Chelsea eased to a one nil victory over Sunderland on Wednesday to complete an amazing run of 10 victories on the trot. The goal came from Fabregas right about the half-hour mark, the Spaniard beating Pickford low to his left after good work from Pedro. The victory means Chelsea are now six points clear of the chasing pack.
But victory comes with its own set of problems and a worry is now developing for Antonio Conte. Teams are catching on and adapting their teams to nullify Chelsea’s new found format. On Saturday, West Brom dug in so deep at the Bridge they probably struck oil. Yesterday, Sunderland boss David Moyes fielded a team consisting of seven defenders in 3-4-3 formation intended to mirror Chelsea. He’s not the first to do it either Ronald Koeman and Pep Guardiola have done it as well.
Now it’s expected that teams will tend to sit deep especially away to Chelsea but what’s worrying is the effect it’s had on their results;
First five matches in the 3-4-3
Hull 0 – 2 Chelsea
Chelsea 3 – 0 Leicester
Chelsea 4 – 0 Man Utd
Southampton 0 – 2 Chelsea
Chelsea 5 – 0 Everton
Last five matches in the 3-4-3
Middlesbrough 0 – 1 Chelsea
Chelsea 2 – 1 Tottenham
Man City 1 – 3 Chelsea
Chelsea 1 – 0 West Brom
Sunderland 0 – 1 Chelsea
Their scoring output has halved; after scoring 16 goals in those first five matches they’ve got just 8 in the last 5 and although they keep grinding out wins Conte might have to tweak things again to return to their free-scoring form.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Liverpool returned to winning ways and Zlatan sealed all three points at the death for United. There was a headed hat-trick for Salomon Rondon as West Brom compounded Bob Bradley’s woes, while Silva scored for Man City on his 200th PL app.
Middlesbrough 0 – 3 Liverpool
West Ham 1 – 0 Burnley
Sunderland 0 – 1 Chelsea
Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Man Utd
West Brom 3 – 1 Swansea
Man City 2 – 0 Watford
Stoke 0 – 0 Southampton
Tottenham 3 – 0 Hull
Rivers United begin their Spain tour on a winning note
The ‘Pride of Rivers’ arrived in Spain little over 48 hours ago but they’ve wasted no time in conquering it, or at least Villareal B, whom they beat by a Guy Kuemian goal to nothing this morning at the Ciudad Deportiva Valenciana. Next up, Club Deportiva Roda on Monday.
Kano Pillars through to the semis
Abubakar Usman was the man as Nigerian champions Kano Pillars booked a semi-final place at the FIBA Africa Champions Cup with a 91 – 81 victory over Algerian side GS Petroliers scoring a tournament high of 34, 24 of those coming from beyond the 3-point arc.
Pillars will now face hosts Al Ahly of Egypt, who survived a tight quarter-final bout against Cameroon edging it 63 – 61, in the semis.
Victory at last for the Super Falcons
The Super Falcons took to the streets with placards yesterday to protest their treatment following their successful AWCON campaign. Their final destination was the National Assembly complex where they had timed the protest to coincide with the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari who was due to present the 2017 budget to the house.
While at the NASS they met with the Senate committee on sports, but more importantly, received assurances from the President’s Chief of Staff that orders had been given to the Ministries of Finance and Sport to clear all allowances owed them within 24 hours.
How to watch football today;
Not much happening in the world of football after a set of midweek fixtures in the EPL, there’s Club World Cup excitement though
America v Real Madrid (Club World Cup) 11am
Genoa (13) v Fiorentina (7) 8pm