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Author Archive for Barney Ronay at Stamford Bridge

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Antonio Conte denies team selection was a message to Chelsea hierarchy

• Manager insists side wasn’t chosen to highlight lack of signings
• ‘My choice was to put out the best players that we have’

Antonio Conte denied that his team sheet was intended as any kind of message to the Chelsea hierarchy after a lineup stocked with kids on the bench and a 20-year-old making his first start lost to Burnley on the opening day of their title defence.

Related: Nine-man Chelsea shocked by Sam Vokes double for Burnley

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Hero worship and mayhem mark John Terry’s exit as grand old man of Chelsea | Barney Ronay

Chelsea’s captain has been little more than a motivational henchman this season but Stamford Bridge rose to honour a club legend for perhaps the final time

“It’s not going to be a fairytale ending,” John Terry had sighed shortly after announcing his own premature Chelsea exit in January last year. And yet here we were all the same 16 months later. With the league title already in the bag this messy, fun 4-3 win against a feisty Watford provided Chelsea’s departing captain with a farewell that had its own elements of dreamily staged celebration.

Related: John Terry makes his mark in last-gasp Chelsea win over battling Watford

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Eden Hazard’s brilliance lifts Chelsea as view from the Bridge improves | Barney Ronay

Belgian playmaker has been inspirational all season and was once again in scintillating form to lead Chelsea to a 2-1 victory against Manchester City

T here was an unusual sound just before half-time in this bustling, full-body collision of a Premier League match. For most of the opening 45 minutes the usual snorts and surges of rage had barrelled around the ground, most of it directed at the ongoing Sergio Agüero-David Luiz vendetta.

As the interval approached Eden Hazard picked up the ball near the centre circle one last time. Chopping the turf with his heel to stop his momentum, Hazard swayed one way, darted back the other and left John Stones looking strangely lost, wandering vaguely in the general direction of Earls Court, as Hazard spurted off down the line behind him.

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Mourinho’s cynical Eden Project falters at Hazard’s twinkling feet | Barney Ronay

Manchester United’s strategy was to shackle Chelsea’s main creative force by any means and Phil Jones could have been sent off before Ander Herrera was

Midway through a thrilling, slightly wild first half at Stamford Bridge Phil Jones could be seen bumping and jouncing into the back of Eden Hazard on the edge of the Chelsea box like a middle-aged man performing an aggressively drunken conga at the office party. As Hazard fell Jones also stood on his hand, no doubt balancing up the throb in Hazard’s right cheek, where Ander Herrera had left his shoulder a few minutes before.

The match facts will reveal that this 1-0 FA Cup quarter final victory was decided by N’Golo Kanté’s clinching goal just after the break, and nudged one way by the red card shown to Herrera towards the end of the first half. But it was fear of Hazard that dominated United’s game plan here, that dominated the active parts of this game, and which led indirectly to both these decisive events.

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Hot-blooded Costa takes his revenge for Chelsea against Spurs – and serves it cold | Barney Ronay

Chelsea’s chief provocateur is a master at pushing the right buttons, especially against Spurs, but it was his craft that was most notable at Stamford Bridge

So much for the battle of The Bridge. This was a more controlled kind of warfare. Not to mention a more controlled, cold-blooded kind of Diego Costa, who led by stealth from the front as Chelsea came from one down to beat Tottenham 2-1 in a thrilling, high-tempo match.

So often at times like these Costa has found himself at the centre of a kind of José-flavoured theatre of hate. Here he took his revenge served cold. In April Chelsea’s centre forward had his eye gouged by Moussa Dembélé in a match that simmered and spat before ending in authentic unbound rage.

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Diego Costa discards mask to show he is no fraud but PSG have real superhero | Barney Ronay

Chelsea’s warrior striker answered but this was a night that felt like an ending as much as an exit for Guus Hiddink’s side

Goodbye to all that then. Chelsea exited the Champions League at Stamford Bridge for the last time in some time, outgunned by a high quality Paris Saint-Germain team with strength in reserve in midfield and scalding pace on the flanks.

On a chilly night in west London Chelsea threw what they had at PSG. Diego Costa mustered up an hour of heartfelt chasing. Beyond that this was a committed but ultimately doomed performance against the highest-paying sports team in the world, a pedigree group of players who simply had too much control and too much incision in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas and Ángel Di María.

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José Mourinho must feel this is a special achievement even by his standards

Chelsea’s championship success is an eighth league title for the Portuguese who disproved the theory you should never go back Continue reading…




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Chelsea’s Mourinho-led aggressivity not enough to keep PSG at bay

A relentlessly combative match had José Mourinho’s fingerprints all over it, but 10-man Paris Saint-Germain were more than a match for his game plan
• Daniel Taylor’s match report from Stamford Bridge
• As it happened: Paul Doyle’s minute-by-minute on the game Continue reading…



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Chelsea and Manchester City look weary as Champions League looms

Top two in Premier League need some fresh legs if they are to progress when European football resumes in February
Match report: Chelsea 1-1 Man City Continue reading…



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Sergio Agüero provides the guile to keep Manchester City in title chase

Argentinian combined with David Silva to supply champions’ goal and creative spark at Stamford Bridge and the duo’s form will be vital if Chelsea are to be caught
Match report: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City
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Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek gives glimpse of future against Sporting

José Mourinho is hoping academy product will be first of many to break into the first team after coming on for Cesc Fàbregas
Match report: Chelsea 3-1 Sporting Lisbon Continue reading…



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Nemanja Matics craft and muscle helps Chelsea to humble Arsenal again

Weve got Cesc Fàbregas Chelseas fans chanted by way of a taunt as the players left the field, but the Spaniard is not the most obvious missing piece in the Arsenal team Continue reading…

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Eden Hazard sparkles but Chelsea fail to find finishing to match

The Belgian roamed with devastating effect in the first half and remains his teams ace, a muscular flower of an attacking talent Continue reading…

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Eden Hazard sparkles but Chelsea fail to find finishing to match

The Belgian roamed with devastating effect in the first half and remains his teams ace, a muscular flower of an attacking talent Continue reading…

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New Chelsea too much for Leicester but José Mourinho still fine-tuning

It says a great deal about the enduring mystique of José Mourinho in England that after two Premier League victories, the latest this slow-burn but ultimately comfortable defeat of Leicester City, at least one national radio show was talking up …

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Diego Costa saves profligate Chelseas blushes against Leicester City

If Chelsea made slightly heavy weather of victory in their first home Premier League fixture of the season, then there was plenty for José Mourinho to take heart from in a 2-0 defeat of Leicester City pegged out around second-half goals from Die…

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Chelsea’s defensive juggernaut halted by Atlético Madrid’s sheer vibrancy

José Mourinho’s men were outplayed on their home territory by a superior Atlético team who showed great spirit and energy Continue reading…



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José Mourinho steals punchline from Tony Pulis to deliver Chelsea win

The Chelsea manager has the last laugh as Demba Ba puts his team through against Paris Saint-Germain Continue reading…