Abraham strikes to give Chelsea friendly win over Arsenal

By Sports Desk August 01, 2021

Chelsea enjoyed a positive pre-season outing as they beat London rivals Arsenal 2-1 at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Thomas Tuchel's side took a deserved lead into half-time thanks to a fine finish from Kai Havertz, who had scored the winner in the Champions League final in May.

Havertz clipped a clever shot high beyond Bernd Leno after being played into space by Timo Werner, who missed a good chance for a second three minutes later.

The Gunners, who brought on new signing Ben White at half-time, drew level 69 minutes in when Granit Xhaka headed in Nicolas Pepe's cross.

However, Chelsea's lead was restored within four minutes as Tammy Abraham slotted a precise finish beneath Leno following a mistake by Hector Bellerin.

Arsenal should have been given an equaliser when Joe Willock crashed a shot off the crossbar and the ball appeared to bounce over the line, but with goal-line technology not in use, it was not awarded.

Mikel Arteta will also be concerned to see midfielder Thomas Partey forced to go off with what appeared to be an ankle injury in the first half.

Chelsea will now face Tottenham on Wednesday before Arsenal take on their north London neighbours on August 8.

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    Messi won football's top individual accolade for a record-extending seventh time on Monday largely thanks to his success at international level with Argentina.

    The 34-year-old played a key part in Argentina's Copa America success, contributing to nine of the 13 goals his side scored as he ended his long wait for an international trophy.

    He has had a rather more mixed year at club level, having scored 28 goals in 29 games for Barcelona before completing a shock transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in August.

    Messi has netted just four times in his first 11 games for PSG, but he did enough to finish ahead of favourite Robert Lewandowski for his latest Ballon d'Or triumph.

    Lewandowski finished second despite scoring 53 times in 42 games this year so far – 15 more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions.

    Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third, followed by Benzema – who has 34 goals this year – in fourth and N'Golo Kante placed fifth. 

    Five-time winner Ronaldo finished sixth – the first time he has failed to make the top three in 11 years – but Kroos insists his former team-mate, as well as current colleague Benzema, have impressed more this year than Messi.

    "[Messi's] award is absolutely not deserved," Kroos said on his Einfach mal Luppen podcast. "There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano, has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should've been others ahead of him.

    "For me, Karim would have been the number one if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year. I can see from close quarters what an outstanding footballer he is.

    "When I see how many decisive goals Cristiano has scored lately – Manchester United are still in the Champions League thanks to him alone – then, in my eyes, Cristiano would have also come before Messi."

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    Messi scored 28 goals in 29 games in the first half of 2021 with Barcelona before completing a shock transfer to PSG, for whom he has scored four goals in his first 11 games.

    Lewandowski took to social media on Monday to congratulate the superstar forward on his latest triumph, which takes him two clear of five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

    "Congratulations Leo Messi and Alexia Putellas, winners of the #BallonDor2021, congratulations also to all nominated players," he tweeted.

    "I won Striker of the Year Award and no player can win an individual award without the strongest team and loyal fans behind him. Thank you for your support."

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