Football – Kai Havertz offers a ray of sunshine to Chelsea
Thanks to a late goal from their German attacking midfielder, the Blues won against Newcastle (1-0). A relieving victory in this period of uncertainty about the future of the club.
A goal at the very end of the match from Kai Havertz came to put some balm in the heart of Chelsea, winner of Newcastle of Fabian Schär (1-0) Sunday, during the 29th day of the Premier League, despite the growing concern in backstage on the future of the club.
A sublimely measured pass from Jorginho, magnificent mid-race control and a small point to deceive Martin Dubravka in the 89th minute allowed the Blues to consolidate their 3rd place, with 59 points, 9 more than Manchester United, 4th. On the other hand, it is a setback for the Magpies, undefeated for 9 league matches before this meeting and who have again shown that they are now worth much better than their current 14th place.
Thomas Tuchel’s men, like in Norwich (3-1) in the middle of the week, were able to ignore the great uncertainty behind the scenes and the German could let out a liberating cry of rage, his fists clenched, at the whistle. final, after this serious and combative performance.
With the prospect of the knockout round of the Champions League return to Lille on Wednesday, followed by a quarter-final of the FA Cup next weekend in Middlesbrough, there is no shortage of top-level sporting issues for Londoners.
“They punish bad people”
However, this is not enough to chase away the big cloud hanging over the Blues, who are only gradually becoming aware of the consequences for them of the sanctions announced Thursday by the British government against their Russian owner, Roman Abramovich. The oligarch’s assets were frozen because of his supposed closeness to Vladimir Putin, and the club was only allowed to continue its activity with drastic restrictions, in particular on its main sources of income: ticketing, merchandising and broadcasting rights. On Sunday, the club store at Stamford Bridge was also closed and fans were brooding before the match against the Magpies.
“I understand why the government is sanctioning Roman (Abramovich), but the way it does it is wrong. It’s not fair to the fans, it’s not fair to the club. They punish bad people,” Martin Gould, a subscriber since the 1980s, told AFP. will have a Chelsea team in the future”, added Dan Silver, member of the board of directors of the Chelsea Supporters Foundation.
At the microphone of Sky Sportsthe club’s performance director, Petr Cech, had been very gloomy before the match: “You have to admit that we are moving day by day because all of this is not in our hands. […] The discussions are continuing (editor’s note: with the government) so that we can operate in a way that allows us to finish the season.
Newcastle supporters, strong in their status as the new super-rich of English football since their takeover by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, reveled in Chelsea’s misfortunes by mocking them in the stands.
Only a step forward in the sale procedure initiated at the very beginning of March could possibly really clear the horizon and, in the meantime, the players are doing their part of the work.
Asked about the uncertainty around the accounting consequences, for Chelsea, of the financial sanctions aimed at its Russian owner, Roman Abramovich, coach Thomas Tuchel joked that he was ready to “drive a minibus” for the trips of the team, if necessary. Among the restrictions imposed by the British government on the club is a limit of 24,000 euros per match to organize the travel of the team when playing away. However, the club must go to Lille on Wednesday for its round of 16 return from the Champions League. “According to the latest information I received, we have a plane. If not, we will go by train, if not, by bus and if not, I will drive a minibus”, he answered a question on this subject.
The German didn’t want to expand too much on the extent of the club’s difficulties due to the great uncertainty and rapidly changing information: “We can only wait day after day, because everything can change . The club is for sale but let’s hope it succeeds. So (we are going forward) day in and day out, which is a good way to live life.” “There are circumstances over which we have no influence and this gives us the freedom to focus only on those which we can influence”, he added, philosopher.
Tuchel, on the other hand, assured that there was « no doubt » that he would stay at the club « until the end of the season ».
In the other matches of the afternoon, West Ham got back into the race for the Champions League by beating Aston Villa (2-1), with in particular an opener from their Ukrainian striker Andriy Yarmolenko, who n was able to hold back a few tears during his celebration.
“It was so moving for me because of the situation in my country, he reacted. It’s so hard to think about football right now because the Russian army kills Ukrainians every day. Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I just want to say thank you to my teammates who have supported me all the time, every day, to the West Ham supporters, who also support me and the Ukrainian people, and also to the British people, because we feel your support. Thank you really. »
The Hammers are 5th, 2 points from 4th place, qualifying for the C1.
At the bottom of the table, Everton lost at home against Wolverhamtpon (0-1) and are joined on the number of points by Watford, 18th and first relegated, who won at Southampton (2-1).
Leeds also won a crucial meeting against the red lantern, Norwich (2-1), maintaining their 4-point lead over the red zone.
Finally, Arsenal and Granit Xhaka dominated Leicester at the end of the afternoon (2-0) to regain 4th place from Manchester United.