Section: Chelsea

Premiership: Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd

Chelsea moved to within two wins of reclaiming the Premier League title after Eden Hazard’s goal gave them a narrow victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard’s first-half finish gave Jose Mourinho’s side three points and means that victory in forthcoming games at Arsenal and Leicester City will return the title to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2010.

Chelsea were pushed all the way by a resurgent United, hunting a seventh successive Premier League victory.

Wayne Rooney and the recalled Radamel Falcao came closest for United but once again they fell victim to the resilience and defensive strength that is Chelsea’s trademark under Mourinho, assisted by the brilliance of Hazard, and ended frustrated.

The reaction of Chelsea’s players as referee Mike Dean sounded the final whistle, celebrating wildly in front of their supporters, suggested they believed this was the victory that has pushed them to the brink of glory, as they moved 10 points ahead of second-placed Arsenal.

And now, even if they do not wrap it up in these next two games, surely nothing can stop Mourinho winning the title in his second season after coming back to Stamford Bridge.

As for United, this defeat may have ended their recent winning streak but they once again produced compelling evidence that they are now a very different proposition from the side that struggled, even though they were grinding out results, earlier this season.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: QPR 0-1 Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas struck with three minutes to go as leaders Chelsea ground out a win against QPR at Loftus Road.

The midfielder arrived late into the box and fired home from 16 yards after Eden Hazard and Oscar capitalised on a poor kick out by QPR’s Rob Green.

Chelsea had not registered a single shot on target until then but did enough to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.

QPR forced saves from Thibaut Courtois but remain two points adrift of safety.

It would not have been undeserved if Chris Ramsey’s side had taken all three points – Belgian keeper Courtois denying Charlie Austin and the impressive Matt Phillips twice.

Chelsea’s pass completion in this game was 70%, their lowest in a Premier League game this season, and the leaders struggled to deal with some intense Rangers pressing – midfielder Joey Barton catching the eye as he drove the hosts forward at every opportunity.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Hull 2-3 Chelsea

Thibaut Courtois was indebted to Loic Remy after his late winner extended Chelsea’s Premier League lead over Manchester City to six points.

The visitors went two goals ahead after Eden Hazard fired in and Diego Costa curled in his 20th of the season.

But Hull replied with two goals in 74 seconds as Ahmed Elmohamady slid in before Abel Hernandez took advantage of an error by goalkeeper Courtois.

Substitute Remy then beat Allan McGregor to score with his first touch.

The goal, which sneaked through McGregor’s legs, papered over an inconsistent display from Jose Mourinho’s side, who went from awesome to awful in the space of 28 first-half minutes.

Courtois will be mightily relieved at Remy’s strike after the Belgium goalkeeper failed to control Branislav Ivanovic’s back pass, inadvertently gifting the ball to the onrushing Hernandez for the equaliser.

And the French striker could become an important figure in the title run-in after he replaced the injured Costa, who had a hamstring problem.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Chelsea 1-1 Southampton

Chelsea moved six points clear at the top of the Premier League after drawing with Southampton in what was a superb contest at Stamford Bridge.

Diego Costa gave Chelsea the lead with a header before Dusan Tasic equalised from the spot after Nemanja Matic had fouled forward Sadio Mane.

Southampton keeper Fraser Forster made a series of great saves to deny Oscar and Eden Hazard.

In the closing moments he made a point-blank block from substitute Loic Remy.

Chelsea still have a game in hand on second-placed Manchester City, while Southampton moved above Tottenham into sixth, ahead of the Londoners’ later game against Manchester United.

The Blues remain the likely league champions, but they cannot afford too many repeats of what was a very poor first-half display on Sunday.

It began well for the home side when the unmarked Costa, who had not scored since January, got on the end of a delightful Ivanovic ball to head in his 18th of the campaign.

However, Southampton were level eight minutes later. Mane, who was a constant menace for centre-backs Gary Cahill and John Terry, found himself sandwiched by Ivanovic and Matic in the penalty area.

Referee Mike Dean awarded a penalty and showed an incensed Matic a yellow card. Tadic was left to despatch the spot-kick.

The Serb was close to adding a second when his angled drive was brilliantly saved by Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian keeper then came to his side’s rescue again when his one-handed stop kept out Toby Alderweireld’s free-kick.

Chelsea did have a shout for a penalty at 1-1 when Ivanovic’s heel appeared to be clipped by Tadic, but the referee waved away the player’s appeal.

Jose Mourinho’s side needed some inspiration and whatever he said at half-time appeared to do the trick.

The Portuguese brought on Ramires to replace Matic, which gave Chelsea more pace and industry in midfield.

They suddenly looked a different proposition. If only they had not come up against Forster, who was in sparkling form.

The Southampton stopper staked a very strong claim for the England number one jersey with blocks to twice deny Oscar, Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta, who was agonisingly close to scoring his first league goal for the club.

Taking the second-half chances into account, Mourinho will rue his side failing to grab all three points, but on reflection a point each was probably a fair result.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Chelsea 2-2 PSG (PSG win on away goals)

Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League on a stormy night at Stamford Bridge as Paris St-Germain reached the last eight on away goals after extra time.

PSG came from behind twice to take revenge for last season’s quarter-final exit at the hands of Chelsea – showing great character to play for the last hour of normal time and the added 30 minutes without talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he had been sent off for a foul on Oscar.

In an ugly eyesore of a match punctuated by fouls and contentious incidents, Gary Cahill’s late goal looked to be sending Chelsea through until their former defender David Luiz thumped home a header to send this last-16 tie into extra time.

Once more Chelsea went ahead through Eden Hazard’s penalty following Thiago Silva’s handball but PSG’s Brazilian defender made amends perfectly with another superb header six minutes from time to give coach Laurent Blanc’s side the progression they deserved.

While PSG complained about Ibrahimovic’s red card – and the reaction that saw nine Chelsea players crowd referee Bjorn Kuipers – Chelsea suffered injustices of their own as Diego Costa was denied a clear first-half penalty when he was fouled by Edinson Cavani.

As a series of running battles broke out, Costa was fortunate to stay on for a shove on Marquinhos, having been booked earlier for a wild lunge on Silva – the game degenerating into a niggly, fractious affair.

For Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, who sets such store by the Champions League having won it with Porto and Inter Milan, this will be a devastating blow but he can hardly make a case that his side were unlucky after such a flat performance, even with a numerical advantage.

And now the Premier League, so often boasting its status as the greatest in the world, faces the prospect of a Champions League wipeout at the last-16 stage with both Manchester City and Arsenal also fighting against the odds after home defeats by Barcelona and Monaco.

Ibrahimovic had been on the periphery of a game that had plenty of slick passing without cutting edge – but he was the central figure as he received his red card after 31 minutes.

The giant Swede arrived late in a 50-50 challenge with Oscar, leaving the Brazilian writhing on the ground in agony.

Referee Kuipers produced the red card while surrounded by almost the entire Chelsea team, excluding the stricken Oscar and keeper Thibaut Courtois, who had arrived at the scene en masse.

If PSG were harbouring a sense of injustice, they were fortunate to escape twice in quick succession, first when Luiz appeared to catch Costa with an elbow off the ball and then when the striker was clearly tripped by Cavani in the area, only for penalty appeals to be ignored.

Cavani now carried the responsibility for getting the goal PSG required but he was guilty of a dreadful miss as the hour approached, doing everything right to round Courtois only to strike the near post from an angle with the empty goal beckoning.

It could have proved an expensive miss and PSG’s frustration only increased when they were convinced Costa should have received a similar sanction to Ibrahimovic when he flattened Silva and was fortunate to receive just a yellow card.

Their misery seemed complete when Cahill put Chelsea ahead nine minutes from the end of normal time with a goal that mirrored the game. It was a scrappy affair as PSG failed to clear a corner after keeper Salvatore Sirigu saved from Ramires, and Costa’s sliced attempt on goal fell kindly for Cahill to lash home.

Chelsea’s fans thought this would be enough but reckoned without the spirit of PSG and they took this frenetic tie into extra time as Luiz beat Branislav Ivanovic to a corner to send a thumping header high past Courtois.

PSG’s good work looked to have been undone by that handball by Silva as he contested an aerial challenge with Chelsea substitute Kurt Zouma, resulting in a penalty that was calmly converted by Hazard.

Silva was the man who made amends with a towering header from a corner seconds after he had been denied by a magnificent Courtois stop from a similar effort.

Chelsea wilted visibly and PSG, who are second in Ligue 1, saw out the game without further alarm to spark wild scenes of celebration among their thousands of supporters inside Stamford Bridge.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: West Ham 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea followed up their Capital One Cup victory with a hard-fought 1-0 win on their return to Premier League business at West Ham.

Jose Mourinho won a first trophy of his second spell as Blues boss with a 2-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday and Chelsea remain well placed to add a first Premier League title in five years.

The Hammers had one win in 17 against the Blues entering the contest but refused to be cowed by the leaders and deserved more, only for Eden Hazard’s first-half header to settle the contest, keeping Chelsea five points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

Mourinho spoke of short celebrations after the Wembley win and captain John Terry insisted they had been postponed until the end of the season, when he hoped there would be further cause to party.

Yet at times it appeared as though Chelsea’s defenders had a hangover as the pace of Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Stewart Downing found holes.

Terry was booked for pulling down Valencia in the first half and cautious thereafter, with Chelsea indebted to a number of fine saves from the restored Thibaut Courtois – namely from Cheikhou Kouyate and Sakho – as the Hammers pressed forwards.

Ramires struck a post on the counter-attack and had a header well saved by Adrian, while Willian spurned a late chance for a second to settle the contest.

The Hammers now have one win in 11 league games to slip further down the standings – and Sam Allardyce appears to be running out of time to convince his bosses to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

Chelsea’s players, meanwhile, have two days off before resuming preparations for next week’s Champions League last-16 second leg with Paris St Germain.

Read more at ESPN

League Cup: Chelsea 2-0 Spurs

Jose Mourinho claimed his first trophy since returning for his second spell as Chelsea manager with a comfortable Capital One Cup final victory over Tottenham at Wembley.

John Terry and Diego Costa did the damage – both with the aid of deflections – either side of the interval as Spurs’ hopes of repeating their success over Chelsea in this competition seven years ago never got off the ground.

The win gave Mourinho his first silverware since La Liga success with Real Madrid in 2012 and Chelsea their first since the Europa League final victory against Benfica in Amsterdam a year later.

Despite a career laden with trophies, Mourinho claimed this was the most important final of his time in the game and Chelsea were never seriously troubled once Christian Eriksen’s early free-kick rebounded to safety off the woodwork.

Mourinho’s mastery of the big selection decision was also demonstrated once more by his deployment of Kurt Zouma, a central defender by trade, in midfield to fulfil the role left behind by the suspended Nemanja Maticto outstanding effect.

Spurs, for all their endeavour, never looked close to repeating that convincing victory over Chelsea on New Year’s Day, when Mourinho’s side were beaten 5-3 at White Hart Lane.

And with Chelsea’s closest Premier League title rivals Manchester City losing 2-1 at Liverpool even before this final kicked off – leaving his side with a five-point advantage with a game in hand – this just about added up to Mourinho’s perfect day.

Tottenham had the exertions of a Europa League tie – and painful exit – against Fiorentina in Italy on Thursday, and while this may have taken its toll, they never looked like rescuing the situation once Chelsea took the lead right on half-time.

Tottenham’s usual suspects created early optimism for their fans as Eriksen bounced a 20-yard free-kick off the bar, although Petr Cech – preferred in goal to Thibaut Courtois – looked to have the situation under control, and Harry Kane ended a fine run with a low shot that was comfortably saved by Chelsea’s keeper.

As usual, Costa was keeping Spurs fully occupied in the physical exchanges, angering Nabil Bentaleb with a hand-off, squaring up to Kyle Walker and getting involved in a running battle with Eric Dier that ended with the defender picking up a yellow card for a foul.

As the first 45 minutes looked to be drawing to a subdued conclusion, Chelsea pounced on a moment of defensive confusion to take the lead.

Willian’s free-kick was deflected out of a cluster of bodies to the feet of Terry, whose shot took a crucial touch off Kane to defeat Hugo Lloris, who was given the nod by Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino ahead of regular League Cup choice Michel Vorm.

And it was another deflection that was a key element as Chelsea doubled their lead 11 minutes after the break. Cesc Fabregas, who had seen an ambitious overhead kick well saved by Lloris, found Costa, whose shot was directed across the face of goal until it took a deflection off Walker to beat Lloris inside his near post.

This was effectively the end of the contest, with barely a blow traded between the sides before Chelsea captain Terry lifted the trophy.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Chelsea 1-1 Burnley

Chelsea’s troubled week ended in further controversy when Nemanja Matic was sent off as Burnley plundered a late 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.

Matic was shown a straight red card by referee Martin Atkinson for pushing over Ashley Barnes after taking exception to a nasty one-footed lunge from the forward.

John Terry and Kurt Zouma restrained Matic as he seethed at the tackle, before the Serbian eventually left the pitch knowing he now faces a three-match ban for violent conduct.

Branislav Ivanovic was booked during the same flashpoint for attempting to prevent Atkinson withdrawing the red card from his pocket.

Chelsea had been coasting until Matic’s dismissal with Ivanovic firing them into a 14th minute lead, but the melee sparked a revival from Burnley who saw Barnes go close before Ben Mee headed in the equaliser.

The eventful final 21 minutes at Stamford Bridge concluded a miserable week for the Blues, who have been desperate to repair the damage caused when footage emerged of a small group of their fans racially abusing a black man on the Paris Metro on Tuesday night.

Once again they expressed their anger after a commuter was prevented from boarding a train amid chants of ”we’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it”.

John Terry used his captain’s notes in the matchday programme for Chelsea’s annual ‘Game for Equality’ to describe the incident as “unacceptable”, while chairman Bruce Buck admitted the event had placed the club at a “crossroads” in their fight to stamp out discrimination.

Another potential storm looms on the horizon, however, after police confirmed on Saturday morning they are seeking a gang of men – believed to be Chelsea fans – who were heard shouting racist chants at London St Pancras on Wednesday night.

It was against this backdrop that the Premier League leaders met relegation-threatened Burnley and the relief from controversy they sought appeared imminent as they poured forward in search of a second, but it was the visitors who finished the stronger team.

The match had barely started when Juan Cuadrado looped a header that keeper Tom Heaton parried to safety with his fingertips, but by the 14th minute Chelsea were ahead.

Burnley’s defence was caught dithering and Eden Hazard capitalised, weaving a seemingly impossible path to the byline before pulling back to Ivanovic who drilled the ball home from close range.

The sublime interchange that followed moments later between Hazard, Diego Costa and Oscar was worthy of a second, but they were guilty of over-elaboration when the trigger needed to be pulled.

Ivanovic had a penalty appeal for handball rejected by referee Atkinson and apart from a smart save by Thibaut Courtois, it largely remained one way traffic.

Atkinson had a bigger call to make on the stroke of half-time when Jason Shackell appeared to push Costa over, but the official waved play on and was met with jeers from home fans.

Stood in the technical area, an incredulous Mourinho shook his head with his face breaking out into a wry smile.

Barnes tried his luck from long range with a dipping shot and would have been successful but for the reflexes of Courtois.

Chelsea were quickly back on to the offensive, Oscar playing a beautiful ball through to Costa who ghosted into a strong position only for his shot to lack power, enabling Heaton to deny the Spaniard.

The Blues were pushing hard for a second as Costa almost connected with a fine cross by Ivanovic before scrambling defence stopped another attack at the crucial moment.

Matic was dismissed and Barnes almost beat Courtois, before Burnley plundered the equaliser when Ben Mee leaped high between two defenders to nod home at the far post.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: PSG 1-1 Chelsea

Stubborn resistance and a Branislav Ivanovic header earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw in the Champions League last-16 first leg with Paris St Germain at Parc des Princes.

Jose Mourinho’s men are well placed to advance to the quarter-finals after Ivanovic netted a vital away goal, although Edinson Cavani equalised and PSG showed enough for Chelsea to be wary in the second leg on March 11.

Chelsea advanced to the semi-finals at PSG’s expense last term on away goals after losing 3-1 in Paris and Demba Ba’s last-gasp strike in the return in London.

The Blues had won just once in six prior attempts on French soil, at PSG in Mourinho’s first European match as boss in September 2004.

With striker Diego Costa restored following his disputed three-match ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can and returns for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, defender Gary Cahill and playmaker Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea were at full strength against an injury-depleted PSG, who started with former Chelsea defender David Luiz in midfield.

Luiz stated on the eve of the match that Chelsea were a better team than last season and they fared better than on their last trip to Paris.

Chelsea’s bus became stuck entering the stadium and Zlatan Ibrahimovic caused the visitors all kinds of difficulties once the match began.

Courtois made three saves from headers in the first half, the pick from Cavani, before Ivanovic’s header against the run of play.

Cavani equalised after losing Cahill to meet Blaise Matuidi’s cross and both the Uruguay striker and Ibrahimovic had chances to double PSG’s lead.

The Swede was denied by Courtois in stoppage time to leave Chelsea in control of the tie heading to Stamford Bridge.

There are three weeks and a day before the return, by which time Chelsea’s confidence may be boosted by silverware, with the Capital One Cup final against Tottenham on March 1.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Chelsea’s Ivanovic escapes punishment after McCarthy clash

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic will not face further punishment for his part in a scuffle with Everton’s James McCarthy on Wednesday, the FA has announced.

Tempers flared in the 86th minute after Ivanovic had a goal ruled out for offside. Everton’s Gareth Barry then tripped Willian, earning a second yellow card, and Ivanovic motioned his head towards McCarthy in the resulting fracas.

In a statement the FA said its panel of former referees could not unanimously agree that Ivanovic should have been sent off for his action.

The statement read: “In Premier League matches, if an incident has not been seen by the match officials, a three-man panel of former elite referees will be asked by The FA to review it and advise what, if any, action they believe the match referee should have taken had it been witnessed at the time.

“For an FA charge to follow, all three panel members must agree it is a sending-off offence. In this instance, the panel did not believe the conduct was worthy of a dismissal.”

Speaking after the game, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insisted that Ivanovic did not head-butt McCarthy and was innocent of any wrongdoing.

“Did Branislav Ivanovic go in with his head?” Mourinho told BT Sport. “Don’t make me laugh. Don’t make me laugh.”

While the Serbia international escaped sanctions, both Chelsea and Everton were charged for “failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion”.

Mourinho, who was last month fined £25,000 for saying there was a “clear campaign” against Chelsea, was not prepared to discuss the Ivanovic incident post-match or the possibility the defender would be banned.

Mourinho has already shown his anger at Diego Costa’s retrospective suspension for three matches for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

“I’m tired of stories and I’m never tired of football,” Mourinho added. “Football is emotion and what we had here today.

“A discussion because of a red card, a red card that should be given in the first half, because Barry should be sent off in the first half. He pulled Hazard. The second yellow card should be given there.”

Read more at ESPN