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Swansea 0 Chelsea 1: Blues’ top four hopes still alive after Cesc Fabregas strike

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Chelsea may have lost their title, and they may lose their passionate manager Antonio Conte soon, but their spirit and fight remains very much intact.
So, still, does a real chance of capturing a Champions League slot against all the odds.

Victory thanks to an early goal from Cesc Fabregas moved them within two points of Spurs in fourth place and also within range of Liverpool above that.

It was a battle all the way against Swansea, whose own hunger for the contest was plain to see as well. Defeat for the home side, though, leaves them just a point above the drop zone.

They face a nerve-wracking finale to the campaign – and their home match in nine days time against Southampton, one point and one place behind in the table, now appears to be the crunch relegation match of this Premier League season.

That will surely be another muck-and-nettles occasion.

Chelsea were certainly thankful here to have the comfort of an early goal in the fourth minute to sustain them through the hurly-burly of a game that was mostly a relentless scrap for midfield possession.

It came when Swansea’s experienced schemer Andy King carelessly gave away the ball on the halfway line. Eden Hazard pounced with ruthless brilliance to put Fabregas clear in the penalty box.
he goal was scored almost in slow motion as Fabregas had oceans of space to curl a left-footed shot into the corner of the net. It was as easy as shelling peas for the Spaniard to claim his 50th strike in the Premier League.

Hazard was in the mood for magic, and that always spells danger for any opponent as he skips past players with a bewitching shimmy as if the ball is tied to his feet.

There were clever passes in abundance, too as Swansea battled to stay in the game.

Ironically, the closest Chelsea came to a second goal before the break was when home defender Alfie Mawson’s clearance looped onto his own bar.

The home side worked with endless spirit and energy – but the moment of quality or inspiration required to unlock the Chelsea defence proved elusive as rain lashed down on the Liberty Stadium.

There wasn’t a single shot to trouble Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois in the first half.

Neither side was being helped by the condition of the pitch. It appeared to have been heavily watered before kick-off and the downpour made it worse, players slipping over and passes sending up spray.

Cesc Fabregas

It was little wonder there was barely any action in either penalty area, never mind an actual attempt on goal.
Chelsea’s fans sang ‘Antonio, Antonio’ for a while in praise of their manager – a boss who seems very likely to be departing when the supporters would be happy for him to stay.

It’s not like that at every football club.

Conte patrolled the touchline in a relatively subdued mood that mirrored the nature of the football.

The first shot on target in the second half only came in the 70th minute, a run through the Swansea team by Chelsea wing back Emerson that was comfortably saved.

Moments later a touch from Victor Moses squirmed past the post after some silky brilliance from Hazard.

Swansea, finally, were stirred into serious action, helped by the introduction of the creative quality of Tom Carroll.

Andre Ayew curled one shot just wide in the 77th minute, and Carroll drilled another effort inches past the post with Courtois beaten.

Substitute Wayne Routledge also shot straight at the keeper.

It wasn’t enough, though, for a team scrapping against the drop – and defeat leaves them perilously placed.

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Chelsea

PFA team of the year: Pogba included, Hazard absent on list

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Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba, has been named in the PFA Team of the Year.

Pogba was the only non-Liverpool or Manchester City player to make the PFA Team of the Year.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard misses out in a side which is dominated by Liverpool and Manchester City players.

The team is set to be revealed on Thursday and is voted for by players in the Premier League.

Four Liverpool players have made the cut, including Virgil van Dijk, who has won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year ahead of Raheem Sterling.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has been named in the PFA Team of the Year for the second successive season, while Bernardo Silva is also included after his brilliant season for the Premier League champions.

Hazard misses out for the second year running, despite being on the six-man shortlist for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

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Chelsea

Hazard to earn £400,000 weekly in Real Madrid

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Eden Hazard will be offered £400,000-a-week to join Real Madrid this summer and a new house, the UK Sun reports.

The Belgian superstar is ready to quit Chelsea and has his heart set on a move to Spain.

Zinedine Zidane is back in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu and is planning to overhaul his squad after this season.

Hazard is top of his wish list and Zidane is also said to want Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.

For Hazard, Madrid will sweeten the deal, by throwing in a luxury property and help with his relocation costs.

Chelsea won’t stand in the player’s way, but expect the LaLiga giants to get near their £95million valuation, even though Hazard’s contract expires in summer 2020.

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Why Chelsea was unable to defeat Burnley – David Luiz

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Chelsea’s central defender, David Luiz has explained why his side drew 2-2 with Burnley on Monday night.

Luiz said Burnley refused to play the game and adopted time wasting techniques.

Mourizio Sarri’s men missed the chance to go to third position in the Premier League on Monday.

Jeff Hendrick had given the visitors a shock lead with a sensational volley from outside the area.

But N’Golo Kante scored an almost instant equaliser after good work from Eden Hazard on the left.

Gonzalo Higuain then put Chelsea into the lead with a well-taken strike from the angle, but Ashley Barnes stunned the home fans after sliding the Clarets level after a well-worked set piece.

Chelsea pushed hard for a late winner, but Sean Dyche’s side were well organised and defended their box masterfully to take a point which surely guarantees their safety from relegation.

Luiz told Sky Sports, “We tried everything to win the game. It’s difficult when you play against a team who have two chances and score two goals and didn’t want to play the game.

“It’s anti-football. Losing time [time wasting] all the time, especially when you have the ball. Their players went to the floor and stopped the game.

“They were playing 11 inside the box. It’s difficult to score against a team like that.”

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