Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace: Kai Havertz with the winner as Blues grab crucial win >>>

Chelsea bagged crucial three points at Stamford Bridge as the Blues defeat Crystal Palace by 1-0.

Kai Havertz scored the winning goal in the 64th minute to give Chelsea the win and a big sigh of relief for Graham Potter and his team.

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Goal! Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace

Aubameyang involved as Chelsea earn another corner, with Mount’s deflected cross going behind. From the resulting short corner, Ziyech whips in a great delivery that Havertz rises to head home beyond Guaita. Potter looks delighted. Massive for Chelsea.

Second Half

We are back for the second 45 at Stamford Bridge.

Half-time

No goals yet but no shortage of action and chances at Stamford Bridge. Kepa and Guaita both in fine form to keep the deadlock intact.

Kick Off!

…and so it begins!

Mudryk IS HERE!

Mykhaylo Mudryk is watching the game in the directors’ box.

He has posed for pictures with supporters and done a photoshoot in the Chelsea shirt after his medical today. Only the announcement is pending.

Tribute to Vialli

Chelsea’s players are currently warming up with black ‘Vialli 9’ training tops at Stamford Bridge.

Starting XI

Some suprises in that Chelsea team, including a debut in defence for £35m January signing Benoit Badiashile. He replaces Kalidou Koulibaly, who drops to the bench in one of five changes this afternoon despite scoring in the defeat at Fulham on Thursday.

It’s a new trio in midfield, with Conor Gallagher starting against the club for whom he starred on loan last term, along with Jorginho and young Carney Chukwuemeka. Denis Zakaria misses out through injury, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Mateo Kovacic dropping to the bench in another expected formation change from Graham Potter.

Hakim Ziyech is also in, joining Mason Mount and Kai Havertz in attack with still no starting berth for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang despite the suspension of Joao Felix. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back in the squad in a rare injury boost for Chelsea.

BREAKING: Benjamin Mendy found NOT GUILTY of six counts of rape as prosecutors seek retrial

Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy has been found not guilty of six counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

The Premier League star, 28, was cleared of sex attacks on four women following a six-month trial at Chester Crown Court.

But jurors could not reach verdicts on one count of rape and one of attempted rape. Mendy will face a retrial on those counts on June 26.

The France international footballer – a £52million signing for Man City in 2017 – had been on trial alongside friend Louis Saha Matturie at Chester Crown Court since August 10.

Saha Matturie, 41, Mendy’s co-accused and alleged ‘fixer’ was found not guilty by the jury of three counts of rape relating to two teenagers.

Jurors also failed to reach verdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against him by five other women.

Mendy, sitting in the dock at Chester Crown Court, covered his face with both hands, gently rocking back and forth, as the jury foreman, delivering the verdicts in a hushed courtroom, repeated “not guilty” to six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, relating to four young women or teenagers.

The unanimous verdicts were delivered on Wednesday by the seven men and four women on the jury, one juror having been discharged earlier for medical reasons.

But jurors could not reach verdicts on one count of rape and one of attempted rape. Mendy will face a retrial on those counts on June 26.

The France international footballer – a £52million signing for Man City in 2017 – had been on trial alongside friend Louis Saha Matturie at Chester Crown Court since August 10.

Saha Matturie, 41, Mendy’s co-accused and alleged ‘fixer’ was found not guilty by the jury of three counts of rape relating to two teenagers.

Jurors also failed to reach verdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against him by five other women.

Mendy, sitting in the dock at Chester Crown Court, covered his face with both hands, gently rocking back and forth, as the jury foreman, delivering the verdicts in a hushed courtroom, repeated “not guilty” to six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, relating to four young women or teenagers.

The unanimous verdicts were delivered on Wednesday by the seven men and four women on the jury, one juror having been discharged earlier for medical reasons.

Southampton 2-0 Man City: Saints eliminate Haaland and co from the Carabao Cup, Djenepo, Mara on target >>>

In one of the biggest surprise this week, Manchester City were eliminated from the Carabao Cup after they lost 2-0 to Southampton at St. Marys.

It only took 23 minutes of first half football for Southampton to go ahead with a delightful goal by Sekou Mara. Moussa Djenepo then doubled the lead 5 minutes later to stun the visitors. The Saints held the lead through to half-time.

Pep Guardiola responded by hurling the quartet of Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Manuel Akanji and Rodri. But to the suprise of all, Manchester City could not score a goal. The Saints not only beat them to go through to the semi-finals but they made sure they kept a clean sheet in the process.

BREAKING: Gianluca Vialli, former Chelsea striker, has died aged 58 after battle with pancreatic cancer.

Former Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli has died at the age of 58.

The 58-year-old had been battling pancreatic cancer after originally overcoming the illness in 2018. In December 2021 pancreatic cancer returned having been given the all-clear in 2020.

In late December, it was reported in Italy that his mother and brother had travelled to the UK to be with Vialli amid concerns over his health.

Vialli is fondly remembered for his time as manager at Stamford Bridge after enjoying a successful playing career. He moved to Chelsea in 1996 and scored 21 goals in three years before taking over in the dugout full-time in 1999.

Following Ruud Gullit’s sacking in February 1998, Vialli became the first Italian to manage in the Premier League. During his time in west London, Vialli guided the Blues to the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Charity Shield.

Vialli is one of the most popular Chelsea figures from that period and was part of the initial revolution at Stamford Bridge in one of the Blues’ most famous teams.

The former Juventus midfielder then had a spell in charge at Watford before moving into non-management roles, including his role as the delegation chief for the Italian men’s national team. However, after being part of Roberto Mancini’s staff in their Euro 2020 success, he stepped down from his position in December to focus on his battle with cancer.

Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle: Magpies hold Gunners at the Emirates; Man United 3-0 Bournemouth, Red Devils continue winning streak>>>

Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United at the Emirate Stadium in North London. The Gunners hoped to continue the blistering form that placed them at the top of the table but they could not get past Eddie Howe’s men.

Elsewhere, Manchester United saw off Bournemouth with a convincing 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Casemiro opened the scoring in the 23rd minute and Luke Shaw doubled the lead after the restart with a splendid goal!

In-form Marcus Rashford made it 3 in the 86th minute with a delightful goal.

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Goal! Manchester United 3-0 Bournemouth

Goal! Manchester United 2-0 Bournemouth

Luke Shaw continues a run forwards, hovering near the penalty spot to sweep home Alejandro Garnacho’s cut back.

Second half – Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth

The Red Devils are back out for the second 45 at Old Trafford

Second half- Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle

Up and running for the second-half in north London.

Halftime- Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth

Not a vintage display from United so far, but Casemiro’s smart volley from an Eriksen free-kick has them ahead at the interval and looking comfortable.

Van de Beek’s injury the only down note on the stroke of half-time. Ten Hag’s men on their way to a sixth successive win across all competitions.

Halftime- Arsenal 0-0 Newcastle

Huge chance for Joelinton from that corner, as Schar flicks it on. Completely free at the back post but can’t find the target. And that’s half-time. It’s been a stop-start first-half, plenty of fouls and cards which has halted Arsenal’s rhythm. Newcastle have done well so far.

Goal! Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth

Casemiro makes a darting run to the near post to meet Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, and the Brazilian side-foots home.

Kick Off

Here we go!

Starting XI

Arsenal unchanged from the side that beat Brighton so well, as Zinchenko and White keep their places and Tierney and Tomiyasu are named among the substitutes.

Smith Rowe not yet ready to make the squad, so there is not a huge amount of attacking options on the bench.

As for Newcastle, Wilson is fit to lead the line and Willock starts against his former club. Saint-Maximin among those who could come on and cause a problem.

Brighton 2-4 Arsenal: Gunners go 7 points clear as 2022 comes to an end! Saka, Odegaard and Nketiah on target

Arsenal defeated Brighton 4-2 at the Amex in a thrilling encounter. The Gunners are now 7 points clear of second position Manchester City who dropped points courtesy of Everton’s visit.

Bukayo Sako opened the scoring in the 2nd minute of the game, then skipper Martin Odegaard doubled the lead in the 39th minute. Edward Nketiah took the game beyond Brighton in the 47th minute by scoring after a sublime move but Brighton grabbed a goal back in the 65th minute.

The Gunners took it further with Gabriel Martinelli making it 4. Evan Ferguson grabbed the second goal for Brighton but it was not enough to savage a point.

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Goal! Brighton 2-4 Arsenal

Here we go again! Long ball forward, terrible from Saliba and Ferguson is in. Just about slides a finish under Ramsdale.

Goal! Brighton 1-4 Arsenal

Arsenal back in control! Stunning pass from Odegaard and Martinelli is clean through on goal. Poked finish finds a way through Sanchez.

Goal! Brighton 1-3 Arsenal

Well then! Gross with a lovely pass through to Mitoma, he passes it into the far corner to give the home fans something to cheer. Still plenty of time

Goal! Brighton 0-3 Arsenal

Chance for Brighton to break early in the half, Trossard with space on the left. Poor cross into the box though.

Arsenal straight on the counter, Martinelli drives into the box and fires an effort at goal. Sanchez keeps it out, only parried to Nketiah though and he bundles it in from close range!

Second half

Underway for the second-half at the Amex.

Half-time

Perfect 45 minutes for Arsenal. Saka put them in front with just over a minute played, before Odegaard doubled the lead with a bobbling effort.

The Gunners are set to enter 2023 seven points clear at the top!

Goal! Brighton 0-2 Arsenal

Another lovely Arsenal move, set on their way as Ramsdale plays a brave pass through to Partey. Eventually ends with White winning a corner as his low cross is blocked.

Saka whips it in, falls for Odegaard and his strike bobbles past Sanchez! Not the cleanest of finishes but he doesn’t care.

Goal! Brighton 0-1 Arsenal

Odegaard drives all the way into the box, looks to find Xhaka but it breaks down. Arsenal stay on the attack though, ball in bobbles through to Saka at the back post and he keeps his cool to finish.

Kick Off!

Manchester City and Newcastle second and third in the table respectively… they’ve both drawn this afternoon.

Big boost for Arsenal ahead of this evening’s clash, they can go seven points clear at the top and 13 points above Tottenham in fifth with victory.

Starting XI

One change for Arsenal, as Zinchenko comes in to replace Tierney at left-back. Tomiyasu is fit enough to make the squad, and is alongside the likes of Vieira and Elneny on the bench.

For Brighton, Gilmour starts in midfield with Caicedo out due to suspension. Welbeck is not in the squad against his former club, with Trossard trusted again in that false nine role.

Man City 1-1 Everton: Tofees hold Pep’s men at the Etihad, Haaland bags 21st EPL goal

Manchester City’s opportunity to cut the 5 point gap with Arsenal suffered a huge blow as they were held 1-1 by Everton at the Etihad. Erling Haaland was able to score his 21st goal of the season but could not secure three points for City as Demerai Gray scored a spectacular goal in the 64th minute to equalise.

Manchester City huffed and puffed but they could not defeat Lampard’s well drilled Everton

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Goal! Man City 1-1 Everton

Wow! Gray steals the ball off Rodri, carries it down the right, cuts back inside and curls it beautifully into the top corner. What a goal!

Second Half

We are back for the second 45!

Half-time

City lead at the break.

Goal! Man City 1-0 Everton

Inevitable. Mahrez weaves past one defender in the box and cuts it back to Haaland, whose effort goes past Pickford and an Everton defender trying to cover on the goal line.

Kick Off!

And so it begins!

Starting XI

Manchester City make one change from their win over Leeds, as Bernardo Silva returns in place of Ilkay Gundogan. Kyle Walker, Kalvin Phillips, Phil Foden and Joao Cancelo remain on the bench, while Julian Alvarez returns to the City squad for the first time since winning the World Cup with Argentina.

So the big team news for Everton is that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is back in the starting line-up and makes his first appearance since November 5. Today is only his fifth start of the season so his return is a major boost for Frank Lampard, who switches to a back three with Conor Coady returning to the team. Ben Godfrey makes his first start since the opening day of the season after recovering from a fractured fibula.

Wolves 0-1 Man United: Rashford the hero as Red Devils edge Wolves at the Molineux

Marcus Rashford was the hero for Manchester United at the Molineux as his lone goal edged Wolves in a feisty encounter.

The England forward was benched by Erik Ten Hag for ‘internal disciplinary’ reasons. But he was soon called upon when the Red Devils were looking for an inspiration to grab three points. A task he delivered on in the 77th minute with a beautiful goal!

Manchester United now go into the New Year in the top four.

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Goal! Wolves 0-1 Manchester United

He started on the bench but now breaks the deadlock! A fine finish inside the area after holding off two defenders.

Second-half

…and we’re back underway!

Half-time

Wolves survive, just. United should be up at the break, with Garnacho, Martial and Anthony all guilty of missing chances. Wolves plenty dangerous on the break, though.

Kick Off!

And so it begins!

Starting XI

So, the biggest news is that Marcus Rashford has dropped to the bench with young star Alejandro Garnacho replacing the England striker in the only change from the win over Nottingham Forest. Manager Ten Hag has just told BT Sport that the striker has been dropped as part of “internal disciplinary” action.

Lisandro Martinez remains out, so Luke Shaw will continue at centre-back. Matheus Nunes replaced Joe Hodge in Wolves’ only change as they looked to climb out of the relegation zone.

BREAKING: Brazil Legend, Pele, Dies at 82 After Battle with Cancer

His death was confirmed by family on social media.

He had been battling colon cancer since 2021, with a medical report just before Christmas showing that he required care for cardiac and renal dysfunction.

He had been admitted to the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo on November 29.

Earlier this week, Pele’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, had confirmed members of his family would spend Christmas in the hospital with him.

On Saturday, she posted a picture on Instagram which showed her sitting next to one of Pele’s sons, Edinho, and two of his children at the hospital.

“He (Edson) is here,” Kely Nascimento wrote alongside the picture, adding in a hashtag “I will not be leaving, nobody will take me out of here.”

Pele appeared on the global scene as a 17-year-old at the 1958 World Cup, helping Brazil to the first of their record five successes.

Injury affected Pele’s contribution to the 1962 and 1966 finals, but he returned to lead Brazil to a third triumph, this time in Mexico in 1970 as part of what is widely regarded as the greatest international team of all time.

Officially, Pele scored 757 goals in 831 games during a career from 1957 to 1977, although club Santos claim his tally was closer to 1,000.

Man United 3-0 Nottingham Forest: Red Devils on rampage at Old Trafford, Rashford, Martial on target >>>

The Red Devils mauled Nottingham Forest 3-0 at Old Trafford to resume their Premier League campaign. The pair of Marcus Rashford and Martial combined to give Manchester United 2 goals in 2 minutes. Rashford showing he is in red hot form scored first before assisting Antonio Martial for the second goal. Fred scored late to wrap the night up for Ten Hag’s men

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Goal! Manchester United 3-0 Nottingham Forest

Casemiro wins the ball back and frees Fred, who fires home.

Second Half

We ae back underway!

Half-time

A quick-fire blitz from Rashford and Martial give United a solid lead at half-time.

Goal! Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Martial powers another one in after Rashford’s pass. A brilliant tackle from Casemiro set it all up!

Goal! Manchester United 1-0 Nottingham Forest

Eriksen plays a lovely corner to Rashford, who latches onto it will a brilliant finish. Straight from the training ground!

Kick Off

Here we go!

Starting XI