Rudiger, Azpilicueta, others involved in bust-up after Chelsea defeat to West Brom

April 4th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

There are reports Antonio Rudiger was involved in a heated bust-up with Kepa Arrizabalaga during Chelsea’s training session on Sunday.

Both players were left on the bench in Chelsea’s 5-2 defeat at home to West Brom on Saturday but took part in Sunday’s training session at Cobham.

According to The Telegraph, via the Metro, Kepa took exception to Rudiger’s late challenge during a small-sided game, and the incident resulting in a ‘pushing match’ and a ‘heated argument’ between the two players.

The report claims that Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel ‘reacted immediately’ to the conflict and decided to send Rudiger back to the changing rooms early as the Germany international was not calm enough to complete the session.

It’s claimed that after the bust-up, Rudiger apologised to Kepa unprompted and Tuchel is now ‘happy’ that the matter has been resolved.

The Telegraph also reports that there was a second row between two Chelsea players after the defeat to West Brom as Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James were involved in a ‘frank exchange of views’ in the dressing room at Stamford Bridge.

Both Chelsea players are said to have later spoken after the incident and there was no ill-feeling between the pair during Sunday’s training session.

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David De Gea to lead huge Manchester United goalkeeper clear-out in summer

April 4th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Manchester United are set to bid farewell to keeper David De Gea at the end of the season, according to reports.

The Mirror reports the Red Devils will pay off the £350,000-a-week Spanish shot-stopper, sparking a huge Old Trafford keeper exodus.

The report states Dean Henderson will become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s No1.

But Sergio Romero, Lee Grant and Joel Pereira will all depart along with the former Atletico Madrid goalie.

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Chelsea player Ratings vs West Brom: Kovacic and Pulisic stand out despite defeat at Stamford Bridge

April 4th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea suffered their first defeat under Thomas Tuchel, with Thiago Silva’s sending off the catalyst to the Blues woes.

West Brom never had it so sumptuous at Stamford Bridge beating their more illustrious hosts.

Doubles from Matheus Pereira and Callum Robinson and a Mbaye Diagne goal left Chelsea shocked.

Christian Pulisic’s opener and Mason Mount consolation made the result slightly more respectable.

The Sun rate the Blues stars:

Edouard Mendy – 5

Composed as ever on the ball and given barely anything to do before picking the ball out of his net twice before half time.

Caught off his line for the second and lobbed, but was not given much chance for the Baggies’ other three.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 5
Nothing the experienced skipper could do to prevent Chelsea from succumbing to a first defeat under new boss Tuchel.

The Spaniard will have to pick his players up ahead of their Champions League tie with Porto.

Thiago Silva – 3
Another nightmare playing against the Baggies, following his horror debut in September, where he gave the ball away for the opening goal.

This time, two fouls and two bookings and the Brazilian was sent off, ending his return to the squad in disastrous fashion.

Kurt Zouma – 5
Preferred over Antonio Rudiger, the Frenchman started the game well. But could only watch as Pereira snuck behind him for West Brom’s first goal.

Had a golden chance to pull one back with 15 minutes to go, but blazed it over after a corner fell to him in the box.

Reece James – 6
A constant threat in the first half bombing down the right and also coming centrally to give space for Ziyech on the wing.

Even with a man down the wingback gave Chelsea hope of pulling a goal back, providing crosses into the box.

Marcos Alonso – 5
As ever the Spaniard was excellent going forward, making runs towards the back post, but going back he leaves Chelsea’s left hand side so exposed.

Hit the post with Chelsea 2-1 down, as Sam Johnstone fumbled a catch but Alonso was off balance when he swung his right boot at the ball.

Jorginho – 3
Looked sloppy from the get-go, passes all over the place and most vitally conceded possession too often.

He lost the ball before Silva’s second yellow, and also for West Brom’s second goal. Miracle he survived more than 45 minutes.

Mateo Kovacic – 7
The Croatian gives Chelsea a lot going forward, picking up the ball and driving but couldn’t provide a final product.

Looked to be Tuchel’s most promising player even when they were down, with forward passes and runs.

Hakim Ziyech – 6
Looked to be getting on the ball early on, drifting inside and providing width on the right.

But he has Silva to thank for his early substitution, having been replaced by Andreas Christensen.

Chrisian Pulisic – 7
Lively from the off and showed great instincts to follow up on Alonso’s free-kick to open the scoring.

Sacrificed at half time for Mason Mount, much to the frustration of the American who is fighting for his place in the starting 11.

Timo Werner – 5
A threat when running in behind, but was not getting the service required. Despite his pace on the ball, with it the German is less comfortable.

Provided another assist, this time for Mount as he cut it back to the midfielder who grabbed one back.

SUBS
Andreas Christensen (for Ziyech 34 mins) – Was closest to Pereira who raced through on goal for West Brom’s second.

Mason Mount (for Pulisic 45mins) – Instantly gave Chelsea more going forward and Werner put his goal on a plate for the midfielder.

Kai Havertz (for Jorginho 72 mins) – Too little too late for the German to make an impact.

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Solskjaer explains why Manchester United won’t rival Chelsea for Sergio Aguero

April 4th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has has shot down a potential move for Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero.

The Argentine striker, 32, will leave the Etihad this summer after a decade — and 257 goals.

The coast is therefore clear for Chelsea, at least in England, to swoop for the Manchester City legend in the summer.

Former United greats Paul Ince and Dimitar Berbatov have both urged Old Trafford boss Solskjaer to swoop for Aguero.

But the Norwegian insisted no player should move between the rivals.

He said: “I wouldn’t expect any player who has played for a club for ten years to want to go to their local rivals. It’s not for me.

“When I played for Manchester United, if a rival club tried to sign me and I had gone — well, where’s the loyalty?

“Loyalty is one of the values I really, really put highly.

“I know we are professionals but when you play for United you don’t go to City.

“We have had examples of that and I didn’t really agree with it.

“I won’t name names but you all know who I mean — enough said.”

However, Carlos Tevez enraged Reds fans when he controversially switched to the Etihad in 2009.

Treble-winning keeper Peter Schmeichel’s move to City seven years earlier also left everyone at United fuming.

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(Watch Highlights) Victor Osimhen scores as Napoli beat Crotone in thrilling encounter (Match Report)

April 4th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Napoli made life far more difficult than it needed to be in their dramatic 4-3 win over relegation-threatened Crotone.

Tiemoue Bakayoko turned wide from a very promising position, but the pressure finally paid off when Giovanni Di Lorenzo burst down the right and pulled back for Lorenzo Insigne’s deflected strike.

Napoli doubled their lead almost immediately, Fabian Ruiz floating a ball over the top for Insigne’s spectacular volleyed assist back across the face of goal, finding Victor Osimhen for the tap-in.

However, the Partenopei shot themselves in the foot with some comical defending to give it away inside their own penalty area, Ahmad Benali’s cross allowing Nwankwo Simy to score undisturbed at the far post.

Mertens restored the two-goal cushion with a magnificent free kick from the edge of the box into the near top corner.

Adam Ounas wanted to prove a point against his former club with a solo run, but Alex Meret made the decisive save.

It should really have been 4-1 before half-time, as Alex Cordaz made a remarkable save on Osimhen, but Mertens only hit the woodwork on the follow-up.

Crotone got back into it again after the restart, as a corner was not cleared effectively and Simy got in front of Kostas Manolas to turn in from 10 yards.

Napoli have been very vulnerable when playing out from the back and it happened again for 3-3, as Junior Messias caught Nikola Maksimovic in possession.

Di Lorenzo had already provided an assist, but he added a goal with his solo effort, cutting inside from the right for a left-foot daisy-cutter into the far bottom corner.

Napoli kept pushing to the end, with Insigne, Mertens and Hirving Lozano off target, but held on for the 4-3 win.

Photo Credit: en_sscnapoli/Twitter

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