Brentford 0-1 Chelsea: Player ratings as Blues edge west London derby

From Brentford Community Stadium – Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League with an uninspiring 1-0 win at west London rivals Brentford.

Thomas Tuchel’s side created very little and were fortunate that the hosts only big chances came late on.

The first notable moment of the game went Brentford’s way when Bryan Mbeumo hit the post, before Chelsea went down the other end on the counter and Romelu Lukaku put the ball in the net – but the Belgian was offside and the goal was ruled out.

Mateo Kovacic had a free-kick deflected just over the top of David Raya’s net, while Mbeumo’s cross-cum-shot was safely held by Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Ben Chilwell. Brentford failed to deal with a cross and the England international was on hand to rifle the ball into the top corner.

The Bees began to look more threatening from set plays after the break and went hunting for fouls, and their first real chance of the second half came from a throw, but Mendy was equal to Ivan Toney’s strike.

Mbeumo thought he had equalised with 15 minutes remaining but his shot bounced back off the post, and Toney was brought down by Trevoh Chalobah in the area while offside and calls for a penalty were dismissed.

Brentford continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, with Saman Ghoddos and Christian Norgaard just failing to convert from close range amid a Chelsea scramble.

Pontus Jansson similarly went close, but was denied by Mendy, and the Senegal stopper produced a top save to deny a Norgaard overhead kick in injury time as Chelsea escaped with three points.

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Jansson captained Brentford / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

David Raya (GK) – 6/10 – Generally good distribution and shot-stopping, little he could do about the goal.

Zanka (CB) – 6/10 – Almost played as a right-back when in possession but could rarely find a decent out-ball.

Pontus Jansson (CB) – 6/10 – Dealt with the threat of Lukaku fairly well, which is a bonus considering how poor he can be in big game situations.

Ethan Pinnock (CB) – 5/10 – Nothing of much to note apart from when Werner gave him the burners.

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Jensen found it hard to cope with Kante / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Sergi Canos (RM) – 5/10 – Picked up a silly booking for dissent and failed to create much from open play.

Mathias Jensen (CM) – 6/10 – Brentford have missed someone with the technical qualities of Jensen this season, but he couldn’t quite pick the lock of the Chelsea defence.

Christian Norgaard (CM) – 5/10 – Played the Fernandinho role to perfection – foul quickly and ping some passes forward. Five out of ten.

Frank Onyeka (CM) – 5/10 – Brought plenty of energy but little in the way of control.

Rico Henry (LM) – 6/10 – Pinned back for much of the game but defended well.


Toney couldn’t find an equaliser / JUSTIN TALLIS/GettyImages

Bryan Mbeumo (CF) – 6/10 – Brentford’s best attacker but still didn’t have much in the way of chances.

Ivan Toney (CF) – 5/10 – Dropped deep to try and influence the game but to little effect.

Marcus Forss (CF) – 6/10 – His arrival allowed Toney and Mbeumo to play in the channels more, which helped Brentford get a grip on the game.

Saman Ghoddos (RM) – 6/10 – Gave balance to the Bees’ attack.

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Mendy was unbeatable / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Edouard Mendy (GK) – 9/10 – Solid once again. Easily one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers.

Trevoh Chalobah (CB) – 6/10 – Standard game by his own rising standards.

Andreas Christensen (CB) – 7/10 – Wasn’t overawed by the aerial threat of Toney and stood his ground well.

Malang Sarr (CB) – 7/10 – Was handed a first Premier League start but did his job to perfection despite being targeted early on.

Ngolo Kante, Christian Norgaard, Frank OnyekaNgolo Kante, Christian Norgaard, Frank Onyeka

Kante was Chelsea’s best midfielder / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Cesar Azpilicueta (RM) – 6/10 – Professional performance, exactly what you expect from a man who plays with his shirt tucked in.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) – 6/10 – Slowly getting back to his best, put in another fine effort.

N’Golo Kante (CM) – 7/10 – Glided across the pitch sweeping up possession and progressing the ball so effortlessly.

Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 5/10 – Chelsea’s senior creative midfielder did little creating.

Ben Chilwell (LB) – 6/10 – Scored a banger and pinned Canos back, but retreated into his shell late in the game.

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Lukaku struggled on Saturday / Chloe Knott – Danehouse/GettyImages

Timo Werner (CF) – 6/10 – You can see that it’s starting to click. I mean, he didn’t miss a sitter today, but he didn’t get in the position to miss one either.

Romelu Lukaku (CF) – 4/10 – Would have backed him to give Brentford more troubles, but Chelsea struggled to find him.

Mason Mount (CM) – 5/10

Kai Havertz (CF) – 5/10

Reece James (RM) – N/A

Wolves have finally put their goalscoring woes behind them

Replacing Nuno Espírito Santo at Wolverhampton Wanderers was never going to be easy, considering the brilliant job he did during his time at the club. However while Wolves were always resolute defensively under Santo, they often came under-fire for their lack of threat in the final third.

Since coming to the club, Bruno Lage has tweaked the style of play without changing the formation the players have become accustomed to over the last few years. And by doing this, Wolves are not finally able to play on the front foot in games and dominate matches – a welcome change at the Molineux.

The first few games of Lage’s tenure saw the seedling of this changes, but while Wolves would usually be the better side, create more chances, they’d still end up leaving empty-handed.

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Lage is implementing an exciting philosophy / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

In fact, after the first three Premier League games, Wolves had the highest xG (4.3) but had zero goals to show for it, leading some to dub them the new Brighton.

Recent performances have been equally exciting but this time with a key difference: goals are being scored scored, and points are being put on the table.

The loan signing of Hwang Hee-chan has proven to be a key reason for this. His brace gave his side all three points against Newcastle and proved he can form a deadly partnership up top with Raul Jimenez.

And while Pedro Neto is still out injured, Lage still has plenty of creative options to choose from that can create chances for the pair: Adama Traore, Francisco Trincao, and Daniel Podence.

Podence came off the bench against Aston Villa, contributing with an assist, proving to be a vital asset for Lage. Another vital asset is Adama – who’ll probably not be joining Podence on the bench any time soon.

His performance against Villa was again another showcase of how threatening and direct his style of play is. Defenders have no clue how they should approach playing against him, and the sight of him running at defenders gets you on the edge of your seat.

The greatest criticism of him has always been his final ball, and yet another weekend did go by with Wolves fans saying he should have been on the scoresheet. If Lage can help unlock Traore’s potential in front of goal, he will be a deadly proposition.

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Adama just needs to work on his end product / Alex Morton/GettyImages

Scoring three goals today, albeit one coming from a deflection, will please Bruno Lage. His centre-backs coming up with the goods is also something to take as a positive, with the more goals shared around the better.

Wolves will now look to build on this good spell in front of goal, and make sure they hold onto their ability to outscore teams. It is fair to say if they can build consistency in regard to taking their chances, they could be this campaign’s surprise package.

Lazio 3-1 Inter: Player ratings as Nerazzurri suffer first Serie A defeat of the season

On Simone Inzaghi’s return to the Stadio Olimpico, his Inter side suffered their first loss of the Serie A season, giving up the lead to lose 3-1 on Saturday evening.

Nicolo Barella continued his prolific start as a provider to the season, darting into the box to manufacture a penalty that Ivan Perisic converted to give Inter a 12th-minute lead.

Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio enjoyed lengthy spells of possession, often in Inter territory, but were largely held at arm’s length in the first half. The visitors contently shuffled into a compact 5-3-2 off the ball, poised to strike on a counter that never materialised.

Felipe Anderson offered a unique threat for the hosts, at the heart of Inter’s greatest cause for concern with his wriggling weaves down the flanks. Darting down the right hand side, Anderson fired a pass into the box which Toma Basic thumped on target but straight at Samir Handanovic in the 24th minute for Lazio’s clearest sight of goal.

Lazio continued to toil in vain from open play after the break but were handed a lifeline – quite literally – when Patric headed a corner onto Alessandro Bastoni’s outstretched arm shortly after the hour mark. Ciro Immobile sent Handanovic the wrong way to level the match.

As the game threatened to meander to a stalemate, the contest erupted in the final ten minutes. Inter’s Federico Dimarco sunk to the turf while his side constructed an attack that broke down and opened up rare space for Anderson to speed into. Lazio’s chief threat teed up Immobile for a shot that Handanovic parried to Anderson’s feet who tapped to haul the hosts ahead.

Despite the indignant and boisterous protestations of those in blue and black, the goal rightly stood. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – who admitted pre-game it would be ‘strange’ to face his former coach – confirmed Inter’s late implosion with a header in stoppage time.


Lazio’s Pepe Reina and Luiz Felipe watch on as Ivan Perisic ensured that the Eagles’ wait for a Serie A clean sheet this season goes on / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/GettyImages

Pepe Reina (GK) – 6/10 – Beaten from 12 yards but pawed away Perisic’s ripper from further out.

Adam Marusic (RB) – 5/10 – Didn’t misplace a pass in the first half but that only highlighted his lack of ambition with the ball at his feet.

Luiz Felipe (CB) – 6/10 – Kept Italy’s top scorers decidedly short of chances, particularly in open play.

Patric (CB) – 5/10 – Filling in for the suspended defensive lynchpin Francesco Acerbi, Patric did ok.

Elseid Hysaj (LB) – 4/10 – May well be aggrieved by the penalty decision but is experienced enough (200-plus Serie A appearances) to avoid any clumsy contact.

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Toma Basic takes aim in his first Serie A start for his new side / Paolo Bruno/GettyImages

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (CM) – 7/10 – With his fifth goal in six Serie A meetings with Inter, Lazio’s vertically blessed midfielder predictably punished his former coach.

Lucas Leiva (CM) – 5/10 – Quietly anchoring Lazio’s midfield three though did a better job of stifling Inter’s attacks than launching any for his side.

Toma Basic (CM) – 6/10 – On his first start for the club Basic eagerly charged forward to bolster the attack but squandered a very good chance.

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Ciro Immobile returned from injury to captain Lazio against Inter / Paolo Bruno/GettyImages

Felipe Anderson (RW) – 8/10 – The main man behind Lazio’s most dangerous moves in the first half before putting them ahead in the second.

Ciro Immobile (ST) – 7/10 – Scarcely involved before crisply converting from the spot to score his 100th career goal in the Stadio Olimpico.

Pedro (LW) – 5/10 – Regularly swapping flanks with Anderson but failing to mirror his teammate’s threat.

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Luis Alberto started on the bench for Lazio against Inter / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Luis Alberto (CM) – 6/10 – Surprisingly on the bench, but put in a good shift when he came on.

Manuel Lazzari (RB) – 7/10 – Added some much needed thrust to Lazio’s play with his searing pace.

Mattia Zaccagni (LW) – N/A

Danilo Cataldi (CM) – N/A

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Alessandro Bastoni (right) tussles with Felipe Anderson / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Samir Handanovic (GK) – 5/10 – Made a crucial save with Inter only narrowly ahead, but gifted Anderson a clear sight of goal later on.

Milan Skriniar (CB) – 7/10 – Never more than a stride or two away from the opponent unfortunate enough to be targeted by the Slovenian.

Stefan de Vrij (CB) – 7/10 – Expertly marshalling Inter’s defensive system until their late implosion.

Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 5/10 – Had looked composed in and out of possession before giving away the equalising penalty.

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Nicolo Barella and Marcelo Brozovic celebrate Inter’s opener / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Matteo Darmian (RWB) – 7/10 – Dovetailed menacingly with Barella in a partnership that created the penalty before swung onto the opposite flank.

Nicolo Barella (CM) – 7/10 – Won’t be awarded a sixth assist of the season for his penalty win but certainly maintained his superb individual start to the campaign.

Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 7/10 – Dropping deep to aid in the orchestration of Inter’s moves. Another solid performance from the Croatian.

Roberto Gagliardini (CM) – 4/10 – Starting his first league game of the campaign, Gagliardini failed to exert any influence on proceedings.

Federico Dimarco (LWB) – 5/10 – Too often wasted the great swathes of space Inter’s choreographed build up painstakingly provided him with.

Ivan Perisic (ST) – 6/10 – Unshackled from his normal wingback role, the ever versatile Croatian international couldn’t fully exploit the additional freedom his position change afforded.

Edin Dzeko (ST) – 4/10 – A constant target for Inter’s raft of (attempted) crosses into the box but failed to test Reina when the ball found his forehead.

Matias Vecino (CM) – 5/10

Denzel Dumfries (RWB) – 5/10

Joaquin Correa (ST) – 5/10

Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) – N/A

Carli Lloyd earns final USWNT call-up

Carli Lloyd has been called up to the U.S. women’s national team camp for the last time.

The NJ/NY Gotham FC player will join 20 other players for a pair of friendlies against South Korea to mark the end of her illustrious USWNT career after she announced her retirement in September.

Lloyd will finish with 316 caps for the American side, the second-most in U.S. history after Kristine Lilly, who recorded 354. The NWSL star also walks away having recorded the third-most goals with 134, behind Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.

“I think throughout the course of my career – I’ve just been this, you know, tough as nails, iced out Carli. And I haven’t shown much emotion throughout my career, I’ve just been flipping the chapters, one chapter after the next getting ready preparing, and I’ve now reached the last chapter.

“I’m just literally saving savoring every moment I’m out on the pitch, whether it’s a training field whether it’s grinding away doing stuff on my own, with my team. Just, just trying to soak it all in because I know once, once that final whistle comes, and I walk off the field for the last time. It’s going to be extremely hard,” she said in September.

“But I am ready. And I think that that’s the beauty and kind of, you know, getting to this next step is knowing I gave it everything I had. I have no regrets.”

She will travel to camp one final time on October 18 to commence what is being called the ‘Carli Lloyd farewell tour’.

Though the USWNT has reaffirmed their commitment to celebrating Lloyd, her goodbye comes at a turbulent time in women’s football. Over the past couple of weeks, allegations of sexual coercion and emotional abuse by several NWSL staff members have been brought to light, most notable the accusations against former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley.

As a result, league commissioner Lisa Baird, Paul Riley and former Washington Spirit head coach Richie Burke have all left their positions in the NWSL.

“It’s been a stressful few weeks for the players and staff and the well-being of our players has and always will come first,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a statement. “We always want to keep improving and evolving as a team, win every game we play, and put on a good show for the fans, but during this camp we will really focus on a few basic things – continuing to support each other while getting to do what we love on the field, and of course, giving Carli Lloyd the send-off she deserves.”

Lloyd will be joined by 16 bronze medalists from this summer’s Olympics, with the expectation of Christen Press and Crystal Dunn, who have opted out of the matches.

Full U.S. squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Adrianna Franch (Kansas City)

DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)

MIDFIELDERS: Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Lyon), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

FORWARDS: Tobin Heath (Arsenal), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)

Paul Pogba admits Man Utd ‘need to change’ following Leicester defeat

Manchester United star Paul Pogba has suggested that the club ‘needs to change,’ and admitted that his side ‘deserved to lose’ in the 4-2 defeat to Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.

Questions are being asked over the future of coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as supporters have become frustrated with the lack of progress and visible cohesion among the players. That absence of a game plan came back to bite them at the weekend, conceding two late goals to leave the King Power Stadium empty handed.


Man Utd couldn’t get to grips with Leicester / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

And Pogba only fanned the flames surrounding the future of his manager, stating that Man Utd ‘deserved to lose’ against Leicester, and saying he believes something ‘needs to change’ for the Premier League giants to continue on their upward trajectory, as cited by the BBC.

“We deserved to lose,” Pogba said.

“To be honest, we have been having these kind of games for a long time. We have not found the problem, conceding easy goals, stupid goals.

“We need to be more mature, play with more experience and arrogance in a good way. We need to find something, we need to change.”

The game started well enough for Solskaer’s side, after Mason Greenwood produced a stunning strike from long distance to open the scoring for the visitors. A Harry Maguire error gifted the Foxes a way back into the game, and Caglar Soyuncu gave Brendan Rodgers’ men the advantage heading into the closing stages.

Marcus Rashford equalised with eight minutes to play, and Man Utd supporters were hoping for a classic comeback from their team. But Jamie Vardy struck less than a minute later, and Patson Daka tapped home in injury time to crush the Red Devils’ hopes.

Solskjaer’s position at the club will come under intense scrutiny off the back of this poor result, as Man Utd head into a particularly tough spell of fixtures, including meetings with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, all before the end of November.