Tag Archives: Unbeaten

‘Havertz has arrived’: Chelsea fans salute German as he stars in win over top-four rivals Everton to keep Tuchel unbeaten

Kai Havertz gave Chelsea fans a long-awaited glimpse of the player they thought they were signing when he arrived at Stamford Bridge as the German playmaker pulled the strings in a 2-0 win over Everton in the Premier League.

Havertz, 21, was instrumental in both goals on Monday night, forcing Everton’s Ben Godfrey into an own-goal in the first half before winning a second-half penalty which was converted by Italian metronome Jorginho.

The victory – which kept the Blues unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions under new manager Thomas Tuchel – solidified Chelsea’s hold on fourth spot in the Premier League table as they moved four points clear of Everton in fifth and three points behind Leicester in third.

Monday’s victory was testament to the impact Tuchel has had all across the pitch since assuming command from the sacked Frank Lampard at the end of January.

That was no more so than with Havertz, the big-money summer arrival at the Bridge who has thus far faced a stuttering start to life in England, albeit one partly hindered by the lingering effects a Covid infection.

Returning to the starting 11 alongside countryman Timo Werner, Havertz was the spark for this victory as he arrived to turn a Marcos Alonso cross onto Godfrey and into the Everton net to break the deadlock on 31 minutes.

Havertz continued what many will be hoping was a breakthrough performance in a Chelsea shirt as he helped secure his team’s second of the evening just after the hour mark, racing through to touch the ball past Everton ‘keeper Jordan Pickford, whose sliding momentum brought him down.

Jorginho converted the penalty to maintain his perfect record from the spot this season, while Chelsea went on to comfortably secure the win their dominance deserved against Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League-chasing side.  

For many, the performance gave hope for bigger and better things to come from Havertz in particular, who persuaded owner Roman Abramovich to part with around £75 million at the start of the season to bring him to West London.

Havertz was not the only to impress, however, with Alonso again showing his threat down the left, and serving as a symbol of Chelsea’s revival under Tuchel, having been brought back in from the cold after being frozen out by Lampard.

Danish centre-half Andreas Christensen was another impressive performer, again a sign of the confidence instilled by the German specialist now occupying the Chelsea dugout.

For Tuchel it was his own slice of history as he became the first manager in Premier League history to guide his team to a clean sheet in each of his first five home games in the competition.

Next up for Chelsea is a trip to Leeds on Saturday, before they face the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid, holding a slender 1-0 lead from the first meeting.

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‘Perfectly steered by Ole’: Solskjaer outwits Guardiola AGAIN as Manchester United halt City's 28-game unbeaten run

Manchester City’s seemingly inevitable march towards the Premier League title hit a road bump on Sunday as Pep Guardiola’s men surrendered their 28-game unbeaten streak to city rivals Manchester United at the Etihad.

An early penalty from Bruno Fernandes and a second-half strike from Luke Shaw was enough to hand Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charges a hard-fought three points, ending the unbeaten run which had propelled City to the top of the division – with United now being unbeaten in an impressive 22 away games.

Fernandes’ early strike set the tone for the remainder of the game, with Guardiola’s free-scoring side unable to break down Man United’s stoic rearguard.

In truth, City never really secured a foothold in the game. Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan, so often Manchester City’s talismen this season, struggled to make an impact. So too did Kevin de Bruyne who cut a forlorn figure on the pitch for much of the 90 minutes on the occasion of his 250th appearance for the team.

It’s always difficult to play against Manchester City,” Fernandes told Sky Sports after the game. “They are difficult on the ball and tough to play against. Today we did almost everything perfect.

It’s not about winning against City, it’s about winning every game.

Scoring in the first minute was perfect, we had more space to counter. We remained focused until the end of the game. When we defend well we know we’ll have chances to score. The league is not a sprint. It’s is a marathon. We have to do our best and not think about others.”

The win will be a particularly satisfying one for United’s occasionally under-fire boss Solskjaer who now – incredibly – is the only manager to hold a winning record against Guardiola, and more than the other 66 top-flight managers that the Spaniard has faced (three times or more) in his career.

Much like they did in the previous campaign, it was a tactical masterclass from the Norwegian whose team so successfully neutered the in-form City. 

Obviously I don’t think we started very well,” De Bruyne said of his team’s performance. “We knew it would be hard. We played into their hands with the first goal and we needed about 15 minutes to settle a bit. Then we played pretty good but we didn’t score and that made a difference and made a mistake with the pressing for the second goal.

It is not the best if you go behind after one minute but you still have 90 minutes after that. The second was a little worse but I think the mentality of the players was the same as always.

Sometimes it is necessary to lose games and have bad spells. Even in the winning run we had some bad spells but overcame then, we didn’t today. Sometimes it can be a positive.”

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The manner of United’s win, though, may well be bittersweet to some sections of their supporters after a recent run which saw them drop points in games with Crystal Palace, Chelsea and West Brom – results which almost certainly ended any realistic ambitions they might have held of closing even further ground on the runaway league leaders – something which Solksjaer emphasized in his post-match comments.

No, we just take one game time,” he said to Sky Sports. “They are too far ahead to think we can catch them. They have been excellent. Even today they put you under so much pressure.”

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Unbeaten Russian prospect Diana Avsaragova tipped for Bellator debut against Loureda victim Tara Graff

Russian flyweight Diana Avsaragova appears to have a name for her first opponent under the Bellator MMA banner, sharing a mocked-up fight poster of herself alongside America’s Tara ‘The Tiny Terror’ Graff.

Having signed with Bellator toward the end of 2019, North Ossetia native Avsaragova was finally handed a date for her long-awaited debut after securing a US visa last month.

The budding star – who is unbeaten in her two professional MMA outings to date – is set to appear at Bellator 256 on April 9 in Connecticut, a card headlined by the rematch between reigning men’s heavyweight king Ryan Bader and Brazilian veteran Lyoto Machida.
Also on rt.com American dream: Russian MMA starlet Diana ‘Pantera’ Avsaragova reveals visa success that could lead to Bellator debut this spring
Avsaragova’s opponent has been unofficially named as 33-year-old Graff, who suffered defeat to Miami fan favorite Valerie Loureda in her own Bellator bow last August, and who is 1-2 overall in her pro MMA career.

Graff’s spectacular second-round KO defeat to Loureda was amplified by the hype surrounding their bout, after Graff claimed her opponent’s Instagram output was “trashy” and “degrading.”

After laying Graff out cold, Loureda broke into a twerk in the cage and vowed she would “keep posting TikToks” in a mocking riposte to her beaten rival. 

Graff looks set to have the chance to bounce back against another young fighter with an increasingly popular presence on Instagram – albeit slightly more low-key than Loureda’s.

Avsaragova, 22, revealed recently that she is bombarded with marriage proposals from male fans among her following of 145,000.
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Avsaragova hasn’t fought since outpointing Georgia’s Ania Lurchenkova in May of 2019, but says she still feels strong heading into her Bellator bow.

“I haven’t fought for two years, but I feel great… I train consistently, spar at least twice a week, plus spar after each workout. I feel great,” the budding flyweight star told Metaratings  in February.

‘Pantera’ trains under the Akhmat Fight Club banner and is finishing off her current camp in Chechen capital Grozny, before flying out to the US.

Avsaragova counts UFC flyweight Liana Jojua among her friends and training partners, and accompanied the Georgian-born star on her latest octagon venture on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi back in October.
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Bellator are yet to confirm Avsaragova’s bout with Graff, although it has already been added to numerous MMA databases, including Tapology, in anticipation of the fight being booked imminently.

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