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Thomas Tuchel reveals talks with Chelsea’s players about ‘top quality’ Eden Hazard before reunion

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Thomas Tuchel reveals talks with Chelsea’s players about ‘top quality’ Eden Hazard

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is in no doubt that Eden Hazard is still a serious threat despite his struggles for Real Madrid as the Belgian prepares to face his old club for the first time.

The west Londoners travel to the Bernabeu on Tuesday evening for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final where their former talisman – and record sale – Hazard is waiting for them.

But the 30-year-old has struggled since leaving Stamford Bridge, managing just one goal in all competitions last season and only managing three goals this campaign.

Injuries have blighted Hazard’s time at Real and he has missed 11 of Real’s last 13 La Liga matches with a muscle problem, only making his return in a brief cameo off the bench against Real Betis on Saturday.

Hazard is likely to be on the bench once again when Chelsea come visiting, with Vinicius Junior expected to start, but Tuchel is in no doubt about the danger the Belgian winger poses and has spoken to his players about him.

Asked if he has discussed Hazard with the Real star’s ex-teammates, and whether the Spanish side are stronger with or without him in the team, Tuchel replied: ‘Well Eden is a top-quality player.

‘He was the key player here for many, many years in this club and this league – which is one of the hardest in the world and a tough one if you decide matches so consistently like Eden did for this club here.

‘So I have the biggest respect for him. Of course we talk a lot because he’s a big player for this club and of course we have many people here in the staff who know him very well.

‘And it’s not only that we talk about him because we play him, but we talk about the experience and how this club grew and the experience and the big games they had and the clashes they had in the league and in Europe.

‘And like I said, he was a key player for this club. Now he plays for Real Madrid and obviously he’s fit and he had a comeback in the last game for some minutes to be ready tomorrow.

‘If he plays, I’m pretty sure he wants to make a point and wants to prove [something]. Let’s see. ‘Do I prefer with him or without him? No. They can leave the spot open I have no problem with that, and they can play with 10! They will not do this.

‘They have so many quality players, we’re talking about Real Madrid and we have to face the challenge with confidence.’

 

 

 

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Just In: UEFA Changed Champions League Final Venue, See New Venue & Date

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The Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be moved to Porto’s Estadio do Dragao from Istanbul, UEFA is set to announce.

UEFA had wanted to move the final to Wembley and was in talks with the UK government, but there was a considerable sticking point over waiving quarantine rules for the 2,000 staff, sponsors, VIPs and foreign media.

The fixture was due to take place at the Ataturk Stadium on May 29, but pressure mounted for the venue to be changed after the UK government placed Turkey on its ‘red’ list of at-risk countries and urged fans not to travel for the fixture. UK citizens returning from red-list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

The capacity at the Estadio do Dragao is 50,000 and UEFA is in talks with the Portuguese government to allow 20,000 to attend the final. That would mean up to 6,000 tickets for fans of each club.

Fans have not been allowed to attend games in Portugal this season but the Portuguese league announced on Wednesday that they would be able to watch the final round of league games next Wednesday with stadium capacities capped at 10 per cent.

Portugal is on the government green list so UK visitors will be able to travel there from Sunday. They will not need to quarantine but they will have to take Covid-19 tests before and after they travel.

It would have been cheaper and easier for UEFA to host the game at Wembley – which already has the infrastructure set up to be a UEFA European Championship venue next month – but the governing body felt it could not do so without the guarantee of government waivers.

As far as UEFA is concerned, fans would not be able to attend at all if the final had remained in Istanbul so it believes it has tried to do the best in difficult circumstances.

As far as Chelsea and City supporters are concerned, the final should be at Wembley.

This will be the third final in Portugal in eight years but the first in Porto.

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It is on me’ – Thomas Tuchel admits he made too many mistakes to his Chelsea side against Arsenal

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Thomas Tuchel has admitted making too many changes to his Chelsea side cost them the game against Arsenal.

 

The Blues fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal on Wednesday night with Emile Smith Rowe scoring the game’s only goal.

 

Tuchel made seven changes to the side that beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium at the weekend with one eye firmly on Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester City.

 

Speaking after the defeat, Tuchel conceded he had made a mistake in making so many changes – also suggesting he had fears over certain players coming into the match after recent training sessions.

 

Tuchel told Sky Sports: ‘We could not put up the same intensity and energy as usual.

 

‘It is on me, I think it was too many changes from the last match and I take full responsibility for that and maybe it is the last wake up call for all of us.’

 

He added: ‘I felt it coming a little bit yesterday in training and I’m a bit unlucky that it has proven today on the pitch.

I regret that, but it’s like this. It’s ‘we could have, we could have, we could have’, but we didn’t and that’s what it’s all about.’

 

Defeat drags Chelsea firmly back into a battle for a top four finish.

 

Following their FA Cup meeting with Leicester, they head to the King Power Stadium for their penultimate league match of the season next Tuesday.

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Video Highlights, Full Match Analysis: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal

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Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the chance to cement their top-four status as he took advantage of Jorginho’s howler to give Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues would have all but secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which would have taken them 10 points clear of Liverpool, who have four games left to play, but after making seven changes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Kai Havertz should have put them ahead 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s loose pass for Pablo Mari and raced clean through, but then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with only his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor back-pass was kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, but Smith Rowe was on hand to bundle home after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Chelsea were dominant for the large majority of the remaining 75 minutes without forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves until the final minute. They did beat him through Pulisic’s close-range header from a corner, which was swiftly denied by a VAR review, before the German produced a stunning stop to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.

Player Ratings

Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (6), Azpilicueta (6), Silva (6), Zouma (6), Chilwell (5), Jorginho (4), Gilmour (5), Pulisic (5), Mount (6), Havertz (5).

Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Giroud (6), Ziyech (5).

Arsenal: Leno (7), Gabriel (6), Mari (7), Holding (6), Tierney (7), Partey (6), Elneny (8), Saka (5), Odegaard (6), Smith Rowe (7), Aubameyang (5).

Subs: Bellerin (6), Lacazette (5), Chambers (6).

Man of the match: Mohamed Elneny

What the managers said…

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports: “We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose.

“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you!”

 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know how they’re going to try from the outside but from the inside, nothing is broken.

“They’re going to put things on me that I never said, you can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they try.”

Match stats

  1. Arsenal completed their first Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2003-04 season, while this was their first league win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011, ending an eight-game winless run there (D2 L6).
  2. Chelsea suffered only their third defeat in 26 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel (W17 D6), with all three defeats coming at Stamford Bridge.
  3. Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
  4. Arsenal have had a different player aged younger than 21 score in each of their last three Premier League matches against Chelsea – Gabriel Martinelli in January 2020, Bukayo Saka in December 2020 and Emile Smith Rowe tonight.

What’s next?

Chelsea are off to Wembley in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where they will face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.

Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season is also in London, with a trip to Crystal Palace next Wednesday night; Kick-off at 7pm.

📽️ Watch The Video Highlights:

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