EPL

Match-winner Werner jokes double might have been beyond him after ending goal drought

By Sports Desk April 24, 2021

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.

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  • Australian Open: How champion Barty turned second set around Australian Open: How champion Barty turned second set around

    Ash Barty was staring at a nervy deciding set in the Australian Open final before she turned the second on its head to end the locals' drought.

    Barty became the first local Australian Open singles champion in 44 years by beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday.

    Such a scoreline looked unlikely when Barty fell 5-1 behind in the second set in front of an electric Rod Laver Arena crowd.

    But, as she had all tournament despite the pressure and expectations, Barty stayed calm. She turned it around, riding a wave of momentum to seal victory in straight sets.

    From Collins' 5-1 lead, Barty hit 13 winners and just four unforced errors. Collins was three and nine respectively. But what really hurt the American was making just three of 12 first serves in the two games she was broken in.

    Stats Perform takes a closer look at what happened, with Collins two points away from forcing a third set on three separate occasions.

    Collins serving at 6-3 1-5
    Barty had served two double faults in the previous game to open the door widely to Collins. After the American missed a first serve, a loud cheer from the crowd was met by a disapproving finger wag from Barty, who followed that up with a forehand winner. Still, Collins found herself two points from the set at 30-30. But she sent a backhand well long before Barty forced another error with a powerful return. Collins made one of six first serves in the game.

    Barty serving at 6-3 2-5
    Barty raced into a 40-0 lead and, while Collins won the next two points, a long forehand helped her hold, putting pressure on the American.

    Collins serving at 6-3 3-5
    Collins again found herself two points from the set, leading 30-0. The response from Barty was phenomenal. Barty crushed a forehand return winner down the line before another forehand winner caught the back of the line to draw the game level at 30-30. Another big forehand return set up break point before Collins netted a backhand.

    Barty serving at 6-3 4-5
    Barty recovered from 0-15 to hold, with two big serves doing the damage, and Collins' momentum was well and truly gone.

    Collins serving at 6-3 5-5
    On the back of making four of five first serves, Collins steadied to end Barty's run of four straight games.

    Barty serving at 6-3 5-6
    For the third time, Collins found herself two points away from winning the set, with Barty in a 15-30 hole. But Barty came up big, delivering three consecutive unreturnable serves to force a tie-break.

    Tie-break
    Collins started the tie-break with a forehand that flew well long then returned a serve well long to fall 2-0 behind. That freed Barty up, the Australian crushing back-to-back winners, including a great smash, to open up a 4-0 lead she would not relinquish. Collins put a backhand return off a Barty second serve halfway up the net to fall 5-1 behind. A forehand cross-court passing shot winner sealed Barty's victory.

  • Burnley move for Orsic off after apparent U-turn Burnley move for Orsic off after apparent U-turn

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    Reports revealed Burnley chairman Alan Pace's trip to Zagreb to finalise a £7million deal this week had been in vain as Orsic turned down a move to the Premier League.

    Burnley had been hoping to add the winger to their ranks after recently selling striker Chris Wood to relegation rivals Newcastle United for a fee in the region of £25m.

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    Dinamo sit top of Croatia's 1. HNL – level on points with second and third place – while Burnley are bottom of the Premier League, albeit with games in hand over their immediate rivals after having several games postponed due to COVID-19.

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  • Australian Open: Barty 'a little stumped' after maiden Melbourne success Australian Open: Barty 'a little stumped' after maiden Melbourne success

    Ash Barty was "a little stumped" after she beat Danielle Collins to claim her maiden Australian Open title.

    The world number one had to come from 5-1 down in the second set to defeat her American opponent – a first-time grand slam finalist – 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Rod Laver Arena.

    Buoyed on by a partisan home crowd in Melbourne, Barty made light work of a drained Collins in the tie-break to become the first Australian since 1978 to win the men's or women's singles in the season's first major.

    Barty is also the first woman to win her home grand slam since Sloane Stephens triumphed in the 2017 US Open, and the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win the Australian Open while ranked number one.

    The 25-year-old has won 11 straight matches in 2022 and now has three grand slam titles to her name, after winning the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021. 

    She is the first Australian Open Women's singles winner with 30 or fewer games dropped on her way to secure the title since Mary Pierce in 1995.

    "I'm a little stumped here," Barty said at the on-court presentation.

    "I would love to thank everyone who does so much work behind the scenes. This last couple of years has been extraordinarily tough for everyone.

    "It takes a really big village to put on an event like this. I think this tournament has been one of my favourite experiences.

    "To my team... wow. I'm so lucky to have so many people here that love me, support me, my mum, dad and sisters here, so happy that they could come down here today.

    "I'm an incredibly fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner. We did it all together. Nobody's changed from my team, you guys are the best in the business, I can't thank you enough for all the time and love you put into me.

    "As an Aussie, the most important thing is to share this with so many people and this crowd is one of the most fun I've ever played in front of.

    "You guys relaxed me, forced me to play my best tennis. Against a champion like Danielle, I knew I had to bring that today. Thanks for all your love and support the last couple of weeks.

    "This is just a dream come true for me, and I'm so proud to be an Aussie."

    Collins will be heading into the top 10 for the first time in her career after her run in Melbourne. The 28-year-old looked primed to take the match to a decider when she raced ahead in the second set, before Barty's sensational comeback.

    "Congratulations to Danielle and your team, it's been an amazing fortnight for you," Barty told the runner-up.

    "You're in the top 10 and that's absolutely where you belong. I know you'll be fighting for many more of these in the future."

    Collins, who was aiming for a third career singles title on the WTA Tour, is the seventh different American player to reach the final of the women's singles at the Australian Open since the turn of the century.

    She beat Barty in Adelaide in 2021 but has now lost four of their five meetings in total.

    "Well, first, I owe a big congratulations to Ash, on a phenomenal two weeks here, a really phenomenal couple of years," the 28-year-old said.

    "It's been tremendous to watch her climb her way up the rankings all the way to number one and live out her dream.

    "I really admire you as the player that you are, the variety of your game – hopefully I can implement some of that into mine."

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