Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
Just 14 minutes into their first English Premier League game since May 2010, Burnley had a 1-0 lead at home against a team many view as title favorites.
Unfortunately for the hosts, that glorius lead lasted all of three minutes, as Chelsea scored three unanswered first-half goals to cruise to a 3-1 victory in their opening game.
Burnley’s Scott Arfield opened the scoring with a right-footed rocket past Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, setting the Turf Moor crowd into a frenzy. The state of euphoria lasted just three minutes until Chelsea striker Diego Costa scored to tie things at one in his Premier League debut.
Fellow summer signing Cesc Fabregas provided Chelsea with a moment of magic just four minutes later, as the former Barcelona man provided a potential pass of the season candidate to set up a cutting Andre Schurrle for Chelsea’s second. Defender Branislav Ivanovic added a third in the 34th minute, allowing Chelsea to coast to three points in the Blue’s first game of the 2014-15 season.
Here are more news and notes from Monday afternoon:
BARCELONA THRASH CLUB LEON IN FRIENDLY
In a game that served as the debut of new striker Luis Suarez, it was the return of a more familiar that stole the show in Barcelona’s friendly with Club Leon Monday.
Returning from a back injury suffered in the World Cup, Neymar led the way for Barcelona, netting a first half brace in a 6-0 thrashing of the Liga MX side.
Neymar scored goals in the 12th and 44th minutes, the second of which came via a spectacular effort that saw the Brazilian round the goalkeeper before back-heeling a shot into an open net. Neymar was joined on the score sheet by Lionel Messi, Sandro Ramírez and Munir El Haddadi, who had two goals of his own.
Suarez made his Barcelona debut in the 75th minute, just days after returning to training after an appeal of his suspension stemming from his World Cup bite of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Suarez will now be out until October, when he can be expected to return for an October 26 clash with rivals Real Madrid.
SIMEONE DISCUSSES DIFFERING TRANSFER STYLES OF ATLETICO AND REAL MADRID
When the dust settled in the 2013-14 Champions League, a pair of Madrid teams stood at the top of European soccer, albeit through entirely different methods.
With both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid reaching the continent’s final game, it’s hard to argue against either sides’ way of conducting business. However, Atletico manager Diego Simeone heralded his team’s “creativity” in comparison to his rivals’ transfer strategy.
“We’ve brought in seven or eight players for 95 million (Euros), they’ve spent 95 million on two,” Simeone in a press conference. “There is a little difference. But this club has always had this creativity. We’re still looking. No doubt there will still be someone who comes and someone who goes. We’re forming the group, but the group isn’t made up of the 11 who play, but with the 18 or 20 who are available.”
Much of Atletico’s 95 million came via the sale of Diego Costa. Despite the loss of the star striker, Simeone insists his side will utilize the same style of play that saw them win La Liga last campaign.
“The structure of the team won’t change,” Simeone said. “The aims and the aggressiveness will be the same because it’s the basis of the side. It gives us the stability to maintain the same style of play. The way Mario Mandzukic plays isn’t the same and Antonie Griezmann could be similar.
“Raul Jiménez is in between. He’s the most similar without being the same as Costa, but he can also play as a second striker. Whoever makes us feel the most comfortable will be who plays.”
JUVENTUS OFFER $26.75 MILLION TO TAKE FALCAO ON LOAN
Despite missing out on the World Cup due to injury, Monaco striker Radamel Falcao remains one of the most targeted strikers in the game today.
With rumors persisting that the Columbian star is unhappy with life in Monaco, Italian giants Juventus have offered to take Falcao on a season-long loan, according to La Gazzetta Dello Sport. Falcao is reportedly willing to make financial sacrifices to push through a move and is willing to forego some of the $12 million annual salary he makes in the tax-friendly principality.
Juventus are willing to put aside $20 million to secure the services of Falcao, with the money set to be split between the player and the Ligue 1 club.
Falcao scored 11 goals in 19 games for Monaco last season before suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament in January.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has asked Russia to reduce the number of venues for the 2018 World Cup. (REPORT)
Paris Saint-Germain confirm that striker Zlatan Ibrhimovic has suffered a a partial tear of the left oblique muscle and will be out for six weeks. (REPORT)
Forward Edin Dzeko is set to become the latest Manchester City player to sign a long-term extension with the club. (REPORT)
What did you think of Chelsea’s performance? Were you impressed by Barcelona? How would Falcao fare with Juventus?
Share your thoughts below.