EPL

Potter admits Silva 'fortunate' to have avoided red card

By Sports Desk October 01, 2022

Graham Potter admitted Chelsea were "fortunate" not to have Thiago Silva sent off in their late 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Silva was caught in possession and deliberately handled the ball to prevent Jordan Ayew from breaking clean through on goal in Saturday's Premier League contest.

Palace, who were 1-0 up at that point through an early Odsonne Edouard goal, were furious that referee Chris Kavanagh only showed the 38-year-old defender a yellow card.

Patrick Vieira was himself cautioned by the official for refusing to let the matter pass, and opposite number Potter accepted Chelsea could have been a man light.

"It was a 50-50 one we've come out on the right side of I think," he said at his post-match news conference. "I think it's one that we've been fortunate with.

"The fact it's quite a way from the goal has maybe helped us a bit and there are covering defenders. But I can understand Patrick's frustration."

Vieira did not want to be drawn into discussing the performance of referee Kavanagh, but made clear his unhappiness at the decision.

"It's difficult for me to understand and accept it, so sometimes it's better for me to be really quiet and not talk about it," he told reporters.

"I don't want to talk about it because I believe the referee got it wrong. If I really say what I think, I will be in trouble. 

"It's better for me not to talk about it. I don't understand the decision and don't want to talk about it. There is a referee, there is VAR, and they are making decisions – we move on."

Palace's frustrations only heightened when Silva nodded down a Reece James pass for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to lash in Chelsea's equaliser before half-time.

In another cruel blow for the hosts, substitute Conor Gallagher – voted Palace's Player of the Year during last season's loan spell – scored a 90th-minute winner, ensuring Potter picked up a victory in his first league game in charge of Chelsea.

Having also recovered from behind to beat West Ham last month, Chelsea have won back-to-back league games after conceding first for the first time since December 2016.

"We're delighted with the result," Potter told BBC Sport. "It's a tough place to come. I thought we started quite well but conceded from the first action into the box.

"Credit to the boys, they recovered well and did not let their heads go down. It was nice to get an equaliser and get back in the game.

"We had to survive moments as they are a good side with dangerous players. To be a goal down and come away with three points is fantastic so credit to the players.

"There's character, that's for sure. They could've felt sorry for themselves after conceding the goal but the players stood up all the way through. There was a collective spirit among the players. We are delighted with the three points."

Aubameyang fired a blank in his first two Chelsea appearances, both coming in the Champions League, but found the net with a clinical half-volley on the swivel.

He has now scored on his first Premier League game for both Arsenal (against Everton in February 2018) and Chelsea, with this his fifth goal against Palace in the competition.

"It was an important goal," Potter said. "He has been working hard to get himself up to Premier League fitness and I have been really impressed with him. 

"But any forward will tell you it is important for them to score and it was an important goal for us."

Related items

  • Tunisia v France: Deschamps facing selection dilemma Tunisia v France: Deschamps facing selection dilemma

    Didier Deschamps may opt to rest some of his key players for Wednesday's clash against Tunisia with France already through to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

    Wins against Australia and Denmark mean the defending champions are almost guaranteed to finish top of Group D and, with such a packed schedule, Deschamps has the luxury of being able to leave out the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann.

    Les Bleus had Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku ruled out before the tournament started while first-choice left-back Lucas Hernandez lasted just 13 minutes of their opening game against the Socceroos before sustaining a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, and Deschamps seems unlikely to risk more of his star men.

    Hernandez has been replaced by his brother Theo, although he too may be left out against Tunisia given the lack of depth on the left side of defence.

    That could mean Jules Kounde makes the move across from right-back, something the Barcelona defender would be willing to do.

    Kounde said: "It's another chance to play in the France team. I've always tried to do my best and play with a lot of desire. 

    "Left-back would be another position. I think I've played it once, we'll see what the coach decides."

    Kounde got the nod at right-back against Denmark in place of Benjamin Pavard, who started France's opener against Australia.

    "It's healthy competition," Kounde said of his battle with the Bayern Munich man. "We try to bring the maximum when we play. I have to bring more offensively and improve technically."

    Tunisia have taken one point from their two games and have yet to score. The 1-0 defeat to Australia on Saturday was a major blow to their hopes of advancing, and they must beat France to stand any chance.

    Coach Jalel Kadri is also considering changes in a bid to improve their creativity.

    He said: "We lost a crucial match, but we will give everything we have in the last game.

    "We don't change the team for the sake of changing, but we make adjustments to adapt to the way the rival teams play. We will analyse our performance and fix our mistakes."


    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Tunisia - Youssef Msakni

    Although Tunisia were largely disappointing against the Socceroos, Msakni had a fine game. The Al Arabi attacker had six shots against Australia, the most ever by a Tunisia player in a single World Cup match. 

    If Tunisia are to cause a stunning upset, his partnership with Issam Jebali will be key.

    France - Ousmane Dembele

    Mbappe and Giroud may have stolen the headlines but Dembele has been a revelation down the right side of France's attack.

    Only four players have created more chances over the first two matchdays while only Argentina's Angel Di Maria has made more successful dribbles.

    PREDICTION

    France are understandably overwhelming favourites to make it three wins from three Group D games. Stats Perform's AI model rates them a 62 per cent chance to take the three points with Tunisia's hopes rated at just 14.5 per cent. A draw is given a 23.5 per cent chance.

  • Australia v Denmark: Danes up for a fight to progress from Group D Australia v Denmark: Danes up for a fight to progress from Group D

    Rasmus Kristensen is ready for a tough tussle with Australia, while Denmark team-mate Jesper Lindstrom is confident Kasper Hjulmand's side will go through to the last 16.

    Denmark's defeat to France on Saturday, combined with Australia's victory over Tunisia, has left the Euro 2020 semi-finalists in need of a victory to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout stage of the World Cup in Qatar.

    With France's progress from Group D already assured, all three of the other sides could clinch second place, which is occupied by Australia heading into the final matchday.

    Wednesday's match at Al Janoub Stadium will be the second meeting between Australia and Denmark at the World Cup, following a 1-1 draw in the group stage in 2018, and Kristensen knows it will be a battle.

    "For sure we're up for it," the Leeds United defender told reporters. "If fighting is what it takes we're going to do it.

    "I know a few [Australia] players. We've seen the first game and we're going to watch a lot of them in the next few days.

    "I think the expectations were the last game would always be decisive."

    Lindstrom, who almost put Denmark ahead against France before Kylian Mbappe's second goal sealed a 2-1 victory for Les Bleus, has faith his team will get the job done.

    "We have confidence, everyone has belief. We have that mentality. We will do our best," said the Eintracht Frankfurt attacker, who believes Denmark played at a much higher level against France than in their opening draw with Tunisia.

    "We are really disappointed but we have to look how we can develop, how we can use the situations we created," he added.

    "The second half was better than the first but we had 20 minutes where we controlled the game, we scored the goal and we had big chances."

    Denmark could qualify for the knockout stage at back-to-back World Cup tournaments for a second time, previously doing so in 1998 and 2002.

    The Danes have only failed to qualify from the group stage in one of their previous five appearances at the tournament, while Australia have only made it to the last 16 once in their history back in 2006.

    However, should France beat Tunisia as expected in the other Group D's game on Wednesday, then a point would be enough for Australia to go through.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Australia – Mitchell Duke

    Mitchell Duke scored Australia's winner against Tunisia, heading home brilliantly. The 31-year-old has scored five goals in his past eight starts for his country, with four of these goals being headers.

    Denmark – Jesper Lindstrom

    Handed a start against France, Lindstrom felt he had done enough to impress Hjulmand, though he rued been unable to score, with Hugo Lloris making a fine save from the forward's strike.

    Denmark have only scored once so far in Qatar, and Lindstrom will be hoping for more luck in front of goal against Australia.

    PREDICTION

    Australia have lost eight of their 11 World Cup games against European sides (W1 D2), failing to keep a clean sheet in all of those matches, while they have won just one of their four games versus Denmark, winning a friendly match 1-0 in June 2010.

    Opta make Denmark – ranked 28 places above Australia by FIFA – as the strong favourites, giving them a 63.2 per cent chance of securing a crucial victory.

    The likelihood of a draw is 22 per cent, leaving Australia's chances of coming out on top at 14.8 per cent.

  • 'Marvellous' Ten Hag will need time to deliver Man Utd vision, says De Boer 'Marvellous' Ten Hag will need time to deliver Man Utd vision, says De Boer

    Erik ten Hag has done a "marvellous" job since taking charge at Manchester United, says former Netherlands midfielder Ronald de Boer.

    But the Dutchman says his compatriot will need time to fully implement his ideas and secure a full turnaround in fortunes for the Red Devils.

    Ten Hag succeeded interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of last season, and has weathered a slow start – plus the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo – to emerge with an enhanced reputation.

    With United fifth in the Premier League amid its mid-season break for the World Cup, De Boer believes the former Ajax boss has shown his mettle under the microscope to impress so far.

    "I think he has been marvellous," he told Sky Sports. "We're talking about the biggest league in the world.

    "Everybody has an opinion about Manchester United, not only in England but all over the world. I must say he's coping very well.

    "He's had to make some decisions, and I think if you just look from the outside, they're starting to play better. I think you give him time."

    Despite an upturn in both mood and form for United, the likelihood of a silverware challenge already looks slim, with the club 11 points off Premier League leaders Arsenal.

    But De Boer pointed to both Ten Hag's prior record and that of Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, who has also battled criticism for underachievement during his tenure, only to now be leading a title charge.

    "He had a great four years at Ajax with an unbelievable amount of trophies, so give him time," he reinforced. "Look at Mikel Arteta.

    "He had the worst team in the history of Arsenal, and now he's maybe the second-best manager after [Manchester City boss Pep] Guardiola.

    "I think [Ten Hag has] shown the quality. I believe heavily in Erik ten Hag."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.