Tag Archives: Premier League

Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard close to signing new Chelsea deals

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Thibaut Courtois has said he is close to signing a new contract at Chelsea and the goalkeeper suggested while hinting that his Belgium team-mate Eden Hazard could be ready to follow suit.

Courtois, whose deal at Chelsea expires in the summer of 2019, appeared to be firm over his intention to extend at Chelsea after the club’s 2-2 draw at Arsenal on Wednesday night.

“It has just turned the new year so we will wait a few weeks and then sit around the table,” Courtois said. “I’m happy at Chelsea and a deal is close. Has it been a distraction? Not for me. I’m just calm and relaxed because I’m tied to Chelsea. Despite the rumours and everything, I am focused on Chelsea and I’m happy here.”

As for his compatriot, Eden Hazard is contracted with the Blues to 2020. While Courtois believes that the midfielder’s departure could deal a lot of hurt to the club, the keeper believes that Hazard would spend the peak years of his career at Stamford Bridge.

“Losing a player like Eden would be bad for the club,” Courtois added. “Eden is irreplaceable. With the money he will raise, you can buy five players but none of them will be like Eden. It would be like Barcelona losing Lionel Messi or Real Madrid losing Cristiano Ronaldo.”

“If you excel, there will always be teams interested in signing the biggest players. But that’s why if Chelsea have ambition to be the best club in the world, these kind of players have to stay.”

“Do Eden and I encourage each other to sign? Yes. He will say: ‘If you sign, I will sign,’ and I say the same to him. I think we are both happy at Chelsea, we both have a good part to play. We have been champions twice in the four seasons I have been here and we can have our peak years together at Chelsea.”

While Chelsea sit third in the Premier League and 16 points behind the leaders, Manchester City, Courtois remains confident that the club can finish the season with a major trophy as they advanced to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they have been drawn to face FC Barcelona.

Prediction:

Norwich City 0 — 3 Chelsea

League-Cup: Last season’s finalists Southampton defeated by Wolves

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Southampton, last season’s finalists of the EFL Cup, were eliminated from the tournament after their 2-0 second round home defeat by Championship side Wolves.

In what was Wolves’s third win against Premier League sides this calendar year, Danny Batth headed in Ivan Cavaleiro’s corner in the 67th minute and substitute Donovan Wilson made it 2-0 with three minutes left.

It also came despite the fact that the Wolves manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, fielded an entirely different roster after his team’s defeat against Cardiff City on Saturday.

“I’m very proud, it’s fantastic work from my players, the way they prepared,” said Nuno. “It’s not about building a team, it’s about a squad, and they showed there’s no starting XI at Wolves. For us it’s about creating a squad, growing their own identity and being able to perform like this.”

“We know Donovan, he’s been performing well and training with us for some time. He has scored a goal here, but he will be back with the under-23s. Nothing changes for Donovan. I’ve done this throughout my career, giving players chances, but only at the right times.”

As for Southampton, they were far outshone by their opponents after six changes were made to the squad who defeated West Ham 3-2 last weekend in the Premier League.

They also registered few chances, with right-back Jeremy Pied firing wide twice and Wolves keeper Will Norris turning Sam McQueen’s cross onto the woodwork.

Arsenal wins record seventh FA Cup under Wenger

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Arsenal won 2-1 against Premier League Champions Chelsea for Arsene Wenger to secure a record seventh FA Cup title in his 21st season as manager of the club.

The Gunners began with all guns blazing at Wembley as Alexis Sanchez scored the opening goal after only four minutes, when referee Anthony Taylor overruled his assistant after he had been flagged for offside against Aaron Ramsey, although Chelsea also complained that Sanchez had handled in the process.

While they had some right to rue that particular decision, they would have none as Victor Moses was correctly sent off by Taylor in the second half after receiving a second yellow card for diving.

As Arsenal dominated the game for long periods, they remained unable to capitalise on their chances as Danny Welbeck and Ramsey both found the woodwork, with Blues defender Gary Cahill also contributing perfect clearances that helped Chelsea stay in the game.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa then equalized as Arsenal keeper David Ospina failed to keep out his deflected shot with 14 minutes left to keep a domestic double in sight for the Premier League winners.

However, Arsenal were not one to be denied as Ramsey — who had scored the FA Cup final winner against Hull City back in 2014 — did it again with a header as Olivier Giroud’s cross found him free.

And as the final whistle sounded, Arsene Wenger would decorate a season of heavy criticism with a record 13th FA Cup win for Arsenal— and a record seventh for the Frenchman.

His team had not been favourites against Manchester City in the semi-final as well as here in Wembley — a point Wenger used to pay further tribute to his team.

“You cannot get two tougher opponents, but we produced two outstanding performances,” he said. “That is what makes me particularly proud, because no one gave us a chance at Wembley and we responded with attitude and class.”

“We had an outstanding performance from the first minute onwards. This team has suffered, but they’ve united and responded. They showed strength and unity and played spectacular football.”

Griezmann: Atletico star has six-tenth chance of United move

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Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann said that there is a six-tenth chance of him joining Premier League club Manchester United this summer.

The French International, who scored 26 goals as Atletico finished third in the recently concluded season of La Liga said playing in England is “in fashion” and told French TV show Quotidien a move to Old Trafford is “possible”.

When prompted further upon the probability on a scale of one to 10, Griezmann said: “Six.”

The presenter replied: “It’s the first time you’ve said that,” to which And Griezmann agreed, saying “It’s the first time”. Asked if he understood what he was saying, Griezmann replied “Yes”, but remained coy on his future destination.

“Today, if I have to move, it will not be a problem for me,” said Griezmann, but added: “It may be England, which is in fashion, Germany, China or the United States, I’m ready to go.”

“We finished third in La Liga, it was the objective of the club, but we, the players, want more. Winning titles is what I will look for this summer when deciding on my future.”

He also added that there will be a time before a decision is made his future. “I should know more in the next two weeks,” he said.

Griezmann has been consistently linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent months, but he will at least cost the club at least 100 million euro (£86m) — the amount slated in his release clause.