Chelsea 2-0 Burnley: Tuchel gets his first win

Cezar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso netted two great goals to hand Thomas Tuchel his first victory as Chelsea manager.

Azpilicueta’s first goal in a year had the profligate Blues in charge at the break, before Alonso toasted his first Chelsea appearance since September with a smart finish at the death.

The Blues moved up to seventh in the table courtesy of just a third win in 10 league matches, with Tuchel tasked to launch another new era after Frank Lampard’s sacking.

Azpilicueta’s first goal since the 2-2 draw with Arsenal in January 2020 lit up the end of a drab first-half to ease Chelsea’s prior struggles in finding the net.

But while the Stamford Bridge hosts got off the ground under their sparky new German boss, their £53million Germany striker Timo Werner’s malaise continued.

Werner’s crisis of confidence remains an unwanted fixture, with the 24-year-old’s barren streak extending to just one goal in 17 appearances in all competitions.

Former Paris St Germain boss Tuchel aimed to lift Werner’s mood and goal drought by building the tactical blueprint around him.

The RB Leipzig summer recruit was to lurk just off the left wing in between the lines of a number 10 and number nine.

But just 45 minutes into that custom-built role, Tuchel changed tack.

For the second-half Werner was to play right through the middle, with Tammy Abraham withdrawn as the fall-guy as Chelsea tried everything and then some to rebuild Werner’s shattered confidence.

Azpilicueta and Alonso came to the rescue, with Chelsea full value for the win but with plenty of work ahead for new man Tuchel.

READ MORE: Five things we’ve learned about Tuchel in five days at Chelsea

Just as in the goalless draw against Wolves on Wednesday, Chelsea dominated territory and possession.

Despite tentative improvements though Chelsea still struggled for real bite, with Werner’s hat-trick of scuffed efforts punctuating a poor first-half for the Germany star.

The 24-year-old had to score from Hudson-Odoi’s drilled cross, but his miscue saw the opening evaporate on the bitter west London wind.

Just when Chelsea feared another shut-out of a half, up popped captain Azpilicueta to break the deadlock.

Mount fed Hudson-Odoi cutting off the right flank and the young England star’s cute reverse pass begged for someone to stride on to and lash a shot on goal.

So Azpilicueta did exactly that, leaving Nick Pope no chance and sparking relief and celebration in equal measure for Chelsea and new boss Tuchel.

Having detailed at length in previewing this match the plan to deploy Werner as a hybrid second striker-number 10 on the inside left, that was seemingly abandoned at half-time as Christian Pulisic was brought on.

Abraham was hooked in a harsh move clearly designed to try to force Werner out of his funk, moving the £53million man into the central striking role.

Hudson-Odoi clipped in a fine first-time cross, only for Werner to head tamely at Pope when he should have scored.

The again-excellent Hudson-Odoi was unlucky to see his deflected effort rebound off the post in a rapid Chelsea break.

But surprise selection Alonso sealed the win in the closing stages, chesting down and blasting home a volley as pleasing on the eye as it would have been nerve-steadying for new head coach Tuchel.

‘Frightened’ Man Utd lack the belief to win the title – Keane

Former Man Utd captain Roy Keane has accused his old club of being frightened by the challenge of winning the Premier League.

The Red Devils were cast three points adrift of table-toppers Manchester City following their stalemate with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

It capped a disappointing week for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side after they were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

MAILBOX: Au revoir Man Utd title challenge; Liverpool write season off…

Arsenal were without three key men – Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kieran Tierney – for the fixture, and Keane, who won seven Premier League titles with United, believes it was an opportunity missed by the Old Trafford side.

“I’m scratching my head with United,” the 49-year-old told Sky Sports.

“The worry for me is that they almost lacked the belief that they could go and win the game.

“You are looking at Arsenal, who are missing a few players, and the game was there for the taking.

“United were getting the plaudits and they were sneaking up the table. They got in the habit of winning football matches, even if they weren’t playing great.

“But all of a sudden, the last three or four weeks, when they’ve got to the top, and people are saying ‘can you win the league? Can you compete with Man City?’.

“It looks as if the players have got almost frightened of the challenge, ‘I don’t think we’re ready for that yet’.”

Man Utd created more chances than Arsenal at the Emirates but could not find a way through. They have scored just once in six games against their top-six rivals this season.

Keane added: “Overall their performance lacked intensity. There was a real lack of quality, a real lack of conviction and desire to go and take the game to Arsenal.

“Ole keeps talking about these players, and saying ‘they’re winners, they’re winners’. Well come on, then. Show us. You’re signed to win football matches, to win big prizes.

“At the end of the season, when you look back, the four or five points we lost in three or four days [will be] huge.”


Gossip: Ramos ready to quit Real for Man Utd; Solskjaer wants £60m man

Sergio Ramos could be heading to Old Trafford in the summer, while Man Utd also have their eye on a Sevilla defender…


Sergio Ramos wants to leave Real Madrid this summer and has his eyes set on a move to Manchester United, according to reports.

Real Madrid are keen on renewing his contract with a deal on the table worth £11.1m per season until 2023. However, recent reports have indicated that Ramos and Real are some way apart, with the Spain international wanting to retain his current £13.4m per season salary.

Los Blancos are insistent that their best deal is already on the table and the hold up in talks has reportedly alerted Man Utd to Ramos’ services. And now the Daily Mirror claims that Ramos is ‘ready to quit’ Real and is ‘targeting a move to’ the Red Devils. The 34-year-old, who has also been linked with Liverpool, ‘doesn’t fancy’ a move to Paris Saint-Germain after talks with Real ‘collapsed’.

That puts Man Utd in the driving seat with his agent ‘targeting England’ as his next destination and the Spaniard has ‘already turned down offers from Asia because his family are not keen on the destination’. The Daily Mirror adds that ‘a move to Manchester City or Liverpool would be very difficult but no club is being ruled out’. That could ‘alert’ Everton but Ramos’ representatives are ‘expected to target Manchester United first’.


Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made Sevilla defender Jules Kounde his top target for the summer transfer window, according to reports.

The Red Devils are in the market for a centre-back in the summer transfer window with some pundits and fans believing Harry Maguire needs a better partner in the centre of defence. And the latest name to emerge is France international Kounde, who has been in brilliant form for Sevilla since his €25m move from Bordeaux in 2019.

The Daily Mirror describes the Red Devils as ‘hot on the heels’ of Kounde and that Solskjaer has made the 22-year-old his ‘first choice summer transfer target as he continues to build for the future’. Solskjaer ‘sees Kounde as the ideal long-term partner’ for Maguire but is likely to face competition from Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid.

‘A reliable partner for Maguire has now become a priority’ for Solskjaer with Kounde ‘seen by United’s coaches as the perfect option as Solskjaer attempts to steer this squad to the next level’.


West Brom want Crystal Palace striker Christian Benkeke…Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, who has been linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and Juventus, wants to stay at the Nou Camp…La Liga boss Javier Tebas has accused Liverpool and Manchester United of plotting with Fifa and Real Madrid over a European Super League…Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin is poised for a move to Galatasaray and will travel to Turkey for a medical after the clubs agreed a fee…AC Milan want to sign Manchester United right-back Diogo Dalot for £15m.

Arsenal 0-0 Man Utd: Big chances missed in goalless draw

Manchester United fell further off the pace at the top of the Premier League as they were held to a goalless draw at Arsenal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes from the shock defeat to bottom club Sheffield United in midweek but had to settle for a 0-0 draw against a Gunners outfit missing arguably their three best players.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney all missed out but Mikel Arteta’s side have been in much better form of late and came closest to taking the three points through an Alexandre Lacazette free-kick which hit the crossbar.

FEATURE: Henry, Rooney, Kompany and other Lampards in Waiting

United created more chances but could not find a way through and they are now three points behind leaders Manchester City, having played a game more than their neighbours.

Meanwhile, Arsenal stretch their unbeaten league run to seven games and Arteta will be hoping to welcome back his absent trio sooner rather than later. He was also able to hand new signing Martin Odegaard his debut off the bench.

United’s pressing game saw them win plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges and only a fine save from Bernd Leno prevented them taking the lead.

A corner was cleared to the edge of the Arsenal box where Fred collected and bent a shot towards goal, Leno tipping the effort behind at full stretch.

Arsenal could not create any clear-cut openings but Gabriel Martinelli – in for Saka as the only change for the hosts – got back in the nick of time to prevent a Paul Pogba pass being turned home by Marcus Rashford.

Emile Smith-Rowe was enjoying a good start to the game and he broke into the United half before feeding Nicolas Pepe, whose shot curled wide of David De Gea’s post.

Bruno Fernandes was the next United player to pass up a decent opportunity as he failed to hit the target having been played in behind by Pogba.

Pogba moved into a deeper midfield role as Scott McTominay was forced off with injury and replaced by Anthony Martial.

But it was Rashford who had another good chance, failing to get a shot away and instead eventually teeing up Fernandes, who was fouled on the edge of the box.

His free-kick flicked off the head of David Luiz, wrong-footing Leno but flying narrowly over the crossbar.

Arsenal, who introduced Willian in place of Martinelli for the second half, were much quicker out of the blocks as the former Chelsea midfielder and Pepe saw shots blocked by United defenders.

The visitors were soon creating chances, Edinson Cavani unable to stab a wayward Luke Shaw shot on target.

But Arsenal were looking much sharper and Lacazette rattled the frame of the goal with a free-kick he won after being fouled by Harry Maguire.

Moments later and the impressive Smith-Rowe drove a shot at De Gea which the Spaniard had to push clear.

Odegaard would be given a ten-minute cameo for his debut as he replaced Smith-Rowe for the closing stages after United had swapped Rashford for Mason Greenwood.

Both sides were looking to win the game as Cavani poked just wide, United now having scored just once in five games against their big six rivals this season.

New Survivor Series Match Announced, WWE PPV In Montreal?, Triple Threat Match

— WWE has announced a traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match for the pay-per-view. The team is being billed as Team Batista vs. Team Orton, with the team of R-Truth, ECW Champion Matt Hardy and World Tag Team Champions CM Punk & Kofi Kingston, captained by Batista, wrestling Randy Orton’s team of Cody Rhodes, Intercontinental Champion William Regal, United States Champion Shelton Benjamin and Mark Henry at Survivor Series. Click here for more information on the match.

The Winnipeg Sun has an article on wrestling saying Montreal may be getting a WWE pay-per-view next fall. The article also notes it’s not likely that Toronto will get the Judgement Day pay-per-view in May as previously rumored. The article also says Calgary and Edmonton may be holding some WWE shows in the summer. {T.O. out, Montreal in for WWE PPV?}

— Sean Keller sent in the following… Big fan of Rajah, read it all the time to keep up with the latest news and rumors. Anyways I am watching Friday Night Smackdown out of Philadelphia, and they are running advertisements for the upcoming run which is schedule for Philadelphia on Dec 8th. The main event advertised is a triple threat match between Batista, John Cena, and World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho. Hope this makes the front page news.

See photos of Kennedy’s new look! (>>)