Chelsea secure first win under Tuchel, Leeds sink Leicester - GulfToday

Chelsea secure first win under Tuchel, Leeds sink Leicester


Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso (third right) scores his team’s second goal past Burnley’s goalkeeper Nick Pope during their EPL match in London on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Chelsea notched their first win of the Thomas Tuchel era on Sunday as Leicester squandered their chance to leapfrog Manchester United into second place in the Premier League table.

Defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso produced stunning finishes as Chelsea beat toothless Burnley 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the early kick-off.

Leicester, looking to close to within two points of leaders Manchester City, took the lead against Leeds but Patrick Bamford played a part in all three goals as Marcelo Bielsa’s men stormed back to win 3-1.

Former Paris Saint-German boss Tuchel was brought in to replace Frank Lampard last week with a brief to haul stuttering Chelsea back into the race for Champions League spots.

He endured a frustrating goalless draw against Wolves at Stamford Bridge in midweek but two moments of magic from Azpilicueta and forgotten man Alonso mean the German now has four points from six.

The result lifted Chelsea to seventh in the table.

Tuchel said the victory would infuse his side with confidence but said they needed to sharpen up their finishing after both goals came from defenders.

“It should be a signal to our guys up front that we needed defensive players to score,” he told BT Sport.

Chelsea earned the breakthrough their football deserved five minutes before half-time when Azpilicueta lashed home after a neat assist from the lively Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The home side created a succession of chances after the break and Alonso made the three points safe six minutes from time when he controlled a Christian Pulisic cross on his chest and thigh before firing past Nick Pope.

The Spaniard, who had been frozen out by Lampard since September, kissed his Chelsea badge as the players celebrated a vital win.

Leicester slip up: Leicester, unbeaten in seven Premier League games heading into their match against Leeds at the King Power Stadium, had a chance to put real pressure on Manchester City.

Harvey Barnes gave the home side the lead in the 13th minute, rolling a shot into the bottom corner of the net after a driving run and a neat one-two with James Maddison.

But Leeds were level just 127 seconds later when Bamford set up Stuart Dallas, who beat Kasper Schmeichel with a low finish.

The visitors went ahead in the 70th minute when Bamford beat Schmeichel with a left-footed strike into the far top corner of the net and the Leeds forward teed up Jack Harrison for a tap-in six minutes from time.

Manchester City are increasingly heavy favourites to win their third Premier League title in four years after stumbles from all their main challengers in recent weeks.

Solskjaer seeks Utd cutting edge: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United’s forwards need to be more clinical after a 0-0 draw at an under-strength Arsenal dealt a second setback to their Premier League title challenge in four days.

United threw away top spot with a shock 2-1 defeat by bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United in midweek and are now three points adrift of league leaders Manchester City having played a game more than their local rivals.

The quartet of Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes have now scored just once in United’s last five league games.

Cavani was the biggest threat for the visitors with two second-half efforts that flew just wide, but Arsenal were worthy of at least a point despite missing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney.

“We come away with a clean sheet and we had good chances,” said Solskjaer. “We need to get our forwards firing again. That’s the next step now. We need to be more clinical and get them going again.”

A point does at least maintain United’s long unbeaten run away from home in the league, which now stands at 18 games, bettering the previous club record held by Alex Ferguson’s 1998/99 treble-winning team.

Arsenal edged to within six points of the top four and it was the Gunners who came closest to scoring when Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick struck the bar in the second half.

“The fact we had three of our best players out probably has an impact, but I’m really happy with the players that played today,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

“In the second half we were so dominant and had some big chances to win it.”

Agence France-Presse

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