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  1. Leicester City were the hosts for Chelsea's next match. The previous season, this fixture had proven to be Mourinho’s last as Chelsea manager, the “Special One” being sacked after a 2-1 defeat. Chelsea's situation was not as dire this time around, but a defeat would be far from ideal. Spencer abandoned the cautiousness from the Man City game, looking to control the match. Leicester: Zieler Simpson Morgan Huth Fuchs King Drinkwater Mahrez Pereira Gray Vardy Substitutes: Schmeichel, Benalouane, Ndidi, Slimani, Albrighton, Amartey, Ulloa Chelsea: Courtois Azpilicueta David Luiz Cahill Marcos Alonso Matic Kanté Willian Fàbregas Pedro Diego Costa Substitutes: Eduardo, Gayà, Terry, Chalobah, Camacho, Moses, Batshuayi The match was barely a minute old when Chelsea won a free kick. Marcos Alonso found Kanté, who moved the ball on to Pedro. Pedro fed the ball into the danger area, where Fàbregas ran onto it and looked to centre. The ball, however, was deflected off Morgan into the path of King, whose clearance was intercepted by Matic. Matic passed to Willian, who took the ball inside before playing it to Costa's feet. Costa played a low pass into the area, and Kanté raced onto it before firing the ball past Zieler to score his first Chelsea goal. The side he'd done so against was not lost on either the Radio 5 Live or Sky Sports commentators, although his celebration was muted. Chelsea looked to continue their flying start and on the sixth minute David Luiz got on the end of Pedro's free kick, only to hit the side netting. Kanté then looked to double his tally in the ninth minute, receiving the ball from Alonso before setting off on a run to the edge of the area, before sending his shot off target. Chelsea thought they'd doubled their lead in the 14th minute. David Luiz sent a free kick into the wall, but regained possession and found Fàbregas. Fàbregas passed low to Cahill, who fired home from 18 yards. However, Costa had moved too early, and the goal was disallowed. Leicester had their first chance in the sixteenth minute. Mahrez lofted a free kick into the area, which Willian headed clear. Gray, however, won the ball from Pedro, and played it to Pereira. Pereira moved the ball onto Vardy, whose shot was blocked. Gray regained possession and took the ball into the D before passing to King. King passed to Mahrez, whose speculative effort was well saved by Courtois. Leicester then had a free kick, which Willian was able to block. In the 21st minute, Chelsea won a free kick for a foul on Costa. David Luiz beat the wall, but not Zieler. Two minutes later, Mahrez fired a Leicester free kick over the bar. Zieler then had to be on hand in the 26th minute, scrambling across to tip Willian's effort wide. Two minutes later, a throw in by Azpilicueta found Drinkwater, whose interception was intercepted by Matic. Matic flicked the ball onto Willian, who found Kanté to his left. Kanté looked to find Pedro, but the ball was intercepted by Simpson. Chelsea recovered, however, and David Luiz glanced a header on to Kanté, who ghosted past King before moving the ball forward for Pedro. Pedro raced into the area before sending in a cross. Costa got his head to it, but he sent it straight at Zieler. A minute later, Willian got down the wing and sent in a cross, which was deflected. Kanté got to the ball and went for glory, but Zieler was able to push it away. Chelsea were dominating, and Leicester's chances were few and far between. In the 33rd minute, Mahrez found Drinkwater, who sent a shot straight at Courtois. Chelsea had dominated the first half and at half time, Leicester brought on Islam Slimani for Matheus Pereira, hoping that the increased attacking options would bear fruit. The first chance of the half, however, went to Chelsea, but Willian sent the free kick over the bar from a promising position. Fàbregas also sent a shot wide two minutes later. Leicester did have a chance in the 53rd minute, but King sent his shot straight at Courtois. In the 56th minute, Willian took the ball down the right before sending it into the area. Costa's shot was blocked by Morgan and struck the post before Drinkwater cleared it ahead of the onrushing Fàbregas. That would be Drinkwater's last contribution, as he was then replaced by Wilfred Ndidi. In the 59th minute, a good ball into the box found Vardy. Vardy whipped it into the mix for Mahrez, whose volley fizzled past the post. Chelsea then went up the other end and won a free kick, which Willian fired over the bar, before Leicester replaced Gray with Albrighton. In the 66th minute, Albrighton teed up Vardy, whose pot shot was easily saved by Courtois. A minute later, Willian's free kick was blocked by King. Willian had another chance in the 74th minute, running onto a perfect pass from Diego Costa before hitting his shot straight at Zieler. Spencer then looked to close out the game, replacing Matic with Camacho. With just over ten minutes left, Wes Morgan got his head to Mahrez's corner, but sent his header over the bar. With four minutes left, Willian was replaced by Victor Moses. A minute later, Fàbregas sent in a corner, Ndidi intercepted, but Costa regained possession and crossed the ball to Pedro, whose header was hacked clear by Huth. In the 90th minute, Zieler’s free kick found Mahrez, who ran into Cahill. Cahill found Costa, who passed to Fàbregas. Kanté then took over, before passing ahead to Pedro. Pedro, wide open, sent a cross to the far post, where Moses arrived to volley home. In stoppage time, Pedro found Fàbregas, who found Moses in front of him. Moses played it to Costa, who got into the area before being tripped by Morgan. Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot, and David Luiz sent the ball beyond the outstretched arm of Zieler to make it three. 1st October 2016, 17:30: Barclays Premier League - at King Power Stadium, Leicester Leicester 0-3 Chelsea (Kanté 2, Moses 90, David Luiz 90+2 pen) Man of the Match: Diego Costa The lunchtime kick off had seen Manchester City defeat Arsenal 3-1, before a good performance by Nathan Aké helped Bournemouth to a 1-0 win over Everton. Burnley and Watford played out a 2-2 draw, while an Abel Hernandez brace saw Hull defeat Crystal Palace 2-1. Tottenham remained unbeaten, beating Middlesbrough 4-1. The Sunday fixtures, meanwhile saw Sunderland beat Southampton 3-1. Liverpool avenged their EFL Cup defeat with a 4-1 win over West Ham, while Stoke held Man Utd to a 0-0 draw. Over the course of the week, Ruben Loftus-Cheek resumed full training after his back injury. The following weekend, however, Marcos Alonso was taken ill with food poisoning. The international fixtures saw England rack up wins over Lithuania and Malta. The following Monday, Kurt Zouma finally resumed full training after suffering damaged cruciate ligaments against Manchester United the previous season. However, it would be a while until he would be fit enough for the first team, so he was put in the reserves.
  2. Drogba11CFC

    The Premier League Reimagined: It's a Whole New Ball Game

    Relegating Arsenal by beating Sp*rs at the Lane almost certainly makes up for the rest of the season for Chelsea fans.
  3. Chelsea's next league game would be at Manchester City on 24th September 2016. The Blues had lost this fixture 3-0 the previous season, turning in an abject performance which would prove to be the shape of things to come. Wary of the threat posed by the home side, Spencer opted for a more defensive formation; he was also unable to call upon Eden Hazard, who was out with a broken toe. The hosts, meanwhile, were missing Fernando through suspension. Man City: Bravo Zabaleta Kompany Otamendi Clichy Gündogan Fernandinho De Bruyne Gabriel Jesus Agüero Silva Substitutes: Caballero, Kolarov, Sterling, Iheanacho, Touré, Sagna, Nolito Chelsea: Courtois Azpilicueta David Luiz Cahill Marcos Alonso Matic Fàbregas Kanté Willian Costa Pedro Substitutes: Eduardo, Gayà, Terry, Chalobah, Camacho, Moses, Batshuayi The first real chance actually went to Chelsea in the fifth minute. A clearance from Courtois was knocked down to Fàbregas by the head of Willian. Fàbregas passed it to Azpilicueta, who sent the ball left to Matic. Matic played it to the feet of Kanté, whose long ball sent Pedro away down the left. Pedro drifted past Zabaleta before sending in a low cross which Diego Costa connected with. Costa came agonisingly close, the ball fizzing past the post. Manchester City had their first chance in the ninth minute. Silva sent a low forward pass to Agüero, whose shot went sailing wide of the mark. Chelsea survived a major scare in the fifteenth minute. David Silva ran onto Jesus's first time ball and crossed the ball low. The ball took a deflection off the foot of David Luiz and Courtois pushed it into the path of Agüero, who hit the post from two feet out before the ball was hacked clear. In the twentieth minute, Kevin De Bruyne hit an audacious shot, which was saved by Courtois. A minute later, Marcos Alonso threw himself in front of a Gabriel Jesus shot. In the 27th minute, a rare Chelsea attack saw Diego Costa feed in Kanté. Kanté was onside and through on goal, but Bravo came racing out before he could shoot. In the 33rd minute, Chelsea looked to attack again. Willian played a one-two with Cahill from a free kick before dribbling to the edge of the area and hitting a blistering strike which Bravo was able to tip against the bar. Willian then tried again less than a minute later, with Bravo again making a save. Kevin De Bruyne then had a shot in the 35th minute, which David Luiz blocked at the expense of a corner. From the corner, however, Kanté missed the clearance and Silva headed home from an acute angle. Chelsea looked to equalise, and won a free kick in the 38th minute. Willian sent a long ball into the area, but Cahill's header was saved by Bravo. Azpilicueta then entered the book for a trip on Silva. Silva had a free kick just before half time, which he sent over the bar. In the 56th minute, a Chelsea attack broke down and De Bruyne sent a long ball for Agüero to chase. Agüero raced into the area before firing in a shot which Courtois couldn't hold. David Luiz came to the rescue and hoofed the ball clear. Agüero had another shot two minutes later, with similar results. With fifteen minutes remaining, Camacho was brought on to replace Matic. Courtois then tipped a cross from Sterling wide, before Touré headed the resulting corner wide. With time running out, Spencer brought on Batshuayi and Moses for Costa and Fàbregas. The next goal came a minute later...but not the way Spencer was hoping. David Silva threaded a pass to Agüero, who slipped through the Chelsea defence to double City's lead and put the result beyond doubt. Touré could have added insult to injury in stoppage time, but his free kick went over the bar. 24th September 2016: Barclays Premier League - at Etihad Stadium, Manchester Man City 2-0 Chelsea (Silva 36, Agüero 82) Man of the Match: David Silva “We didn't even begin to play as well as we're capable of,” Spencer said in the press conference after the match. “It was disappointing in every department and nowhere near good enough.” The press were also scathing; Sid Collingwood was particularly critical of Spencer's caution, comparing him to “a gambler at the blackjack table who stands on a three and a two” while Garry Baker stated that “We simply didn't create enough chances. We need to learn how to play without Hazard because otherwise it could be a bleak six weeks.” * * * The three o'clock games saw some interesting results. A poor performance from Nathan Aké contributed to Bournemouth losing 4-0 at home to Arsenal as Olivier Giroud scored all four of Arsenal's goals. Hull secured a 1-1 draw against Watford, Abel Hernandez cancelling out Deeney's opener, while Crystal Palace picked up their first point of the season with a 0-0 draw at Stoke. Tottenham's local derby with West Ham also ended in a goalless draw, while the evening kickoff saw Manchester United defeat Everton 3-0 to go top of the league. Sunday saw Middlesbrough win 2-1 at Turf Moor, while Liverpool were held 0-0 by Southampton at Anfield. In the Monday night game, Swansea beat Sunderland 1-0 thanks to a Fernando Llorente goal. League Table: Pos Inf Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag GD Pts 1st Man Utd 6 5 0 1 12 3 9 15 2nd Man City 6 4 1 1 11 3 8 13 3rd Watford 6 4 1 1 8 5 3 13 4th Leicester 6 4 1 1 9 10 -1 13 5th Arsenal 6 3 2 1 9 2 7 11 6th Liverpool 6 3 1 2 15 10 5 10 7th Tottenham 6 2 4 0 14 9 5 10 8th Chelsea 6 3 1 2 12 8 4 10 9th Burnley 6 3 1 2 7 7 0 10 10th West Ham 6 2 3 1 11 5 6 9 11th Southampton 6 2 3 1 10 8 2 9 12th Bournemouth 6 2 2 2 5 7 -2 8 13th Everton 6 2 1 3 8 11 -3 7 14th Swansea 6 1 3 2 5 11 -6 6 15th West Brom 6 1 2 3 9 9 0 5 16th Middlesbrough 6 1 2 3 3 6 -3 5 17th Stoke 6 1 2 3 4 8 -4 5 18th Hull 6 0 2 4 4 15 -11 2 19th Crystal Palace 6 0 1 5 0 9 -9 1 20th Sunderland 6 0 1 5 1 11 -10 1 The European fixtures on Tuesday night saw Arsenal draw 2-2 away to a Dynamo Kiev side who ended up with two players being sent off, while Manchester City won 3-0 at PSV Eindhoven. On Wednesday, Tottenham drew 2-2 with Barcelona at White Hart Lane while Leicester won 3-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen. Thursday's Europa League fixtures saw West Ham draw 1-1 with Braga after being reduced to ten men. Manchester United beat Qarabag 3-0 in Azerbaijan, while Southampton beat Young Boys 2-0 at St Mary's. October looked like a tough month for Chelsea, as they would travel to champions Leicester before hosting Tottenham. A trip to Swansea would be followed by an EFL Cup tie at Middlesbrough, before a home fixture against Liverpool. In the Friday night game, a Salomón Rondón hat trick helped West Brom to a 3-1 win at Swansea.
  4. Chelsea played their EFL Cup 3rd round tie on 20th September at Sheffield Wednesday. The two clubs had not faced each other since May 2000, in which Wednesday had won 1-0. Spencer looked to rest some of the first team players with Manchester City on the horizon. Courtois, David Luiz, Fàbregas and Alonso were among the players rested or benched. Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith Hunt Sasso Loovens Fox Pêpê Abdi Bannan Adelaide Nuhiu Emanuelson Substitutes: Dawson, Palmer, Hooper, Winnall, Wallace, Semedo, Jones Chelsea: Begovic Azpilicueta Terry Cahill Gayà Camacho Matic Kanté Moses Batshuayi Pedro Substitutes: Courtois, Alonso, Luiz, Chalobah, Fàbregas, Willian, Raúl From the kick off, Bannan hit a speculative pass which Azpilicueta intercepted and played back to Begovic. Begovic took the ball out of the area before hoofing it clear. Pedro latched onto it, holding up play before moving it back to Matic. Matic then exchanged passes with Azpilicueta, before passing through to Camacho. Camacho found Cahill on the left, and Cahill fed it forward to Kanté. Kanté then sprayed the ball out left, where Pedro moved onto the pass before getting a cross in to Batshuayi, whose header looped over Wildsmith and into the net with just 51 seconds on the clock. In the seventh minute, Bannon’s pass found Emanuelson, who sent a shot sailing wide of the mark. Adelaide would then head wide from a Bannon free kick in the thirteenth minute. In the seventeenth minute, Emanuelson was forced wide. He attempted to send in a cross, which Begovic did just enough to tip over. The home fans were starting to sense that Chelsea might be vulnerable and in the twentieth minute, Hunt hit the ball 30 yards back towards Pêpê, whose first time volley sailed into the net beyond the outstretched arm of Begovic. Joy turned to despair, however, as the goal was ruled out for offside, Nuhiu being the culprit. Three minutes later, Bannon's free kick was saved by Begovic. The ball ran free to Adelaide, but Gayà raced in to clear. The hosts then won a series of corners, but the pendulum swung again as half time approached. In the closing stages of the half, Kanté sent a header straight at Wildsmith, before seeing a volley blocked by Loovens. Chelsea nearly doubled their advantage in the first minute of the second half. Kanté found Camacho, whose shot took two deflections before Wildsmith claimed it. With an hour gone, Nuhiu came off for Winnall, while Chalobah came on for Chelsea to replace Matic. A good pass from Kanté found Pedro with 25 minutes remaining, but the winger couldn't get his shot on target. Chalobah then tried his luck after getting on the end of a pass from John Terry in a melee in the box following a free kick, but Morgan Fox got in the way. From the corner, Cahill sent a header flying over the bar from an awkward angle. Kanté then played a one-two with Chalobah before firing off a shot which Wildsmith got enough on to tip over. Gary Cahill was then withdrawn, being replaced by David Luiz. With eight minutes remaining, Sam Winnall sent a shot over the bar, but Chelsea held on to progress into the next round. 20th September 2016: EFL Cup 3rd Round - at Hillsborough, Sheffield Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Chelsea (Batshuayi 1) Man of the Match: John Terry In the evening's other fixtures, a Romelu Lukaku hat trick saw Everton cruise to a 3-1 win at Brighton, while a good performance by Kenedy couldn't prevent Leicester's elimination on penalties by Reading after a 0-0 draw. Sunderland, meanwhile, defeated Burnley 3-2 at the Stadium of Light, while Tottenham beat Blackburn 3-1 at White Hart Lane. Troy Deeney's goal gave Watford a 1-0 win over Derby County, while Manchester City won 2-0 at the Hawthorns despite being reduced to ten men after a Fernando's two footed lunge on Rondón. Burton Albion, meanwhile, secured a 1-0 win at Molineux. Wednesday's fixtures saw Arsenal need penalties to get past an underachieving Newcastle side at the Emirates after a goalless draw. Championship high-flyers Brentford made short work of Millwall in a 3-1 win at Griffin Park, while Huddersfield pushed Bournemouth to extra time only to concede four goals without reply. Gaston Ramirez's strike secured a 1-0 win for Middlesbrough at Portman Road, while José Mourinho got revenge for his 2015 FA Cup humiliation with a 4-0 win over Bradford City at Old Trafford. QPR secured a 1-0 win over Preston, while Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a last minute equaliser and missed an injury time penalty before scoring in the shootout as Swansea eliminated Southampton in Wales. At the London Stadium, a Loris Karius own goal helped West Ham to a 2-1 win over Liverpool. Thursday saw another setback for Chelsea as Asmir Begovic landed heavily in training and sustained a sprained ankle, ruling him out for up to four weeks. Although Begovic was a backup to Courtois, any injury or suspension to Chelsea's first choice keeper would leave Spencer having to rely on the services of third-choice keeper Eduardo. Meanwhile, the Friday night game saw Leicester briefly go top after beating West Brom 2-1 at the King Power Stadium. The draw for the EFL Cup 4th round would see Chelsea travel to Middlesbrough, with the tie of the round being Arsenal against Manchester City.
  5. Following their demolition of Hull City, Chelsea sat second in the table when high-flying Burnley arrived at Stamford Bridge. Since losing to Liverpool on the opening day, Burnley had won three games on the bounce and found themselves in 5th position. The fixture two seasons ago had ended in a draw, with Nemanja Matic being shown a red card for retaliating to an absolutely appalling challenge by Clarets midfielder Ashley Barnes, who had also gotten away with a nasty foul on Ivanovic. Barnes was, however, missing through injury, but Spencer was able to pick the same eleven that had put Hull to the sword. The home side looked to pick up from where they left off and in the fifth minute, Kanté found Diego Costa with a low pass. Costa ran into the area before laying the ball to Hazard, whose first time shot was held by Heaton. Chelsea then forced a corner, from which Cahill couldn't direct his header goalwards. Fàbregas was the next to try his luck in the eighth minute, pouncing on a loose ball just outside the box only for Michael Keane to throw himself in front of the shot. A minute later, Willian hit a free kick straight at the wall. Chelsea were on top and had another chance in the fourteenth minute. Kanté found Willian with a 30 yard ball, which Willian headed on to Costa. Costa powered a header at goal, but Heaton saved it and held onto it. Heaton was called into action again a minute later. Fàbregas played a lovely ball to Diego Costa, who timed his run perfectly. He hit a powerful first time effort, which Heaton tipped wide. Kanté was the next player to have a go, striking a volley which Suk Hyun-Jun bravely got in the way of. Fàbregas then looked to capitalise on a poor clearance from Keane, but he sent his header wide of the goal. Defour had committed a surprisingly large amount of fouls in the opening twenty minutes, and it was no surprise when he was booked in the 23rd minute. Willian took the free kick, but Sam Vokes threw himself in front of it. Burnley then had a rare chance. Keane looked for Robbie Brady in front of him. Brady left Matic standing before hitting an optimistic long-range effort, which sailed wide of the mark. They then came much closer, Sam Vokes playing a one-two with Hendricks before having a shot which was turned against the post by Courtois and hacked clear by Alonso. Chelsea then had a free kick, which Willian sent wide, before Brady tried to score another long-range effort, which was caught by Courtois. A Burnley attack then broke down with Hazard sending Costa through on goal, only for him to miss the target. Burnley then had a free kick, which Matic blocked. Matic then entered the book for a foul on Suk Hyun-Jun. As the first half drew to a close, Chelsea looked to turn the screw. A long pass from Kanté found Fàbregas, whose shot was tipped wide by Heaton. A minute later, Costa played a short pass to Hazard, whose shot was saved by Heaton. Kanté then hit a fierce shot from the edge of the are which barely missed the target. In first half stoppage time, Fàbregas saw a shot sail wide of the mark, before sending a wonderful pass to Hazard whose shot from a tight angle was tipped wide by Heaton. From the corner, Marcos Alonso couldn't get his shot on target. Hendrick was shown a yellow card two minutes into the second half, before Hazard's shot was blocked by Flanagan. Flanagan then gave away a free kick for a foul on Alonso, with David Luiz shooting over the bar. In the 57th minute, Azpilicueta knocked the ball down the line for Willian, who sent a cross into the area. Defour cleared the ball, but Azpilicueta regained possession and sent a cross towards the far post. Costa got on the end of it, but his effort hit the post. In the 66th minute, Brady received a yellow card for upending Willian. Sam Vokes then got on the end of a Brady free kick, sending his header the wrong side of the post. Chelsea were then dealt a severe blow as Kanté pulled up with a dead leg, necessitating his withdrawal for Camacho. Tom Heaton was then on hand again, holding onto Hazard's long range effort after some good build up play by Chelsea. Courtois then had to be alert to tip a cross-cum-shot from Gudmundsson around the post, before Spencer brought Pedro on for Matic to increase Chelsea's attacking options. Joey Barton then gave away a free kick, which Willian sent wide, before Diego Costa missed the target with a header. With time almost up, Ben Mee’s clearance was intercepted by Willian. Willian's header found Costa, whose shot was saved by Heaton, leaving the Chelsea manager, players and fans to wonder just how they'd not won. Final Score: Chelsea 0-0 Burnley Man of the Match: David Luiz Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz (Terry 90), Cahill, Alonso; Matic (Pedro 76), Kanté (Camacho 70); Willian, Fàbregas, Hazard; Diego Costa Subs not used: Begovic, Gayà, Moses, Batshuayi Booked: Matic, Azpilicueta Burnley (4-4-1-1): Heaton; Flanagan, Keane, Mee, Ward; Arfield (Gudmundsson 67), Defour (Barton 61), Hendrick, Brady; Suk (Boyd 56); Vokes Subs not used: Pope, Tarkowski, Long, Westwood Booked: Defour, Hendrick, Brady Attendance: 41,629 Referee: André Marriner Following the match, many fans voiced their discontent at the result. Garry Baker stated that “The team that put Hull to the sword now can't find their way past Tom Heaton. The profligacy shown is a major concern.” Others were less diplomatic; one person calling Chelsea's forwards “literally useless” with another saying “Can't believe how many chances we squandered in that match, fuming.” Many others, however, simply went for the quote from the Inbetweeners film: “When people now ask me if I like football, I say yes, I do like football. But not Burnley. Burnley can **** off.” * * * To add insult to injury, a win would have seen Chelsea go top of the league. The lunchtime kick off saw Camilo Zúñiga score the only goal of the game as Watford pulled off a shock victory over Manchester City. Arsenal beat Hull City 3-0 in a match which saw Henriksen receive two yellow cards in the space of four minutes, while Everton managed to beat Stoke 3-2 despite Enner Valencia's red card. Leicester won 1-0 at Middlesbrough thanks to Ahmed Musa’s 18th minute effort, while at The Hawthorns, Tottenham contrived to squander a 4-1 lead and allow West Bromwich Albion to snatch a point. In the evening kick off, Liverpool won 2-0 at the Stadium of Light through goals by Coutinho and Wijnaldum. The main talking point, however, came in the 52nd minute, where Jack Rodwell hacked down Firmino with both feet. It was an appalling challenge which could have caused serious injury; Firmino escaped unscathed, but Rodwell was sent off, and faced a lengthy suspension. Sunday's fixtures saw West Ham draw 1-1 with Swansea as Feghouli missed a late penalty for the Hammers, while Manchester United replaced Watford at the top of the table after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Southampton. However, Chelsea were dealt a severe blow on Monday in training. Eden Hazard went down following an accidental collision, and tests revealed that he'd broken a toe, ruling him out for 6-7 weeks; a period during which Chelsea would face Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool.
  6. Chelsea faced a struggling Hull City side on Sunday 11th September in the second half of Super Sunday. With N’Golo Kanté back from injury, Spencer picked his strongest eleven. The Blues had a superb record against their opponents, having never lost to them at Stamford Bridge and having not lost to them since October 1988. Chelsea: Courtois Azpilicueta David Luiz Cahill Marcos Alonso Matic Kanté Willian Fàbregas Hazard Diego Costa Substitutes: Begovic, Gayà, Terry, Camacho, Pedro, Moses, Batshuayi Hull City: Marshall Elabdellaoui Davies Ranocchia Robertson Mason N’Diaye Markovic Evandro Grosicki Berbatov Substitutes: Jakupovic, Maguire, Henriksen, Mbokani, Hernández, Clucas, Niasse Chelsea came straight out of the blocks and in the third minute, Alonso played the ball to Matic, who played a low forward pass to Fàbregas. Fàbregas fed Diego Costa, who looked for Willian. Willian tried his luck from a tight angle, but Marshall did well to turn it around the post. Marshall had to be on hand again in the seventh minute, when some good build up play resulted in a blistering strike from Willian. Diego Costa then had a chance, his header from Willian's free kick being held by Marshall. Chelsea were showing that they meant business, and their next attack came in the twelfth minute. Kamil Grosicki found Berbatov, who passed to Evandro. Evandro looked for Markovic, who was on loan from Liverpool, but Alonso cut out the pass and sent it forward to Hazard. Hazard set off on a surging run, leaving Mason on the floor, before sending the ball into the box for Costa. Costa couldn't get to the ball, but Willian did, and sent the ball into the roof of the net to give Chelsea the lead. Chelsea then spurned a glorious opportunity to double their lead three minutes later. Willian's free kick found Kanté, who played the ball forward to Hazard. Hazard had a pop from a tight angle, but Marshall diverted the ball onto the opposite post and Robertson cleared the ball ahead of the onrushing Costa. Robertson then became the first player to be booked, being shown the yellow card by Mark Clattenburg for a push on Willian. Hull's first real chance came in the 19th minute, as Evandro fired over from a free kick. However, he would have more success four minutes later. N’Diaye beat Costa in the air and headed the ball to Grosicki on the right. Grosicki passed to N’Diaye, who ran at the defence before finding Evandro with a weighted pass. Evandro got past Cahill before firing across Courtois into the corner of the net for his first goal of the season, sparking wild celebrations among the Hull fans, who'd been fearing a rout. Chelsea attacked almost immediately, and three minutes later Hazard found Costa, whose effort was blocked. Then, on the half hour mark, Diego Costa took the ball past Ranocchia before passing to Fàbregas. Fàbregas played the ball for Hazard to latch on to, but the Belgian's hopeful right footed shot was held by Marshall. Marshall bowled the ball short to Davies, who passed to Ranocchia. Ranocchia’s clearance, however, was intercepted by Cahill, whose header was intercepted by Evandro. Cahill intercepted again, however, and his header found Fàbregas. Fàbregas sent a pinpoint pass to Costa, who fired a shot into the opposite corner. Hull, however, were not lying down. Immediately, Ranocchia hit a long ball forward to Grosicki, who sent a low pass to Berbatov. The former Tottenham and Man Utd frontman passed back to N’Diaye, before Evandro took over. Evandro found Markovic in the box who, with all the time in the world, capped off a fine move with his first Hull City goal to bring the Tigers level. From the kick off, Cahill found Fàbregas. Fàbregas sprayed the ball out left for Hazard, whose lofted volley forward was cut out by Ranocchia. Kanté, however, regained possession and angled a 30 yard pass to Willian on the right. Willian jinked past Robertson before crossing from the byline. Fàbregas charged in to volley the ball past Marshall and restore Chelsea's lead immediately. As if three goals in as many minutes wasn't enough, it could have been four. A Hull attack broke down and Kanté lofted the ball forward to Costa. Costa ran at the defence before passing low to Willian, but Robertson did just enough to put him off. Four minutes later, a long ball by Courtois was headed clear by Davies, but only to Hazard. Hazard cushioned a headed pass to Kanté, who passed back to Matic. Matic found Fàbregas, who found Willian just outside the area. Willian passed the ball to Kanté, who passed to Hazard. Hazard hit a snapshot from just outside the area, which went wide of the goal. Two minutes later, N'Diaye fed the ball forward to Berbatov, whose shot was saved by Courtois. In the 40th minute, Elabdellaoui’s corner found Markovic, who couldn't keep his header down. Then, Diego Costa found Fàbregas with a header, but the midfielder was upended by N'Diaye. David Luiz took the free kick, but his shot hit Berbatov and went behind. In stoppage time, Evandro once again tormented the Chelsea defence, running onto a lofted ball by Berbatov before hitting a half volley which Courtois managed to turn behind. Evandro then won a foul from Matic, who received a yellow card for a shirt pull. Chelsea came flying out of the blocks in the second half, with Marshall having to be alert to tip Hazard's shot behind. Barely a minute into the second half, N'Diaye’s clearance was intercepted by Matic, who fed the ball forward to Fàbregas. Fàbregas played a nice one-two with Alonso, before moving the ball to Hazard in the area. Hazard passed to Alonso, who floated a cross to the far post. Davies intercepted, but Kanté headed it back into the box for Costa, who turned his man before firing into the opposite corner for his second of the game. Grosicki was subsequently withdrawn, Clucas coming on to replace him. Chelsea's next chance came two minutes later, when Kanté was brought down by Evandro. Marcos Alonso took the free kick, but his shot hit the wall. Evandro was shown the yellow card two minutes later for a similar foul on Fàbregas. From the free kick, Willian passed the ball 25 yards to Azpilicueta, who passed left to Matic. Matic moved the ball left for Kanté, who sent a long shot high over the bar. It was all Chelsea, and in the 55th minute, Alonso saw a free kick held by Marshall, before Berbatov was replaced by Mbokani. Chelsea were knocking at the door and a fifth seemed inevitable. Just before the hour mark, Azpilicueta threw the ball to Matic, who played it back to him. Azpilicueta passed to David Luiz, who sent a long ball forward to Willian. Willian looked to cross for Costa, but the ball was deflected behind for a corner. From the corner. Fàbregas aimed the corner at the far post but Cahill was unable to get to it. Clattenburg, however, pointed to the spot, having noticed a foul on Cahill by N'Diaye. Evandro was livid, and raged at Clattenburg, who refrained from showing him his second yellow. With Costa on a hat trick, Hazard handed him the ball, and he blasted the ball into the top corner to surely put the result beyond doubt. Hazard then had a pop from distance, which went over the bar. Marcos Alonso then sent a free kick wide, before Mason hit a spectacular half volley which Courtois was able to wave wide. With just under twenty minutes to go, Matic was upended by N'Diaye. Willian took the resulting free kick 25 yards out, and fired the ball over the wall and into the net. N'Diaye then received a yellow card for bringing down Costa, but Alonso sent the free kick over the bar as the home fans clamoured for a seventh, before Camacho replaced the booked Matic. However, as the game drew to a close, Hull looked more likely to grab a consolation. With ten minutes to go, Evandro hit a long range effort straight at Courtois, while N'Diaye and Mason both came close in the final ten minutes. Final Score: Chelsea 6-2 Hull City (Willian 12, 71, Costa 30, 47, pen 60, Fàbregas 32; Evandro 23, Markovic 31) Man of the match: Diego Costa “Diego Costa's hat trick was undoubtedly the key factor in your win today.” BBC Radio Humberside’s Bernard Fisher stated in the post match press conference. “What did you make of his performance?” “It was absolutely tremendous and that's reflected in the goals he scored.” Spencer replied. “That result sees Chelsea shoot up the table,” put in Tom Clark of the Daily Mirror. “You've got to be happy with that, surely?” “Of course. It gives us a platform to build on and something to work towards maintaining. It also creates a positive atmosphere and hopefully we can take an optimistic approach going forward.” *** Chelsea had indeed shot up the table; another good performance by Nathan Aké helped Bournemouth to a 2-0 win at Watford in the 13:30 kickoff, putting an end to the Hornets’ perfect start. The margin of victory also saw Chelsea move up to second in the table, while Diego Costa went top of the scoring charts. The press were also full of praise; In the Sun, Sid Collingwood described it as “A dazzling display of attacking football that blew away the cobwebs of the previous season” under the headline “SIX OF THE BEST, PART 3” (Parts one and two referring to West Ham's 6-0 victory over Leicester and Liverpool's 6-1 victory over Swansea, respectively), while in the Mail, Martin Samuel wrote that “Chelsea looked like scoring every time they went forward. You could even say the scoreline flattered Hull. José Mourinho take note.” His colleague Steven Moore, however, bemoaned the poor standard of defending over the weekend. Garry Baker, too, was appreciative, saying, “Outstanding performance today. That'll definitely be something for the fans to take into work with them tomorrow morning.” Chelsea's performance was the talk of twitter, except for the previous day's Old Firm Derby, in which Rangers had pulled off a major shock with a 2-1 win at Parkhead. There were rumours among the tinfoil hat brigade that the referee and the SFA had been part of a Masonic conspiracy. In the Monday night game, Southampton beat Leicester 4-3, before Tuesday saw the commencement of the Champions League group stage. Leicester won 4-0 in Copenhagen, while Tottenham were held to a 1-1 draw in Porto. On Wednesday night, Manchester City were held at home by Benfica, while Arsenal defeated Club Brugge 2-0. In the Europa League, West Ham won 3-1 at Rostov, while Manchester United dispatched Ludogorets 3-0 at Old Trafford and Southampton beat Hertha 2-0 in Berlin. Friday saw the press conference for the Burnley game. When asked about Burnley's good start to the season which saw the Clarets sit 5th in the table, Spencer responded, “Well, I think they've got to be respected. They've had a good start and as we so often see, anyone can beat anyone else.” In the Friday night game, Crystal Palace continued their sorry start to the season, as Steve Cook scored the only goal of the game at Selhurst Park to ensure the home side remained without a point.
  7. September would see Chelsea play back-to-back home games against Hull City and Burnley, before their league cup tie at Hillsborough. They would finish the month with a game against Manchester City at the Etihad. Firstly though, there was an international weekend. Charlie Wakefield and Nathan Ake both turned out for their respective U21 sides, Wakefield playing superbly in a 3-0 win in Russia and Ake having a quiet game in Holland's 1-0 win over Denmark. In the World Cup qualifiers, Courtois and Hazard both turned out for Belgium in their 3-0 win in Estonia, while Asmir Begovic put in a solid performance as Bosnia & Herzegovina won 4-2 in Cyprus. Gary Cahill, however, picked up a yellow card as England lost 2-1 at Hampden Park, with the Scottish population delighted at their triumph over the "Auld Enemy" and the press already sharpening the knives for Southgate. Charlie Wakefield had more success turning out for the U21 side, in a 2-1 win over Albania, while Nathan Ake featured in a 7-0 win over Luxembourg. Chelsea would have the Sunday afternoon kickoff in the next round of fixtures. Arsenal were once again playing on Friday night, and continued their underwhelming start with a 0-0 draw at home to Stoke City, a game that was considerably less entertaining than the ArsenalfanTV interviews afterwards. The Saturday fixtures saw Manchester United romp to a 3-0 win at Selhurst Park, largely thanks to two penalties. Manchester City also won on the road, running out 2-0 winners against Middlesbrough. Sunderland, however, moved off the bottom, Jack Rodwell's late equaliser securing a point against Tottenham. Burnley continued their impressive start with a 2-1 win at West Brom, but Leicester's good start came screeching to a halt at the London Stadium. 2-0 down after ten minutes, the Foxes were well and truly hammered, losing 6-0. Liverpool also racked up six goals in the evening kickoff, Daniel Sturridge scoring an eight minute hat trick in a 6-1 win over Swansea.
  8. Drogba11CFC

    An Impossible Man

    By the way, please could you give me a tip on how to post a league table?
  9. Chelsea travelled to Dean Court missing N’Golo Kanté, who had sustained a groin strain in training. They did, however, welcome back Marcos Alonso, who had missed the Stoke game through suspension. Chelsea started the match brightly; in the second minute Diego Costa won a foul from Cook, who was shown a yellow card for his troubles. From the free kick, Wilson headed clear but a potential counter-attack was thwarted by Camacho's tackle on Wilshere. Camacho played forward to Fàbregas, who sent a long ball over the top. Costa ran onto it and got free of the last defender, but sent the ball across the face of goal. Bournemouth had their first chance in the seventh minute. A Chelsea corner was held by Boruc, who delivered the ball to Steve Cook. Cook cleared the ball to Pugh, who sent a wonderful pass forward to Wilson. Courtois, however, got across to tip the shot wide, before holding onto Afobe's header from the subsequent corner. Although Costa had missed an early opportunity, he would do much better in the 11th minute. A Bournemouth attack broke down and Camacho cleared the ball to Willian. Willian set off on a long run down the right, eluding Arter as he cut inside and ran into the area. He then whipped in a cross which Diego Costa volleyed home from close range. Chelsea had another chance two minutes later. Camacho's pass found Hazard, who sent his effort wide of the mark. Bournemouth would make Chelsea pay for that miss in the sixteenth minute. From a corner, Jack Wilshere sent a hanging ball over. Afobe's header was parried by Courtois, but Marcos Alonso continued his stuttering start to his time at Chelsea by heading the ball into his own net. Bournemouth looked to seize the initiative, and in the 20th minute, Daniels beat Willian in the air and headed the ball to Wilson in the Chelsea half. Wilson headed back to Pugh, who passed to the feet of Wilshere. Wilshere passed to Wilson, who surged past Azpilicueta before finding Afobe. Afobe took the ball into the area before having a shot which cannoned back off the post and was cleared by a grateful Gary Cahill. Chelsea, having had a very lucky escape, looked to retake the lead. In the 25th minute, Azpilicueta found Willian with a throw. Daniels got his foot in, but Azpilicueta crossed the ball into the area. Karim Rekik intercepted the pass, but Camacho picked up the loose ball. He then went for goal, but sent the ball wide of the mark. Two minutes later, Rekik’s clearance was intercepted by Cahill, who hit the ball long to Costa. Costa held off Wilshere to find Fàbregas. Fàbregas was then dispossessed, but Camacho recovered possession and passed to Fàbregas, who then sent a shot sailing wide. Fàbregas then had another chance in the 30th minute. Hazard's corner was cleared, but Willian was first to the loose ball. He passed it to Fàbregas, whose shot was blocked. Hazard then had a chance in the 37th minute, sending a shot over the bar. Max Gradel had a superb chance to give Bournemouth the lead just before half time, his free kick striking the post. Bournemouth looked to take the lead early in the second half, and Wilson hit a header off target before Pugh did the same with a volley. Chelsea made them pay for those misses; in the 53rd minute, Arter’s clearance was intercepted by Cahill, who sprinted past Wilson and sent a long ball to Costa. Costa dominated Steve Cook in the air and headed the ball to Fàbregas, who found Willian. Willian took the ball into the area before tucking the ball into the opposite corner of the net. Chelsea struck again three minutes later. Marcos Alonso headed the ball to Hazard, who found Fàbregas. Fàbregas angled a 25 yard pass to Alonso, who played a one-two with Hazard before delivering a cross to Diego Costa, who volleyed home from close range to cap off a sublime move. Costa could have had a hat trick in the 60th minute, but his volley went just over the bar. Bournemouth, however, weren't giving up that easily. In the 62nd minute, Callum Wilson saw his shot tipped wide by Courtois. Then, in the 66th minute, Gradel raced down the right and aimed a cross at the far post, which Wilson headed in for the 50th league goal of his career. Wilson then had another chance in the 69th minute. Benik Afobe's free kick was blocked by Camacho. Wilson was first to the loose ball and went for goal, but Courtois held onto the shot. Afobe then got behind the defence, only for his shot to be tipped over by Courtois. That was Afobe's last action of the match, as he was then replaced by Lys Mousset. Cahill then ended up in the book, for a trip on Mousset. Chelsea looked to regain their two goal advantage. In the 75th minute, Marcos Alonso played a long ball which was intercepted by Cook. Camacho, however, regained possession and found Fàbregas who sent a long ball to Willian. Willian raced into the area and had a shot from a tight angle which was tipped wide by Boruc. Hazard, who'd had a quiet game, was then replaced by Pedro, before Fàbregas’ long free kick found David Luiz, whose header missed the target. Bournemouth then looked to equalise, with Mousset having a pot-shot before Gradel pounced on the rebound. Courtois was unable to hold onto it, but it was scrambled away by Alonso. With Chelsea looking to tighten up the defence, Spencer brought John Terry on for Matic. With time almost up, Wilson tried his luck from distance, but his effort was nowhere near on target. Final Score: AFC Bournemouth 2-3 Chelsea (Alonso og 16, Wilson 66; Costa 11, 56; Willian 53) After the match, Spencer was full of praise for César Azpilicueta, who had made his 125th league appearance for Chelsea, telling Curtis Eaton, “You cannot overestimate his influence. Azpilicueta is a great player and we are lucky to have him.” Meanwhile, Tottenham laid down a marker in the lunchtime kickoff by putting Liverpool to the sword. Roberto Firmino’s brace had given Liverpool a half time lead, but Tottenham ran riot in the second half with a brace from Harry Kane, before goals from Eriksen and Wanyama in the last ten minutes sealed a 5-2 win. The blue half of Merseyside fared considerably better, as Romelu Lukaku’s 75th minute goal gave Everton a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Goodison. In the North East, Hull City and Middlesbrough shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, while Leicester City increased Sunderland's woes with a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium. Swansea and Southampton played out a 1-1 draw in South Wales, before Nolito’s late winner was the only goal in a drab evening game between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion. Sunday saw Troy Deeney’s brace help Watford to a 3-1 win at Stoke, while Sam Vokes scored twice for Burnley in a 2-1 win over West Ham. The manager of the month award went to Watford's Walter Mazzari, whose Hornets sat top of the table on maximum points. Harry Kane won player of the month, while young player of the month went to Anthony Martial. Goal of the month, however, went to Nemanja Matic for his 25 yard strike against Stoke. Diego Costa jointly led the goalscoring charts with Harry Kane and Roberto Firmino. League Table (August): Pos Inf Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag GD Pts 1st Watford 3 3 0 0 6 2 4 9 2nd Tottenham 3 2 1 0 9 4 5 7 3rd Man City 3 2 1 0 7 2 5 7 4th Leicester 3 2 1 0 6 3 3 7 5th Chelsea 3 2 0 1 6 4 2 6 6th Man Utd 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6 7th Burnley 3 2 0 1 4 4 0 6 8th Southampton 3 1 2 0 5 3 2 5 9th West Brom 3 1 1 1 3 1 2 4 10th West Ham 3 1 1 1 4 4 0 4 11th Arsenal 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4 12th Everton 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4 13th Stoke 4 1 1 2 2 5 -3 4 14th Liverpool 3 1 0 2 7 9 -2 3 15th Bournemouth 3 0 2 1 2 3 -1 2 16th Middlesbrough 3 0 2 1 1 2 -1 2 17th Swansea 3 0 2 1 2 4 -2 2 18th Hull 3 0 1 2 1 5 -4 1 19th Crystal Palace 3 0 0 3 0 5 -5 0 20th Sunderland 3 0 0 3 0 7 -7 0
  10. Drogba11CFC

    An Impossible Man

    That's non-league finals day ruined then.
  11. Chelsea's EFL Cup tie in the 2nd round was at Crawley Town. Although the hosts sat 21st in League 2, Spencer took no chances and ensured that his side had plenty of experience that could be called upon if needed. The hosts, incidentally, were managed by former Chelsea youth coach Dermot Drummy. Crawley Town: Morris Bawling Connolly Yorwerth Arthur Smith Cain Boldewijn Kaby Roberts Collins Substitutes: Boyd, McNerney, Andrews, Harrold, Watt, Lelan, Young Chelsea: Begovic Aina Terry Cahill Gayà Camacho Chalobah Fàbregas Moses Batshuayi Pedro Substitutes: Courtois, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Matic, Musonda, Willian, Raúl The game was barely a minute old when Camacho found his way into the book for a foul on Kaby. Mark Connolly was booked for the hosts two minutes later, for holding Batshuayi back. Fàbregas sent the resulting free kick sailing over the crossbar. However, Chelsea would take the lead in the fifth minute. Cahill fed the ball forward to Fàbregas, who looked ahead to Pedro. Pedro cut inside before finding Batshuayi, who ghosted into the box before slotting home from close range for his first Chelsea goal. Crawley looked to equalise almost immediately, but Kaby’s shot was blocked by Cahill. Chelsea should have doubled their lead in the 21st minute. Camacho dispossessed Kaby and found Batshuayi, who played the ball into space for Pedro to run onto. Pedro took the ball to the byline and sent a cross to the far post, which Moses headed straight at the keeper. Camacho then had a chance three minutes later, which was blocked by Collins. Michael Cain then entered the book in the 32nd minute, for a trip on Chalobah. Although Chelsea were comfortably on top, the hosts were still dangerous. In the 41st minute, Cain found Roberts, who played the ball back to Smith. Smith passed it to Cain, who found Arthur on the left. Arthur passed back to Cain, who lofted the ball to Collins. Collins timed his run perfectly, but couldn't get his shot on target. Chelsea replaced the tiring Aina with Azpilicueta at half time, but it was Crawley who had the first real chance of the half. Yorwerth played the ball ahead to Arthur, who moved it forward to Roberts. Roberts found Cain, who looked to bring Kaby into play. Kaby hit a hopeful effort, which was easily saved by Begovic. Collins then tried his luck in the 52nd minute, but he too hit it straight at Begovic. Chelsea had a free kick in the 60th minute, which Fàbregas hit straight at the wall. Then in the 67th minute, Kaby found Andrews to his left from a free kick. Andrews sprayed the ball out to Kaby on the right. Kaby's square ball, however, was blocked by Gayà and picked up by Pedro, who sent a long lofted ball to Moses on the right. Moses raced into the area, but his shot was turned behind by Morris. From the resulting corner, Cahill was beaten in the air but Roberts could only head the ball to Fàbregas, who knocked it towards the far post. Terry rose highest, but his header missed the target. Chelsea then replaced the booked Camacho with Matic. Matic then had a chance in the 73rd minute, but his header was cleared by Bawling. From the loose ball, he had another shot, which was again blocked by Bawling. Matic then had another chance in the 74th minute, but Morris did just enough to tip his header over. With seven minutes remaining, Willian replaced the tiring Fàbregas. Two minutes later, Chelsea had another chance. Pedro’s corner was cleared, but only as far as Willian. Willian hit a one touch ball to Pedro, whose cross was intercepted. Moses let the ball drop, but his shot went out off the post. A minute later, Willian found Moses on the right. Moses lost the ball to Arthur, whose clearance was intercepted by Cahill. Cahill laid it forward to Willian, who passed forward to Batshuayi. Batshuayi gave it straight back to Willian, who found Pedro. Pedro played it back to Willian, who played a one-two with Batshuayi before shooting straight at Morris. Final Score: Crawley Town 0-1 Chelsea (Batshuayi 5) Following the match, Dermot Drummy told BBC Surrey, “I don't think Chelsea are as good as people make them out to be. I thought we gave them a game and I think we could beat them given another chance.” Spencer, for his part, chose a more diplomatic response, saying, “He can say whatever he wants but, for my part, I want to say how much his team impressed me.” Elsewhere in the EFL Cup, it took a penalty shootout for Everton to get past Accrington Stanley, while West Bromwich Albion needed extra time to win at Exeter. Hull, meanwhile, lost 3-1 at home to Millwall, while Liverpool dispatched Port Vale at Anfield thanks to a brace from Daniel Sturridge. Sunderland beat Peterborough by the same scoreline, while Nathan Aké put in a very good performance in Bournemouth's 2-1 extra time win at Swindon Town, with fellow Chelsea loanee Charlie Collkett scoring the home side's equaliser. Wednesday's ties saw a major shock as Burton Albion beat Stoke City 1-0. Middlesbrough eventually won 5-3 at Cheltenham, but Crystal Palace also came unstuck, going down 2-1 at home to Bradford City. Burnley had no such trouble, winning 4-1 at Rotherham, while Charlie Wakefield put in a very good performance in Watford's 3-0 win over Portsmouth. Swansea, meanwhile, needed penalties to get past Wycombe. In Europe, Manchester City beat Anderlecht 4-1 on the night and 7-1 on aggregate to progress to the group stage of the Champions League, while West Ham beat Videoton 3-0 home and away to join Man Utd and Southampton in the group stage of the Europa League. Thursday saw the third round draw for the EFL Cup. Chelsea were drawn away to Sheffield Wednesday, while Bradford's reward for knocking out Crystal Palace was a trip to Old Trafford. The European competitions were also drawn. In the Champions League, Leicester City were drawn in a group with Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar and FC Copenhagen. Tottenham were drawn in a group with FC Barcelona, FC Porto and Legia Warsaw, while Arsenal were drawn to face Real Madrid, Dynamo Kiev, and Club Brugge. Man City, meanwhile, were drawn to face Benfica, Villarreal, and PSV Eindhoven, while Celtic ended up with Sevilla, Olympiakos and CSKA Moscow. In the Europa League, West Ham ended up with Braga, Monaco and Rostov. Man Utd were drawn in a group with Ludogorets, Feyenoord and Qarabag, while Southampton would face Fiorentina, Young Boys and Hertha Berlin. In the Friday night kickoff, a goal from Anthony Martial and an own goal by Shkodran Mustafi saw Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-0 at Old Trafford.
  12. As the players arrived for the home fixture against Stoke, Spencer gave another tunnel interview. “Obviously the loss of Marcos Alonso will be felt; how hard will it be without his services?” “I'd rather have him available, but I believe in the team selected today.” Spencer responded. “OK, everyone, listen up,” Spencer said. “We're overwhelming favourites out there; The press expects us to win, the fans expect us to win, and I expect you to win. We've gone over the tactics; I want to see fluid movement, I want to see us controlling the game. Now go out there and get the win the fans expect!” However, Stoke nearly caught the home side cold right from the off. The Liquidator had barely stopped playing when Joe Allen dispossessed Fàbregas and passed to Ramadan Sobhi. Sobhi sent a cross into the box to Saido Berahino, who searched out Berahino. Berahino raced down the wing and crossed the ball into the box for Sobhi, whose volley was held by Courtois. Chelsea's first chance came in the fourth minute, as David Luiz fired a free kick wide from 25 yards. The Blues then began to take control of the match. Fàbregas found Hazard, who got to the byline and sent in a cross, which Muniesa cleared behind ahead of Costa. From the resulting corner, Muniesa cleared the ball, but Hazard got there first. The Belgian ghosted past Pieters before having a shot, which was blocked by Arnautovic. Chelsea's next chance came in the 22nd minute. Willian's free kick hit the wall, but the Brazilian recovered the ball and passed to Hazard. Hazard found Matic, whose long range effort barely missed the target. Then, eight minutes later, José Gayà passed through to Hazard, whose cross was headed clear by Imbula. Kanté, however, intercepted, and dribbled to the edge of the area before firing off a shot which grazed the top of the bar. In the 37th minute, David Luiz had a free kick, which hit the wall. Arnautovic looked to start a counter-attack, which Gayà did well to thwart. Chelsea had been knocking on the door for much of the first half, but as half time approached the game was still goalless... until the the 42nd minute. Geoff Cameron's throw in was cut out by Cahill, who sent the ball forward to Diego Costa. Joe Allen, however, slid in to dispossess Costa and Imbula took the ball into the Chelsea half. He sent a lofted ball to Sobhi, who found Berahino 25 yards out. Berahino, however, came out second-best against Cahill's robust challenge, and Cahill searched out Hazard first time. Hazard then took the ball down the left deep into the Stoke half, going past Joe Allen with ease, before opening it up to his right, where Diego Costa pounced to fire home from close range and give Chelsea the lead. Geoff Cameron then entered the book for a foul on Hazard. From the free kick, Imbula headed clear, but only as far as Kanté. Kanté found David Luiz, whose effort was blocked by Cameron. “So far, so good,” Spencer said in the interval, “but you need to guard against complacency now. Let's not forget that you were 1-0 up at half time in this fixture last season and ended up conceding an equaliser.” Four minutes into the second half, another goal was scored. Azpilicueta’s throw found Kanté, who searched out Matic to his left. From 25 yards, Matic had a go with a shot which flew into the net, giving Lee Grant no chance with what would be described as “a real belter” by Chris Kamara on Soccer Saturday and “a sublime finish” by Steve Bower on Match of the Day. Stoke responded by bringing Glenn Whelan on for Ramadan Sobhi and trying to take it easy. Chelsea continued to impose themselves, with Hazard's speculative effort cannoning off Shawcross. Stoke then brought Bony on for Berahino, before Lee Grant came to his side's rescue in the 63rd minute. Azpilicueta's throw found Kanté, who passed it back. Azpilicueta then sent the ball in from the right, and only Grant tipping the ball behind stopped him from emulating Ronaldinho’s goal against England in the 2002 World Cup. Kanté then sustained a groin strain in a foul by Imbula, necessitating his withdrawal and replacement by Ignacio Camacho. David Luiz and Willian then both came close as Chelsea looked for a third. Stoke, however, still had some fight in them. A cross into the Stoke box was headed clear by Pieters. Shaqiri took the ball forward before playing it right to Bony. Bony held off Camacho as he bore down on goal before sending his shot wide. Chelsea made their second change with fourteen minutes left, as Batshuayi came on to replace Costa. Batshuayi nearly turned provider, as his cross was headed wide by Willian. Bony then had another chance, his header being held by Courtois. Camacho then had a go, his volley being held by Grant, before Pedro came on as a substitute just as the game fizzled out. Final Score: Chelsea 2-0 Stoke City (Diego Costa 42, Matic 49) Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill, Gayà; Kanté (Camacho 65), Matic; Willian (Pedro 85), Fàbregas, Hazard; Diego Costa (Batshuayi 77) Subs not used: Begovic, Aina, Terry, Moses Stoke (4-4-1-1): Grant; Cameron (Bardsley 76), Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters; Arnautovic, Allen, Imbula, Shaqiri; Sobhi (Whelan 49); Berahino (Bony 60) Subs not used: Given, Lafita, Walters, Adam Booked: Cameron 42 Attendance: 41,629 Referee: Anthony Taylor Man of the Match: Nemanja Matic “That was a superb performance,” Spencer said in his post match team talk. “We controlled the match throughout and didn't give them a sniff.” “Everyone enjoyed Matic's goal, except the Stoke fans. It must have been fantastic to see one of your players score a goal like that. How did you rate it?” asked Radio 5 Live's Craig Charlesworth after the match. “It was a truly special goal, nothing else to say.” Spencer answered. “And what impact do you think getting a goal just before half time had?” Charlesworth continued. “It's always a great time to score because the opposition have to alter their plans for the second half at very short notice.” “Well, Nemanja Matic was in fine form today, wasn't he?” Asked Steven Moore of the Daily Mail. “Yes, he had a very good game and I expect to see more of the same.” Even Mark Hughes praised Matic's goal, telling the Stoke Sentinel's Harry Madden that “It was a fantastic strike, absolutely no question.” * * * The lunchtime kickoff saw a goalless draw between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates. Middlesbrough and Bournemouth also played out a goalless draw, in which Nathan Aké put in a solid defensive display. Southampton, meanwhile, beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at At Mary's, Manolo Gabbiadini and Dusan Tadic the scorers. Sunderland suffered another defeat, going down 1-0 at home to Burnley through Scott Arfields 84th minute strike and seeing Lamine Koné sent off in stoppage time. Tottenham won 2-0 at Swansea, Wanyama and Vertonghen scoring in a four minute spell. The big shock, however, was at Vicarage Road, where Mauro Zárate’s 90th-minute strike secured Watford all three points in a 1-0 win over Manchester United which sent the Hornets top of the league. Mourinho called Watford “ridiculously lucky” and then accused Mazzari of being “very petty and very bitter” when Mazzari stated that Mourinho had nothing to moan about. West Bromwich Albion cruised to a 3-0 win over Hull City thanks to a Salomón Rondón hat trick, whilst West Ham came back from 2-0 down to salvage a point at home to Manchester City. Trevoh Chalobah put in another solid display for Eastleigh in their 2-1 win at Wrexham which saw them remain joint top with Woking. Chelsea's next game would be at Crawley Town in the EFL Cup. Spencer was wary of the opposition, even though his side were firm favourites at 1-8 to Crawley's 12-1.
  13. Drogba11CFC

    Heart of Asia: Going Back to the 2002 World Cup

    Woohoo! Look out Champions League, Chelsea are in town! (Let me guess: CM00/01 doesn't simulate England getting an additional CL Spot for 01/02)
  14. Author's note: I'm going off to Wales on holiday tomorrow so there won't be any updates next week. I'll probably play and post the Stoke City game when I get back next Saturday. I'll still have access to FM Stories though, so all feedback will be welcomed.
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