The Chelsea squad may just have saved Antonio Conte’s job – at least for the time being – after putting in quite the spirited performance to beat Premier League bottom-feeders West Brom 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
The Blues started the match under some real pressure, with Conte’s future hanging in the balance off of the back of two consecutive losses to Bournemouth and Watford.
But the Italian must have been happy to welcome Alvaro Morata back to the squad. The former Real Madrid forward hadn’t played since getting sent off against Norwich on January 17th and his presence certainly seemed a breath of fresh air.
January acquisition Olivier Giroud would get to make his first start for the club since his sensational switch from rivals Arsenal, while Andreas Christensen returned to the lineup after injuring his hamstring in the Bournemouth match.
Alan Pardew came into the match needing a result as well, with the Baggies winning just one match in their last 24. But with loan signing, Daniel Sturridge, lurking about, there was always a huge chance.
The Liverpool man’s tenure was short-lived, though. He would be off after just three minutes following an unfortunate and untimely injury, and Jay Rodriguez came on to replace.
The visitors are forced into a change within the opening couple of minutes as Jay Rodriguez replaces the injured Daniel Sturridge. #CHEWBA
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2018
The loss did very little to upset West Brom, and they did well to keep the Blues on the back foot during the opening minutes.
A mistake from Victor Moses nearly gifted Pardew’s men a goal, when the full-back miscued a backpass that fell to an unmarked Rodriguez at the top of the box. Not realising that there was time to take a few touches, the forward shot at the soonest of opportunities, failing to even hit the target.
The home side, however, got the match’s first shot on target. Cesar Azpilicueta found Giroud with a cross from deep and the Frenchman’s touch resulted in Davide Zappacosta getting a shot off from point-blank range. Ben Foster proved the better man on that occasion, making a remarkable save to keep scores level.
Giroud got an opportunity of his own just a few moments later after Eden Hazard found him unmarked in the box. Foster came up with another save, which was mostly down to the forward going for placement instead of power.
Much better from Chelsea in the last few minutes with both Zappacosta and Giroud going close to opening the scoring, but it remains goalless. #CHEWBA
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2018
The Frenchman made his mark in the 25th minute, playing Hazard in with a neat pass in the box following some impressive one-two movement between themselves. Giroud’s layoff left the Belgian with just Foster to beat, and he did so with vicious aplomb, smashing the ball past the hapless stopper.
Hazard’s strike put him on 14 for the season, with 10 of them in the Premier League and three coming against West Brom, following a brace in the first encounter at the Hawthorns in November.
Eden Hazard: Has now scored 10 Premier League goals for the season. He has reached double figures in four of his six league campaigns for Chelsea
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 12, 2018
The Blues headed into the half with a 1-0 lead, obviously feeling much better about themselves than they did in their last two matches, but also needing to add to their lead.
Pardew began the second half without Chris Brunt, having replaced the winger with Oliver Burke in an effort to inject a bit of pace.
A bandaged and banged-up Giroud was taken off in the 60th minute and replaced by Morata, much to the delight of the Stamford Bridge crowd.
Oliver Giroud by the time this match is over. pic.twitter.com/72IwlbfJwP
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 12, 2018
The Blues would double their lead in the 63rd through Moses, who got on the end of Cesc Fabregas’s deflected pass to slot past Foster from close range. The Nigerian nearly put Chelseaup 3-0 moments later after cutting in on his left from the right flank to blast a low shot goalwards.
Foster was up to the task this time around but was not able to stop Hazard’s strike following similar circumstances to what led to Moses’s shot about a minute later.
The diminutive magician beat the Baggies keeper with another forceful shot, giving his side a 3-0 lead against a crestfallen West Brom side seemingly headed for the drop after winning just three games all season.
Conte’s men cruised to the finish line, quite happy to finally get both a win and a clean sheet after a turbulent period. The Londoners also climbed back into the top four with the victory, having dropped out when Tottenham beat Arsenal on the weekend.
Conte lives to fight another day!
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Zappacosta; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.
Bench: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Emerson, Drinkwater, Willian, Morata.
West Brom: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Phillips, Krychowiak, Barry, Brunt, Sturridge, Rondon
Bench: Nyom, Yacob, Myhill, McClean, Burke, Rodriguez, McAuley
Nigeria Proposes To Host 2022 Youth Olympics
Nigeria has officially made a proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Abuja.
At a video presentation held in Abuja on Sunday, the Nigerian delegation comprising the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, the Permanent Secretary Adesola Olusade, the Nigeria Olympic Committee President Habu Gumel, officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Federal Capital Territory, Dalung assured the visiting members of the IOC that Abuja will be ready to host the games if Nigeria gets the nod.
In his remarks, the minister commended the IOC for considering an African host for the event.
“I want to commend the IOC for developing a mechanism for Africa to be taken along through the changes introduced in the organisation of the Youth Olympics. I want to assure you that the capacity of the country to deliver is not in doubt. We will ensure that we package a brand of the Youth Games which after 2022, will set an agenda for the IOC to emulate.
” Abuja is ready to host because we have hosted international competitions in the past. Moreover, the IOC has emphasised that countries seeking to host the games should not build new structures but improve on their existing ones or make use of temporary facilities which will be dismantled after the games. We have the organisational capacity, the experience and the technical know-how to host.
“Abuja as a city has most of the requirements as enumerated to us by the IOC in a video presentation.
“We hope that at the end of the day, Nigeria will be chosen to host the 2022 Games for Africa,” Dalung said.
Earlier, the IOC members led by Associate Director for the Youth Olympic Games, Antoine Goetschy, stated in their video presentation that the process of securing the bid to host the games will cost nothing to enable weaker countries with the potentials to host the event.
“We are here to see what you have to propose and to show you an overview of what we want in a host city. The objective of our visit is for the proposing host nation to understand the strategic alignment and stakeholders engagement and the potential operational footprint”
Other criteria for hosting the games as presented in the video include demonstration of existing international and youth strategies, prior experience in hosting major events, motivation of the relevant authorities and stakeholders for hosting the Youth Games, dedicated and permanent fields of play, potential accommodation solutions for NOC team delegations, existing indoor multipurpose arenas, potential sites for outdoor festival space and discussions on how hosting the YOG 2022 can act as a catalyst for further development.
The members comprising Gilbert Felli, Senior Adviser, Melina Simm, Advisor and Mathieu Pouret, YOG Manager undertook an inspection tour of the Abuja National Stadium and other facilities yesterday while discussions to select the host country continue.
Neymar Makes Brazil World Cup Squad
Neymar, who hasn’t played a game since breaking his foot in February, was named on Monday as the star of the Brazilian national team which will seek a record sixth World Cup out in Russia, AFP reports.
Coach Tite announced the team list at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro. Neymar’s returning form will be a key factor for the team, which lost influential right-back Dani Alves to a knee injury last week.
Tite’s 23-man squad, which was without major surprises, sees Alves replaced by Danilo (Manchester City) and Fagner, whom Tite knows from his time at the helm of Corinthians’ 2015 national championship-winning team.
Fagner is currently carrying an injury of his own but has been cleared by team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar to play in Russia.
After sweeping aside South American opponents in the World Cup qualifiers, Brazil are seen as one of the favourites at the World Cup. Their campaign begins against Switzerland on June 17.
Source : the18
Neymar Named France’s Player Of The Year
Neymar was named as France’s player of the year at an awards ceremony in Paris on Sunday, despite the Paris Saint-Germain superstar missing the last three months of the season due to injury.
The Brazilian, the world’s most expensive player, scored 19 goals in just 20 league games for PSG before suffering a foot injury in February that required surgery.
His PSG teammates Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe were also nominees, along with Marseille’s Florian Thauvin.
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