Away-day specialists Manchester City saw off Crystal Palace 2-0 to close in on another Premier League title and equal a top-flight record in the process.

Chelsea beat Fulham by the same scoreline elsewhere in Saturday's Premier League action, thanks to a couple of goals from Kai Havertz.

A two-goal success was also the outcome when Brighton and Hove Albion welcomed Leeds United to the Amex Stadium, the Seagulls all but securing their top-flight status for another season.

In the late match, Aston Villa edged out Everton 2-1 to boost their chances of a top-half finish and derail their opponents' European prospects.

We use Opta data to take a look at the best facts from Saturday's games.

 

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City: Patient Citizens win again on their travels

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres in the space of 83 seconds proved enough for City to pick up a victory that leaves them on the brink of another piece of silverware.

Those strikes came from the Citizens' first two shots on target and saw them reach the 700-goal mark under Pep Guardiola in all competitions.

City's 57-minute wait for their first on-target attempt of the match was their longest in a Premier League game since November 2019 against Southampton.

Torres added to Aguero's opener moments later with a good finish from 20 yards - the 11th league goal Palace have conceded from outside the box this term, which is the joint-most of any Premier League team alongside Sheffield United.

The victory was City's 11th in a row away from home in the Premier League, equalling the all-time English top-flight record held by Chelsea (April-December 2008) and City themselves (May-December 2017).

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 Leeds United: Whites lose again on south coast

Brighton moved within touching distance of securing a fifth successive season of Premier League football thanks to a well-earned victory at home to Leeds.

Pascal Gross found the bottom corner from a 14th-minute penalty and Danny Welbeck added to that with his fifth Premier League goal of the season in his 21st outing - the forward's best top-flight return since 2017-18.

It was an all-too-familiar tale for Leeds, who have now lost five successive away league meetings against Brighton without scoring - the first time that has happened in their history against a single opponent.

In fact, Brighton have won eight of their last nine league meetings with Leeds home and away, which is more than they managed in their previous 28 against them.

Leeds managed just two attempts on target as Graham Potter's Brighton claimed a seventh home clean sheet of the season, a tally bettered only by Manchester City and Chelsea (nine each) in the Premier League this season.

 

Chelsea 2-0 Fulham: Havertz inflicts more derby misery on Cottagers

Kai Havertz doubled his Premier League goals tally with a brace in Chelsea's routine victory over Championship-bound Fulham.

All eight of the Germany international's goals for Chelsea in all competitions have now been scored in London, seven of those at Stamford Bridge and one at Selhurst Park.

His second goal in this game involved some nice link-up play with Timo Werner, who with that assist became the first Chelsea player to reach double figures for both goals (11) and assists (10) in his debut season for the club since Eden Hazard in 2012-13.

Werner's combined 21 goals and assists is the most of any Chelsea player this term, and he is one of five Premier League players to reach double figures for both metrics across all competitions alongside Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-min and Marcus Rashford.

Fulham have now gone 19 away games without a win at neighbours Chelsea in all competitions - only versus Everton (31), Hull City (23) and Middlesbrough (21) are the Blues currently enjoying a longer unbeaten run against an opponent on home soil.

The Cottagers are also now winless in 24 Premier League London derbies since beating West Ham in January 2014 - only Palace have endured a longer such run in English top-flight history, going 31 London derbies without a win between August 1969 and March 1973.

Fulham missed some good chances as Chelsea kept an 11th Premier League clean sheet under Thomas Tuchel - the most shutouts for any manager in their first 15 games in the competition, one more than ex-Blues bosses Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Everton 1-2 Aston Villa: Toffees' poor Goodison run continues against familiar opponents

Villa dented Everton's European hopes with victory at Goodison Park in what was the 205th top-flight meeting between the clubs - the most played fixture in England's top division.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Villans have won more games (20) and scored more goals (73) in the Premier League era against Everton than they have against any other side in the competition.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 20th goal in all competitions this season to open the scoring in Saturday's late kick-off - with that haul including a Premier League leading seven headers - to cancel out Ollie Watkins' opener.

But Anwar El Ghazi snatched all three points for the Villans 10 minutes from time with his eighth goal in 23 Premier League games this season, doubling his tally from 34 appearances in the competition last time out.

Everton have now won just one of their last 10 home league matches and have tasted defeat at Goodison Park eight times this season - only in 1993-94 have they lost on more occasions (nine) in a single Premier League campaign.

Thomas Tuchel has told misfiring Chelsea forward Timo Werner that it is no time to cry over his form in front of goal.

Werner has struggled to replicate the form that saw him score 28 goals in 34 Bundesliga appearances for RB Leipzig last season since joining the Blues in a £47.5million deal.

The Germany international scored the only goal in a vital 1-0 win at West Ham on Saturday – his sixth in 31 Premier League outings.

However, his demons in front of goal returned during Tuesday's 1-1 Champions League semi-final draw at Real Madrid as he volleyed a glorious close-range opportunity too close to Thibaut Courtois.

Werner's four shots were more than any of his Chelsea team-mates, with two on target and one blocked before he was withdrawn in favour of compatriot Kai Havertz midway through the second-half.

"He missed a big one at West Ham, now he missed another big one here," Tuchel told a news conference after Karim Benzema's well-taken volley cancelled out Christian Pulisic's 14th-minute opener.

"That does not help, but it also does not help to cry about it or to regret it all the time.

"It's like this. There are millions of people who have harder things to deal with than chances that you miss.

"This is the good thing about sports. Nobody cares tomorrow. Today we were sad, we were angry in the moment.

"This is normal. He is angry, he is maybe disappointed. Tomorrow he has a free day and then the next day he has to put his chin up."

Werner has scored six non-penalty goals for Chelsea across the Premier League and Champions League, with his shots in those competitions adding up to an expected goals (xG) figure of 13.4 – underlining his woes.

However, the 25-year-old's selfless running and work rate has been valuable to Tuchel since he succeeded Frank Lampard in January.

Although he did not create any chances for his colleague in the Spanish capital, Werner has supplied eight assists amid his Premier League and Champions League efforts this term.

"He is a professional guy, he is a top guy. He works hard, he is in the positions and from there on we go," Tuchel added.

"We will never stop pushing, we will never stop believing. I have the feeling that everybody accepts the situation as it is.

"As a striker it is easy – you score the next game and nobody speaks."

West Ham defender Fabian Balbuena has had his three-match ban overturned after an independent commission accepted his sending off against Chelsea was "wrongful".

Thomas Tuchel's Blues clinched a potentially vital win in the race for a top-four finish against surprise Champions League hopefuls West Ham, with Timo Werner's goal enough to seal all three points at London Stadium.

West Ham's hopes of pushing for a late equaliser were dashed when Balbuena saw red in the 81st minute.

While clearing the ball down the line on West Ham's right flank, Balbuena – seemingly inadvertently – caught Ben Chilwell on his follow-through.

Referee Chris Kavanagh initially booked Balbuena but, after consultation with the VAR, went over to assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and subsequently changed his decision to a straight red card – a call that infuriated Hammers boss David Moyes.

However, the FA has revealed an independent panel has deemed Kavanagh's decision to be erroneous.

An FA statement read: "An independent regulatory commission has removed Fabian Balbuena's three-match suspension following a successful claim of wrongful dismissal.

"The West Ham defender was dismissed for serious foul play during a Premier League fixture against Chelsea on Saturday."

As such, Balbuena will be able to feature against Burnley on Monday, as West Ham resume their quest for a top-four finish.

The defeat to Chelsea left them three points adrift of Tuchel's men in fourth.

Chelsea duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz need strong personalities to succeed at Stamford Bridge, according to Kevin Kuranyi.

Germany stars Werner and Havertz both joined Chelsea at the start of the season, from RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, amid high expectations but it has been a challenging start to life for the pair in the Premier League.

After scoring 28 goals in the Bundesliga and 34 across all competitions last season, Werner has found the back of the net on 11 occasions and supplied nine assists for Chelsea this term, including six Premier League goals.

Havertz – who became Chelsea's most expensive outfield player ahead of the 2020-21 campaign – has shown glimpses of his quality with six goals and six assists, though he has largely struggled.

Former Germany striker Kuranyi backed the pair to rediscover their best form in London.

"Of course they were playing a really high level in Germany," 52-time Germany international Kuranyi, who played for Stuttgart and Schalke in the Bundesliga, told Stats Perform News.

"But if you play in a club like Chelsea… I was talking with some friends who play at Chelsea before and there it is very important to have a strong personality to play there.

"They are young players, like Havertz – he is in the first step of his career. He made a big, big step so he needs time to keep his quality at Chelsea.

"I think the first year is very important to learn a lot, to try to do the best, but in the second and third year will be much better."

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea – fourth in the Premier League – are preparing to face Real Madrid in the opening leg of their Champions League semi-final showdown on Tuesday.

West Ham manager David Moyes did not hold back in his criticism of referee Chris Kavanagh after the Hammers' 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Thomas Tuchel's team clinched a potentially vital win in the race for a top-four finish against surprise Champions League hopefuls West Ham, with Timo Werner's first top-flight goal since February enough to seal all three points at London Stadium.

It was a game not without controversy, however, as West Ham's hopes of pushing for a late equaliser were dashed when Balbuena saw red in the 81st minute.

While clearing the ball down the line on West Ham's right flank, Balbuena – seemingly inadvertently – caught Ben Chilwell on his follow-through.

Referee Kavanagh initially booked Balbuena but, after consultation with the VAR, went over to assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and subsequently changed his decision to a straight red card – a call which infuriated Moyes.

"I think it's a decision made by somebody who's never played the game," he told Sky Sports. 

"I don't know where Balbuena is meant to plant his foot. If they do make that decision then you look at the one a few minutes later which was the same – this time it was Vladimir Coufal and [Antonio] Rudiger – and it was a very similar challenge but they've never done anything about it.

"I don't know how it's a red card, I don't know where he's supposed to plant his foot, and you would only have to be someone who doesn't know the game, hasn't played it, to not know that he's kicked through the ball.

"I don't think for one minute there's a bit of malice in that, or he's tried to catch him. I thought it was a rubbish decision."

It was the second VAR controversy of the day in the Premier League, after Newcastle United's Callum Wilson had a goal disallowed for handball against Liverpool, albeit Joe Willock then struck minutes later to snatch a last-gasp point at Anfield.

Liverpool's draw means that fourth-placed Chelsea are four points clear of the Reds, who sit sixth, with West Ham in fifth.

Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten in all 10 away matches with Chelsea (W8 D2) and is only the second manager in Premier League history to remain unbeaten in his first 10 away games in all competitions with a club, after Claudio Ranieri with Leicester City in 2015, in the year the Foxes won the title.

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss was delighted with Chelsea's overall display, and that of goalscorer Werner, who squandered a great chance to make sure of the win in the second half, and Tuchel told his compatriot to keep up his form heading into the run-in.

"He needs to keep scoring and catch the moment. He is quite often involved in our goals, even in the last weeks, by winning fouls in the penalty area or with assists like against Man City. But nothing helps more than a decisive goal," Tuchel told reporters.

Tuchel is not wrong, with Werner having been directly involved in 20 goals for Chelsea this season (11 goals, nine assists) – the most of any player for the club in all competitions.

"I am very happy because I felt he was strong from the start," Tuchel continued.

"He was very good with distributing the ball, dropping from the number nine position and keeping the ball, he had good timing with his deep runs behind the line, and was involved in many chances and half-chances."

Timo Werner quipped "two goals might be too much" after he was Chelsea's match-winner, but also missed a glorious chance, in the London derby at West Ham.

Werner had not found the back of the net in 14 games for club and country, but the Germany striker ended his drought to secure a 1-0 win that strengthens Chelsea's grip on fourth spot in the Premier League.

The former RB Leipzig star ended a flowing first-half move he was involved in, yet someone failed to hit the target from a few yards out when the ball fell nicely for him after the break.

Werner was relieved to get back on the scoresheet at London Stadium, but knows he ought to have taken his goal tally for the season to 12.

Despite his struggles, Werner has been directly involved in 20 goals for Chelsea this season (11 goals, nine assists) – the most of any player for the club in all competitions.

He told Sky Sports: "The second chance I have to score, but I have to come back slowly. One goal is enough. Two goals might be too much for the beginning!

"I’m very happy that we won this game. It's a big win for us in the race for the top four. It's the best feeling after winning a game to score a goal.

"It was really important for me and for the whole team. It’s great to be back on the scoresheet.

"Callum [Hudson-Odoi] said to me I’ll score today, and 30 seconds later Tammy [Abraham] came to me and said I'd score today. They told me to point to them when I score."

Werner's goal was his first since February 15 and he is confident there will be more to come ahead of a Champions League semi-final first leg at Real Madrid on Tuesday.

"This season it's not only the confidence, maybe it’s also luck," he added. "Last year the ball always went in, this year it's different.

"I'm confident that the chances like my second one will also go in in the next weeks and months.

"The draw against Brighton [on Tuesday] was tough for us because we wanted to get the win before the West Ham game. Now we have this gap to West Ham. It was really important ahead of a big game on Tuesday, when we play against Real Madrid."

West Ham's misery was compounded when Fabian Balbuena was sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh following a VAR check after catching Ben Chilwell following through after clearing the ball.

Balbuena is the first West Ham player to be sent off against Chelsea in the Premier League since Paolo Di Canio in January 2002, while the Blues have now kept 10 league clean sheets under Thomas Tuchel, equalling the quickest a manager has recorded 10 clean sheets in the competition (Luiz Felipe Scolari also achieved this feat in 14 games back in 2008).

Chelsea are three points clear of the fifth-placed Hammers and four better off than Liverpool, who drew 1-1 with Newcastle United earlier on Saturday, with five games to play.

Timo Werner ended his goal drought as Chelsea strengthened their grip on fourth place in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory at fellow Champions League hopefuls West Ham.

Werner had gone 14 games without finding the back of the net for club and country before opening the scoring just before half-time at London Stadium on Saturday.

The Germany forward also missed a golden opportunity in an entertaining derby, which Thomas Tuchel's side deservedly won to go three points clear of the fifth-placed Hammers.

Fabian Balbuena was sent off 10 minutes from time for catching Ben Chilwell after playing the ball as West Ham's hopes of securing a surprise Champions League spot took another blow with five games remaining.

Chelsea made a bright start and Werner flashed a shot over the crossbar after Mason Mount picked him out in the penalty area.

Lukasz Fabianski saved Mount's shot after the lively midfielder turned sharply in the box, and Christian Pulisic fired a first-time strike straight at the West Ham goalkeeper following an excellent run from Werner down the right flank.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta breathed a huge sigh of relief when a VAR check ruled he had not handled Tomas Soucek's goal-bound drive in the area and Werner opened the scoring two minutes before the break.

The former RB Leipzig forward was involved in a brilliant sweeping move before racing into the area to finish Ben Chilwell's pinpoint cross with his right foot from seven yards out.

Werner should have doubled Chelsea's lead early in the second half, but he somehow failed to hit the target from a few yards out when following up after Fabianski saved a strike from Mount.

Jesse Lingard went close to equalising with a right-footed attempt that looped just past the far post before Fabianski dived to keep out a long-range drive from the excellent Mount.

The busy Fabianski got down well to deny Werner and the Hammers' hopes of salvaging something from the game took a big blow when Balbuena saw red following a VAR check, having followed through on Chilwell after launching the ball clear.

Meetings with Chelsea have provided Manchester City with a measuring stick over the past 12 months.

In June 2020, at Stamford Bridge, City's 2-1 defeat handed the Premier League title to Liverpool, ending Pep Guardiola's two-season stay at the summit.

When City then returned to the same stadium in January, facing Chelsea for the first time in 2020-21, they rediscovered their mojo.

It was the fourth match in a sequence of 21 straight wins in all competitions and arguably the pick of the bunch.

Slick City, missing a host of stars due to COVID-19, swept Chelsea aside in a 3-1 win as Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne all scored. They left London in fifth but firmly back on track.

It has since looked as though that might be a defining display in a historic quadruple achievement. City, like Chelsea, reached the Champions League semi-finals this week. They are already clear at the top of the league table and have an EFL Cup final Wembley date with Tottenham next weekend.

But in the FA Cup, the fourth competition, City were tasked with again taking on Chelsea, an entirely different prospect now Thomas Tuchel has replaced Frank Lampard and fortified the Blues.

And Saturday's semi-final saw City finally come unstuck as Chelsea claimed a superb 1-0 success.

 

Blues a different beast

The improvement in Chelsea from January's match to this game was evident even in a first half in which they managed only two legal shots.

All three of City's goals had come in the opening 45 minutes last time, tearing through Lampard's men at will. They were now limited to three first-half efforts of their own worth a combined 0.1 expected goals. Parity suited Tuchel, who could not allow De Bruyne to dictate once more.

At the other end, a portender for City's later downfall appeared in the 'offsides' column, for the Premier League leaders were warned long before Hakim Ziyech's 55th-minute breakthrough.

With just six minutes on the clock, Timo Werner advanced up the left and the flag stayed down. The forward played a low, square ball, which City could not cut out, and Ziyech scored. Then the flag went up. A let off.

When Werner exploited the same space 10 minutes after the interval, set clear by a gorgeous Mason Mount pass, goalkeeper Zack Steffen decided to act.

Seemingly unimpressed by the way with which a usually sturdy City defence had allowed Werner to centre and Ziyech to finish on the first occasion, Steffen advanced and fared no better than his team-mates. The United States international failed to narrow the angle and simply granted Ziyech an open goal when Werner made his pass again.

 

KDB blow for treble bid

Mount moved uneasily as he was replaced 15 minutes later, but the damage was done. City had already lost De Bruyne - who completed only 10 passes in the Chelsea half - to an ankle complaint at the start of the second half. That setback could have implications far beyond this encounter.

Steffen twice saved City, blocking from Ziyech and reaching a tame Werner prod, and De Bruyne's replacement Foden sought to muster up more magic.

Momentum swung but the scoreline did not. Ruben Dias headed over from close range and Raheem Sterling blasted beyond the crossbar.

Although the flag was raised again to deny Chelsea a second in stoppage time - Christian Pulisic, on for Mount, frustrated - the Blues battled, blocked and bellowed their way across the finish line.

Tuchel five times faced Guardiola in Germany and failed to end on the winning side. Boosted by spirit in defence and speed in the form of the much-maligned Werner, he finally found the formula.

The Chelsea coach will get another go at Guardiola in the league on May 8, a third meeting this season hot on the heels of the sides' respective Champions League semis. They will know by then if there is to be a further part to this epic in a European final - hopefully, for City's sake, with De Bruyne back involved in Istanbul.

Should Guardiola's men win that prize, the most precious of all, it could clinch a tremendous treble, but FA Cup glory is not on the agenda this season.

"We never speak about the four titles," the City manager said in midweek. "One game at a time."

The next game ensured nobody outside the club could speak about that clean sweep either - at least for another year.

Erling Haaland might be too expensive a purchase for some of football's richest clubs. 

The Borussia Dortmund sensation is on everyone's wish list.

The question is who will be willing to meet his reported demands?

 

TOP STORY - LALIGA GIANTS PRICED OUT OF HAALAND MOVE?

Haaland's apparent desire for a €35million annual salary has the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid thinking twice about a potential move, Goal reported. 

The prolific 20-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, has held informal discussions with both LaLiga stalwarts but the sides did not get into specifics about finances. 

For now it appears Barca and Madrid are content to wait it out and see how Haaland's market unfolds. 

That is not the case for another potential suitor. According to Goal, an unnamed English club that made inquiries about the Leeds-born striker earlier this year has backed away from talks due to that salary figure. 

The mystery team is not Chelsea, who consider Haaland their top target according to an Evening Standard report. 

 

ROUND-UP

- While the Blues can hope to land the high-flying Norwegian, Timo Werner may be on the way out. Though the Evening Standard reports Chelsea have not yet seriously discussed selling him, it is not clear how he fits into the Blues' strike force at the moment.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is out of contract with AC Milan this summer and has had talks with Juventus, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Manchester United have coveted Nikola Milenkovic and may be ready to make a move for the Fiorentina defender, though The Sun says United would not be interested at the rumoured £38m fee. 

- United also want Edinson Cavani to have another season at Old Trafford, but at age 34 he might want to move closer to home. Boca Juniors would offer him a two-year deal, says Fabrizio Romano. 

- Watford are prepared to bring Ashley Young back to the club should they return to the Premier League next season, the Daily Mail says. Young's contract with Inter is expiring.

- After a loan spell with Paris Saint-GermainAlessandro Florenzi could be in line to play in Italy with Inter next season rather than returning to Roma, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported. 

- Luis Suarez appears likely to remain with Atletico Madrid, but there is a possibility he could rekindle last year's reported talks with David Beckham's Inter Miami. The American side's interest in the Uruguayan "has not stopped," according to Mundo Deportivo. 

- One player not headed anywhere is Karim Benzema, who Marca reports will sign to remain with Real Madrid through 2023.

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea retain "faith and trust" in struggling forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

Both players were substituted with 25 minutes left in the 2-0 Champions League win over Porto in Seville on Wednesday.

Tuchel said after the quarter-final first leg that the two players had not given him what he was looking for.

But ahead of the short trip to play Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, he insisted both players remain a key part of his plans and that his substitutions were specific only to that match.

Tuchel accepts Werner is lacking in confidence but does not have any concerns over Havertz.

Werner has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than any other Chelsea player (11, with five goals and six assists). 

However, the Germany striker has scored with just one of his last 42 shots in the competition, a strike against Newcastle United in February.

"Look at the games Porto played in the Champions League," said Tuchel in defence of Werner and Havertz.

"If you can show me any nice, fluid and pretty games of any opponent we can talk again. I did not find it. 

"They make your life very tough, especially for offensive players. They went through the group with 13 points. You can ask in the group how easy it was to play against them. 

"They did not have the easiest task up front. They had a big impact defensively and they worked hard for us, both Kai and Timo. 

"It was difficult for them to find spaces and create something, so we changed after 65 minutes but we will not lose faith and trust. 

"We accept sometimes it's hard sometimes to have a big impact. Maybe Timo misses a bit of confidence in his finishing but Kai, I feel, is very self-confident. 

"There are no bigger concerns. It was just in this game we tried to change the momentum."

Chelsea are yet to lose on the road under Tuchel in the Premier League (W3 D2).

The Palace clash comes after a dramatic week for the Blues, with the Porto win following up a shock 5-2 home reverse against West Brom.

Tuchel is keen to ensure his players do not get too up or down based on one result.

He added: "It's my job to learn every day and from every game, from every situation we have to face. 

"I don't have a big conclusion after the two games with the down and up we had in terms of results. 

"It's important to share experiences and make my experiences with the team. It's the first time we lost, a big loss, an unexpected loss in a weird game. 

"We have a lot of positives together so we needed to adapt and react to it. 

"I'm very happy we bounced back immediately. We were unlucky in some situations in the game. It's important for us now that we went through this. 

"Hopefully we can start a winning streak again."

Palace have kept five clean sheets in the Premier League at Selhurst Park since the turn of the year, two more than in the entirety of 2020.

But manager Roy Hodgson has lost six consecutive Premier League matches against Chelsea. 

The only opponent he has lost seven consecutive games against as a manager in the competition is Tottenham in a run that lasted between 2011 and 2019.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted Kai Havertz and Timo Werner were replaced following underwhelming performances in Wednesday's Champions League success against Porto.

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell scored as Chelsea drew first blood against Portuguese outfit Porto in the quarter-final tie with a 2-0 victory in Seville midweek.

It was a necessary response for Tuchel, whose 10-man Chelsea were sensationally humbled 5-2 by lowly West Brom in the Premier League last time out.

But Chelsea did not have it all their own way against Porto, who were the better side for periods of the game and only just second best in terms of expected goals (xG) – 1.8 to 1.7 in the former's favour.

Havertz and Werner particularly struggled, the German duo replaced by Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic with 25 minutes remaining, and Tuchel explained his changes.

In his last 29 games in all competitions, Werner has missed 20 big chances, with an xG of 10.5 and 3.5 shot conversion rate.

"I accepted that it was a tough match for Timo and for Kai today," Tuchel told reporters after Chelsea won consecutive away knockout fixtures in the Champions League for the first time since 2004. "They did not have their best day but we did not deliver so well [for them].

"The connection between the deep seven players that we needed for the build-up and the front three, we lost a bit the connection to them.

"The balls we delivered were not the best balls and I could feel our two German players up front, Kai and Timo, did not play on their highest level today so I wanted to have an impact from the bench."

No side has conceded fewer goals (two) or kept more clean sheets (seven) in this season's Champions League than Chelsea (level with Manchester City on both counts).

Since Tuchel's first game in charge of Chelsea (January 27), no goalkeeper playing for a top-five European side has kept more clean sheets in all competitions than Edouard Mendy (10).

Tuchel added: "Christian has a good momentum, Oli has waited long and has good experience and memories of this stadium. We wanted to give the sign that we keep on going [in the game].

"This is the mentality in general that I like about this club and this team and that we want to implement. Once you lead, it is very hard to not play with the mentality of having something to lose. You want to keep what you have.

"But you need to go to try to win the next half and go and try to win the next duels and try to score the next goal. The best way to defend is to attack. The best way to impress the opponents is to have ball possession to be couraged and to always be a threat.

"I am happy about the impact of our substitutions. It is absolutely necessary that we have this bond between the players and we have this impact from the bench physically, but also with quality. That's why we are super happy with a big win today. The job is half done and we are aware of that and we need another top performance on Tuesday."

Timo Werner only joined Chelsea at the start of the season, but could he leave Stamford Bridge?

Premier League giants Chelsea are among the clubs interested in Erling Haaland.

But reports claim Chelsea are not prepared to sanction a Werner exit.

 

TOP STORY – NO CHELSEA EXIT FOR WERNER

Chelsea are not planning on selling Timo Werner as they eye Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to Telegraph.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea have been heavily linked with Haaland, who is also being targeted by Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

But Chelsea are against the idea of parting with Werner or using the German forward in a deal to prise Haaland to Stamford Bridge after one season in London.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca are eyeing a move for Sergio Aguero after City announced their all-time leading goalscorer will leave the club on a free transfer at season's end, claims Fabrizio Romano. Inter, Chelsea and PSG have also been linked.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports Kalidou Koulibaly is likely to leave Napoli at the end of the season. Koulibaly has been linked with United, PSG and Bayern Munich previously.

- While a Koulibaly departure is on the cards, could legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon arrive? Gazzetta dello Sport claims Napoli are interested in the Juventus great, who is searching for regular football.

Cristiano Ronaldo will decide his future before May, according to Tuttosport. The Juventus superstar has been linked with former clubs Madrid and United, as well as PSG.

- Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, Torino captain Andrea Belotti, PSV's Donyell Malen, AZ's Myron Boadu and Celtic star Odsonne Edouard are on Milan's shortlist of strikers in the transfer window, reports Calciomercato.

- The Athletic and other outlets claim Liverpool are nearing a deal to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche played down the possible transfer in an interview with Stats Perform News.

Not for the first time during his run as a Sky Sports pundit, Roy Keane looked like he might combust. 

Manchester City had raced into a 3-0 lead against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, piling more pressure on under-fire boss Frank Lampard, but Keane had an expensively assembled attack in his crosshairs. 

"The attacking players need to show up," he said of a line-up boasting big money close-season arrivals Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Kai Havertz could only make the bench. 

"We spoke before the game, we said they have a lot of quality, but to me they don't look like they're up to it. What do Chelsea need? 

"They need a miracle to get back into this game. They've been shocking, particularly the attacking players." 

Alongside him, former Liverpool great Graeme Souness had an issue with Ziyech's tracking back – or lack thereof – on Kevin De Bruyne's goal. 

"Just watch Ziyech, he takes the free-kick, he wanders in and watch him. Big players don’t act like that," he said. "Sprint back as fast as you possibly can, you don't stand and watch the game like this. 

"I'm sure when Frank sees that, he'll point out to Ziyech that you cannot do that in our football."

When Lampard was sacked a little over three weeks later, his uncle Harry Redknapp was similarly and more bluntly parochial about the biggest story in "our football".

"When you look at the players, people say he's spent all this money, did he bring the players in? Did he bring the Germans in?" he rhetorically asked on talkSPORT.

"The two German players have been massive disappointments, massive. I'm not even sure Timo Werner is cut out for Premier League football, the physical side is too much for him."

Perhaps it is a function of the frequent changes in Chelsea's dugout that narratives around goodies and baddies are so hastily constructed. Remember Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard as the "three rats" after Jose Mourinho's 2015 demise?

In that context, the role Ziyech and the two Germans played in Thomas Tuchel's Blues comprehensively downing Atletico Madrid gave a stark demonstration how much Werner and Havertz's compatriot has entirely changed the mood and trajectory of this talented team.

KAI HOPES

It said much of Havertz's woes since joining from Bayer Leverkusen for an initial £72million that Redknapp didn't actually use his name when he was the focus of his opprobrium. 

One Premier League goal set against 12 in his final Bundesliga campaign suggests there is still plenty of ground to make up, but in a couple of blurring seconds, Havertz showed exactly what made him one of the most sought-after talents in Europe. 

He was alert to move in front of Kieran Trippier and bring the ball under his spell. In that instant, Atleti were on the receiving end of the sort of lethal counter-attack that has become their Champions League calling card. 

Then it was time to marvel at the pace, power and poise as he approached halfway before shovelling possession into Werner's path. 

Under Tuchel, Havertz's shots per 90 minutes are up 2.3 from 1.4. The goals will surely come, but for now he had played his supporting role to perfection.

TURNING ON THE AFTER-WERNERS

However much Havertz will be keen to hit the back of the net, his desire must pale next to Werner's.

The former RB Leipzig star was simmering with intent from early on against Atleti, bustling in behind their defence early on.

That famous pace was put to its best use when he galloped onto Havertz's 34th-minute pass. Head up and on high alert, Werner assessed the scene, took a touch with the outside of his right foot and then lined up a low cross with his left.

The 25-year-old had fired wide a little earlier after Ziyech missed a kick, but he backed his team-mate to get it right this time.

Werner drew a brilliant save from Jan Oblak early in the second half and lashed into the side netting after his speed had again tormented Atleti.

Part of a collective also going at full tilt, he only has one goal under Tuchel so far, but 10 overall and seven assists this term are more goal involvements than any other Chelsea player in 2020-21.

There lies one of the joys of this 13-match unbeaten run for Tuchel. He has had a watertight defence in place from the get-go. Now, an all-star attack is just starting to shine.

HAKIM LIVING THE DREAM AGAIN

When he delighted on Ajax's phenomenal run to the semi-finals in 2018-19, Ziyech showed he loved this stage. 

He particularly loves to grace it with his sumptuous left foot, but Werner's cross was so immediate and so precise, he had to stick his weaker right on the end of it. 

Oblak could not keep the shot out and four of Ziyech's Champions League goals have arrived against Spanish opposition. Roll on Real Madrid in the quarters? 

The 27-year-old was evidently enjoying himself when he jinked into space on halfway and released Werner early in the second period – his three key passes in the match level best for Chelsea alongside Reece James, whose deliveries from right-back were majestic.

That was actually a touch under recent par for Ziyech, who is creating an average of 3.6 chances per game in the Tuchel era – taking his 2.4 under Lampard up a notch. 

By the time substitute Emerson Palmieri thundered home in stoppage time to seal a 3-0 aggregate triumph, there could be no question Chelsea's attacking stars had shown up. 

Maybe they could go all the way – a Champions League miracle form the rubble of the Lampard era. 

Timo Werner can transform his season by firing Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea into the final stages of the Champions League.

That is how Antonio Rudiger sees the opportunity for his fellow German, who has struggled to carry over his Bundesliga goalscoring form into English football.

On Wednesday, Werner looks set to face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of Chelsea's last-16 European tie, with the Blues holding a 1-0 advantage from the first game.

The former RB Leipzig striker, a big-money acquisition last June, has just 10 goals in 38 games of a season when he has repeatedly misfired.

Among players from Europe's top five leagues with 10 goals or more in all competitions, Werner ranks 93rd out of 96 in terms of the most proficient in converting 'big chances', with a 27.59 per cent success rate. He has scored just eight of 29 such chances, defined by Opta as 'where a player should reasonably be expected to score'.

"Of course we have conversations, but it's more conversations to keep him going, to help him," Rudiger said in Tuesday's pre-game news conference.

"It's his first year away from Germany and things are not going maybe the way he wants it, obviously, because he's a scorer. He wants to bag goals and things aren't going in his way at the moment.

"For me it's important to let him know someone's there for him to support him and I'm very, very sure going into this game tomorrow, sometimes small moments like this in a game like that can turn over everything for a striker and give him a real boost.

"Sometimes in life, if things aren't going your way, you have to fight through it, which he is doing in my opinion. He's working a lot and running a lot and I'm very sure things will come his way.

"He needs to be calm and work in silence and, whenever you have the chance on the pitch, to have that hunger to score goals and turn around the situation, but not to make himself crazy, he just has to be calm."

Defender Rudiger is relishing another chance to take on Luis Suarez, whose conversion of 'big chances' has been exceptional this season for Atletico.

The former Barcelona and Liverpool frontman has a 63.64 per cent hit rate (scoring 14 of 22 big chances) from such goal opportunities.

That ranks him second among players from the elite leagues with more than 15 goals of any type this season, beaten only by Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes (16 of 23 big chances for a 69.57 per cent rate).

The first-leg encounter between Rudiger and Suarez was spicy and a reunion could be pivotal to how the tie plays out.

"He is a world-class player, he's showed it at every club he's been at in Europe," Rudiger said.

"He's a very, very good player and has a lot of fight in him and he's a tough opponent but he just defends his badge by trying to fight for his team and I do the same."

Suarez pinched Rudiger on the thigh in a bizarre first-leg incident, which the Chelsea defender put down to "emotions", and said he "didn't really feel it that much".

"Everyone plays a little differently, so it's OK," Rudiger said.

Rudiger also opened up about how close he came to leaving Chelsea last September, when it appeared Tuchel's predecessor Frank Lampard was planning without him.

Paris Saint-Germain - then coached by Tuchel - and Tottenham were heavily linked with him at the time, and Rudiger confirmed both were keen.

"There were two teams - mainly one team - that I was considering. That was PSG, and there was also [Tottenham boss Jose] Mourinho, but this is something that didn't happen," he said.

Rudiger said he was "a bit upset" when neither move came off, but thankful at the same time he was not being pushed out of Chelsea.

"Now things are going well for me, I'm very happy about it, but I always felt well in the club," he said. "No one told me you should leave, the board or Frank Lampard. The loans that I wanted didn't happen but nobody told me at the club I should leave."

Thomas Tuchel will do everything in his power to get the most out of Timo Werner and Chelsea's other attackers after his side fired another blank in their stalemate with Leeds United.

Chelsea managed eight shots on target in Saturday's clash at Elland Road but could not find a way through as they failed to score for the second time in four games.

In fact, the west London side have had more goalless draws in 10 Premier League games under Tuchel (three) than they did in 57 under Frank Lampard (two).

The Blues are unbeaten in 12 matches across all competitions since Tuchel succeeded Lampard in January, scoring 13 goals.

Four of those have been penalties – three from Jorginho and one via Mason Mount – and one was a Ben Godfrey own goal.

Mount has scored two non-penalty goals, while wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta have also been on target under Tuchel.

It means just four goals have been scored by Chelsea's forwards in Tuchel's first 12 matches – two for Olivier Giroud and one each for Tammy Abraham and Werner.

Despite Werner's struggles, and the likes of Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz failing to get off the mark, Tuchel is happy with his attacking options.

"I don't only look at the output, how much they score and assist," he told a news conference. "These are statistics to which every striker is attached, of course. 

"Everyone needs to have the mentality to cope with the pressure that comes along with statistics. It's like this in high-level football.

"But I have to say at the moment everyone is working hard, nobody is lazy, nobody is taking time out when we defend high as a block. 

"We are still looking a little bit for a breakthrough from one or two guys, to go on a scoring run. We will not stop pushing and trying to find solutions to create more clear chances for them. 

"That's the way it is. There is no need now to look to the summer or look for other solutions. We have solutions and have guys we are happy with and we will try to help them."

Werner has five Premier League goals to his name since arriving from RB Leipzig in a big-money deal last June, coming from a total of 61 shots.

The Germany international's 8.2-per-cent shot-conversion is one of the lowest among forwards in the Premier League.

But Tuchel, who was heard yelling out instructions to Werner during the 2-0 win over Everton, accepts it is down to the player to regain his confidence.

"I truly believe the best strikers were always strikers," he said. "It is not about the coaches they have. It is always in their blood. They have a certain profile, a certain approach to the game. 

"Timo is clearly one of these guys who scores a huge amount of goals. It is very natural to him to score and to define himself as the guy who has the last touch. 

"It is a very unique position, a sensitive position, so I truly believe it is not so important who is training them. Of course we are here to help everybody and for us it is important to help them keep their focus on the process. 

"It is the process that matters and that can help you escape the pressure you put on yourselves. Is my decision making good? Is my technique good? Is my vision clear enough? 

"If you focus on these points, hit the ball well, the result will take care of itself and you will find the back of the net soon if you just hit the ball and close your eyes.

"Of course we have exercises to help them with finishing in training, but in the end it's clear you can say whatever you want, watch videos and train, but the most important thing is the last percentage. There is no substitute for that."

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