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Chelsea waiting for Hazard to emerge from slump

first_imgMANCHESTER, England (AP) Guus Hiddink’s arrival as Chelsea manager has sparked a drastic improvement in a number of the team’s attacking stars. Diego Costa, Oscar, Cesc Fabregas, even Pedro Rodriguez. All look different players now Jose Mourinho is no longer in charge at Stamford Bridge. So when is Eden Hazard going to come good? Because the slump in form of the Belgium winger is one of the mysteries of the season. Hazard was voted English football’s Player of the Year for the 2014-15 season by both his peers and writers, after scoring 19 goals and being arguably Chelsea’s standout player in their run to the Premier League and League Cup titles. Many felt he would make the step up to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the game’s top star. Fast forward to this season and Hazard is no longer assured of even being in the team heading into Sunday’s FA Cup match against Manchester City, which is the headline fixture of the fifth round. He has completed 90 minutes just once in 2016 and has scored only one club goal all season a sympathy penalty in a big win over MK Dons in the FA Cup fourth round. Already testing the patience of Chelsea fans with his performances, Hazard didn’t do himself any favours this week by telling French newspaper Le Parisien, ahead of a Champions League game against Paris Saint-German, that it would be ‘difficult to say no to’ PSG or any other team capable of winning the Champions League. Is he eyeing a big move for next season already? Hazard was substituted against PSG after another sub-standard display and may even lose his place to Oscar against City for the first high-profile match in the FA Cup this season. Chelsea are looking to win the world’s oldest club knockout competition for the fifth time in the last 10 years and is in better form than City, having lost only once 2-1 against PSG in 12 games since Hiddink took over. City, meanwhile, have lost their last two games, at home against title rivals in the Premier League, and have injury problems in midfield. Manager Manuel Pellegrini may also have one eye on next week, when City resumes their Champions League campaign with a trip to Dynamo Kiev in the last 16, and could play a weakened team at Stamford Bridge. There has been a shortage of shocks in this season’s FA Cup, meaning most of the country’s big teams are still involved. TAMED BY THE SHREWS? The biggest so-called ‘giant-killing could come when Manchester United heads to third-tier Shrewsbury on Monday. And it’s the last thing Louis van Gaal needs right now. The United manager has enough on his mind, with his team struggling to qualify for the Champions League through the Premier League and seeing captain and star striker Wayne Rooney joining an injury list that now contains 13 players. Rooney has a knee injury and British media are reporting he could be out for six to eight weeks. Shrewsbury, a market town from central England whose football team plays at a 9,875-capacity stadium, has already beaten two teams higher up the English pyramid second-tier Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday and are in the fifth round for the first time since 1991. And they caused a big shock in 2003, winning 2-1 in the third round against an Everton side containing Rooney. In 19th place in the third tier, Shrewsbury are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition. REMATCH Arsenal are four victories away from winning the FA Cup for a third straight time. Next up for Arsene Wenger’s side is second-tier Hull, in a rematch of the 2014 final that Arsenal won 3-2 after extra time. There are two more all-Premier League matchups: Bournemouth vs Everton; and Tottenham vs Crystal Palace. In other games, Reading host West Bromwich Albion, West Ham visit Blackburn and Watford are at home to Leeds.last_img read more

No showdown: Injured Serena Williams out of French Open

first_imgLacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? Sharapova’s coach said the Russian player was waiting courtside when they were informed of Williams’ withdrawal.“It was a shock,” Thomas Hogstedt said. “We were ready. We prepared a long time for this match.”Their match had shaped up as the most-anticipated of the women’s tournament, even though Williams has won 19 of 21 previous head-to-head encounters, including the past 18 in a row.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Serena Williams of the U.S. serves against Germany’s Julia Georges during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, June 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena )PARIS — Serena Williams called off her Grand Slam comeback because of a chest muscle injury on Monday, pulling out of the French Open shortly before she was supposed to play Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.“It’s extremely disappointing,” Williams said during a news conference at Roland Garros. “But also, I made a promise to myself and to my coach and to my team that if I’m not at least 60 percent or 50 percent, then I probably shouldn’t play.”ADVERTISEMENT Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls LATEST STORIES MOST READ Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, said she can’t hit serves because of a problem with her right pectoral muscle. Her voice trembled a bit as she explained that she will get an MRI exam and consult with doctors before figuring out what will happen next for her.“The fact that I physically can’t serve at all is a good indication that maybe I should just go back to the drawing board and stay positive,” Williams said, “and try to get better and not get it to a point where it could be a lot worse.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownThe 36-year-old American was competing at a major tournament for the first time in 16 months — and for the first time since giving birth to her daughter last September.Sharapova wished Williams a speedy recovery and a rapid return to the tour in a two-sentence statement released by French Open organizers. Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Djokovic’s next French Open foe was cleared of match-fixing “I was looking forward to my match against Serena and am disappointed that she had to withdraw,” Sharapova said.Williams said her chest began hurting in her third-round singles victory over 11th-seeded Julia Goerges on Saturday.“It was really painful,” Williams said, “and I didn’t know what it was.”Despite that, Williams played in a doubles loss alongside her older sister, Venus, on Sunday and tried to limit the pain by taping up the muscle. But nothing was effective enough that Williams thought she could continue in Paris.Her withdrawal allows Sharapova, a two-time French Open champion, to move into the quarterfinals.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film View commentslast_img read more

Arsenal and Liverpool target casts doubts over Premier League move

first_imgArsenal and Liverpool target Alexandre Lacazette says he has not made his mind up about his future – but it would be hard to turn down Barcelona or Real Madrid.The striker was in stunning form for Lyon last season, finishing as the top scorer in Ligue 1 and attracting interest from all of Europe’s top sides.The 24-year-old is expected to complete a big money move this summer but at this moment he admits nothing has been decided.“I have not made my decision. I will go on holiday, leave my agent to discuss things, for him to look after all that,” Lacazette told Le Parisien.“I am not worried. It won’t worry me at all. As soon as I have decided, I want it all to happen quickly.“When? That is the question. I could stay at Lyon next season and have a terrible season, I could leave and have an incredible season.“Everything depends on the destination. It would have to be for a Champions League club. Barcelona and Real Madrid – you don’t reject them.“But today, between leaving and staying, it is not 50-50 – it is zero. I am not thinking about it. I am going to enjoy the national team and I will think about it after.” Alexandre Lacazette 1last_img read more