Thomas Tuchel explains why Ben Chilwell has not featured for Chelsea this season

August 30th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed why Ben Chilwell has not yet managed to force his way into the Blues matches this season.

Marcos Alonso has been selected regularly instead by the German raising questions about the fate of Chilwell in the team.

“For Ben Chilwell, it’s very easy,” Tuchel explained when asked by football.london about the defender’s situation after the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

“He came back with the latest group [from his summer break]. When he arrived, Marcos Alonso had five weeks in his legs from pre-season. He played the first competitive matches and was simply way more ready physically. This was natural because of the training session and his fantastic games.

“He played the Super Cup final and three Premier League games. Also, we only have three substitutions allowed and this is a huge problem, a huge, huge disadvantage in the European competitions for any English team.

“We play in the toughest league in the world but only have three [in-game] changes allowed.

“So you can’t say after 60 minutes, ‘Ben, I’ll give you 30 minutes now so you’re ready to start the next game’. You can’t say, ‘let’s see with Thiago how long he can go’. It’s simply not possible.

“Everyone who went further in pre-season is very strong [physically]. This is the only reason.

“But look at how Thiago played today, he was excellent. I could feel he was absolutely ready in the last week. I’ve known him a long time now, he made a huge step.

“Chilly needed his time in training to adapt to the intensity. He is ready now but it [facing Liverpool] wasn’t the moment to push him into the cold water.”

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(Watch Video) Olivier Giroud nets brace in AC Milan win (Match Report)

August 30th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Olivier Giroud got his first two Serie A goals for an ultimately comfortable 4-1 win over Cagliari, with Sandro Tonali and Rafael Leao also on target.

Henrique Dalbert risked slightly more than a yellow card for a two-footed lunge in the opening six minutes, while Rafael Leao took too many touches when sent clear on an Olivier Giroud back-heel, allowing Andrea Carboni to make the desperate tackle.

Sandro Tonali scored his first goal in the Rossoneri jersey, and only his second in Serie A, with a wonderful free kick from the edge of the area that dipped over the wall and into the near top corner.

The lead lasted just three minutes before Joao Pedro’s inspired dinked pass over the top found Alessandro Deiola, whose header steered into the far top corner, despite Mike Maignan getting his fingertips to it.

The drama continued with a third goal in five minutes, as Leao’s strike took a massive deflection off Brahim Diaz to completely wrong-foot Radunovic. The Lega Serie A credited Leao with the goal, as his original shot was on target.

The Spaniard created the third goal, running forward from midfield and a slide-rule pass finding Giroud to bend it into the far corner first time with the inside of his left boot from 12 yards, the ex-Chelsea striker’s first Serie A goal.

Milan kept pushing, Simon Kjaer’s header charged down and Fikayo Tomori’s follow-up well saved. Kevin Strootman raised his arm to deflect a Brahim Diaz shot over and VAR confirmed he was on the line, so it was a penalty, converted by Giroud for a brace.

It would’ve been a hat-trick but for Diego Godin’s desperate defensive header in the six-yard box and interception to prevent a tap-in on Leao’s low cross.

Cagliari almost got another too, Maignan just about preventing the Charalampos Lykogiannis free kick going straight in from a tricky angle.

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Chelsea’s current “greatest defensive asset” identified

August 30th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Garth Crooks has claimed he thinks Antonio Rudiger is the “greatest defensive asset” at Chelsea right now.

Rudiger, who earns £100,000-a-week, has played every minute at the start of the new season for the Blues.

The 28-year-old centre-back was part a superb defensive performance at the weekend as they earned a 1-1 draw away to Liverpool at Anfield.

He’s a no-nonsense defender who’s aggressive in his work, something which has really gone up a notch since Thomas Tuchel became manager at the start of the calendar year.

BBC pundit Crooks named the Germany international in his latest edition of Premier League Team of the Week after his Liverpool display.

He added that he’s the elite defender right now at Stamford Bridge.

“Blues manager Thomas Tuchel summed it up when he said his team showed great resilience and spirit [against Liverpool] – no-one more so than Rudiger,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“I have been saying for some time now this player is Chelsea’s greatest defensive asset.

“When he was booked in the first half I thought he was odds on to receive a second yellow, but Rudiger proved to be far too smart for that. Under Tuchel, the German centre-back has got better.”

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Chelsea fans sign petition to ban referee Anthony Taylor after awarding Liverpool penalty and sending off Reece James

August 30th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Thousands of Chelsea fans have signed a petition to ban referee Anthony Taylor from officiating their games in future.

Taylor, 42, has incurred the wrath of Blues supporters after awarding Liverpool a penalty and sending off Reece James for handball in the dying moments of the first-half of Saturday’s match at Anfield.

Mo Salah scored the resulting spot-kick and Chelsea were forced to defend for the second half, but did enough to secure a point after Kai Havertz had opened the scoring.

Despite the positive result Chelsea fans are fuming with Taylor.

Much of the anger is born out of the fact Taylor only looked at the VAR monitor for seconds before making his decision.

In fact, it appeared the ref made up his mind based on a still image of the ball making contact with James’ arm.

Taylor decided it was handball which means, according to the law, the England star had to be dismissed – whether it was deliberate or not.

The petition calling for Taylor to be removed from future Chelsea matches already has more than 44,000 signatures.

And claims have been made suggesting Taylor has harmed fans’ mental health with his actions.

One petition also suggests Taylor has been “constantly biased whenever he officiates a Chelsea match”, and warns that keeping him away from Chelsea games would be good for his own safety.

There is no suggestion or evidence Taylor was biased during the match.

The Twitter mob have been after Taylor too, with one Chelsea supporter saying: “We need to stand up and protest against it. We cannot let him ruin every game he is officiating. FA cup final was same.”

Another added: “He was extremely unfair and biased.”

A third wrote: “Anthony Taylor should be ashamed of himself. And I’m not talking about the penalty or the sending off. So inconsistent with his decisions.”

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