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  1. Chelsea would face Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter final. However, the club were missing two key players; David Luiz and Willian were travelling to link up with the Brazil squad. Much to Spencer's consternation, Philippe Coutinho had been overlooked by Brazil. Chelsea Courtois Azpilicueta Cahill Zouma Gayà Matic Kanté Fàbregas Pedro Batshuayi Hazard Substitutes: Begovic, Alonso, Aké, Camacho Moses, Musonda, Costa Liverpool Karius Stewart Gomez Klavan Moreno Can Milner Sabitzer Lallana Coutinho Sturridge Substitutes: Mignolet, Lawley, Ojo, Owen, Wijnaldum, Masterson, Origi Referee: Lee Probert The game started tentatively, with Lallana and Hazard shooting wildly off target, before Pedro sent a half volley wide in the fourteenth minute. The game came to life in the 23rd minute. Emre Can angled a 30 yard pass to Stewart on the right. Stewart played the ball to Sabitzer, who passed to Lallana. Lallana angled a 30 yard pass to Stewart, who sent a low and hard cross into the area. Sturridge received the ball and slipped it to Coutinho, who fired a rocket into the net to give Liverpool the lead. In the 32nd minute, José Gayà was booked for a foul on Sabitzer. Lallana flighted the free kick in, but Courtois secured the ball. Emre Can then entered the book for a foul on Kanté. In the 34th minute, Fàbregas found Batshuayi, who surged past Can before slipping the ball into Kanté. Kanté closed in and shot from a tight angle, but his shot skimmed the top of the bar. Matic was booked shortly before the break for a foul on Sturridge, but Coutinho sent the free kick over the bar. Chelsea attacked immediately from the restart and barely 45 seconds into the second half, Hazard fed in Batshuayi, whose shot deflected off Klavan. Pedro was first to the loose ball, but fired it straight at Karius. A minute later, a shot from Sturridge was saved by Courtois. Chelsea went up the other end, with Kanté sending a shot wide. In the 49th minute, Gayà sent a cross at the far post. Klavan intercepted, but Kanté attempted a header from outside the area which Karius easily gathered. In the 54th minute, a shot from Sabitzer was charged down by Zouma and deflected to Fàbregas. Fàbregas searched out Hazard, who drove the ball ahead of Batshuayi. Batshuayi fed the ball into space for Pedro, who sent a low cross into the area for Batshuayi to convert at the far post. Liverpool promptly took Sabitzer off, replacing him with Ojo. In the 57th minute, Ojo set off on a run into the area before sending a tame shot straight at Courtois. Just after the hour mark, Liverpool replaced Lallana with Wijnaldum. Liverpool then won a free kick, which Courtois had no problem saving. Azpilicueta was then booked for a foul on Moreno. Emre Can connected with the free kick, but his header was saved by Courtois. With twenty minutes left, a long ball by Coutinho set up Sturridge, who got free in the area before having a shot which Courtois did well to tip behind. Both sides made changes with eighteen minutes left; Liverpool replaced Sturridge with Origi while Camacho came on to replace Matic. In the 74th minute, Milner played the ball to Coutinho, who sent a shot high and wide. A minute later, Batshuayi was upended by Milner. Fàbregas took the free kick, but Karius was equal to it. With less than ten minutes left, Kanté sent a shot wide. As Liverpool looked to sit back, Spencer brought Costa on to replace Batshuayi. Costa looked to make an impact, and as Hazard crossed into the area in the 86th minute, he volleyed from a tight angle, but Karius flung himself in front of it. With three minutes left, Gayà threw the ball in to Camacho, who passed back. Gayà then passed to Kanté, who played it to Fàbregas. Fàbregas sent a low forward pass to Costa, found Hazard with an accurate pass. Hazard took the ball down before getting around Klavan and slipping the ball under Karius to score a crucial goal. Eden Hazard's name was chanted by the delighted Chelsea fans, who followed up with their chant about Steven Gerrard's infamous slip. Costa then looked to get on the scoresheet himself. First, he ran onto a pass from Pedro and got clear as Lee Probert played advantage, but sent his shot wide. A minute later, he received a pass from Hazard and got past Klavan, only to send his shot past the post. As Liverpool tried to equalise, Coutinho was tackled by Kanté. Kanté played a short one-two with Azpilicueta, before passing down the line for Pedro. Klavan got to the ball first and passed back to Karius, who sent the ball straight to Diego Costa. Klavan intercepted again, but his clearance only found Gayà, whose header was intercepted by Stewart. Fàbregas got to the loose ball, however, and played a lofted pass to Hazard. Hazard sent a cross into the area, where Diego Costa volleyed the ball past Karius at the near post to seal Chelsea's passage to the semi final. Wednesday 22nd March 2017, 19:45: FA Cup Quarter Final - at Stamford Bridge, London Chelsea 3-1 Liverpool (Batshuayi 54, Hazard 87, Diego Costa 90+1; Coutinho 23) Attendance: 41,629 (2,081 away) Man of the Match: Eden Hazard
  2. Chelsea travelled to West Ham with the chance to steal a march on Arsenal. He was keen, however, to avoid the lack of discipline which had seen his side reduced to nine men back in November. José Gayà was fit again, but Pedro remained ahead of Willian in the pecking order. Batshuayi replaced Diego Costa, who was suffering from a goal drought. West Ham Adrián Byram Mina Fonte Cresswell Kouyaté Feghouli Noble Obiang Ayew Giovani Substitutes: Randolph, Ogbonna, Antonio, Calleri, Töre, Collins, Sakho Chelsea Courtois Azpilicueta Cahill Luiz Gayà Matic Kanté Fàbregas Pedro Batshuayi Hazard Substitutes Begovic, Alonso, Zouma, Camacho, Moses, Willian, Costa Referee: Anthony Taylor Chelsea started quickly and had their first chance in the first minute. A good pass by Fàbregas found Batshuayi, who sent an incisive pass to Hazard. Hazard had a go, but the shot, headed for the top corner, was acrobatically tipped over by Adrián. It was in the fifteenth minute that the game came to life. Fàbregas and Azpilicueta exchanged passes, but Fàbregas was chopped down by Noble. Anthony Taylor showed no hesitation in producing the red card, despite protests from Mina. In the 24th minute, a West Ham free kick was headed so wide that the ball went out outside the penalty area. From the goal kick, Courtois found Hazard, who raced down the wing and played a square ball for Kanté, who volleyed the ball into the top corner from 20 yards, a goal described as “Genius” by Martin Tyler on Sky. Six minutes later, a cross from Gayà found Kanté, who tried his luck again. This time, however, Cresswell put in a strong block to deflect the ball behind. From the corner, David Luiz beat Ayew in the air, but sent his header over the bar. Obiang was then booked, for a foul on Kanté. In the 33rd minute, a lofted ball from Batshuayi found Kanté, who hit his shot straight at Adrián. It was all Chelsea, and in the 36th minute, the ball deflected to Hazard, whose shot was tipped wide by Adrián. From the corner, David Luiz headed the ball to Cahill, who could only find the side netting. Kanté was pulling all the strings for Chelsea, and two minutes from half time he had another shot which hit the side netting. West Ham brought Antonio on for Feghouli at half time, but that did little to stem the tide of Chelsea attacks as Kanté forced another save out of Adrián in the 48th minute. West Ham then took Dos Santos off for Calleri, before Chelsea won a corner after Fonte cleared Gayà's cross behind. Fàbregas looked to find Matic, but the Serb was pushed by José Fonte. Hazard stepped up and smashed the penalty into the top corner, giving Adrián no chance. West Ham then began to threaten, as Calleri beat David Luiz to a pass before seeing his shot saved by Courtois. In the 63rd minute, a half volley from Obiang was turned behind by Courtois. Courtois then had to be alert to to tip a Kouyaté half volley wide. From the corner, Kanté intercepted and sent a long ball up to Batshuayi, who beat Byram and played a square ball to Pedro. Pedro played a long ball forward to Batshuayi, who didn't strike the ball cleanly and sent it wide. Chelsea then replaced Pedro with Willian. With thirteen minutes to go, Kanté sent the ball over the bar, before Ayew had a shot blocked by Azpilicueta. With ten minutes left, a cross by Azpilicueta found Batshuayi, who headed just over as the West Ham fans began to leave the stadium. Three minutes later, Willian sent a free kick sailing over the bar. Spencer brought on Camacho and Marcos Alonso while Courtois saved an Ayew shot which moved all over the place, but Chelsea closed out a comfortable win to move second in the table. Friday 17th March 2017, 20:00: Barclays Premier League - at London Stadium, London West Ham 0-2 Chelsea (Noble s/o 15; Kanté 25, Hazard pen 54) Attendance: 60,000 (3,000 away) Man of the Match: N’Golo Kanté To make a good weekend better for Chelsea, Arsenal slipped up at Anfield, losing 2-1, while Man Utd drew 1-1 at Leicester. At the bottom, Crystal Palace slipped further into the quagmire with a 5-1 defeat at Swansea. League Table Pos Inf Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag GD Pts 1st Man Utd 31 20 5 6 65 22 43 65 2nd Chelsea 31 19 6 6 58 30 28 63 3rd Arsenal 31 19 4 8 60 23 37 61 4th Man City 31 17 6 8 48 26 22 57 5th Liverpool 31 17 4 10 64 49 15 55 6th EC Tottenham 30 13 15 2 52 25 27 54 7th Watford 31 15 7 9 44 39 5 52 8th Southampton 31 13 8 10 40 40 0 47 9th Burnley 31 13 8 10 39 40 -1 47 10th Leicester 31 12 11 8 37 42 -5 47 11th Bournemouth 31 13 5 13 39 43 -4 44 12th Everton 30 11 7 12 38 35 3 40 13th Sunderland 31 10 9 12 34 43 -9 39 14th West Ham 31 9 10 12 39 42 -3 37 15th Swansea 31 9 6 16 31 50 -19 33 16th West Brom 31 8 7 16 30 45 -15 31 17th Stoke 31 6 9 16 31 47 -16 27 18th Hull 31 4 10 17 26 55 -29 22 19th Middlesbrough 31 5 6 20 22 51 -29 21 20th Crystal Palace 31 2 5 24 10 60 -50 11
  3. Drogba11CFC

    An Impossible Man

    Looks like the plan (if it is one) could backfire spectacularly.
  4. Drogba11CFC

    An Impossible Man

    That would be the same Marcos Alonso whose father and grandfather played for Real Madrid? (And the same Marcos Alonso who put Deeney's back out?)
  5. Following the defeat at Liverpool, Chelsea hosted a Sunderland side who were performing above all expectations and sat 13th in the table. Spencer was without David Luiz, who had a gashed leg, but José Gayà returned to the bench. Chelsea Courtois Azpilicueta Zouma Cahill Alonso Matic Kanté Fàbregas Pedro Costa Hazard Substitutes: Begovic, Gayà, Aké, Camacho, Moses, Willian, Batshuayi Sunderland Pickford Manquillo Koné Djilobodji Carole Kirchhoff Larsson Ndong Rodwell Januzaj Defoe Substitutes: Mika, Denayer, McNair, Anichebe, Oviedo, Lescott, Borini Referee: Mark Clattenburg It was Sunderland who started brighter as Larsson hit the side netting from a tight angle after four minutes. In the seventh minute, Matic had a shot blocked by Djilobodji, before Marcos Alonso sent a free kick wide in the tenth minute. A scrappy period followed, as Ndong, Azpilicueta and Matic all picked up yellow cards. Sunderland came close again in the 26th minute, with Januzaj sending a shot wide. Chelsea then won a series of corners, culminating in Pedro having a shot blocked by Januzaj. Defoe had a chance in the 36th minute, but Zouma blocked the shot. Two minutes later, Ndong hit a spectacular swerving effort, which went over the bar. Kanté had two chances as the first half came to a close, seeing a shot tipped behind by Pickford before shooting straight at Pickford. Chelsea looked to turn the screw in the second half and two minutes in, Marcos Alonso hit a free kick into the wall. Alonso then picked up a yellow card for a foul on Larsson. As Chelsea continued to attack, Kanté sent a shot wide before seeing a shot tipped behind by Pickford. Larsson then put a shot high and wide, before Spencer replaced Matic with Batshuayi. Costa then received a yellow card for a foul on Defoe, before Djilobodji saw a header saved by Courtois. As the match entered the last twenty minutes, Kanté fed Batshuayi, who played the ball to Costa. Costa went for goal, but sent the shot wide. With fifteen minutes left, Batshuayi saw a shot saved by Pickford. With twelve minutes to go, Kanté found Fàbregas, who passed to Batshuayi. Batshuayi slipped the ball to Pedro, who got past Carole before sending in a cross to the far post, where Hazard scrambled the ball into the net to finally break Sunderland's resistance. Three minutes later, Azpilicueta passed down the line for Pedro, who passed to Fàbregas. Fàbregas picked out Hazard with a delightful pass, but Hazard's cross didn't connect. Pedro, however, recovered the ball, and sent it back into the box, where Batshuayi converted at the near post. Borini saw a shot blocked by Fàbregas with seven minutes left, but the fight had gone out of Sunderland. Saturday 11th March 2017, 17:30: Barclays Premier League - at Stamford Bridge, London Chelsea 2-0 Sunderland (Hazard 78, Batshuayi 81) Attendance: 39,376 (3,000 away) Man of the Match: Pedro Whilst Arsenal and Man Utd both won 3-0 against Swansea and Burnley respectively, Man City and Liverpool both stuttered. Man City required a Sané equaliser to salvage a draw at Stoke, while Liverpool went down 3-0 at Watford. In Europe, Arsenal routed Juventus 5-0 to go through 6-2 on aggregate, while a 2-2 draw was enough for Man City to beat Porto 3-2 on aggregate. In the Europa League, Tottenham won 3-2 against Roma to go through 4-2 on aggregate.
  6. Drogba11CFC

    An Impossible Man

    I'd say Conte's position would be more in doubt.
  7. Chelsea went to Anfield looking to get back on form following a rocky February. However, Willian was still missing with a calf strain, while Liverpool had problems of their own; Nathaniel Clyne and January signing Davy Klaasen were both missing with knee tendonitis, while Danny Ings was out with damaged cruciate ligaments, Dejan Lovren with a dislocated shoulder, and Adam Lallana with a lower back stress fracture. Liverpool Mignolet Can Keane Klavan Moreno Henderson Milner Mané Firmino Coutinho Sturridge Substitutes: Karius, Leiva, Wijnaldum, Origi, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Sabitzer Chelsea Courtois Azpilicueta Luiz Cahill Alonso Matic Kanté Fàbregas Pedro Costa Hazard Substitutes: Begovic, Zouma, Aké, Camacho, Moses, Musonda, Batshuayi Referee: Neil Swarbrick The match was barely a minute old when Mané had an ambitious effort which Courtois waved wide. A minute later, Costa fed in Pedro, who hit the ball straight at Mignolet. In the eighth minute, Fàbregas intercepted a pass and played the ball to Costa, who searched out Hazard. Hazard ran to the edge of the area before passing to Fàbregas. Fàbregas slipped the ball to Costa, whose shot hit the side netting. In the twentieth minute, a throw in from Alonso found Pedro, whose audacious attempt was tipped away by Mignolet. Chelsea then forced several corners, with Costa seeing another chance tipped away by Mignolet, before David Luiz headed over the bar. From the goal kick, Matic beat Sturridge in the air and found Hazard. Chelsea lost possession, but Matic intercepted and sent the ball down the left to Hazard. Hazard got down the left before passing to Costa, who sent the ball sailing wide of the mark. In the 24th minute, Emre Can found Mané, whose cross was blocked. Firmino recovered, however, and passed to Milner. Milner had a shot from outside the box, which Courtois did well to tip behind. From the corner, Milner found Sturridge, who headed the ball to Coutinho. Coutinho volleyed from a tight angle, but Courtois pulled off a superb save before the ball was cleared. Matic then skinned Mané for pace and Alonso passed to Costa. Costa played the ball ahead for Pedro, who fed it through to Kanté. Kanté got free of the defenders and took a shot, which Mignolet was able to save. Hazard got to the loose ball, but the angle was too tight, and Milner scrambled the ball out into touch. In the 28th minute, a loose ball came to Costa, who moved the ball to Kanté. Kanté raced out wide before sending in a cross. Fàbregas looked certain to score, but he hit his shot and the rebound straight at Mignolet. In the 33rd minute, Hazard played the ball to Costa, who played a wonderful pass to Pedro. Pedro went for goal, but the ball sailed wide of the mark as Chelsea tried everything to break Liverpool down. In the 39th minute, Moreno put a cross into the box. Sturridge got his head to the ball, but hit the side netting. Sturridge had another chance three minutes later, which was saved by Courtois. In stoppage time, Liverpool got forward. Milner found Moreno on the left flank, and the fullback sent a cross into the area. David Luiz headed the ball to safety, but Henderson got the loose ball and took it into the box before sending in a cross. The ball evaded Luiz and Cahill but was met by Sturridge, who volleyed home against his former club. In the 54th minute, Azpilicueta out-jumped Coutinho and headed clear. Michael Keane, signed from Burnley in January, intercepted the ball and passed to Coutinho. Coutinho found Henderson, who pinged a first time pass to Firmino, but the pass to Mané was intercepted by Alonso. Alonso fed a high ball forward to Costa, who looked to set up Hazard on the left. Emre Can, however, intercepted, and headed back to Keane. Keane passed to Klavan, whose clearance was intercepted by Cahill. Cahill sought out Fàbregas, who played a first time pass to Costa...who was on the receiving end of an appalling challenge by Klavan, who hacked him down from behind. The foul occurred right in front of Neil Swarbrick, who wasted no time in showing the Estonian the red card. Liverpool responded by replacing Coutinho with Wijnaldum, before Alonso sent the free kick inches wide. Chelsea now looked to make their numerical advantage count, and in the 56th minute a long ball from Alonso found Hazard, who centred the ball to Pedro. Pedro hit a half volley from an acute angle, but Mignolet turned the ball away. In the 66th minute, Alonso was booked for a trip on Mané, before Sabitzer came on to replace Firmino. With eighteen minutes left, Henderson fed in Mané, whose shot was saved by Courtois. A minute later, Matic intercepted a pass to Sabitzer, and sprayed the ball out right to Pedro. Pedro lost the ball to Can, but Moreno's clearance was intercepted by Matic. Matic found Fàbregas, who passed to Hazard. Hazard let fly from outside the box, but his shot cannoned back off the crossbar. In the 77th minute, Sturridge fed the ball through to Sabitzer, whose ambitious effort was saved by Courtois. Three minutes later, Milner was shown a yellow card for persistent fouling. The free kick was headed clear by Mané, but Fàbregas tried his luck, only to be denied by Mignolet before Costa was denied by a last ditch tackle from Michael Keane. Chelsea continued to search for an equaliser and in the 82nd minute, Fàbregas found Costa. Costa's shot ended up in the side netting with several Chelsea fans thinking that it had gone in, prompting ironic jeers, as well as a few chants of an uglier nature, from the home supporters. As the clock ticked down, both Fàbregas and Costa were denied by Mignolet. Chelsea somehow succumbed to defeat, despite playing against ten men for over half an hour and creating five clear cut chances. Saturday 4th March 2017, 17:30: Barclays Premier League - at Anfield, Liverpool Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (Sturridge 45+1, Klavan s/o 54) Attendance: 54,074 (3,000 away) Man of the Match: Simon Mignolet Chelsea dropped down to third as a result, with Arsenal winning 3-2 at White Hart Lane and Manchester United winning 1-0 at The Etihad. Sunderland, Chelsea's next opponents, recovered from going a goal down and having Lee Cattermole sent off to beat Middlesbrough 2-1. In Europe, Leicester ended up being eliminated from the Champions League in a 5-0 aggregate defeat against Real Madrid.
  8. (A/N: A bit of a short update, but the match really was that dull...) Spencer had taken the decision to travel to Old Trafford on the 1st March for the FA Cup tie between Manchester United and Liverpool. This would not only give him the opportunity to spy on Liverpool in the run up to the league match at Anfield the following Saturday, but also to see who he'd be facing in the next round of the FA Cup. Having boarded a train at Euston, Spencer was settling down in his seat when a middle-aged man carrying a laptop briefcase sat down opposite him. Spencer was busying himself with Martin Samuel's latest column in the Daily Mail, so it was only when he looked up that he realised that he was sitting opposite Sid Collingwood. “I didn't expect to see you here,” Collingwood said. “United already losing patience with Mourinho?” “No, I'm going up to check out Liverpool in anticipation for Saturday.” Spencer responded. “I see, a bit of espionage. This is the first time I've been to see Liverpool since before the ban, although in my view it was always going to happen at some point,” Collingwood noticed the inquisitive look on Spencer's face. “But that's neither here nor there. I do actually have a few questions for you, I assume you've seen what that man has written about you?” Spencer, his mouth full of sandwich, shook his head, so Collingwood handed him a copy of The Sun, where Kelvin Mackenzie had written an article under the headline “STINGY SPENCER! Cheapskate Chelsea manager sends youth loanees to Premier Inn while first team enjoy five star hotels!” The article went on to describe that Dujon Sterling, on loan at Barrow, was currently staying in the local Premier Inn. “Well, it is true, but for completely different reasons.” Spencer replied. “Firstly, imagine you're a player on £800 a week in the National League, and then this teenager from Chelsea shows up and is staying in accommodation that you could only dream of. Secondly, it keeps their feet on the ground while they're still developing, and finally, Sterling only ended up at Premier Inn because we couldn't find lodgings with any of their players.” The match itself turned out to be a very drab affair, as United were unable to find a way past Karius. After spending the night in Manchester’s Lowry hotel, Spencer picked up a copy of the Sun at Manchester Piccadilly, noticing the headline “SPENCER HITS BACK”. The article went on to describe Spencer's reasoning, wishing to keep the youth players' feet on the ground rather than handing them the Sun and Moon.
  9. “OK, people,” Spencer said in the dressing room before the match against Swansea. “We need to win this one, especially with a trip to Anfield coming up, but also because this is where it all started to go to pot last season. So we need to win; Thibaut, you need to avoid being sent off-” “And you need to avoid yelling at me if I run onto the pitch to treat players.” Eva Carneiro put in. “Exactly.” Spencer said. “Now they're no pushovers, but if we can get at them early and control the match, we'll have a really good chance of finishing the day on top of the league. Eden, Pedro, I'm relying on you to supply Michy. Michy, I want you to continue from where you left off. Diego, be ready to come on if we need you. Now let's go out there and get the three points!” Chelsea: Courtois Azpilicueta Luiz Cahill Alonso Camacho Fàbregas Kanté Pedro Batshuayi Hazard Substitutes: Begovic, Zouma, Aké, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Musonda, Costa Swansea: Fabianski Naughton Fernández Amat Kingsley Cork Fer Ki S. Y. Routledge Llorente Sigurdsson Substitutes: Nordfeldt, Tuanzebe, Carroll, Walters, Britton, Amartey, Fulton Referee: Andre Marriner Spencer had wanted Chelsea to get off to a good start and that's exactly what he got. Thirty seconds into the match, Kanté set off on a run from his own half, leaving Ki standing before the South Korean recovered and passed back to Fernández. David Luiz intercepted the clearance and passed to Fàbregas, who looked for Batshuayi in front of him. Batshuayi passed back to Fàbregas, who looked to find Kanté. Kanté got to the edge of the area before he was tackled by Ki, but Hazard got to the loose ball and took it to the corner before sending in a low cross for Kanté, who hit a first time shot into the opposite corner with Fabianski stranded at his near post for his fifth goal of the season. In the sixth minute, Ki Sung-Yeung was penalised for handball. Marcos Alonso took the free kick, but sent the ball sailing wide of the mark. Jack Cork conceded a free kick a minute later, but again Alonso failed to strike it cleanly. Chelsea had dominated the opening ten minutes and in the eleventh minute, Kyle Naughton conceded a free kick. Again Alonso took it, but again he sent it wide. A minute later, Hazard drifted past Naughton and sent the ball back to Camacho. Camacho passed to Kanté, who found Batshuayi. Batshuayi had a shot, but it was blocked by Fernández. In the fifteenth minute, Alonso looked to float a free kick into the area rather than go for goal. Batshuayi got up and headed goalwards, but Fabianski got a foot to the ball and diverted it wide. Although the corner was cleared, Chelsea won possession back and Fàbregas found Kanté, who sent a shot wide. In the nineteenth minute, Kingsley conceded a free kick. Marcos Alonso went for goal, but sent the ball clean over the bar. Swansea were scrambling to contain Chelsea, and three minutes later Fàbregas found Hazard, whose hopeful shot was saved by Fabianski. In the 25th minute, a counter by Chelsea saw Pedro play a superb ball to Batshuayi, who got into the box before sending a shot just wide. Camacho then went into the book, for a foul on Llorente. In the 27th minute, Azpilicueta’s throw in found Kanté, who sent the ball into the area. Fernández headed clear, but Fàbregas recovered possession and exchanged passes with Luiz. Fàbregas then exchanged passes with Camacho, before passing to Kanté. Kanté passed to Pedro, had an effort but didn't strike the ball cleanly. Four minutes from half time, Marcos Alonso found Luiz with a throw-in. Luiz passed to Camacho, who found Kanté. Kanté passed to Fàbregas near the centre circle, and Fàbregas exchanged passes with Luiz. Fabregas passed first time to Kanté, who ran towards the area before being tackled by Cork. Cork’s clearance, however, was intercepted by David Luiz, who headed the ball to Fabregas. Fabregas passed back 25 yards to Cahill, who passed to David Luiz. David Luiz found Kanté, who looked for Pedro in front of him. Pedro played the ball through to Batshuayi, who was tackled by Amat. Kanté picked up the loose ball and passed low to Hazard, who hit a blistering low shot into the net for his fifth goal of the season. “You were really good out there,” Spencer said at half time. “Keep it up, and we'll win. Eden, N'Golo, very well done.” Swansea replaced Fer with Jonathan Walters, but Chelsea looked to start the second half as they'd finished the first. In the 48th minute, a free kick from Alonso found Cahill, whose header was cleared by Fernández. Chelsea won possession back, and Batshuayi set up Hazard, whose shot went wide. Ki Sung-Yeung was then booked for bringing down Kanté. Alonso saw the free kick saved by Fabianski before Cork was booked for upending Hazard. Chelsea were still tormenting the Swansea defence and in the 55th minute, Kanté had a shot which went flying over the bar. Swansea then replaced Ki Sung-Yeung with Daniel Amartey before Loftus-Cheek came on to replace Camacho. Fernández was brought off in the 62nd minute, with Tuanzebe replacing him. Swansea hadn't got anywhere near the Chelsea goal but in the 65th minute, Llorente tried his luck from distance. Loftus-Cheek, however, blocked the shot. Chelsea then went to the other end and won a free kick. Marcos Alonso floated it to David Luiz, whose header went over the bar. With ten minutes left, Azpilicueta went into the book for a foul on Routledge. The free kick was headed clear by Pedro, but only as far as Routledge, who elected to shoot. Hazard charged down the shot, however, and Chelsea forced Swansea back. In the 84th minute, Fàbregas was replaced by Aké. Marcos Alonso then sent a free kick narrowly over, before Kingsley was booked for a trip on Pedro. Marcos Alonso saw his free kick hit the wall, but recovered possession and passed to Aké. Aké looked to play in Pedro, who was tackled by Amat. Amat, however, saw his clearance deflected to Aké, whose right footed volley went close. 25th February 2017, 17:30: Barclays Premier League - at Stamford Bridge, London Chelsea 2-0 Swansea City (Kanté 1, Hazard 41) Attendance: 37,576 (1,539 away) Man of the Match: N’Golo Kanté “That was a very good win, you all did well out there.” Spencer said in the dressing room. “Enjoy being top of the league tonight, because United are at home to Hull tomorrow.” Indeed, United did indeed beat Hull, moving back above Chelsea, while Ben Davies scored in extra time to give Tottenham the EFL Cup with a 1-0 win over Man City. It had been a disappointing month for Chelsea so it was no surprise that Spencer did not retain his Manager of the Month award, which was won by Pep Guardiola ahead of Ronald Koeman with José Mourinho coming a distant third. Player of the Month was won by Everton's Ross Barkley, ahead of Roberto Firmino and Paul Pogba. League Table: Pos Inf Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag GD Pts 1st Man Utd 28 18 4 6 60 21 39 58 2nd Chelsea 28 17 6 5 54 29 25 57 3rd Arsenal 28 17 4 7 53 19 34 55 4th Man City 27 16 5 6 45 23 22 53 5th Liverpool 28 15 4 9 61 45 16 49 6th EC Tottenham 27 11 15 1 45 22 23 48 7th Watford 27 14 6 7 40 34 6 48 8th Burnley 28 12 7 9 36 36 0 43 9th Bournemouth 28 12 5 11 35 38 -3 41 10th Leicester 28 10 10 8 31 40 -9 40 11th Southampton 28 10 8 10 34 37 -3 38 12th Everton 27 10 7 10 36 31 5 37 13th West Ham 28 9 8 11 38 39 -1 35 14th Sunderland 28 9 8 11 31 39 -8 35 15th West Brom 28 7 6 15 28 44 -16 27 16th Swansea 28 7 6 15 25 46 -21 27 17th Stoke 28 6 6 16 28 44 -16 24 18th Hull 28 4 9 15 22 48 -26 21 19th Middlesbrough 28 5 5 18 20 46 -26 20 20th Crystal Palace 28 2 5 21 9 50 -41 11
  10. An FA Cup tie against Brighton gave Spencer the chance to ring the changes following the Tottenham game. Michy Batshuayi and Charly Musonda returned to the side, as did Nathan Aké, Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Spencer knew that a win was imperative to avoid a slump in morale with Swansea and Liverpool around the corner. It was also rumoured that the board feared losing Spencer at the end of the season. Chelsea: Courtois Aina Cahill Zouma Aké Camacho Loftus-Cheek Fàbregas Musonda Batshuayi Pedro Substitutes: Eduardo, Luiz, Alonso, Kanté, Moses, Hazard, Costa Brighton: Stockdale Bruno Duffy Hünemeier Saborit Norwood Stephens Keyal Knockeart Hemed Murphy Substitutes: Mäenpää, Goldson, Sidwell, Murray, S. Baldock, G. Baldock, Akpom Referee: Roger East Chelsea looked to attack from the start and in the fourth minute, Musonda received the ball from Aina and cut inside before having a hopeful shot which went wide. Four minutes later, Fàbregas sent a free kick into the area. Cahill got his head to the ball, but Stockdale had no problem saving it. In the twelfth minute, Oliver Norwood was booked for a foul on Loftus-Cheek. In the fifteenth minute, Musonda sent a free kick into the area. Cahill again got his head to it, but this time missed the target. Two minutes later, Chelsea won a corner, which Zouma headed just over the bar. Beram Keyal was the next player to be booked, for a trip on Loftus-Cheek. In the twentieth minute, Fàbregas sent a corner into the area, and again Cahill's header was saved by Stockdale. Chelsea had dominated the match since the first minute, and in the 26th minute Aina's throw in found Musonda, who passed it back. Aina got to the byline before swinging in a deep first time cross, which Batshuayi tucked home from point blank range. Bruno was then booked two minutes later, for a trip on Pedro. From the free kick, Musonda sent the ball into the area, where Cahill headed over. Another corner in the 31st minute was met by Zouma, whose header went just over the bar. In the 35th minute, a rare Brighton attack broke down as Camacho executed an excellent sliding tackle on Kayal. Fàbregas picked up the loose ball and passed forward to Batshuayi. Batshuayi crossed the halfway line and looked to get away from Kayal, who made a desperate grab at the Belgian's shirt right in front of Roger East, who wasted no time in showing Kayal the yellow and red cards in quick succession. Chelsea then won a corner, and Fàbregas sent the ball into the area. Hemed headed the ball clear, but Batshuayi headed the ball back to Loftus-Cheek. Loftus-Cheek passed back to Batshuayi, who sent a strike from just outside the box into the net off the post. Brighton looked to get back into the match, as Murphy found Hemed, whose shot grazed the top of the bar, although Courtois had it covered. Chelsea then went straight to the other end, and Musonda found Fàbregas, whose shot missed wide of the post. Batshuayi already had two to his name and was determined to get his hat trick. In stoppage time, he connected with a cross by Aina, but saw his header turned behind by Stockdale. Former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell replaced Jamie Murphy at half time, and Brighton had the first chance of the half. Fàbregas conceded a free kick and Norwood went for goal, but Courtois had no problem saving it. A minute later, Aina's throw in found Fàbregas. Fàbregas passed to Pedro, who couldn't get his shot on target. Loftus-Cheek then had his name taken for upending Knockeart. In the 54th minute, Fàbregas drifted a corner into the area. Sidwell headed clear, but Pedro was first to the loose ball. Pedro passed to Aké, who crossed the ball in from the left. Batshuayi got past Duffy, trapped the ball, and knocked it past Stockdale for his hat trick. In the 64th minute, Batshuayi saw a shot blocked by Stephens. Brighton went to the other end and Stephens tried his luck from distance, only to send the ball wide of the mark. Two minutes later, Aké crossed the ball to Batshuayi, who saw his header skim the top of the bar. In the 72nd minute, Spencer replaced Pedro with Moses. In the 73rd minute, Aina's throw in then found Batshuayi, who was tackled by Saborit. Saborit found Sidwell, whose pass to Murray was intercepted by Aina. Aina found Loftus-Cheek, who brought Fàbregas into play. Fàbregas hit a 35 yard ball back towards Aké, who sprayed the ball out to Moses on the left. Moses lost the ball to Bruno, who found Murray. Murray, however, was tackled by Camacho, who found Loftus-Cheek. Loftus-Cheek sought out Fàbregas, who found Musonda. Musonda beat Saborit and looked for Aina out right. Aina exchanged passes with Fàbregas, before floating a cross into the far post from the right. Bruno headed clear, but only as far as Camacho. Camacho let fly from distance, but Stockdale got a hand to it. The ball, however, squirmed loose and, before Stockdale could claim it, Musonda came charging in and tucked the ball home. With five minutes left, Kanté replaced Fàbregas before Marcos Alonso came on for Cahill. The match had, however, run out of steam by that point. 22nd February 2017, 19:45: FA Cup 5th round - at Stamford Bridge, London Chelsea 4-0 Brighton (Batshuayi 26, 38, 54, Musonda 73; Kayal s/o 35) Attendance: 37,402 (2,951 away) Man of the Match: Michy Batshuayi In the European matches, Arsenal had fallen 2-1 away to Juventus while Man City won 1-0 at Porto. In the Europa League, Southampton were eliminated by Ajax on away goals, while Tottenham eliminated Red Bull Salzburg 5-0 on aggregate.
  11. Drogba11CFC

    2018/19 FMS Fantasy Football League

    At least Alonso and Hazard delivered.
  12. Drogba11CFC

    2018/19 FMS Fantasy Football League

    He'd been my highest point scorer so far this season.
  13. Drogba11CFC

    2018/19 FMS Fantasy Football League

    I made him my captain and selected triple captain.
  14. Drogba11CFC

    An Impossible Man

    Gibraltar...
  15. Chelsea went into the away fixture at Tottenham looking to get revenge for the fixture earlier in the season. However, the loss of Cesar Azpilicueta to suspension was a blow to Spencer, who had little in the way of backup with Charlie Wakefield still on loan to Watford. In the end, he opted to play Ola Aina. Victory would see Chelsea go back to the top of the league following Arsenal and Man Utd both being held 1-1 and 0-0 at Burnley and Bournemouth respectively. Tottenham: Lloris Walker Alderweireld Wimmer Rose Dier Alli Anderson Eriksen Son Kane Substitutes: Lopez, Davies, Dembélé, Borja, Trippier, Lamela Chelsea: Courtois Aina Cahill Luiz Alonso Matic Kanté Fàbregas Willian Costa Hazard Substitutes: Eduardo, Zouma, Aké, Camacho, Moses, Pedro, Batshuayi Referee: Stuart Atwell The match was barely two minutes old when Felipe Anderson played a one-two with Dier and took the ball to the edge of the area before sending a shot over the bar. In the fifth minute, Willian lost possession to Alli, who passed to Kane. Kane played it to Son, who passed to Eriksen. Eriksen passed back to Alli, who passed to Son. Son passed to Dier, who took the ball into the area before firing past Courtois. In the tenth minute, a Fàbregas free kick was headed clear by Kane. Kanté got to the ball and passed to Matic. Matic brought Kanté into play, but the Frenchman's shot was blocked by Alderweireld. A minute later, Kanté had a shot from 20 yards which Lloris managed to turn behind. In the fourteenth minute, Eriksen sent a free kick into the area. Alderweireld headed the ball to Wimmer, who headed at goal. Courtois got a hand to it, but was unable to keep it out. Son nearly made things even worse in the eighteenth minute, but Son's effort was tipped behind by Courtois. From the corner, Kanté's header was intercepted by Eriksen, who passed to Felipe Anderson. Anderson went for goal, but his shot went well wide. In the 25th minute, a long clearance by Courtois found Costa. Costa beat the offside trap, but sent the ball straight at Lloris. Three minutes later, a free kick from Willian skimmed the top of the bar. Tottenham came forward again in the 33rd minute, and Courtois had to be alert to prevent Walker from getting lucky. Willian then had another chance with a free kick, which went over the bar. Willian had been Chelsea's biggest threat but in the 38th minute, he pulled up with a calf strain and was replaced by Pedro. With Willian off, Marcos Alonso took charge of free kicks, and his shot was tipped over by Lloris. In the 43rd minute, a shot from Eriksen was blocked by Luiz. In the 45th minute, Ola Aina was booked for a foul on Son. Eriksen took the free kick, but sent it over. Matic was then booked in stoppage time for a foul on Alli. In the 47th minute, Fàbregas passed to Hazard, who couldn't direct the ball goalwards. Kyle Walker was then booked for a foul on Hazard. In the 52nd minute, Kane looked to get on the scoresheet, and Courtois had to be at full stretch to tip the ball wide. Dele Alli had a shot a minute later, which went over. Anderson was then withdrawn, for Erik Lamela. Harry Kane tried his luck in the 59th minute, but the shot went over. In the 64th minute, Son hit a speculative effort which was saved by Courtois. A minute later, Aina’s throw in found Pedro, who passed to Fàbregas. Fàbregas passed to Hazard who, from point blank range, hit his shot straight at Lloris. Four minutes later, the Belgian had another effort, which he sent wide of the mark. Tottenham then won a free kick in the 69th minute, which Eriksen sent into the wall. Alderweireld then headed wide from another free kick. Tottenham then replaced Alderweireld and Kane with Davies and Borja. As Chelsea looked to get back into the game, in the 74th minute, Fàbregas passed to Costa, whose shot was tipped away by Lloris. Marcos Alonso was then booked for a foul on Lamela, before Costa was replaced by Batshuayi. From the free kick, Alli passed to Son, whose shot went over the bar. In the 78th minute, Eric Dier found Son, who got into the area before being held back by Aina. Stuart Atwell pointed to the spot, but Borja saw his penalty saved by Courtois. Courtois was then on hand two minutes later, saving a header from Eriksen. With seven minutes left, Marcos Alonso sent a free kick into the area. Cahill got above Wimmer, but sent his header wide. With five minutes left, Lamela sent a corner into the area. David Luiz looked to head it behind, but only succeeded in diverting the ball into his own net to cap off a miserable afternoon for Chelsea. As the final minutes ticked away, Fàbregas passed to Hazard, who got to the edge of the box before having a go with a right footed shot which Lloris gathered easily. In stoppage time, Marcos Alonso looked to add some respectability to the scoreline, but sent his free kick over the bar with the last kick of the game. 19th February 2017, 16:00: Barclays Premier League - at White Hart Lane, London Tottenham 3-0 Chelsea (Dier 5, Wimmer 14, David Luiz og 85, Borja m/pen 79) Attendance: 32,241 Man of the Match: Kevin Wimmer Spencer called the performance “Not good enough” in the tunnel and gave his players the hairdryer treatment after the match. The press were also scathing, with Sid Collingwood summing it up under the headline "WHITE HART PAIN". The result kept Chelsea a point behind Man Utd in second. Leicester had drawn 1-1 with Watford on the Friday night, while on Saturday, a Roberto Firmino hat trick helped Liverpool to a 3-2 win over West Brom at Anfield. Everton won 2-0 at Hull, while Man City moved up to 3rd with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. Sunderland also beat West Ham by the same scoreline. The other Sunday game saw Southampton win 1-0 at Stoke, while on Monday night Swansea beat Middlesbrough 1-0.
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