Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has dismissed suggestions that the club have already managed to seal the league title after opening an eight point advantage over Manchester City. The 2-1 win over Liverpool coupled with City dropping points against QPR meant that Chelsea already have a sizeable advantage in the Premier League despite this season just being 11 matches old. Courtois may be struggling to get clean sheets on a regular basis unlike his compatriot Petr Cech, but he has not been at fault for most of the goals conceded by Chelsea this campaign.
In fact, the blues have one of the best defensive records in the division after having allowed only 11 goals. Second placed Southampton have a far better defensive record with only five goals conceded in 11 matches. Courtois says that every match in the Premier League is extremely difficult and Chelsea will not become complacent over the next few weeks. Traditionally, Chelsea have struggled during the months of November and December and this has often cost them the title. The blues will be playing in a number of matches over the course of the next two months due to their involvement in the Capital One Cup and Champions League.
“We don’t have the title in the bag. We are working game by game. The Premier League is very difficult. We are trying to win with every game that is possible but there will be a still a long way to win the title. We are working hard. Hopefully that will be enough,” said Courtois. Chelsea’s large advantage is primarily due to the fact that none of the clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United have been able to keep pace with them. Only City were close enough and once they have dropped out of the running, the lead looks substantial.
Tottenham’s record signing Erik Lamela did not appear to have future at the club after a disastrous opening season at White Hart Lane. However, he finally appears to have settled under the management of Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine has been putting in some good performances over the last few months, but the best part of his Tottenham career so far came in the Europa league match against Asteras Tripoli. Tottenham managed to beat in the Greek club 5-1 just a few days before the Premier League encounter against Newcastle.
Lamela’s astonishing goal against the Greek club was not talking point of the match. It has put him in the spotlight ahead of the Newcastle match, but Alan Pardew believes that his players will be more than capable of overcoming the quality shown by Lamela. Newcastle come into the match still searching for the first win of the season. This will be even more tough because it is an away match, but it will also provide some respite from the hard treatment given by the Newcastle supporters to Pardew. He says that he is feeling extremely confident ahead of the match. Tottenham have not been in the best of form of late and they were beaten by City 4-1 last week.
“It was amazing. I haven’t really seen that on the training ground when the ball is coming across like that, at that pace. To hit it like that was amazing. We have one or two who can do it from a dead ball situation when they just manoeuvre it, but I don’t think I have ever seen a goal quite like that in training, let alone in a match. Spurs have great players – they have always had great individuals. But so do we, and we have got to hope that our individual players stand up and produce a moment like that,” said Pardew.
England international Danny Welbeck has claimed that he is extremely thrilled with the move to Arsenal. After long speculation about the next top striker to come to the Emirates stadium, Arsenal managed to get Welbeck in £ 16 million deal from Manchester United on transfer deadline day. Louis van Gaal reportedly revealed to Welbeck a few days before the end of the transfer window that he no longer figured in the plans at United. The 23-year-old is a massive United fan after having been at the club since made of eight.
He has come through various levels of United to become a first-team player, but since then, progress has been difficult. The presence of players like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie meant that Welbeck often found himself on the bench or playing out of position. His explosive pace meant that managers often used him out wide and it has been one of the reasons for this poor goal return. However, it is seen as a coup for Wenger given that Welbeck will be able to offer several years of football and his transfer fee is relatively low at just £ 16 million.
Welbeck’s future at United would have been much worse had he stayed at the club. The club brought in Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan deal, which is expected to be made permanent for £ 43.5 million.
“It’s exciting times for me. It’s great to be a part of this club and it’s a team that I’ve always watched in the Premier League. I’ve envisaged myself playing in this team before. For it to finally happen is very exciting. I believe the style of play the manager’s got and the boys play, and with the magnificent players in midfield slotting balls through, I can run on to the end of those balls and slot them away,” said Welbeck.
Alexis Sanchez has been Arsenal’s big buy of the summer after coming from Barcelona for £ 35 million. The Chilean international had an extremely good World Cup 2014, as he helped his nation reaching the last 16 of the competition. He may not have won any major trophy with Barcelona last season, but his influence on the club had been growing. The arrival of Luis Suarez, though, meant less first-team opportunities for him at the Camp Nou. This is expected to significantly improve at Arsenal where Sanchez will be one of the main players.
After making an appearance in the recent pre-season match against Monaco, Sanchez claimed that he is extremely happy with the style of football being employed at Arsenal. He is already feeling at home and should start the season in good fashion. Arsenal’s last marquee signing, Mesut Ozil, also had an extremely good start to the season, but he faded away in the second half. Sanchez has not focused on the upcoming season yet since he is giving his full concentration towards fitness levels. After several weeks on the beach, Sanchez says that he is working hard to be fit in time for the new season.
Arsenal lost the pre-season match against Monaco after a goal from Real Madrid target Radamel Falcao.
“I like this style of football. What is important now is to play and get fit. I need to get 100 per cent. I have to go step by step. I have only trained twice with the team. I just have to keep working hard and training. What is important for me is to try and play games, to score as many goals as possible and to win titles. Of course I loved it (the reception from the Emirates crowd), I am extremely thankful to all of them,” said Sanchez.