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Post-Match Analysis

Rio Ferdinand Slams Sloppy Arsenal in Villa Loss



Rio Ferdinand labelled Arsenal’s performance as ‘powder puff’ as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

The Gunners were a long way from their best and offered very little threat as they were reasonably comfortably beaten at Villa Park. Ollie Watkins opened the scoring in the opening five minutes and the home side created the more threatening chances from there on in.

Ollie Watkins scored Aston Villa’s opening goal against Arsenal via the aid of a deflection from Rob Holding (Picture: Getty)

Granit Xhaka forced an impressive save from Emi Martinez from a free-kick, but the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang off the bench could not muster very much at all. Ferdinand felt that the early goal clearly rattled Mikel Arteta’s side and the forward players were all a long way from their best. ‘Powder puff today,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport. ‘They started off on the worst possible footing, mistake, lack of concentration and they definitely didn’t recover for the rest of the first half. ‘Second half they were much improved but without that cutting edge. ‘They didn’t have that cutting edge. The attacking players that have been doing really well for them in recent weeks, today they just didn’t turn up.’

Arsenal did dominate possession, finishing with 66 per cent, and ended the match with 14 shots, although only three of those were on target. Mikel Arteta insisted that his team were much the better side, but conceded that Villa performed where it really matters. 

‘We were the better team,’ he said. ‘We controlled every department but we gave them the ball. We gave them another three big chances. Then when we had to score the goal, we didn’t find the right pass or the right shot. ‘They were better in the boxes and that’s how you win games. We created enough opportunities. We didn’t score, we cannot win the game.’




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Latest Chelsea News

Match Highlights, Opta Stats, Player Ratings Chelsea vs Real Madrid



Chelsea set up an all-English Champions League final with Manchester City after beating Real Madrid 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final second leg, going through 3-1 on aggregate.

Timo Werner put Chelsea ahead (28), nodding into the empty net from under the crossbar after Kai Havertz’s chip had hit the woodwork, before Real rode their luck as the hosts missed four big chances to double their lead in the opening 20 minutes of the second period.

The hosts finally got their second to kill off the tie with five minutes remaining as Mason Mount stuck home substitute Christian Pulisic’s centre at close range, capping off a fine display and marking an extraordinary turnaround at the club since Thomas Tuchel joined in January.

Chelsea will now play in their third Champions League final (2008 and 2012) in Istanbul on Saturday May 29, and have set up just the third all-English Champions League final after 2008 (Man Utd-Chelsea) and 2019 (Liverpool-Tottenham) as Manchester City look to complete a treble.

Player ratings:

Chelsea: Mendy (8); Christensen (7), Thiago Silva (7), Rudiger (8), Azpilicueta (7), Kante (8), Jorginho (7), Chilwell (7), Mount (7), Havertz (7), Werner (7)

Subs: Pulisic (7), James (NA), Ziyech (NA), Giroud (NA)

Real Madrid: Courtois (7); Nacho (5), Militao (4), Ramos (6), Mendy (5), Kroos (6), Modric (6), Casemiro (5), Hazard (4), Vinicius Junior (5), Benzema (6)

Subs: Valverde (5), Asensio (5), Rodrygo (NA), Mariano (NA)

Man of the match: N’Golo Kante

Full English: When is the Champions League final?

This year’s final between Chelsea and Manchester City will take place in Istanbul on Saturday May 29.

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium famously staged the 2005 Champions League showdown, when Liverpool came from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan on penalties.

UEFA has not yet confirmed the kick-off time, but says detailed information regarding the capacity for the match, travel and ticketing details will be communicated publicly by the end of the week.

Opta stats – Watertight Chelsea

  1. Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in 24 matches under Thomas Tuchel in all competitions (75 per cent), compared with 26 in 84 games under his predecessor Frank Lampard (31 per cent).
  2. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has kept eight Champions League clean sheets this season, the most ever by a goalkeeper for an English club in a single season.
  3. Having also led PSG to the 2019/20 Champions League final, Chelsea manager Tuchel is the first manager to reach the European Cup/Champions League final in consecutive seasons with different clubs.
  4. It’s only the eighth time two teams from the same nation will be contesting the final, with Spanish teams also doing so a joint-record three times – 2000 (Real Madrid vs Valencia) and 2014 & 2016 (Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid).
  5. This was only the second time Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has lost a two-legged UEFA Champions League tie in 13 attempts, also losing in the last 16 in 2019-20 against Manchester City.

📺Watch The Extended Highlights:

What’s next for Chelsea in bid for top four?

Chelsea now go to Man City on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm, knowing a City victory will wrap up the Premier League title for Pep Guardiola’s side.

They then host Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday evening, also live on Sky Sports Premier League at 8.15pm.

And what’s next for Real in La Liga title race?

Real Madrid host Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday night at 8pm, currently sitting two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with four games of the season remaining.


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Latest Arsenal News

Arteta: I love Gabi more than all of you



Mikel Arteta has defended his use of Gabriel Martinelli this season and insists he’s the Brazilian striker’s biggest fan.

The 19-year-old was handed his sixth Premier League start of the season at St James’ Park and enjoyed a fruitful afternoon laying on a goal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the Gunners ran out 2-0 winners against Newcastle.

Martinelli began the game playing off the left flank and later moved into a central role when Aubameyang was substituted with 15 minutes remaining. The boss thinks he’s showing promise in both positions.

“Gabi is improving every week,” he told his post-game press conference.

“He’s taking his minutes in the right way and he’s developing the way we all believe he can.

“Today he had an assist, which was an important moment, and he had some good moments off the left – and also trying to play as a No 9 as well.”

He added: “Time will tell [if he’s a number 9] but I would like to develop him in both positions because I think he’s got the potential to do both.”

Arteta has been criticised this season for not using Martinelli enough since he returned from his serious knee problem.

After returning to action in December, he played just 53 minutes in the league between January and the middle of March. More regular game time has been forthcoming in recent weeks leading Arteta to bullishly defend his decision.

“Just look at how much he’s played in the last few years,” said Arteta.

“Then how much he’s played with me when he’s available. Then we can discuss that. It’s what happens. This debate is always happening when you don’t win.

“If it’s not him, it will be someone else. If it’s not Gabi, it will be Lacazette, Willian or Pepe. It’s part of it.”

The boss also touched on the connections Martinelli is making with his teammates. His assist for Aubameyang speaks to a growing understanding between the pair and the Brazilian has also done well adapting to whoever is playing behind him at left-back.

“Yeah it is a connection [with Aubameyang],” said Arteta.

“Having Granit behind him helps him in a way because he’s more in the line, in the last line on the left where he is more comfortable. With Kieran it’s a little bit different.

“Those relationships are ones we have to built. If there are any doubts, I love Gabi so much. More than all of you together

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Latest Chelsea News

Full Match Highlights, Opta Stats, Chelsea vs Fulham



Kai Havertz doubled his Premier League goals tally with a brace as Chelsea edged rivals Fulham closer to the relegation trap door with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Havertz handed Chelsea a 10th-minute lead with a delicate, lofted finish after Mason Mount’s sublime control and through pass. The German added his second four minutes into the second half with another composed finish after combining with compatriot Timo Werner.

With an eye perhaps on Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg with Real Madrid, Thomas Tuchel made five pre-match alterations. Despite Fulham’s valiant efforts, Chelsea were rarely tested and could have made the victory more handsome had it not been for a number of inspired saves from Alphonse Areola.

Chelsea’s 15th victory in all competitions under Tuchel sees them move to within two points of third-place Leicester and open up a six-point cushion to West Ham in fifth in the race for a top-four finish.

For Fulham, defeat leaves them in 18th place, nine points adrift of Newcastle and Burnley having crucially played a game more than their relegation rivals.

Player ratings

Chelsea: Mendy (7), Zouma (7), Silva (7), Christensen (7), James (6), Gilmour (6), Havertz (8), Chilwell (6), Mount (8), Ziyech (7), Werner (7).

Subs: Abraham (5), Kante (5), Alonso (n/a).

Fulham: Areola (7), Aina (6), Andersen (7), Adarabioyo (6), Robinson (7), Lemina (7), Anguissa (6), Lookman (6), Cavaleiro (6), Decordova-Reid (6), Maja (6).

Subs: Mitrovic (n/a), Onomah (5), Carvalho (5).

Man of the Match: Kai Havertz

Chelsea kings of the Kings Road – Match stats

  1. Chelsea remain unbeaten in their last 19 home matches against Fulham in all competitions (W11 D8), since a 0-2 defeat in October 1979 – only versus Everton (31), Hull City (23) and Middlesbrough (21) are the Blues currently enjoying a longer unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge.
  2. All eight of Kai Havertz’s goals for Chelsea in all competitions have been scored in London (seven at Stamford Bridge and one at Selhurst Park).
  3. Fulham remain winless in their last 24 Premier League London derbies (D5 L19), since a 2-1 victory against West Ham in January 2014 – in top-flight history, only Crystal Palace have endured a longer winless run in London derbies (31 games between August 1969 – March 1973).
  4. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has kept more clean sheets (11) than any other manager in Premier League history from their first 15 games in charge in the competition (overtaking Mourinho and Scolari, 10 each from their first 15).
  5. Fulham have failed to win any of their 10 Premier League London derbies this season (D4 L6) – this is the seventh occasion of a side from the capital failing to win any of their Premier League games against fellow London clubs, with Fulham responsible for four of those instances (also in 2007-08, 2010-11 and 2018-19).
  6. Mason Mount (5 goals, 2 assists) and Timo Werner (2 goals, 5 assists) have been involved in more Chelsea goals under Thomas Tuchel than any other player in all competitions.

📺 Watch The Full Highlights:

What’s next?

Next up for Chelsea is the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday at 8pm, before travelling to Manchester City on Saturday Night Football at 5.30pm – live on Sky Sports Premier League. Fulham host Burnley on Monday Night Football at 8pm – live on Sky Sports Premier League.


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