Chelsea end four game win-less run

24 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Chelsea end four game win-less run

The Herald

London. — Chelsea ended a four-game win-less run in Premier League with third January victory over London rivals Tottenham.

Hakim Ziyech’s stunner and Thiago Silva’s towering header helped overpower Tottenham for the third time this month as Chelsea tightened their grip on a top-three finish with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Having eased past their London rivals into the Carabao Cup final 3-0 on aggregate already in January, Chelsea ensured they kept Spurs at arm’s length in the race for Champions League football as Thomas Tuchel’s side ended a four-game winless run in the Premier League to open up an 11-point gap between themselves and Tottenham.

Spurs arrived in west London in buoyant mood after Wednesday’s dramatic, last-gasp victory at Leicester and, despite spending the majority of the first period on the back foot, were aggrieved not to head into the break in front after Harry Kane’s opener was controversially ruled out for a foul on Silva in the build-up.

Meanwhile, Liverpool boosted their hopes of catching Manchester City in the Premier League as they mixed early class with late resilience to hold off Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Less than 24 hours after league leaders City dropped points for the first time since October, Jurgen Klopp’s side were sharp and ruthless early on to take the game away from their hosts.

The intensity of their press and crisp use of the ball overwhelmed Palace and Virgil van Dijk rose to deliver a bullet header for their opener before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished a sweeping team move for their second.

Palace, though, eventually offered moments of warning, with Liverpool keeper Alisson forced to save well from Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta before Conor Gallagher glanced a header wide with the opening attack of the second half.

They finally broke through when the ever-willing Mateta raced onto Jeffrey Schlupp’s superb through ball and unselfishly squared for Odsonne Edouard to tap into an empty net. In London, Arsenal missed out on a chance to return to the Premier League’s top four after they were held at the Emirates Stadium by bottom club Burnley.

Forward Alexandre Lacazette went closest for the Gunners, poking an Emile Smith Rowe cutback narrowly wide midway through the second half.

Smith Rowe also forced a fine diving stop from Burnley keeper Nick Pope in the second period while Martin Odegaard was denied by the stopper’s feet with a powerful effort in the first half.

A draw for Burnley ended a run of three straight defeats with the Clarets now four points off safety having played four games fewer than 17th-placed Norwich City.

Meanwhile, Arsenal, now win-less in their past five matches in all competitions, go sixth, two points off Manchester United in fourth. Arsenal will be pleased to see the back of January, so far in 2022 the Gunners have been dumped out of the EFL and FA Cups and have lost three of their past four matches. Arsenal dominated possession but were frequently frustrated in the first half by their opponent’s low-block.

After the break, the hosts upped the tempo, but Bukayo Saka, Smith Rowe, Odegaard and Lacazette all failed to hit the net despite finding themselves in promising positions. This season appears to be Champions League qualification or nothing for Mikel Arteta’s team, making their dropped points against their injury-hit opponents all the more infuriating for supporters.

A small section of home fans booed their team off at full-time, the five-game winning streak at the end of 2021 an increasingly distant memory.

Burnley battle to much-needed point

Burnley’s game plan was obvious from the first whistle, they defended as a unit, sitting behind the ball and stifling their opponents’ attacks. This was the Clarets’ first match since losing to Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup on 8 January with Sean Dyche’s side seeing league matches against Leicester City and Watford postponed in recent weeks.

Brighton, Welbeck beat Kasper Schmeichel with a powerful header from Neal Maupay’s cross with eight minutes remaining. Dan Burn came close to snatching a winner but his towering header was cleared off the line by Youri Tielemans, before Schmeichel made a stunning save to deny Leandro Trossard.

Patson Daka had earlier fired Leicester in front 30 seconds into the second half after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez had parried Harvey Barnes’ shot into his path.

The draw keeps Brighton in ninth place, four points clear of Leicester in 10th.

Brendan Rodgers struck an upbeat tone in the build-up to this game and said his Leicester players would “get up and fight again” despite the crushing nature of their midweek defeat to Tottenham, which saw them concede two goals in stoppage-time.  — BBCsport.

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