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Romelu Lukaku edges Chelsea past Luton as Blues get set for a new era




Chelsea capped another seismic day in the Stamford Bridge club’s history by narrowly avoiding an FA Cup shock, edging past Luton 3-2 at Kenilworth Road.

Romelu Lukaku tapped home Timo Werner’s cross late on to thwart the Hatters’ dreams of a first quarter-final since 1994, on the day when Roman Abramovich signalled the impending end of his Blues reign.

Werner scored and made both Chelsea’s other goals on a solid night for the Germany forward, with Saul Niguez also clipping home.

But any notions of a nice and easy night were scotched as soon as the unchallenged Reece Burke thumped in a second-minute header for the second-tier hosts.

Harry Cornick’s collected finish put Luton 2-1 up at half-time and dreaming of a major upset over last season’s beaten FA Cup finalists.

But Chelsea’s extra power and nous eventually applied enough of a squeeze to subdue the Hatters.

And so Chelsea step into the sixth round, with eyes still firmly on another final having lost Sunday’s Carabao Cup showpiece to Liverpool on penalties

As kick-off fast approached at Luton, Abramovich confirmed he will sell Chelsea after almost 20 years as owner.

Any uncertainty off the field most definitely permeated on to the pitch, as the Blues laboured under nine changes from Sunday and a new system to accommodate those fresh legs.

The makeshift Chelsea team looked distracted and disjointed from the off.

And Luton made them pay almost immediately.

Defender Burke headed home under little pressure from a corner where Chelsea’s marking left plenty to be desired.

The Blues were facing an uphill struggle, with a venomous home crowd ready to twist the knife at every opportunity as a group of unfamiliar visiting players grappled with the set-up.

Luton goalkeeper Jed Steer suffered a nasty-looking knee injury next, falling awkwardly on the turf under no contact from anyone else.

The Aston Villa loanee was carried off on a stretcher after lengthy treatment, bringing youngster Harry Isted into the fray.

Saul clipped Chelsea level with the Blues’ first tangible attack, cantering on to strike home after Mason Mount had set Werner off and running.

The Spain midfielder then had a fine chance to put Chelsea into the lead, but this time could not beat the advancing Isted who tapped around the post.

Saul’s equaliser should have seen Chelsea settle, but just when the visitors expected to take control Luton struck again.

Cornick raced clear of the Chelsea cover and coolly slotted past Kepa, who delayed coming off his line just enough to hand the Luton striker the angle for the finish.

Luton continued to press but were eventually undone as Chelsea emptied their talented bench.

Christian Pulisic and Reece James offered impetus and initiative, and Werner profited first when slotting past the onrushing Isted.

Werner went on to become a supplier again, cutting the right before drilling a low ball on the face of the goal, allowing Lukaku to push home and settle the tie.

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Michael Carrick singles out one Chelsea player following the 6-1 defeat, but the national media disagrees




Michael Carrick singled out a Chelsea star following Middlesbrough’s 6-1 defeat, while the national media praised another player.

Chelsea smashed six goals past the Championship team as they booked their spot in next month’s Carabao Cup final.

The Blues trailed 1-0 from the first-leg, but the Premier League side made no mistake in Tuesday’s second-leg.

Chelsea took the lead through a Jonny Howson own-goal, with Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi and Cole Palmer scoring before the break.

Palmer bagged his second goal of the night to add his side’s fifth as Noni Madueke completed the rout.

After the match, Manchester United legend Carrick spoke glowingly about Palmer, calling him a ‘real talent’ in high praise.

“He is a real talent. Nice lad as well. Down to Earth and you can see when you come up against him he will go on to have a great career. It’s not nice when you are on the end of it but we can appreciate and respect how good he is,” he said via The Mirror.

Mauricio Pochettino echoed Carrick’s sentiment and hailed the 21-year-old’s ability to play anywhere in the forward line.

“He is a player with an amazing talent. It is a player that understands the game. He has the quality and the talent to see the situation and to read the game in another aspect,” he added.

“He can play from the right, striker or in behind the striker. We try to give him freedom because in this type of game he can find the best position to help the team. For me, [the best part] is when he presses and then the intuition to get the ball back.”

Cole Palmer celebrates scoring a goal for Chelsea. Image: Getty

Palmer, who joined the Stamford Bridge outfit from Manchester City last summer, has been in brilliant form this season, scoring 11 goals in all competitions.

However, the national media picked out another Chelsea star as Matt Law of The Telegraph wrote about Ben Chilwell’s importance.

“What a difference a left-back makes. This was not just Ben Chilwell’s first start since September, it was the first time he started in his preferred position all season,” he said.

“And how Chelsea have missed him. Wearing the captain’s armband, Chilwell looked like he had never been away and sent a message to Mauricio Pochettino to give up on playing him as a winger.”

Chilwell started his first game for four months as he starred on the left-hand side in Chelsea’s victory over Boro.

The 27-year-old has only managed nine appearances in all competitions this season, having been blighted with injuries.

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Victor Osimhen breaks silence on his future amid Chelsea and Arsenal striker transfer hunt




The latest Chelsea and Arsenal transfer news as the striker has been linked with a move to the Premier League after impressing for Napoli.

Victor Osimhen looks over his shoulder during the Africa Cup of Nations group stage match between Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria.
Victor Osimhen looks over his shoulder during the Africa Cup of Nations group stage match between Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria.

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has said that his full concentration is on helping Nigeria go as far as they can in the Africa Cup of Nations amid talk over his future.

Arsenal and Chelsea are among the teams to have been linked with an interest in the 25-year-old. understands that Chelsea wanted to sign Osimhen in the summer , but Napoli’s reluctance to part ways with the player meant that attention was turned to Nicolas Jackson instead.

Mikel Arteta is likely to want to add to his striking options when the summer transfer window opens. Osimhen has been touted as a potential target.

The striker’s contract with Napoli expires in 2025, meaning that the summer could be one of the last chances that Napoli have to get a decent fee for the player if he doesn’t sign a new deal with the club. That has led to speculation that he could be on the move sooner rather than later.

Osimhen is currently on international duty with Nigeria who have secured their place in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations. It’s while representing his country that he addressed the talk over his future.

“I have to respect my contract,” he told the Guardian. “Whatever happens in the summer everybody will know. For now I am at the Afcon and I am focused on that.”

Osimhem’s goalscoring record for Napoli makes it no surprise that he continues to be linked with a transfer away from the club. Since joining from Lille in the summer of 2020 he has scored 67 times in 119 appearances for the club.

So far this season, he has scored eight times in 18 appearances in all competitions. The striker’s international record is even more impressive with him finding the net 20 times in 27 appearances for Nigeria, including the equaliser in the nation’s 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea in their opening AFCON game.

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Chelsea’s next five fixtures compared to Man United, Tottenham and Aston Villa in top four race




The latest Chelsea news as we take a closer look at the fixtures on the horizon for Mauricio Pochettino’s men as they look to climb the Premier League table.

Cole Palmer celebrates his goal with teammates during the Carabao Cup Semi-Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge.
Cole Palmer celebrates his goal with teammates during the Carabao Cup Semi-Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea booked their place in the Carabao Cup final on Tuesday night as they came from behind to comfortably beat Championship side Millwall.

Michael Carrick’s side were leading 1-0 after the first leg at the Riverside Stadium, but Chelsea quickly settled any nerves that may have been around in the stands at Stamford Bridge. An early own goal by Jonny Howson was followed by strikes from Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi, and Cole Palmer to put Chelsea 4-0 up on the night at half time.

It got better in the second half as Palmer scored his second of the game before Noni Madueke made it 6-0. Middlesbrough grabbed a consolation through Morgan Rogers in the 88th minute.

After booking their place at Wembley eyes now turn to the upcoming fixtures in both the Cup and the Premier League. Chelsea sit in ninth place in the table, 12 points off a top-four spot, a good run of form could see that gap quickly close before the end of the season.

As well as fixtures ahead of Chelsea, eyes could be on who others around them in the table are taking on. With that in mind has taken a look at the next five fixtures coming up for Chelsea and the other clubs looking towards the top four and the European places.

Aston Villa (H) 26 January (FA Cup)

Chelsea have a break from Premier League action when they take on Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup fourth round.

Both teams could make changes for the game, given their eyes are likely to be on the race to play Champions League football next season. Chelsea will look to progress in another cup competition after making it to the final of the Carabao Cup.

Liverpool (A) January 31

The most difficult fixture of the run, on paper, with Liverpool currently leading the Premier League table. Jurgen Klopp’s side are four points clear of Man City in second, but Pep Guardiola’s team do have a game in hand.

The reverse fixture back in August finished in a 1-1 draw. Axel Disasi equalised in the first half after Luis Diaz’s opener.

Wolves (H) February 4

Chelsea don’t have long to wait to try and avenge the Boxing Day loss against Wolves. Goals from Mario Lemina and Matt Doherty saw the Blues fall to a 2-1 loss with Christopher Nkunku grabbing a 96th-minute goal.

Wolves have been praised for their performances under Gary O’Neil so far this season. They sit in 11th place, three points behind Chelsea in the table.

Crystal Palace (A) February 12

Crystal Palace are a team struggling to find their form with pressure growing on manager Roy Hodgson. They fell to a 5-0 loss against Arsenal in their last outing, leaving them in 15th place in the Premier League table, five points clear of the bottom three.

Noni Madueke’s 89th-minute penalty saw Chelsea come out as 2-1 winners in the reverse fixture on December 27.

Man City (A) February 17

Another difficult game on paper for Chelsea as Man City look to close the gap on Liverpool at the top of the table. The reverse fixture back in November was a memorable one for fans of both clubs as well as neutrals.

Cole Palmer’s 97th-minute penalty saw the game end in a 4-4 draw. Chelsea came from behind on three occasions to take a point.

Manchester United fixtures (current position 8th, 32 points)

Newport County (A) 28 January (FA Cup)

Wolves (A) 1 February

West Ham (H) 4 February

Aston Villa (A) 11 February

Luton Town (A) 18 February

Brighton fixtures (current position 7th, 32 points)

Sheffield United (A) 27 January (FA Cup)

Luton Town (A) 30 January

Crystal Palace (H) 3 February

Tottenham (A) 10 February

Sheffield United (A) 18 February

West Ham fixtures (current position 6th, 35 points)

Bournemouth (H) 1 February

Man United (A) 4 February

Arsenal (H) 11 February

Nottingham Forest (A) 17 February

Brentford (H) 26 February

Tottenham fixtures (current position 5th, 40 points)

Man City (H) 26 January (FA Cup)

Brentford (H) 31 January

Everton (A) 3 February

Brighton (H) 10 February

Wolves (H) 17 February

Aston Villa fixtures (current position 4th, 43 points)

Chelsea (A) 26 January (FA Cup)

Newcastle (H) 30 January

Sheffield United (A) 3 February

Man United (H) 11 February

Fulham (A) 17 February

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