Antonio Conte insisted there had been no fall-out with David Luiz prior to him dropping the central defender for one of Chelsea’s biggest games of the season.
But the strongest hint that Conte’s explanation that it was a “tactical decision” may not have been the full story came when Luiz took his place in the stands. Luiz sat behind the Chelsea substitutes next to his Brazilian compatriot Kenedy, who was also left out in the cold.
Kenedy had been on the substitutes’ bench for Chelsea’s Champions League defeat at Roma, but earned a stern lecture from Conte for yawning his way through the Italian’s stormy inquest.
During that dressing down, Conte warned his squad that whoever could not follow his orders would simply not play for him.
Whatever Conte claimed publically, it looked distinctly like Luiz and Kenedy had been put on the Stamford Bridge naughty step together as the cameras panned on to them during the opening minutes on Sunday.
There also appeared to be a message within Conte’s explanation over why Luiz was not even on the substitutes’ bench.
Asked if there had been a row, he replied: “No, no. Tactical decision. There is [Andreas] Christensen in really good form and also we have [Ethan] Ampadu who is a good young player. The club like to play with the young player.”
The mention of “the club” was perhaps significant and possibly pre-empted any suggestion that Conte would have upset owner owner Roman Abramovich by ditching Luiz.
Abramovich had been a driving force behind the surprise decision to re-sign Luiz last summer and is known to be a fan of the charismatic 30-year-old.
Luiz was superb in the title-winning campaign, but his form has not been so impressive so far this term and there have been signs of strain between him and Conte.
Conte was unhappy with Luiz’s reaction to being substituted in the 3-3 home draw with Roma and gave him a training ground ticking off a few days later.
The former Juventus manager was equally as unimpressed with the defending of Luiz in Rome, when he, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta were pulled apart by Edin Dzeko.
That was the final straw and Andreas Christensen was deservedly rewarded for some promising displays in big games against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City with a start for the visit of United.
It will have not gone unnoticed by Luiz that Conte raised both arms above his head to applaud Christensen eight minutes before half-time after the Dane had held off pressure from Marcus Rashford to turn with the ball in his own area and clear the danger.
Christensen was clapped by his head coach again in the second half and the 21-year-old was one of Chelsea’s best performers as they kept only their second clean sheet in nine games.
Luiz did feel humiliated by losing his place and seeing 17-year-old Ampadu put on the bench ahead of him, the former Paris Saint-Germain man hid it well as he cuddled and kissed staff in and around the tunnel area.
But whether or not Conte and Luiz can kiss and make up remains to be seen.
Moment of the match
Other than Alvaro Morata’s goal, there were two moments that had Antonio Conte with his arms above his head. First, he applauded Andreas Christensen for turning in his own area while under pressure from Marcus Rashford and then he clapped enthusiastically when the defender cut out an intended through ball for the United forward. Christensen certainly repaid Conte’s big decision to prefer him over David Luiz.
Most influential player: N’Golo Kante
The midfielder should walk into Conte’s office and demand a lucrative new contract on Monday morning because Chelsea are a completely different team when Kante is playing.
Crowd rating: 8/10
Jose Mourinho received a mixed reception from the Chelsea fans on his return, but both sets of supporters produced plenty of noise.
Referee rating: 7/10
Anthony Taylor gave Conte a ticking off for his complains over Antonio Valencia’s first-half foul on Eden Hazard.
Match rating: 7/10
Aston Villa signs Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal
Premier League side Aston Villa, have completed the signing of Arsenal Goalkeeper Emiliano Martineli, for a fee of around 20 Million pounds.
The 28 year old Argentine shot stopper,won the FA Cup and The Community Shield with the gunners and has now penned a Four-year deal with Aston Villa.
Villa’s Manager, Dean Smith said: “We are really pleased with the signing of our new goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
“We know how highly Arsenal rated him and we watched his outstanding performances last season in a trophy-winning top side.
“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity, as it is rare to be able to buy a top class goalkeeper who hasn’t yet reached their peak age and who can therefore be a key player for our Club for the long term.”
Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang Signs A new Contract Extension at Arsenal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has signed a new 3 year contract with the gunners, putting away any doubts that Arsenal were going to loose their top talisman come the end of the season as his previous 3 and a half contract comes to an end.
The 31 year old Gabon striker,announced his new contract extension by going live on Arsenal’s social media platforms.
Aubemayang said: ‘I signed the thing because I want to become an Arsenal legend, maybe leave a legacy.
‘It’s time to work a lot to become a legend but for sure I will give my best as always. This is my home. I am really happy to stay here. I will always give you my best. Signing for this special club was never in doubt.’
Aubameyang joined Arsenal in January 2018 and has a mindblowing 72 goals and 15 assists in just 111 games.
Chelsea Complete Signing of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig
Chelsea have confirmed in a club statement the signing of German foward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.
The 24 year old striker is currently enjoying his most profitable season yet in his career, scoring 32 goals and providing 13 assists in 42 appearances across all competition for Leipzig.
Werner said: ‘I am delighted to be signing for Chelsea, it is a very proud moment for me to be joining this great club. I of course want to thank RB Leipzig, the club and the fans, for four fantastic years. You will forever be in my heart. I look forward to next season with my new team-mates, my new manager and of course the Chelsea fans. Together we have a very successful future ahead of us.’
Marina Granovskaia added: ‘We are very excited that Timo Werner has chosen to join Chelsea. He is a player who was coveted all over Europe and it is no surprise, he has that rare mix of being young and exciting and yet established and proven. We can’t wait to have Timo on board, but until then we wish him and RB Leipzig all the best for the rest of this season.’
Arsenal Boss Mikel Arteta Positive Aubameyang will Extend his Contract with the Gunners
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta says he is “pretty positive” that Aubameyang will sign a new contract with the gunners.
The strikers current deal expires in June 2021. And he claimed that whether he signs or not will be the biggest decision of his life.
“He needs to feel valued, he needs to feel he belongs to us and that we want him,” said Arteta.
The 30 year old Gaboneese striker joined the gunners in January 2018 from Borussia Dortmund scroring 61 goals in 97 appearances.
Arteta added: “I think at the moment I am extremely happy with how he’s been performing and behaving.
“I have a really good relationship with him and we can discuss face to face a lot of things. So far as I’m aware I think he’s very happy at the club.”
Speaking to a French football programme Telefoot Aubameyang said that he “hasn’t had an offer recently” from the club.
“I did speak to the club quite a few months ago, and they know why nothing has happened yet,” he said.
“It’s a turning point in my career and I want to be honest with everyone.
“They have the keys. It is up to them to do their work and, after that, we will see how things go. It’ll certainly be a very difficult decision to make.”
Barcelona and Inter Milan are believed to be interested in the striker.
Premier leauge action resumes on Wednesday when Arsenal travel to Etihad to face Manchester City.
Bandari FC Goes Digital To Keep Players Fit Amid Covid-19 Lockdown
Bandari Fc head coach Ken Odhiambo has taken advantage of latest technology to keep his players fit amid the Covid-19 lockdown. By the use of a WhatsApp group Odhiambo keeps his players on toes by sending them daily r exercise routines.
Each player has to give a feedback on their progress said Shaban Kenga the captain.
“We are under the progamme which we were all provided by the coach through the group. It’s a daily routine [from Monday-Friday],”he said. “On my part I always keep my fitness levels by training in the house or by looking for appropriate field for outdoor exercises,” said Kenga.
Kenga went ahead to hail his club official for not affecting their salary disbursement.
“We really thank the management. We have not had a situation where our salaries are not being disbursed, we are paid just as usual and this really needs an applause. It’s a difficult period for many families and we hope this will end soon.” Said Kenga
The Football Kenya Federation (FKF), last month declared Gor Mahia the 2019/2020 champions after cancelling the season amid the Covid-19 pandemic.The decision by FKF is being contested at the Sports Tribunal Court as it still remains unclear on when the 2020/2021 season will begin.