in the previous round.

Liverpool’s under-23 side, led by their former coach Neil Critchley, beat third-tier side Shrewsbury Town in a fourth round replay.

This was after Klopp refused to field senior players since the match was played during the winter break of the English Premier League (EPL).

Liverpool also fielded a young side in the League Cup against Aston Villa —- a game they lost 0-5.

This was due to a fixture crunch while the senior side were playing in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar, which they won.

Klopp has now said he would take no chances as they looked to progress.

“It’s a different situation to the last round. The team that played at Shrewsbury was a team that made sense for us at that moment.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted, so we had to play a different team in the replay,” he told reporters.

“It won’t be the team that played Aston Villa and Shrewsbury, for sure. There will be boys in the squad, but if they start we will see.

“The team that played at Shrewsbury was an FA Cup team at that moment.

“If Chelsea make changes, I don’t know if they will, it will still be a very experienced team… It’s the last 16 of the FA Cup and we want to go through.”

A 0-3 loss at Watford over the weekend ended Liverpool’s unbeaten EPL run and many criticised centre-back Dejan Lovren for giving their strikers opportunities to score.

But Klopp was quick to jump to the centre-back’s defence.

“If anyone blames Dejan Lovren for our defeat, I can’t help these people,” Klopp said. “It was a massive challenge for Dejan to play against Troy Deeney. Joe Gomez has had similar problems.

“Both Dejan and Joe have played sensational games for us in this position. Fitness and rhythm is the most difficult to get in professional football. Dejan is an outstanding centre-half.

“If you can tell me one player from Saturday that played at his normal level, I would be surprised.”

However, Klopp said the performance at Vicarage Road would have no bearing on team selection for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

“The defeat has nothing to do with line-up tomorrow (Tuesday) night,” he added. “We always play with a team which gives us the best chance to reach the next round.”


Edited By: Olawale Alabi)


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Lampard bemoans Chelsea’s injury crisis ahead of FA Cup tie against Liverpool



NNN: Chelsea’s progress has been severely dented this season due to a number of injury setbacks, manager Frank Lampard said on Monday.

Lampard said several senior players would be unavailable for Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth round clash with Liverpool as a result of this.

Players such as influential midfielder N’Golo Kante have had a stop-start campaign while others like Antonio Rudiger have either returned from injury recently or been sidelined like winger Christian Pulisic.

“There were a few (injuries) overlapping from last year, which were huge: N’Golo Kante, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Antonio Rudiger.

“It’s been an issue and now we have another bulk,” Lampard told reporters when asked why Chelsea have struggled.

“There are no fresh returns from the injury list. Andreas Christensen has got a small issue which we are going to give another 24 hours, but probably puts him in out of the game.

“Other than that we have no Tammy Abraham, no Pulisic, no Hudson-Odoi and no Kante.”

Abraham, who is the club’s leading goal scorer this season with 15 goals in all competitions, suffered an ankle injury, with Lampard having no update on his return to the side.

“(Abraham) went to Barcelona to get another set of eyes on it,” Lampard added. “He came back relatively positive.

“Unfortunately, he’s a bit unwell at the moment. So, he’s been off for a couple of days with a bit of a bug. There’s no update, no idea when he’ll be back.

“Christian has had a big phase out and is desperate to get back. When (they can return) I’m not giving an answer… I can’t see the answer.

“I’m hoping they might be fit over the next week or two, I just can’t say it with clarity.”

English Premier League (EPL) leaders Liverpool lost their first league game of the season at Watford over the weekend.

Even though Lampard believes it proved they were vulnerable, he said they have still had an “incredible season”.

“They’ve become relatively human. But it’s one game,” Lampard said. “They’re a strong team and they’ve been out on their own this season.

“We will have to be at our best. I don’t mind playing midweek. The FA Cup is a huge competition. Evening games bring a different atmosphere and playing Liverpool is always big for us.”


Edited By: Olawale Alabi)


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Alonso double gives Chelsea 2-2 draw at Bournemouth



Chelsea stormed back from a goal down to snatch a 2-2 draw away to AFC Bournemouth in their Premier League clash at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

Midfielder Marco Alonso struck twice for the visitors who were in need of the points as much as the hosts.

Both sides played open football and Chelsea took the lead in the 33rd minute when Reece James crossed for Olivier Giroud to send his effort onto the crossbar.

Alonso was on hand to smash home the rebound.

Bournemouth bounced back with a headed goal from Jefferson Lerma nine minutes after the break.

And three minutes later, they were ahead when Joshua King tapped the ball home from close range after a superb ball in from the right by Jack Stacey.

Jolted into all-out attack, Chelsea substitute Michy Batshuayi had a goal ruled out for offside moments after coming on, but they continued to bombard the Bournemouth box with set-pieces and crosses.

Their efforts paid off with five minutes of normal time left as Mason Mount fired a rocket which goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale could only parry and Alonso reacted quickest to head home.

Chelsea stay in fourth position on 45 points, while Bournemouth are still hovering above the drop zone on 27 points, two ahead of 17th-placed Aston Villa.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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Bayern Munich whip Chelsea 3-0 for sweet revenge




Two second half goals in less than three minutes from Serge Gnabry and one from Robert Lewandowski earned Bayern Munich a thumping 3-0 victory at Chelsea in their UEFA Champions League fixture.

The last 16 first leg game on Tuesday in London saw the German champions sharper and livelier than their hosts, and they piled on the pressure from the start of the match.

The stats showed they enjoyed 63 per cent possession, and it was a bad night for Chelsea, whose home form under Frank Lampard has been suspect all season.

Their misery was complete in the 83rd minute when wing back Marcos Alonso was sent off for violent conduct after he caught Lewandowski in the face with his arm.

For former Arsenal forward Gnabry, his goals on Tuesday were his fifth and sixth in London in the Champions League this season.

He scored four in Bayern Munich’s 7-2 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur in the group stages.

The first against Chelsea in the 51st minute involved a one-two between Gnabry and Lewandowski.

The prolific Pole cut back from the edge of the area when Chelsea’s retreating defence expected him to shoot, and it left Gnabry with an easy finish from less than 10 metres.

Chelsea, run ragged most of the evening, had barely got their breath back when Lewandowski and Gnabry exchanged passes halfway down the pitch before Gnabry raced away to score.

Lewandowski, clearly enjoying himself, got among the scorers in the 76th minute after a stirring run from Canadian full back Alphonso Davies.

The Germans had also wasted a series of chances in the first half.

Thomas Mueller, one of three players who figured in Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League final victory over Bayern in Munich, went closest in the 35th minute.

He thumped the bar with a header from another Lewandowski cross.

Tuesday’s win will prove a measure of revenge for that unlikely Chelsea victory.

The Germans will feel fully confident of progressing when they welcome the London side for the second leg on March 18.

Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong and Olawale Alabi)


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