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    Chelsea keeper Kepa’s World Cup dreams all but over with £71.6m Spaniard ruled out of action with foot injury

    KEPA has become the latest Premier League star to fall foul of the World Cup injury curse.The Chelsea and Spain keeper will not play again before the tournament later this month due to a foot problem.
    Chelsea star Kepa Arrizabalaga looks set to miss out on Spain’s World Cup squadCredit: Alamy
    Chelsea boss Graham Potter confirmed the grim news for the £71.6 million Spaniard who had only just worked his way back into contention after a year in the international wilderness.
    Potter said:  “It’s his plantar fascia, the bottom of his foot. I don’t think he’ll play before the World Cup.”
    Kepa joins English club mates Reece James and Ben Chilwell in the treatment room with more Premier League stars  getting injured due to the congested fixture list accommodating the rescheduled World Cup.
    Chilwell is braced for bad news after suffering a suspected torn hamstring in Wednesday’s Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.
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    Potter said: “He’s going to go for a scan later on this afternoon so we’ll find out how he is then, update tomorrow. He feels okay but obviously aware of the injury. We need to let the swelling settle down, hence the delay with the scan. But we’ll know more after that.”
    “I wouldn’t say we fear the worst. It’s just we all saw the nature of the injury. I can’t say it looks positive. But until we get the scan, it’s difficult to say.
    “He’s okay, but I suppose until you get the diagnosis. At the moment we’re just hopeful and fingers crossed. From there we’ll get him back fit and strong. It’s disappointing, of course.”
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    Brighton 4 Chelsea 1: Graham Potter tastes first defeat as Blues boss as stunning Seagulls go on first-half rampage

    IT had to happen, didn’t it? Graham Potter suffered his first defeat as Chelsea boss back at the Amex.“Potter, what’s the score,” chanted the home fans as Brighton closed out their first win under his replacement, Roberto De Zerbi.
    Graham Potter suffered defeat on his return to Brighton as Chelsea lost 4-1 at the AmexCredit: Alamy
    Potter was booed and trolled by fans as Brighton raced into an early leadCredit: Getty
    And how the Seagulls De Zerbi’d it, after a stunning first-half performance.
    They were 3-0 up at half time after Leandro Trossard scored early and both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah put through their own net.
    But the the biggest own goal came from Potter.
    For the second weekend in a row, he sent out the Blues with the wrong formation and system.
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    Leandro Trossard fired the hosts ahead after just five minutesCredit: Reuters
    The Belgian rounded Kepa Arrizabalaga, having already had an effort cleared by Thiago SilvaCredit: Reuters
    Against Manchester United, the changes Potter made brought his side back into the game and they were good value for a point.
    This time, there was no rescuing the situation.
    After the Seagulls had flocked all over his team in first half, Potter was given hope by a goal from Kai Havertz in the second half.
    But Brighton rallied and completed a fabulous afternoon when Pascal Gross added a fourth in stoppage time.
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    Brighton found themselves 2-0 up 10 minutes laterCredit: Alamy
    Ruben Loftus-Cheek had a nightmare as he turned the ball into his own netCredit: Reuters
    The home fans reserved most of their hostility for Marc Cucurella after the defender followed Potter to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
    But they spent most of the afternoon cheering their own side.
    Brighton were two up inside 14 minutes and very good value for it.
    Chelsea captain Thiago Silva had already headed off the line from Trossard and Pervis Estupinan before his attempted pass was cut out by Trossard.
    Kaoru Mitoma returned the ball and the twinkle-toed Belgian danced around Kepa Arrizabalaga before finding a precise finish into the side netting.
    Brighton went 3-0 up just moments before the breakCredit: Reuters
    This time it was an own-goal from Chelsea defender Trevoh ChalobahCredit: AFP
    The home side kept up the pressure and the latest in a series of corners resulted in Solly March’s delivery being kneed into his own net by Loftus-Cheek.
    The Brighton faithful told Potter: “You’re getting sacked in the morning.”
    Chelsea finally came to life, and Robert Sanchez made a trio of good saves. First the home goalkeeper kept out Conor Gallagher’s shot and Christian Pulisic fluffed the follow-up.
    Then the Spaniard acrobatically tipped away a Gallagher header, before a more routine near-post stop from Kai Havertz.
    It was breathless, entertaining stuff.
    Goalie Kepa was hooked at the break after a disastrous 45 minutesCredit: Reuters
    Kai Havertz pulled one back for the Blues with a header in the 48th minuteCredit: Reuters
    Brighton regained the ascendancy, with Moises Caicedo firing into the side-netting after a fine move.
    Chelsea’s desperation and frustration were summed up by Raheem Sterling taking a tumble in the box and Cucurella body-checking March.
    And the Seagull’s supremacy was epitomised by a wonderful third goal. Yes, Chalobah had the final touch but the move that started deep in the home team’s half and ended with Estupinan’s cross was sublime.
    Potter rang the changes at half time. The reason for Arrizabalaga’s withdrawal was unclear, but on came Edouard Mendy to play behind a back four in a 4-3-3.
    The tide turned inside three minutes of the restart when Gallagher swung in a superb cross that Havertz headed firmly past Sanchez.
    Brighton made sure of the result with a fourth goal in the dying momentsCredit: Reuters
    Pascal Gross leaped onto a rebound to fire past sub goalie Edouard MendyCredit: Reuters
    The Brighton goalkeeper then stopped Pascal Gross joining the list of own-goalscorers after a Mason Mount cross.
    The Chelsea boss tried to build on the momentum with two more substitutions.
    Sterling was put out of his misery after a very poor afternoon, in favour of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Cucurella was showered with abuse as he trudged around the pitch perimeter after being replaced by Chilwell.
    Sanchez kept out an Aubameyang shot pretty comfortably but the visitors did not make many clear-cut chances.
    Home substitute Julio Enciso could have killed the game when he broke with 13 minutes left, but he failed to pass to the unmarked Trossard and saw his shot blocked by Silva.
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    Potter’s final throw of the dice was to put on Hakim Ziyech and Armando Broja for the final 11 minutes.
    But in stoppage time, Mendy saved twice from Enciso, only to be unable to stop Gross’ follow-up. More

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    ‘Getting sacked in the morning’ – Brighton fans hilariously troll ex-boss Graham Potter after Chelsea’s nightmare start

    GRAHAM POTTER was hilariously trolled with a cheeky song by Brighton fans on his return to the Amex Stadium.That’s after Chelsea went 2-0 down to the Seagulls in the first 14 minutes before conceding another at half-time.
    Brighton fans sang ‘sacked in the morning’ at former boss Graham PotterCredit: Getty
    Former fan favourite Potter ditched Brighton for the Blues in September after Todd Boehly sacked Thomas Tuchel.
    Supporters did not take the news well, with Brighton cruising high in the table at the time.
    They first made their displeasure known by booing Potter and former left-back Marc Cucurella early in the Premier League clash.
    And after soaring into a 2-0 lead through Leandro Trossard and a Ruben Loftus-Cheek own-goal, the home supporters treated Potter to a rendition of “sacked in the morning.”
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    It was the second time in the game Brighton fans aimed a song at Potter.
    After Trossard’s first goal, they sang heartily: “Potter, what’s the score?”
    But things were only going to get worse for Chelsea and their English boss.
    That’s because with just minutes left in the half, Trevoh Chalobah became the latest Blue to put the ball in his own net.
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    Football fans all around certainly found the incident amusing.
    One tweeted: “Potter created a team he can’t play against.”
    Another wrote: “He’s lucky Roman’s gone otherwise he would be sacked.”
    One declared: “Brighton gave Chelsea Cucurella and their manager, and are beating them on top of it.”
    Another added: “Todd won’t put up with this for long.”
    Chelsea attempted to push back in the second half after subbing on Edouard Mendy for Kepa Arrizabalaga.
    They pulled one back after just several minutes when Kai Havertz headed home from a Conor Gallagher cross. More

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    Chelsea stars give clear answer to Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi goat debate with only Armando Broja disagreeing

    CHELSEA stars were asked by a cheeky child whether they preferred Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.And the answers were very clear, with just one player disagreeing with the majority’s verdict.
    Chelsea stars gave their answer on the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debateCredit: Twitter@ESPNFC
    Armando Broja was the only Blue to go against the grainCredit: Twitter@ESPNFC
    The Halls family went to Cobham this week to see if they could meet some of Chelsea’s top players on their way to training.
    One kid wore a Blues shirt as he greeted various aces on the side of the road.
    Each player stopped for an autograph and picture with the delighted fan.
    But before they drove off, he asked every single one to settle the biggest debate in football: Messi vs Ronaldo.
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    Out of six players, five voted in favour of Paris Saint-Germain star Messi.
    Surprisingly, there was just one in Ronaldo’s corner – fellow striker Armando Broja.
    Ben Chilwell, Conor Gallagher, Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella all threw their weight behind Messi without a second thought.
    But Broja was equally forthright with his response, backing Man Utd renegade Ronaldo to the hilt.
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    The Messi vs Ronaldo debate is sure to rumble onCredit: Getty – Contributor

    Footy fans were delighted to see some honest answers though.
    One said: “Every footballer outside United and Madrid, even coaches choose Messi.”
    Another declared: “They set this up, Ronaldo is clear.”
    One laughed: “That settles it, that handful of Chelsea players has it decided for the history books.”
    Another added: “Chelsea deserves to win the league then.” More

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    Antonio Rudiger shows off gruesome red eye and 20 stitches in head after Real Madrid star’s injury vs Shakhtar Donetsk

    REAL MADRID star Antonio Rudiger has shown off his gruesome battle scars following his nasty Champions League knock.The ex-Chelsea ace, 29, sustained a scary head and eye injury during Real’s 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk two weeks ago.
    Real Madrid star Antonio Rudiger revealed his gruesome injuriesCredit: Pacific Coast News
    Antonio Rudiger hurt his eye and head in the Champions League
    The centre-back was busted open after he heroically netted a last-gasp equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time to cancel out Oleksandr Zubkov’s opener.
    The Germany international required a whopping 20 stitches to heal his wound after the match.
    Rudiger flew back to Madrid covered in bandages but appeared to be in good spirits, based on a selfie he shared on the plane.
    But the former Chelsea star showed the same toughness he brought to Stamford Bridge as he came off the bench in the El Clasico just five days later against Barcelona.
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    The defender also competed against Elche with a face mask and Sevilla with a headband.
    He is now gearing up for Tuesday night’s Champions League clash at RB Leipzig.
    Even now, Rudiger’s injury hasn’t completely healed.
    During the pre-match press conference, the defender’s eye was still blood-red with the stitches still visible.
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    However, the German looked keen to start for Carlo Ancelotti’s side after admitting he is loving life at Real.
    Rudiger said: “I’m satisfied with my performances.
    “I feel I’m on a good run, I don’t have to play every game because we have a large squad with a lot of quality.
    “I feel I’m a 10 out of 10. I’m surprised at how quickly I’ve adapted. I had the help of [Toni] Kroos and [David] Alaba.
    “I’m very happy. As I said in my presentation, I’m going to give 100 per cent for this club”. More

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    Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek reveals talks with Andy Murray over injuries as Potter backs him for World Cup squad

    CHELSEA star Ruben Loftus-Cheek turned to British tennis legend Andy Murray for advice on coping with his injury woes.Loftus-Cheek’s progress has been disrupted by several fitness issues, most notably a persistent back issue and a serious Achilles problem suffered in 2019.
    Andy Murray met with Chelsea ace Ruben Loftus-Cheek in SurbitonCredit: Getty
    Chelsea ace Ruben Loftus-Cheek has received advice from Andy MurrayCredit: Getty
    Former No1 Murray has also dealt with serious injuries throughout his stellar career, especially a hip problem that hampers him to this day.
    The Chelsea midfielder met the British hero in Surbiton during the summer while he was training and received some important advice on how to overcome injury setbacks.
    Loftus-Cheek said: “I went to see Andy train and play at Surbiton in the summer. I’m a big fan of tennis.
    “We had a chat and it was good to see how he sees himself and his career and the injuries that hindered him through it.
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    “He had a big one with the hip that he still struggles with a bit so it was good to compare careers.”
    Loftus-Cheek added: “I’ve put a lot of work into the gym and physically to get back to how I’m feeling now, but the tougher side has been the mental side to it.”
    The 26-year-old appears to have won over Chelsea manager Graham Potter with his progress.
    In fact, Potter insists England boss Gareth Southgate should seriously consider calling him up for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
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    The Blues boss said: “He has really impressed me, Ruben, on and off the pitch.
    “He is fantastic on the ball, great physicality, great athlete.
    “I think he is putting himself in a situation where he will be one of the players Gareth will be looking at as an outsider for the squad. But that is Gareth’s decision.” More

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    Chelsea to appoint Monaco technical director Laurence Stewart in newly-created role as Todd Boehly makes huge changes

    CHELSEA are set to appoint Monaco technical director Laurence Stewart to a newly-created role, reports suggest.The Blues’ new owner Todd Boehly is looking to rebuild the Stamford Bridge hierarchy and implement a multi-club model.
    Chelsea are set to appoint Monaco technical director Laurence Stewart
    Chelsea new owner Todd Boehly is aiming to create a major revamp at Stamford BridgeCredit: Getty
    According to The Athletic, the West Londoners have reached an agreement with Stewart who is set to undertake a new role at the club.
    The Englishman is very familiar with the model Boehly wants to put together at Chelsea as he worked under the same capacity at the Red Bull network and Monaco.
    Stewart carries immense experience after previously working with RB Leipzig, Everton, Manchester City and the FA.
    He looks set to join Christopher Vivell, who is to be appointed as Chelsea’s new technical director after his departure from Leipzig.
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    The Blues turned to Vivell after Red Bull Salzburg’s Christoph Freund rejected their offer.
    The two also look set to join forces with Southampton’s Joe Shields, who will take over as director of recruitment.
    Chelsea’s dramatic transformation got underway with the departure of various key figures in the summer.
    Those included former director Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck as well as technical and performance advisor Petr Cech.
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    Thomas Tuchel was also sacked as manager earlier in the season after a poor start to the campaign.
    Tuchel was succeeded by Graham Potter, who is currently enjoying an eight-match unbeaten streak with five wins along the way. More