Raheem Sterling equals Didier Drogba’s record, nets hat-trick as Manchester City crush West Ham (Match Report)

Raheem Sterling was the hero of the day after recording a hat-trick as Manchester City defeated West Ham United 5-0 to get their Premier League title defence off to an impressive start.

The breakthrough came after 25 minutes, with David Silva playing in Kyle Walker, who cut the ball back from the byline for Gabriel Jesus to deftly flick in.

Kevin De Bruyne was a growing influence for City, and his penetrating run and pass set up Sterling to make it 2-0 six minutes after half-time.

Jesus thought he had scored a third for City, only for his goal to be disallowed after Sterling was adjudged to be offside in the build-up, making it the first decision to be overturned by a Video Assistant Referee in the Premier League.

The England winger chipped Fabianski to give City their third before substitute Sergio Aguero stroked home a penalty at the second attempt to ensure the Hammers were beaten.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side were not without their chances on an afternoon where VAR’s input was felt on numerous occasions. Diop went close with a headed effort while Chicharito and Manuel Lanzini also saw efforts well saved.

A match played in blustery conditions at London Stadium saw West Ham United’s first VAR check of the 2019/20 season made after seven minutes, after a coming together between Manuel Lanzini and Rodrigo in the City penalty area. The home players, and supporters, wanted a spot-kick, but the checks came back with a negative.

Riyad Mahrez proved to be a tricky option for the away side down the right-wing with the Algerian twice going close in the first period. An early shot was well-saved by the returning Fabianski before the winger pulled an effort wide midway through the first period.

Substitute Sergio Aguero added a fourth with a penalty after his first spot-kick was saved by Lukasz Fabianski but it was ordered to be retaken due to encroachment.

Sterling had the final say, beating Fabianski to score the first PL hat-trick on opening weekend since Didier Drogba for Chelsea in 2010.

Photo Credit: premierleague.com

Eden Hazard opens up on Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri, jokes about his new rival Lionel Messi

Real Madrid new boy Eden Hazard has revealed what he learned from Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea.

The Belgium international sat down for an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper after finally completing his move to the Bernabeu.

“Ever since childhood, I dreamed of one day wearing the Real Madrid jersey. When Real knock at your door, you can do only one thing: open it.

“I had unforgettable years at Chelsea, but here I’m in Seventh Heaven. Zinedine Zidane was one of my idols growing up and I had his poster on my wall. Now he is my Coach.”

Hazard worked under two different Italian tacticians during his time at Chelsea, first Conte and then Sarri, Football Italia reports.

“I learned so much from them. They are both very different, in terms of personality and their ideas of football, but they have one thing in common: both are winners.

“They have specific playing styles and know what instructions to give the squad. Of course I watch Serie A games, as football is my passion and the Italian league is one of the most important in the world.”

Hazard’s fellow Belgian Lukaku has joined Inter from Manchester United in a deal worth €65m plus €10m in bonuses and a five per cent cut of any future fee.

“Lukaku is a fantastic striker, a hitman who can adapt to most teams. He scores many goals, which of course is important for a centre-forward, but it would be a mistake to judge him solely on that. He does many other things do.

“For example, Lukaku is excellent in his hold-up play and encouraging others to push forward. With him in the team, everyone plays better.”

Finally, Hazard joked about the new rivalry with Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, which sees two of the shortest players in La Liga face off.

“If I had been passionate about basketball, then I’d have been in trouble! In that sense, football is a democratic sport, as talent is not measured in centimetres.”

Chelsea want defence ace back after David Luiz departure

Reports in England claim Chelsea are planing to re-sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth depending on the interest of the club’s manager.

The London club sold the now-24-year-old Ake to the Cherries in 2017 for £20m, but inserted a £40m buyback clause, which has proven to be a prudent move considering Bournemouth quoted Leicester a £75m price tag when the Foxes inquired about Ake as a potential replacement for Harry Maguire.

According to the Telegraph, Chelsea will make a move to re-sign Ake if Lampard decides he needs a replacement for David Luiz once the club’s transfer ban ends.

One of those, Fikayo Tomori, had been due to go out on loan but will now be part of Lampard’s senior squad and is in line to earn a new contract.

Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen will start the season as Lampard’s defensive partnership against Manchester United on Sunday, with Antonio Rudiger working his way back to fitness.

Lampard will spend at least the first half of the season assessing his options and deciding whether or not Luiz needs to be replaced