Predicted Chelsea XI to face Brighton in the Premier League
Chelsea completed a 7-1 rout of Grimsby Town in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday and the Blues will be high on confidence when they play host to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.
Frank Lampard’s side currently sit 11th in the standings after suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool last week but Chelsea are strong favourites on paper to bag all three points against the Seagulls.
Brighton played out a 0-0 draw against Newcastle United prior to a defeat against Aston Villa in the EFL Cup and Graham Potter clearly has his work cut out in getting his team back to winning ways when they make the trip to Stamford Bridge this week.
The return of academy duo Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James is certainly a massive boost for Frank Lampard but he is still going to be without the services of a number of key players.
Emerson Palmieri (thigh) and Antonio Rudiger (groin) are both ruled out, while Andreas Christensen is also struggling with a knee problem and might miss the weekend game.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still on the recovery trail from his calf injury and he won’t be back in action until another three weeks or so.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK)
Willy Caballero played in the EFL Cup victory in the midweek fixture but the Spaniard has always been Chelsea’s undisputed No.1 between the sticks.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB)
The captain was denied a goal by the VAR last week against Liverpool and he is expected to return to the eleven after being rested for the EFL Cup tie despite Reece James enjoying a wonderful debut.
Kurt Zouma (CB)
The Frenchman got his name on the scoresheet in the 7-1 demolition of Grimsby Town and he will be expected to put in a solid display at the back this weekend.
Fikayo Tomori (CB)
The youngster didn’t play a part in the cup tie but he is likely to continue in the Premier League after grabbing his opportunities with both hands under Lampard.
Marcos Alonso (LB)
He hasn’t really been at his best but the injury to Emerson should allow him to get an extended run in the starting eleven.
He has adapted well to a free role in the midfield under Lampard and he is likely to return to the team after being rested for the cup tie.
N’Golo Kante (RCM)
The Frenchman was one of the standout performers against Liverpool last week and got a well-deserved goal to show for his efforts.
Mateo Kovacic (LCM)
He wasn’t in the matchday squad for the cup game but the Croatian has been one of the first names on Lampard’s teamsheet in the Premier League.
Mason Mount (LW)
The youngster is enjoying a dream debut season in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge and he will once again be expected to spark creativity in the final third for the Blues on Saturday.
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The former Barcelona man put in an inspired performance in the EFL Cup and Lampard should hand him a start ahead of Willian, who hasn’t really made much of an impact this season.
Tammy Abraham (ST)
The young No.9 has really turned it on in the Premier League this season and the fans will be hoping to see him add to his tally of 7 goals.
3 moments when VAR came into play in gameweek 3 of the Premier League including Tottenham’s game-changing call
3 moments when VAR came into play in gameweek 3 of the Premier League
Some lacklustre refereeing by the officials in the Premier League last season led to large sections of the fans and media calling for the introduction of the VAR system in the English top-flight, with a view to removing the incorrect decisions.
However, there hasn’t been any shortage of controversy following the introduction of technology since the start of the 2019-20 season, with several fans, pundits and players taking to their social media accounts to criticize the VAR.
Prior to its introduction in the Premier League, it has been seen in the past that the VAR system is by no means completely foolproof, given that it led to some ridiculous decisions at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia last summer and also in the Champions League, where some calls completely altered the balance of the game.
It will be interesting to see as to how the fans in the Premier League react when the VAR plays a part in the high-octane encounters later on in the season but for now, let us take a look at three controversial moments from Round 3.
1. David Silva’s penalty appeal against Bournemouth
Man City picked up three points on their trip to the south coast with a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth but that scoreline could have been a bit more emphatic had Jefferson Lerma’s stamp on David Silva’s foot in the second half been given as a penalty by referee Andre Marriner.
With the scoreline 2-1 in favour of the reigning champions, Silva was brought down inside the box by Lerma but the referee, who was in no position to spot the infringement, waved on to continue the game before video assistant referee Kevin Friend came into play.
Surprisingly enough, though, what looked like an obvious foul and a clear-cut penalty was not overturned by the use of technology, citing lack of conclusive evidence as to the reason behind the on-field call prevailing.
It is hard to slam Marriner for the decision given that he wasn’t in the right position to make the call, however, one cannot help but wonder about the utility of the VAR if the system isn’t empowered to take such blatant refereeing blunders out of the equation.
2. Controversial moment involving Harry Kane and Jamaal Lascelles
Indeed, that result came as a massive shock to the home fans, although the majority of them are likely to feel deprived after referee Mike Dean declined to award them a penalty towards the end of the game.
Spurs, who were nowhere near their best on Sunday, had a shout for a penalty turned down when Harry Kane appeared to have been brought down inside the box by Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who was probably smart enough to make the incident look completely accidental.
Lascelles slipped inside the box and just when Kane was about to get his shot away on goal, the centre-back went to ground and brought down the forward with his arm going across him.
However, the video assistant wasn’t ready to overturn the on-field decision because he apparently thought there wasn’t a clear and obvious error made by Mike Dean.
Accidental or intentional, Lascelles’ challenge did look clumsy and certainly robbed Kane of a certain goal, so much so that it could easily have been given as a penalty by another referee on another day.
Now, the question is – does the VAR still need to look for clear and obvious errors even when the on-field referee isn’t in the right position to make the call?
3. Lewis Dunk’s disallowed goal vs Southampton
Brighton had a goal disallowed by VAR on Saturday in the 2-0 home defeat to Southampton, albeit it wasn’t the first time this season in the Premier League that the Seagulls found themselves at the wrong end of VAR calls.
Leandro Trossard had a goal ruled out against West Ham in the previous game and this time it was Lewis Dunk, who scored with a thumping header towards the end of the first half, only to have it cancelled after the intervention of technology.
Dan Burn, who was in an offside position when the goal was scored, didn’t get a touch on the ball but he was clearly blocking the view of goalkeeper Angus Gunn.
This incident came after Florin Andone had been sent off for a shocking studs-up challenge on Yan Valery and amidst all the blemishes of the VAR, these two calls on the south coast seemed to do justice to the introduction of technology in the Premier League.
Winners and Losers from gameweek 3 of the Premier League including Liverpool and Tottenham
Winners and Losers from gameweek 3 of the Premier League including Liverpool and Tottenham
The 2019-20 season of the Premier League has already witnessed a bright start and there was no shortage of drama and excitement in Round 3, as large sections of the fans got their money’s worth courtesy of some top-notch entertaining football.
Round 3 kicked off on Friday, with Aston Villa registering a 2-0 victory over Everton at home, their first victory in the Premier League this term following back-to-back defeats at the hands of Spurs and Bournemouth.
Jota’s delightful through ball set up the opener for Wesley, who finally hit the ground running in English football with a cool and composed finish, whilst substitute Anwar El Ghazi netted the second in injury-time to rub salt on Everton’s wounds.
Meanwhile, Chelsea made the trip to Norwich City in pursuit of their first victory in the Premier League this season and Frank Lampard left Carrow Road with a big smile on his face.
After a 4-0 humiliation against Man United on the opening day and a lacklustre 1-1 draw against Leicester City, Lampard was under pressure to guide his team to a much-awaited victory in the league and a brace from Tammy Abraham coupled with Mason Mount’s second goal of the campaign propelled the Blues to a thrilling 3-2 win against the Canaries.
Daniel Farke, though, should be happy with his team’s performance and whilst goals from Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell weren’t enough to earn Norwich a point following an impressive victory against Newcastle United, they should take a lot of heart from a resilient team performance, nevertheless.
Elsewhere, West Ham registered their first three points of the season away at Watford, as mark Noble’s early penalty and Sebastien Haller’s second-half brace propelled the Hammers to a 3-1 victory at Vicarage Road.
Watford, though, will be bitterly disappointed for failing to come away with something from a home fixture that saw both sides create loads of scoring opportunities throughout the ninety minutes.
The defeat meant that the Hornets stretched their losing streak in the Premier League to three games and Javi Gracia would surely be a perplexed man.
In another afternoon fixture on Saturday, high-flying Brighton started as the favourites at home against Southampton, who arrived at the Amex Stadium on the back of consecutive defeats against Burnley and Liverpool. However, it was Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side who turned the tables in a game that had plenty of talking points.
Florin Andone was sent off for a shocking studs-up challenge on Yan Valery midway through the first half and Lewis Dunk had a goal ruled out for offside after a VAR check before Moussa Djenepo came off the bench in the second half to put the Saints in the lead with an absolute stunner.
Jurgen Locadia hit the post and missed the chance to equalise towards the end of the game before Saints’ forgotten man Sofiane Boufal set it up for Nathan Redmond to make it 2-0 in stoppage-time, thus ending Brighton’s unbeaten start to the season.
The most shocking result on Friday, however, came from Old Trafford, where Man United went down 2-1 to Crystal Palace, who registered their first-ever victory over the Red Devils in the Premier League.
Jordan Ayew’s opener put Roy Hodgson’s side ahead before Marcus Rashford missed a glorious chance to equalise midway through the second half, with the youngster’s penalty kick hitting the inside of the post.
Daniel James looked to have saved United’s blushes with a stunning equaliser in the 89th minute but David de Gea’s goalkeeping error allowed Patrick van Aanholt to find the net in injury-time and secure Palace’s first victory of the campaign.
Elsewhere at Bramall Lane, both Leicester City and newly-promoted Sheffield United went into the game looking to continue their unbeaten run but it was the Foxes who had the last laugh.
Jamie Vardy’s first-half opener assisted by James Maddison was cancelled out by Oliver Mcburnie’s header off Chris Basham’s cross before Harvey Barnes came off the bench to silence the home crowd with an absolute stunner of a half-volley that had pure class written all over it, thus making it 2-1 in favour of the visitors.
While most of the games on Saturday were largely entertaining, the much-anticipated big-six clash at Anfield between Liverpool and Arsenal turned out to be a rather one-sided encounter, with the Reds completely outclassing Unai Emery’s side 3-1.
Joel Matip made Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe pay for their missed chances with a towering header just at the stroke of half-time before Mo Salah’s second-half double made it 3-0 for Jurgen Klopp’s outfit.
Lucas Torrerira pulled one back for the Gunners five minutes from time but Liverpool romped home to their third straight win in the Premier League this term, thus finishing Round 3 on top of the standings with a perfect record.
Turning the clock back to the action on Sunday, Man City had absolutely no problems in putting Bournemouth to the sword away from home, as Raheem Sterling’s fifth goal of the season and Sergio Aguero’s brace propelled Pep Guardiola’s side to a 3-1 victory on the south coast.
The most amazing spectacle of the game, however, came from a Bournemouth player. For the second week running, Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson sent the fans crazy with an absolutely sensational goal, this time from a free-kick just outside the box.
Shockingly, Spurs suffered their first major setback of the Premier League season on Sunday, with a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United at home leaving many to wonder whether Mauricio Pochettino’s heavy investment this summer is really going to transform the club into realistic title contenders.
Joelinton’s goal assisted by Christian Atsu in the first half proved to be the winner and whilst Spurs should have had a penalty when Jamaal Lascelles appeared to have dived across Harry Kane inside the box, the travelling fans will be less than impressed with a below-par performance that lacked any sort of class and conviction.
Elsewhere at Molineux, Wolves didn’t have the best of games and Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were probably lucky to have maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Ashley Barnes’ impeccable finish in the first half was cancelled out by a controversial Raul Jimenez penalty in second-half injury-time, just a short while after the Mexican had hit the post with a shot from inside the box.
Clearly the better side in the 1-1 draw, Burnley will consider themselves unlucky for not grabbing all three points ahead of a tough home fixture against Liverpool this weekend.
Top 5 expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League – a rundown of their performances
Top 5 expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League
Aston Villa’s spending spree this summer has grabbed the headlines in the British tabloids.
Manager Dean Smith has already shelled out a lot of money to bring as many as ten new players so far, and with just a week remaining before the transfer deadline, it won’t be surprising to see Villa bag a couple of more scalps in the market.
Apart from ironing out permanent deals for last season’s loanees Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi, Villa have also splashed the cash to bring in the likes of Wesley Moraes, Matt Targett, Jota, Trezeguet, Ezri Konsa, Bjorn Engels and Douglas Luiz as a part of their massive squad overhaul this summer.
Interestingly, it is the towering Brazilian centre-forward Wesley Moraes who has arrived at Villa Park in a club-record £22million deal from Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge, making him the most expensive Belgian import ever in the Premier League.
Looking at the past records, Aston Villa have every reason to be confident of Wesley’s ability to make the step up to the Premier League because this is not the first time that Villa have raided the Belgian market for a centre-forward, having enjoyed resounding success with the transfer of Christian Benteke from KRC Genk back in the 2012-13 season.
Besides the other elite leagues in Europe, the Belgian top-flight, despite not being regarded as a highly competitive ground, has emerged as one of the most reliable markets for the Premier League clubs over the years.
Starting from Romelu Lukaku, Benteke and Aleksandar Mitrovic to the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Wilfred Ndidi and, most recently, Leander Dendoncker, there have been numerous success stories of players acclimatising brilliantly to the Premier League after arriving from Belgian clubs.
Apart from Aston Villa, the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton have also completed big-money raids on the Belgian market this summer to bring in Leandro Trossard and Moussa Djenepo, which further underpins the fact that the English clubs are not reluctant to show confidence in the Belgian league players.
While players arriving in the Premier League from the lower leagues in Europe are still viewed with suspicion by the English fans, it is worth mentioning here that a big number of the Belgian imports in the English top-flight have done their reputation no harm.
It is definitely worth taking a look at some of the most expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League and how they have fared over the years.
Note: Only the initial sign-on amount in each case is taken into account and the values mentioned below do not include add-ons or performance-related bonuses.
Here are the 5 most expensive players to arrive in the Premier League from the Belgian market:
1. Jose Izquierdo – £13.5million
The diminutive Colombian winger rose to prominence in Europe during his three-year spell at Club Brugge in Belgium, where he carved out a real reputation for himself with his pace, breathtaking solo runs down the flanks and a terrific eye for goal.
The left-winger plundered 38 goals and 19 assists in 117 appearances for Brugge in all competitions, winning the Belgian Cup and the Belgian Pro League, whilst also impressing in the Europa League and the Champions League.
Izquierdo’s heroics in Belgium earned him a £13.5millionmove to the south coast of England with Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer of 2017 and the 27-year-old enjoyed a decent first season at the Amex Stadium, registering 5 goals and 3 assists in the Premier League.
However, the Colombian fell out of favour in his second season under Chris Hughton and managed only 9 starts in the league. Now, it remains to be seen whether new manager Graham Potter has him in his plans for the upcoming campaign.
2. Aleksandar Mitrovic – £13million
The towering Serbian centre-forward was one of the best emerging talents in Europe when Newcastle United splashed out £13million to sign him as a 20-year-old from Anderlecht in the summer of 2015.
Prior to his move to England, Mitrovic had already won the Serbian title with his boyhood club Partizan Belgrade and the Belgian Pro League in his debut campaign at Anderlecht.
A strike rate of 44 goals in 90 appearances was apparently enough to convince Newcastle of Mitrovic’s talent and the Serb showed strong signs of promise in his debut season in the Premier League, although his 9 goals in the 2015-16 season weren’t enough to prevent relegation.
Despite Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship, Mitrovic stayed at St.James’ Park with a view to guiding the Magpies back to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
However, a drastic dip in form in the 2016-17 season saw the Serb find the net on only 4 occasions in 25 league appearances in the second-tier, although Benitez’s side did manage to secure promotion, courtesy of Dwight Gayle’s free-scoring form.
Mitrovic struggled in the 2017-18 season in the Premier League before resurrecting his career on loan at Fulham in the Championship, scoring 12 in 20 games in the second half of the 2017-18 season to propel the Cottagers to the top-flight.
His promotion-winning heroics earned him a permanent deal at Craven Cottage and Mitrovic impressed with 11 goals in Fulham’s 2018-19 Premier League campaign, which ultimately ended in relegation.
3. Wilfred Ndidi – £15million
The tough-tackling and all-action central defensive midfielder made his professional debut for Genk back in the 2014-15 season and his resounding success in the Belgian top-flight over the next couple of seasons paved the way for a £15millionmove to Leicester City in January 2017.
Apart from impressing in the latter half of Leicester’s remarkable run to the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League, Ndidi soon established himself as one of the most daunting and energetic defensive midfielders in the Premier League and nailed down a regular starting role right from the beginning of his time at the King Power Stadium.
Still only 22, Ndidi has already proven himself to be an exceptional talent and Leicester might struggle to hold on to him for too long if he continues to develop at such a rapid rate.
The Nigerian international continues to be a massive bargain for Leicester and the Foxes are likely to recoup at least two to three times the money should they decide to move him on in the near future.
4. Marouane Fellaini – £15million
The Belgian international’s towering frame and bushy haircut became a familiar sight for the Premier League fans for almost a decade, especially for those at Goodison Park and Old Trafford.
Former Everton manager David Moyes was the man responsible for bringing the 6ft 4in central midfielder to the Premier League in 2008 for a fee of £15million from Standard Liege and he reunited with Fellaini at Man United in the summer of 2013.
Fellaini went on to enjoy an illustrious and distinguished career in English football, and racked up a mammoth 354 appearances in all competitions for Everton and Man United combined, registering a total of 55 goals and 38 assists in the process.
The 2018-19 season proved to be Fellaini’s swansong in the Premier League, with the Belgian moving to the Chinese Super League in January 2019.
However, he has to go down as one of the best ever Belgian imports in the history of the Premier League, having won the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League with Man United.
5. Romelu Lukaku- £12 million
Currently one of the stalwarts in the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku bagged 41 goals in 98 appearances for Anderlecht and won a host of honours in Belgium, including the Belgian Pro League in 2009-10 and the Ebony Shoe before earning a £12million move to Chelsea in 2011.
Lukaku, however, struggled for playtime at Stamford Bridge and established himself as a free-scoring forward in the Premier League during his loan spells, netting 17 for West Brom in the 2012-13 season and following it up with another 16 at Everton in the following campaign.
The Belgian centre-forward joined Everton permanently in 2014 and subsequently carved out a massive reputation for himself owing to his free-scoring form, which saw him rack up a staggering 87 goals in 166 appearances for the Toffees.
Following his resounding success at Everton, Lukaku moved to Man United for a fee of £75million in 2016 but his returns have dipped slightly during his stint at Old Trafford, as he has accumulated just 42 goals in 96 appearances for the Red Devils till date.
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