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Chelsea win at Crystal Palace: Five things we learned as Hakim Ziyech bails out Blues



Chelsea built on their Club World Cup triumph over Palmeiras with a late Hakim Ziyech winner against Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

The Moroccan had a goal ruled out for offside before his calm back-post volley sealed the three points and alleviated Thomas Tuchel’s frustration.

The performance still leaves numerous questions hanging over the current Blues side, and according to Express Sport here are five things learned during their last-gasp Premier League win.

Chelsea shown what they are missing by Palace duo

Palace boss Patrick Vieira witnessed impressive displays by former Chelsea youngsters Marc Guehi and Michael Olise. 

Guehi and his centre-back partner, Joachim Andersen, kept the Blues’ £98million signing Romelu Lukaku extremely quiet, especially in the first half. 

Olise, meanwhile, continues to capitalise on the game time given to him by the Eagles boss, playing a superb through-ball to Wilfried Zaha and showing his classy ability from set pieces. 

Guehi was sold by Chelsea in the summer after 14 years at the club, while Olise also had a spell at Stamford Bridge during his youth career. 

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Malang Sarr shines out of position

Thomas Tuchel raised eyebrows by fielding Sarr and Andreas Christensen as a full-back pairing, with both more comfortable playing in central defence. 

One could hardly tell in Sarr’s case though as the 23-year-old looked perfectly at home flying down the left flank, and he almost assisted the game’s opening goal after playing a superb through ball to N’Golo Kante. 

The Blues boss clearly sees something in him, with left-back candidates Kenedy, Marcos Alonso and Saul Niguez all on the bench. 

Tuchel publicly discussed Sarr’s ‘difficult’ game against Brentford earlier in the season, but the Nice youth product’s versatility could be a game changer between now and the end of the season. 

Romelu Lukaku’s frustration is not over yet

It was another poor afternoon for Lukaku, although the jury is still out regarding whether that is down to his own sub-par form, or his team-mates’ reluctance to provide him with any form of service. 

The Belgian was visibly frustrated in the first half when Sarr attempted to set him free with an overhit pass, and broadly struggled to impose himself on the game. 

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In fact, he had registered just two touches of the ball by half-time, one of which was the game’s first kick-off. 

It looked as though he had made amends late on when his vicious shot was parried into the path of Ziyech who poked in the rebound – but VAR soon revealed that the striker had strayed offside. 

Having hit a cumulative 47 league goals for Inter Milan during his two-season spell at the San Siro, the once prolific marksman is still some way off finding the same harmony in west London.

Rudiger reinforces contract urgency

Aside from the occasional flash of danger, Chelsea’s defence largely remained solid at Selhurst Park. 

Antonio Rudiger looked assured as ever alongside Thiago Silva, and he almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion with a shot from distance in the first half.

Blues fans may have to make the most of it, however, with the German’s contract set to expire at the end of the season. 

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Chelsea have so far remained stubborn in the face of supposedly hefty wage demands, but Rudiger once again stated his case for an improved deal against Palace. It remains to be seen whether the club’s hierarchy will respond. 

Pressure eased in top-four hunt

Chelsea almost had to settle for two more dropped points against Palace, which would have been indicative of their troubling run of form. 

But victory calls time on a run which saw them win just one of their previous five Premier League games. 

Their title bid may be a thing of the past, but Saturday’s win will ease the pressure which was being cranked up by the chasing pack as sides vie to nail down Champions League qualification for next season. 

Tuchel and co have little time to enjoy their late winner, however, as their Champions League knockout campaign begins against Lille on Tuesday. 


Report: Chelsea agree personal terms with Inter Milan superstar




Chelsea look to be closing in on the signing of 19-year-old midfielder Cesare Casadei.

The Blues are reportedly agreeing personal terms with the Inter Milan youngster ahead of what is expected to be a €15m (plus add-ons) transfer. Inter had been looking for around €20m all told.

As per Fabrizio Romano, and others, the highly promising Italy youth international, though who has yet to make his senior professional debut, has agreed a six-year deal with the Blues, choosing Chelsea over the likes of OGC Nice in France and US Sassuolo in Italy.

Presumably, Casadei will not be joining the Chelsea first-team right away, though post-Brexit work permit rules are fairly esoteric and confusing.

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Perhaps he will end up joining one of the aforementioned teams on loan to build up the necessary professional experience? Just speculating…

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While the two teams have yet to agree a transfer, this looks to be drawing to a successful conclusion for us, adding yet another teenager talent to the team as we look to build for not only this season but for many seasons in the future.

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Mikel Arteta drops Youri Tielemans hint as Arsenal can sign ‘more complete’ N’Golo Kante




Today’s Arsenal transfer round-up on Tuesday, August 16.

Tielemans hint

Mikel Arteta’s increased use of Granit Xhaka could mean that Arsenal are close to giving up on transfer target Youri Tielemans.

The Gunners are still chasing a deal for the Leicester City midfielder but have seen their chances dwindle of doing a deal this summer and now, despite Xhaka previously saying he had come close to leaving, the club could have to do without a new addition.

Xhaka is now part of a new leadership group at the Emirates Stadium, a possible indication that he may remain at the club and throw a move for Tielemans into doubt.

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Kante replacement

With Tielemans becoming less and less attainable this season, Arsenal have reportedly turned their attention elsewhere.

According to the Express, Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo is attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs including the Gunners and Manchester United. Having been previously compared with Kante, Arsenal’s desire to sign Caicedo is understandable.

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South American football expert Tim Vickery said, “A year ago he was saying that Kante of Chelsea is his role model but he is already more than that. He already offers more in the final third.”

Yeremi Pino flight explained

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has cleared the air regarding Yeremi Pino and denies that a bid has been made for him.

Romano told CaughtOffside, “Many clubs have been following Yeremi Pino for months, he is a top player of the future that at least three Premier League clubs have been monitoring for some time.

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“No proposals have been made yet to Villarreal, who would like more than €50m for their young star; it will not be an easy negotiation.

“As for the rumours about Arsenal – Edu was not travelling to Spain to meet Villarreal, also because Pino’s agents are based in the UK (Stellar Group).”

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Erik Ten Hag believes £64,000 a week player will agree to join Man United – Report




Despite signing two defenders this summer, Manchester United’s backline has been terrible this season and yet another defender is linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Yesterday, we covered a story (via Sport) claiming that the Red Devils have submitted an offer to sign Sergino Dest, who has received a clear message to leave Barcelona.

Today, the Spanish news source have covered another report and stated that the American international has not been able to impress in the last two years, moreover, he failed to convince Xavi in pre-season. Therefore, his exit is considered essential.

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Erik ten Hag wants to get rid of Aaron Wan-Bissaka this summer so that he can complete the signing of Dest, who is valued at 20 million euros.

The Catalan media outlet claim the Dutch manager believes that the 21-year-old Barca defender will agree (say Yes) to join Man United.

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Ten Hag really needs to understand that players from the Netherlands or connections with Ajax are not guaranteed to solve the conundrum at Old Trafford.

Under Van Gaal, Depay and Blind failed to shine for Man United. For Ten Hag, thus far, the likes of Eriksen, Martinez and Malacia have not settled.

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Now, he is pushing to sign another ex Ajax player in the form of Dest. The American was a hit in the Eredivisie but has proved to be average in the La Liga.

The youngster’s current contract at the Nou Camp will expire in 2025 and he earns around £64,000 a week (The Sun).

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