Kepa Arrizabalaga makes amends for Wembley mutiny meltdown in Fulham clash

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Chelsea's Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage. (AFP)
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Chelsea's Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga makes a late save during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage. (AFP)
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Chelsea's Willian in action with Fulham's Joe Bryan (Action Images via Reuters)
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Chelsea's Gonzalo Higuain, left, challenges for the ball with Fulham's Joe Bryan during the match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage stadium in London, England, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (AP) Photo/Tim Ireland)
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Chelsea - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - March 3, 2019 Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic in action with Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
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Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian (L) vies with Fulham's English defender Joe Bryan (R) during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage in London on March 3, 2019. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / AFP / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images m
Updated 03 March 2019
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Kepa Arrizabalaga makes amends for Wembley mutiny meltdown in Fulham clash

LONDON: Jorginho fired Chelsea to a 2-1 win at struggling Fulham on Sunday as Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga seemed to be on the road to redemption after his Wembley mutiny with a highly impressive, match-saving display.
Maurizio Sarri’s side took the lead through Gonzalo Higuain before Calum Chambers equalized at Craven Cottage.
In an incident-packed first half, the much-maligned Jorginho restored Chelsea’s lead with his first goal since the opening weekend of the season.
Chelsea were also indebted to Kepa for a series of superb saves that preserved their lead after the break, lifting the sixth-placed Blues within two points of fourth placed Manchester United.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri had dropped Kepa for Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Tottenham on Wednesday as punishment for the Spaniard’s refusal to be substituted during last weekend’s League Cup final defeat against Manchester City.
But Sarri had insisted Kepa remained his “first choice” and the world’s most expensive keeper returned in place of Willy Caballero after his one-game demotion.
“Kepa is a man,” Sarri said. “He understood the mistake he made, so he was able to react very well. It is very important for our group and our dressing room.
The Chelsea boss, while pleased with the three points, felt his team could have been more ruthless in front of goal to kill the game off, especially as Fulham had the ball in the net at the death but were foiled by an assistant’s flag for offside.
“We played very well only for 60 minutes, we could have killed the match.
“We were not able to so in the last 20 or 25 minutes and we were in trouble because we were very tired mentally and physically after 120 minutes against Manchester City and a strong match against Tottenham.
“But I am really very happy with the performance for 60 minutes and the result.”
The performance of on-loan striker Higuain will also have lifted the spirits of the Chelsea manager. It was Higuain’s third goal in eight games since the Argentine joined from Juventus in January.
“Higuain played a very good match. I think at the moment he is not at his best, but he is improving. I hope in a couple of weeks he will be able to arrive at his best,” Sarri said.
Blues captain Cezar Azplicueta admitted Chelsea knew they had been in a game and that it was a tough encounter.
“It was a tough game. In the first half we played very well and created a lot of chances to go in more comfortably at half-time.
“We didn’t score and we know Fulham are fighting relegation, every point matters — they pushed hard and sometimes you have to dig in.
“We know that we are entering into the last stage of the season where we have to take everything we can. We have a lot of targets to get. Hopefully we can get what we want”
Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker was under no illusions the task that faces his side between now and the end of the season. 
“It was a rollcoaster for me on the sidelines. In the first half we felt stung against a very good side, we didn’t put our stamp on the game in possession. 
That was a big focus for us. In the second half we did do that. The most important thing was we showed character.
“We showed character with the ball, not just running hard, which is standard. Our center-halves got the ball and played, this is the way Fulham play and the way I want my team to play.
“I am thinking long term in the best interests of Fulham Football Club. I will treat this as long term because I want to help this club.”


Rafael Nadal: Wimbledon seeding system disrespects world tennis rankings

Updated 25 June 2019
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Rafael Nadal: Wimbledon seeding system disrespects world tennis rankings

  • Rafael Nadal will be seeded three and Roger Federer two at the All England Club this year
  • Wimbledon uses its own formula to dictate the order

MADRID: Rafael Nadal has complained about Wimbledon’s seeding system after the Spaniard was placed at number three, behind Roger Federer, for next week’s grand slam in London.
The other three major tournaments all match their seeding to the official world rankings but Wimbledon uses its own formula to dictate the order, combining ranking points with form in grass-court competitions.
It means Nadal will be seeded three and Federer two at the All England Club this year, despite their positions being the reverse in the rankings list.
“Wimbledon is the only tournament of the year that does it like this,” Nadal told Spanish television channel Movistar on Monday night.
“Obviously it would be better to be two than three but if they think I have to be three I will accept three and fight to win the matches I have to win.
“Having said that, the only thing that doesn’t seem right about this issue is that it is only Wimbledon that does it. If they all did it, it would seem more correct.
“It’s not only about my particular case. There have been many occasions when players have played well all year on all surfaces but Wimbledon does not respect the ranking they have earned.
“And for this reason, they get more complicated draws.”
Nadal is yet to play an official match on grass this year while Federer warmed up for Wimbledon last week by winning his 10th title at the grass-court tournament in Halle.
Federer and top seed Novak Djokovic will be at opposite ends of the Wimbledon draw, separated until the final, but Nadal is guaranteed to have either Federer or Djokovic in his half, and could meet them in the semis.
“For me personally, it means if I am three, to get to the final, Djokovic or Federer will be in my half,” Nadal added.
“But that can only happen in the semifinals and to get there I have to win five matches. Today I’m far away.”
Nadal claimed his 18th major title earlier this month by winning the French Open for a record-extending 12th time. He now sits behind only Federer’s 20 grand slam triumphs in the all-time list of male champions.