Conte will "ask the players what the tactics should be" for Barcelona tie as Chelsea keep up their 4th place chase
Chelsea are back in action on Wednesday night with their trip to the Camp Nou and Antonio Conte has admitted he will “ask the players what the tactics should be” in yet another sign of the Italian losing his way at Stamford Bridge. However, Chelsea’s very own race for 4th place is still on following their win over Crystal Palace.
With Manchester City playing tonight, all eyes were on how the remaining three Champions League places would look following the weekend action.
Saturday lunchtime saw two of the main chasers in action at Old Trafford where Manchester United and Liverpool renewed their rivalry. United were without Paul Pogba which made little difference as they raced into a 2-0 lead courtesy of two Liverpool defensive errors upon which Marcus Rashford pounced. Liverpool halved the deficit before half-time, Eric Bailly diverting the ball into his own net. The second half saw United switch to their customary approach against top-six opponents and sit deep looking to close out the win. Liverpool felt they could have had at least one penalty, but it was not to be for Jurgen Klopp’s men meaning United go into Tuesday night’s fixture with Sevilla knowing they have a buffer in 2nd place.
Liverpool ended the weekend in 4th following Tottenham Hotspur coming from behind to win in the Premier League for the first time this season. Spurs were 1-0 down at Bournemouth when Harry Kane limped off with an ankle injury. There are now fears that he will miss the rest of the season and be out of this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Tottenham bounced back, however, with Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son leading the revival as Spurs eventually ran out 4-1 winners.
‘Crisis? What crisis?’ seems to be the tone at the Emirates this morning. Arsenal followed up their dismal run which culminated in last weekend’s loss to Brighton with a win in Milan and then a victory over Watford yesterday. Troy Deeney saw a crucial penalty for the visitors saved by Petr Cech meaning the goalkeeper was finally able to celebrate a record-breaking 200th clean sheet.
Chelsea will have had one eye on Wednesday night’s trip to Barcelona and were fortunate to escape with all three points against Crystal Palace. Chelsea led 2-0 when Palace believed they had pulled one back with ten minutes to go. However, it was controversially ruled out for a high foot on Gary Cahill, a decision that became even more important as Palace did manage to get a goal to stand minutes later. The win keeps Chelsea in the hunt for the Champions League places and Palace are still looking over their shoulder.
One team not having to look over their shoulder at the bottom of the table are West Bromwich Albion. WBA are now even further adrift following their 4-1 defeat at home to Leicester City and it is likely that Alan Pardew will be fired on Monday morning.
Huddersfield Town and Swansea City battled out a 0-0 draw that keeps both teams just above the relegation zone. Swansea played 80 minutes with just ten men, following Jordan Ayew’s dismissal.
Newcastle gave themselves a much-needed boost with on-loan Chelsea player Kenedy scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Southampton. Southampton “gave up” according to their manager Mauricio Pellegrino and look the most likely to be relegated alongside WBA on current form.
West Ham United still have problems on and off the pitch. The London Stadium saw a pitch invasion and trouble in the stands with coins being thrown at their owners as the team slipped to a 3-0 defeat to Burnley. Joe Hart was back in goal and at fault for the 3rd. West Ham are likely to receive a hefty fine from the FA and questions are still being asked about why the security was so slow to react.
Stoke City play Manchester City tonight.