Ayew and Co. charged to relieve Zaha of Crystal Palace goalscoring burden

Ahead of Monday night outing against Bournemouth, Roy Hodgson has charged his other attacking options, including summer recruit Jordan Ayew to ease Crystal Palace’s goalscoring burden on Wilfried Zaha.

As regards the Eagles’ output in the final third, the forward has had to shoulder the ‘lion’s share’, scoring three of their four goals in the Premier League.

With the misfiring Christian Benteke out, Ayew – yet to open his account since his deadline day loan move from Swansea City – is set for another start against the Cherries.

Winger Andros Townsend is another player the former England coach will be looking forward to after his midweek heroics against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup where he grabbed a brace.

And with Palace not lacking in chances created, Hodgson has urged his out-of-sorts attackers to be persistent in their approach.

“Wilf’s got the lion’s share because we haven’t scored many,” Hodgson said.

“But we have created many chances. So it forces one to consistently look back to the misses and the missed opportunities because in the bulk of the games we have played, we had that many chances. It’s harrowing to come off the field at 0-0 when you have seen that many chances.

“I believe as long as you are creating those chances and you are getting in those positions the goals will come.

“What you do is make certain the players believe in themselves, they keep working at their game, and they share your belief that if you keep doing this then we will score goals.”

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Gaetan Bong hails Brighton & Hove Albion’s organisation in Manchester City loss

Gaetan Bong has hailed Huddersfield Town’s defensive display against Manchester City in Saturday’s Premier League meeting at the Etihad, despite the obvious gulf in quality within both sides.

Despite creating numerous chances, Pep Guardiola’s side had to make do with goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero as the Seagulls were quite sturdy in their rearguard.

“We know we’re good on the counter-attack, and we wanted to stay in the game and slowly open up,” Bong said.

“We did that, and although we didn’t get the result we wanted, some teams have come and lost by more and we just have focus on the next game now.

“This is a tough place to go for all Premier League teams, even the top ones. We knew it would be hard to take points here, but we’re here to play our football and to learn from our defeats. We have to keep going.

“We started well, we were in the game and caused them a few problems, but they have quality players.

“We lost the ball on the counter-attack for the first goal and we had to stay focused to stay in the game.

“It was always going to be tough, but we kept our shape and tried to stay compact on the counter-attack. It’s never going to be easy to anything here, and we have to learn from this loss.”

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Sturridge still has to prove fitness, admits Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is still not convinced striker Daniel Sturridge can last a “high intensity” 90 minutes despite the forward enjoying a rebirth on Merseyside.

The 29-year-old’s Reds career looked decidedly bleak after he was loaned to West Brom last season following years of injury problems since Klopp’s appointment.

But having enjoyed a full pre-season, Sturridge is back in the reckoning and has already netted four goals in seven appearances this term.

The most significant contribution of his comeback came during his fifth Premier League substitute appearance of the season at Chelsea, where an 89th minute equaliser secured a 1-1 draw for Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Klopp has used Sturridge sparingly and is not yet satisfied he can last the pace for an entire game.

“That’s the target,” Klopp told the media after the stalemate. “He played fantastically against PSG. That role, exactly that. 

“High intensity for 60 or 70 minutes and probably could have played longer, but we had Bobby then.

“It must always be the target of a player to play with the highest intensity over 95 minutes. 

“I don’t know (if he can do it) because we haven’t tried it yet. He 100% understands the need to do that.

“He doesn’t want us to change our style for him. He plays exactly how we want him. He loves the position. 

“He is that kind of nine-and-a-half, coming back into position, he can be a 10 and play between the lines and play the pass, like he was when he scored the goal.”

Daniel Sturridge Liverpool Chelsea

Sturridge did play the full 90 minutes in the Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea last week but is yet to be trusted to last the duration in the Premier League or Champions League.

The England international is likely to start the trip to Napoli in mid-week having begun the win over Paris Saint-Germain in Liverpool’s opening group game.

Meanwhile, despite the credible result in west London Mohamed Salah’s troubles continued after a succession of missed chances.

Klopp admits the Egypt international is unhappy with his performances and will talk with Liverpool’s top scorer from last season in an effort to turn his form around.

“Of course [Salah’s] not [happy],” the German added. “How could he be? It’s a normal situation. 

“But now that’s what you have a manager for. We will talk about it. 

“It’s easy for me because I don’t read what you write, maybe the boys do a bit more but that doesn’t make too much sense at the moment because you will all dissect – a big nice cut and you will find pretty much nothing.”

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Sarri: David Luiz is becoming a Chelsea protagonist again

Maurizio Sarri says he likes David Luiz’s direct style of communciation and that he is picking up the new style of football quicker than anyone, as he brings him back into the fold at Stamford Bridge.

The 31-year-old made only 17 appearances under Antonio Conte last season after falling out with the former head coach, leading him to not making an appearance for the club from February onwards.

Luiz had offers from clubs to leave London over the summer and is open about the fact that he would have left had Conte stayed the manager at the club.

Sarri quickly brought him back into the fold and he has started him in every Premier League game so far this season.

“Yes, I have to say he is a lot better than a thought,” Sarri told reporters at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday. “A lot better, both as a player and as a man. I don’t know what happened before I arrived, but when I arrived here, immediately I had the feeling that he is a very good player for my way of football because he is a very technical centre back.

“Then I appreciated his qualities as a man. He is direct, if he has to say something to the manager, to talk to me. Then he goes directly to me. I don’t know [if Conte didn’t like it] but I like very much the direct people. I like this [communication] very much.

“He was a little confused because two seasons ago he was a protagonist then he had six months without playing, he was a little confused. I think he is very able to play my football with his characteristics. He is very able to start the actions from the defensive line. So I think he is very suitable for me.”

The Brazil international is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge having helped the club win their first ever Champions League in his first spell at the club and having played over 200 times in the blue shirt.

It is clear that Sarri and Luiz have established a good relationship and the centre back returned the compliments to his manager, who has surprised people by keeping Chelsea up near the top of the table after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the league last season.

“Sarri is giving us a lot of happiness to play football. We are trying to enjoy,” Luiz told Chelsea TV. “He gives us a lot of confidence. He shows us what he wants. He gives us the details about the game.

Willian David Luiz Chelsea

“He works hard in every situation. And also as a human he’s a fantastic person. Every single day he says to us ‘you have the best job in the world, so you have to enjoy’. You have to try to do this with a big smile. Many people in the world don’t have this privilege.”

Alongside Antonio Rudiger, Luiz has established himself as the first choice centre back and he made a remarkable clearance against Liverpool from Roberto Firmino as his club tried to get a huge win over a key rival. However, ex-Blue Daniel Sturridge scored a stunning long range strike late on to dash those hopes.

Nevertheless, Sarri was happy with the defensive efforts of his team and he thinks that Eden Hazard is underrated for the work his does in stoppping the opposition.

“I am really very happy with him today,” added Sarri about Hazard. “Especially for the defensive phase, especially for the defensive phase in the second half when the team needed some help from him. I am really very happy. For us, this attitude is important.

“We are trying to defend looking at the ball and if we are defending looking at the ball then we need every player to participate in the defensive phase, otherwise it is impossible. So I am really happy with the defensive phase of Eden today.

Eden Hazard

“I think that we have played very well. We have had five or six chances. I also think Liverpool have had five or six opportunities. We have played against a top level team, so I am disappointed about the result but only because they have scored in the last 10 minutes of the match. I think that the draw was the right result for a wonderful match.”

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Sassuolo 1 AC Milan 4: Suso double lifts under-fire Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso’s position as AC Milan’s head coach was strengthened by a timely 4-1 win at high-flying Sassuolo, which featured a trio of brilliant goals.

Reports in Italy suggested Milan’s poor start to the Serie A season meant the club were considering replacing Gattuso with former Chelsea and Juventus coach Antonio Conte.

But Franck Kessie’s 20-yard drive got Milan up and running at the MAPEI Stadium on Sunday, with Suso and Samu Castillejo also scoring from outside the penalty area in the second half.

A second from Suso in injury time sealed a win that breaks a run of three straight draws in the league and moves the Rossoneri into the top half, while Sassuolo – who got a goal back through Filip Djuricic – stay fifth after missing the chance to climb into second spot.

Suso thundered an early strike against the crossbar from a tight angle but Kessie should have given Milan the lead in the 26th minute – his dinked finish beat Andrea Consigli but lacked enough power to cross the line, allowing Pol Lirola to clear off the line.

Federico Di Francesco missed a similarly golden chance when he drilled at the legs of Gianluigi Donnarumma when fed by Domenico Berardi, then Ignazio Abate’s wonderful challenge prevented a certain Sassuolo goal.

Kessie made amends for his earlier miss by breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute, smashing a low drive into the bottom-right corner from 20 yards to round off a 50-yard run.

Another fine finish doubled Milan’s advantage five minutes after the restart, with Suso – making his 100th Serie A appearance – cutting in off the right flank to whip home a 25-yard curler.

Milan gave up leads in their least two Serie A games but Castillejo seemingly made the points safe, scoring his first Rossoneri goal with another terrific left-foot shot from distance on the hour mark.

Although Sassuolo responded through Djuricic to spark a nervy finale, Suso scored again with the last kick of the game – his deflected shot surviving a VAR review – to boost Gattuso.


What it means: Relief for Gattuso

Gattuso has been batting away questions about Conte all season but speculation reached fever-pitch in the build-up to this game. In truth, Milan did not play that well – although they were missing injured striker Gonzalo Higuain – but individual quality hauled them to a much-needed victory in front of the watching sporting director Leonardo.

Abate tackle a decisive moment

Kessie, Suso and Castillejo, deployed as a centre-forward, will make the headlines for their wonderful goals but Abate deserves his share of the credit for a tremendous challenge when the scores were level. Di Francesco was poised to tap in a Kevin-Prince Boateng cross when Abate arrived, seemingly out of nowhere, to make a vital intervention.

Wasteful Di Francesco costs hosts

There was little Di Francesco could do about Abate’s brilliant defensive instincts but the Sassuolo attacker had already wasted an excellent opportunity to score the first goal of the game. The 24-year-old has only scored once in the league this season and his lack of composure told. Had Di Francesco found the net, Milan could have crumbled.

What’s next?

Milan host Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday before welcoming Chievo in Serie A three days later. Sassuolo have another tough game next Sunday as they head to Napoli.

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