Chelsea secured their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Boro overcame Manchester United and Tottenham to reach the last eight, but Thomas Tuchel's Premier League side did not have such difficulties at the Riverside Stadium.

Romelu Lukaku needed just 15 minutes to open the scoring before Hakim Ziyech added a second in the first half, while Boro managed only one shot on target, which came in the 85th minute, in response.

Chelsea will now wait to find out the identity of their semi-final opponent in Sunday's last-four draw, with the ties set to take place across April 16 and 17 at Wembley Stadium.

 

Mason Mount's early cross just escaped the despairing dive of Christian Pulisic at the back post, but Chelsea were ahead shortly after.

A sweeping move out from defence offered space down the right for Mount, who whipped across for Lukaku to tap-in.

Ziyech doubled the lead 16 minutes later when he finished into the bottom-left corner from outside the area following an offload from Mount.

Mount's second assist of the game took him to 50 goal involvements for Chelsea across all competitions, while Anfernee Dijksteel cleared off the line from Lukaku before the break.

Folarin Balogun wastefully curled over and Duncan Watmore missed the target in similar fashion as Chris Wilder's side ramped up the intensity early in the second half.

Joe Lumley then denied a flicked Timo Werner header from Mount's inswinging free-kick and Edouard Mendy turned away from Watmore as Chelsea eased to victory.

What does it mean? Blues keep double hopes alive

The Premier League title appears a distant dream for Chelsea, who are third in the league, after Manchester City and Liverpool turned the race into a two-team affair.

But Tuchel's reigning European champions remain in contention to defend their Champions League title – facing Real Madrid in the quarter-finals – and are still in the hunt for the FA Cup, after progressing from the last eight for the 16th time in their last 20 quarter-final attempts.

Lovely Lukaku

Lukaku has now had a direct hand in four goals against Boro across all competitions (three goals, one assist).

His first-half strike was also his 16th FA Cup finish since his debut in January 2012 – with only Sergio Aguero (20) finding the net more times in the competition during that period.

Barren Boro run against Blues

Since recording consecutive Premier League wins over Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in 2006, Boro have lost all nine of their meetings against the Blues in all competitions.

Chelsea have recorded 21 goals during that nine-game winning run, with Boro not managing to breach the Blues' defence once in response.

What's next?

Chelsea return to Premier League action after the international break at home to Brentford on April 2, while Middlesbrough visit Peterborough in the Championship on the same day.

Thomas Tuchel hopes to have a fully-fit Chelsea squad for the EFL Cup final against Liverpool after Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic recovered from knocks, while Reece James could also return.

Ziyech and Kovacic were both doubtful for the Wembley showpiece after picking up injuries in Chelsea's routine 2-0 Champions League win over Lille in midweek, while James has not appeared since December 29.

Chelsea are seeking their fourth trophy under Tuchel, having already won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

The Blues will also be the first team in English football history to compete in one of the major domestic cup finals (League Cup/FA Cup) in six consecutive campaigns on Sunday, having reached FA Cup finals in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021, and EFL Cup finals in 2019 and 2022.

The Chelsea head coach's cause has been aided by the return of several key figures ahead of the clash with Jurgen Klopp's side.

"We had training today with everybody out on the pitch, except for Ben Chilwell," Tuchel said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "It's brilliant news.

"Both [Ziyech and Kovacic] are okay, today they were not out training with separate programmes, everybody joined in with team training.

"We have no [bad] reactions, only positive reactions. I hope it will stay like this. We have another training session tomorrow, but we hope to have everybody available."

James recorded four goals and five assists in the first half of the Premier League season, and could provide another boost for Tuchel, who remains excited by the prospect of the wing-back's return. 

However, the German boss conceded that he was unsure whether James would be fit enough to start at Wembley.

"He looked brilliant in the last two training sessions," he added. "Let's wait another session and let's see if I'm crazy enough to put him on the pitch!"

Tuchel was guarded as to which of his goalkeepers would start against the Reds, with Kepa Arrizabalaga starting all five matches in the competition so far, while Edouard Mendy has starred in trophy wins for both club and country in 2022.

Asked about the goalkeeper decision, Tuchel responded: "I will not tell you. I will take the decision later. 

"Kepa played in the Club World Cup semi-final and brought us to the final, but then we took the decision to go with Edou for the final, who was back from the Africa Cup of Nations.

"The last decision will be taken after training, as always. Kepa did fantastic in the period that we had to be without Edou, so it's [both] an uncomfortable and very comfortable situation to be in."

Kepa refused to be substituted as Chelsea were beaten on their last EFL Cup final appearance, losing on penalties to Manchester City in 2019 under Maurizio Sarri.

But the goalkeeper has impressed with two clean sheets in four league appearances during Mendy's recent stint on international duty, leaving Tuchel with options heading into the domestic final.

Thomas Tuchel regretted not substituting Mateo Kovacic earlier in Chelsea's win over Lille but hopes the midfielder and Hakim Ziyech will be fit for the EFL Cup final. 

Kovacic sustained an injury early in the second half of the Blues' 2-0 last-16 first-leg victory at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek replacing him in the 51st minute. 

Ziyech also hobbled off before the hour mark after appearing to hurt his ankle, casting doubt over whether the pair will be available for Sunday's meeting with Liverpool at Wembley. 

Chelsea took the lead through Kai Havertz in the eighth minute and added to their tally through Christian Pulisic in the 63rd minute, making them the first English team to win five straight home matches without conceding in Europe's premier club competition.

However, Tuchel was frustrated he did not keep Kovacic out of harm's way by taking him off earlier. 

"I should've substituted Kova earlier at half-time so we could've saved one more change. I didn't see Hakim's injury and did not speak to the doctor yet. I hope it's not too bad," Tuchel told BT Sport. 

"It's a little bit the story of the season, that almost every game or every other game we do substitutions only because of injuries and not tactical reasons. It's following us. 

"Sunday is good because it's a lot of days for us to recover and be ready. In general, we don't like to have as many injuries and would like to have more impact from the bench in a tactical matter. But it is what it is. I hope the guys will be ready for Sunday." 

N'Golo Kante impressed at the heart of Chelsea's midfield and claimed an assist for Pulisic's goal following a lung-busting surge through the middle of the pitch. 

Tuchel was pleased to see Kante showing signs of his best form after a difficult run with injuries. His three assists in all competitions in 2022 are the joint-most at Chelsea and it is the same amount he managed across 75 appearances for the club in 2020 and 2021 combined.

"I was very pleased. It took him a while, I have to say. It was not the real N'Golo in the last matches. He struggled a bit with belief and intensity in his game in general," said Tuchel. 

"It was good he stepped up today. You can instantly see how big the impact is if he's in good shape – he's our game changer. He had a huge impact. I'm very happy for him and the team." 

Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic put Chelsea in control of their Champions League last-16 tie against Lille with a 2-0 win, but Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech went off injured. 

Despite Romelu Lukaku being dropped to the bench after a dismal showing against Crystal Palace on Saturday, Chelsea needed just eight minutes to find the net through Havertz. 

The reigning champions saw in-form duo Kovacic and Ziyech hobble off before the hour mark, casting doubt over their chances of featuring in the EFL Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday. 

Pulisic finished off a quick break after 63 minutes to secure a strong first-leg lead for Thomas Tuchel's side, with the return leg to come in France next month.

Havertz wasted little time in making his mark as the central striker, nodding home from Ziyech's corner after failing to take a couple of early chances. 

Antonio Rudiger almost turned a Renato Sanches cross into his own net and Lille threatened with a flurry of chances from the resulting corner as they started to get a foothold in the game. 

Chelsea were dealt a blow when they lost Kovacic and Ziyech in quick succession early in the second half, but they doubled their advantage in the 63rd minute. 

N'Golo Kante surged forward from inside the Chelsea half and fed Pulisic for a delightful dink over the onrushing Leo Jardim and into the bottom-right corner. 

Lille tried to reduce the arrears with a push for a late goal, but Edouard Mendy was never really tested and Chelsea remained in charge of the tie. 

What does it mean? Advantage Chelsea 

The Blues were always going to be the favourites in this match-up and they got the win that was expected of them despite being far from dominant. 

Chelsea have a good record when winning the first leg of a Champions League tie; in the 11 occasions they have won the opening encounter, they have reached the next round nine times. 

However, the two exits followed first-leg victories at Stamford Bridge against Barcelona in 1999-2000 and Liverpool in 2006-07. 

No room for Romelu 

Lukaku was dropped after having just seven touches across 90 minutes at the weekend. Havertz needed just five to have three attempts on goal and find the net with the last of them, showing he is more than capable of being a potent threat through the middle. 

Sanches shines in defeat 

Sanches proved he has come a long way as he returned to the ground where he infamously passed to a logo on an advertising board, which he had mistaken for a team-mate during an underwhelming loan spell at Swansea City in 2017. He bossed the midfield in the first half and played some lovely passes.  

What's next? 

Chelsea face Liverpool in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, when Lille travel to Lyon in Ligue 1. 

Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic could be doubts for the EFL Cup final this weekend after hobbling out of Chelsea's Champions League meeting with Lille. 

Kovacic sustained an injury shortly after the restart in the last 16 first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday and was replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the 51st minute.

Ziyech, who has scored in each of his past three Premier League appearances and set up Kai Havertz for the opener against Lille, appeared to sustain an ankle injury. Saul Niguez was sent on in his place in the 60th minute. 

Thomas Tuchel will no doubt hope the pair are able to recover in time to feature against Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday, with Chelsea chasing more silverware after their Club World Cup triumph earlier this month.

Thomas Tuchel has moved to manage expectations of Chelsea ahead of a crucial week that will see them return to Champions League action and contest the EFL Cup final.

Chelsea played their first Premier League game in nearly a month on Saturday, beating Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park thanks to a late Hakim Ziyech goal.

In the intervening month, Chelsea progressed in the FA Cup and won the Club World Cup for the first time, defeating Palmeiras in extra-time.

Tuchel complained about Chelsea's packed schedule after beating Palace, acknowledging his team looked "a bit drained and exhausted".

But they have little time for rest with Lille visiting Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday and then a showdown with Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday, as Chelsea look to claim a second trophy of the season.

Looking forward to an important week, Tuchel tried to ease the pressure.

"I think it is very important for us in this moment to be realistic and not over-expect from us," he told reporters.

"Also accept games against teams in mid-table or the lower end of the table can become difficult games. Once we accept that, it is the first step to feel a certain freedom and to become better, that we don't over-expect.

"We should not expect too much about how big others see us and if we are the favourites against Lille, just accept it is a phase where things feel a bit tight and a bit more difficult than in other times.

"We will accept it and this is the situation for the match on Tuesday. First of all we play at Stamford Bridge and we are confident to have a good performance because we deliver on a high level in knockout matches, cup matches, Champions League matches."

Despite his previous comments about fixture congestion, Tuchel is not especially worried about the tight turnaround being an issue before facing French champions Lille.

"I think that Saturday to Tuesday evening for us as a home game and playing in London should not be a problem," he added.

"Sometimes it can cause a big advantage if there is a tight schedule, but we will be ready to fight with Lille on an okay level so that should not be decisive."

Andreas Christensen heaped praise on team-mate Hakim Ziyech after the winger delivered the crucial strike as Chelsea battled to victory at Crystal Palace.

Ziyech popped up in the 89th minute at Selhurst Park on Saturday to slide through Vicente Guaita's legs after seeing an earlier finish ruled out for offside.

That was the Morocco international's third goal in as many Premier League games as Chelsea continued their winning ways after Club World Cup success, leaving them third in the league with 50 points – seven away from second-placed Liverpool.

And centre-back Christensen believes the former Ajax man deserves his recent run of form in front of goal after the Blues ground out another win.

Christensen said, as quoted by Chelsea's official website: "He deserves it. He works hard. I felt a little bit for him when the first goal got taken away, and you wonder if it's going to happen, but he deserves it.

"He's very important for us especially when he scores our goals.

"At the moment we're fighting, we're scraping points, and sometimes you need that.

"We prepare well game to game, it's a little bit mentally draining, but we recover as quickly as possible. Everyone has their heads on right.

"We are still in every tournament possible so there are a lot of games. I think we're doing a good job."

Only Mason Mount (2.51) and Ross Barkley (3.57), who has played just 428 minutes across all competitions, have created more chances per 90 minutes than Ziyech (2.41) for Chelsea this season.

Likewise, Ziyech finds the back of the net 0.35 times per 90 minutes, with Romelu Lukaku (0.45) and Timo Werner (0.46) the only Blues team-mates ranking above him in that metric.

The same pair, Werner (194.3) and Lukaku (198.1), sit above Ziyech for minutes per goal across all competitions, with the 28-year-old scoring every 256 minutes.

Thomas Tuchel will be hoping his versatile winger carries his impressive run of form into the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Lille on Tuesday.

Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea must improve after looking "drained and exhausted" in their 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, but praised his team's defensive solidity following Hakim Ziyech's late winner.

Ziyech's 89th-minute strike meant the Moroccan has scored in three successive league games for the first time since doing so in the Eredivisie with Ajax in September 2019, and kept the London club within seven points of second-placed Liverpool in the Premier League table.

Chelsea were far from their best throughout the contest, however, managing just nine attempts on goal in the match, while striker Romelu Lukaku had seven touches of the ball, the lowest figure since Opta's Premier League records began in 2003-04.

Speaking after the match, Tuchel conceded that Chelsea were not at their best at Selhurst Park, before hitting out at their congested fixture list.

"Every team will have games like this, especially between December, January and February, where the conditions can create adversity", said the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain boss. 

"If we had another draw, maybe we'd talk about this game longer, but when you win it you have the chance to move on and forget it.

"We won't wake up tomorrow wondering what we could do better.

"We look a bit drained and exhausted. Everyone is giving their very best, but we are struggling a little bit, so it's important to win and keep going."

Hakim Ziyech was on target once again in the Premier League with a last-gasp volley to clinch a 1-0 victory for Chelsea over Crystal Palace.

By steering Marcos Alonso's deep cross past substitute Jack Butland in the 89th minute, Ziyech scored for the third straight league game and secured an important three points.

The Blues looked to be heading back down to earth with a bump a week on from winning the Club World Cup for the first time in their history, with Antonio Rudiger and N'Golo Kante thwarted in the first half. 

Palace came out fighting in the second period but were eventually undone by a composed finish from Ziyech, with Chelsea establishing an eight-point advantage over top-four chasing West Ham and Arsenal. 

Chelsea playmaker Hakim Ziyech has seemingly called time on his international career, saying he will not play for Morocco again.

Former Ajax star Ziyech has not played for his country since a friendly against Burkina Faso in July due to a reported falling out with head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Ziyech was not included in Morocco's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Without him, Morocco progressed to the quarter-finals, but lost to eventual runners-up Egypt at that stage.

After Morocco's elimination from the tournament, Halilhodzic said that Ziyech would not be welcomed back into the fold "even if his name was Lionel Messi".

 

Ziyech, speaking to ADSports TV, has now had his say, and believes it is very clear he will not be featuring for Morocco again, at least while Halilhodzic remains in position.

"I understand them, but I will not return to the Moroccan national team and this is my final decision," Ziyech said.

"It's all clear for me how things are going over there and I am focusing on what I am doing and, right now, that is my club.

"At the end of the day, it's a decision he makes and you have to respect it. All the lying that comes with it, it's, for me, clear and I will not return to the national team.

"I understand and feel sorry for [the fans], but that's the situation we're in."

Halilhodzic has previously hit out at Ziyech's behaviour and attitude while on international duty, claims that the 28-year-old has refuted.

Hakim Ziyech's excellent recent displays for Chelsea are making Thomas Tuchel reconsider his approach. 

A stunning, curling effort from 20 yards saw Ziyech put Chelsea on the path to a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday, with Thiago Silva adding the second. 

It followed his goal against Brighton and Hove Albion, with the former Ajax winger benefiting from a formation change by Tuchel following injuries to wing-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James. 

Tuchel acknowledged being able to play in a more advanced wide position is benefiting Ziyech and it is something he wants to consider as a long-term option. 

"It was a very nice goal actually. The build-up to the goal was good, the movements around Hakim to bring him into this position, and the shot was, of course, brilliant," said Tuchel. 

"It was one of the very nice goals so far and I am very happy because he deserves it first of all today. It was a very important goal to get the lead and so well done, excellent. 

"It was one of his best matches today because he was very reliable. It was also maybe his best position to be on the wing. We had the wide position on the right wing, that position does not normally exist in that particular manner when we play 3-4-3, it is more of a wing-back. 

"Maybe we can think about doing this. It was good because it gave him the opportunity to take risks where it was possible to take risks. He was very reliable on the ball in moments where it is necessary. 

"The work-rate was always outstanding. You can always rely on him on work-rate and counter-pressing. So yes, well done and he needs to keep on going like everyone else." 

Chelsea have now won four games against Tottenham this season, the three most recent of which have come in January. 

Spurs have failed to score in six straight meetings with the Blues - the longest barren run against a single opponent in their history - and their goalless streak now stands at 547 minutes. 

Frustrations seemingly boiled over in the stands with Antonio Rudiger appearing to be targeted by missiles thrown by visiting spectators, though Tuchel did not feel the incident warranted sweeping action. 

"I'm not worried. I mean, I sent a message to our fans and supporters [before the game] that we love to have them close to the pitch. We love that it is a brilliant atmosphere, that they are not behind fences, behind nets, whatever. From there everybody needs to show respect and behave and follow guidelines," said Tuchel. 

"In general, I am not concerned because right now I enjoy the atmosphere, also in away stadiums. It is brilliant, and if this is a new trend we should act together so it stops as soon as possible to protect the environment of this game and the atmosphere because it is absolutely unique here in England." 

Chelsea once again downed Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in the headline clash of the weekend's Premier League fixtures.

Fellow title hopefuls Liverpool, who still have a game in hand, closed the gap on leaders Manchester City to nine points with victory over Crystal Palace in south London.

Staying in the capital, Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by lowly Burnley as they lost ground in the race for the top four, while Leicester City shared the points with Brighton and Hove Albion.

With the action all over for a couple of weeks, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data from Sunday's fixtures.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: Reds down Eagles again as Robertson delivers

Liverpool reduced Manchester City's advantage at the top to nine points after a 3-1 victory over Palace, who have lost each of their last 10 league meetings with the Reds.

Virgil van Dijk placed Jurgen Klopp's side in control after just eight minutes at Selhurst Park with his 10th headed goal in the competition – only Sami Hyypia (17) has scored more headers for the Reds in the Premier League.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a second after the half-hour mark as he scored in back-to-back top-flight matches for the first time since February 2020.

Both of those goals were created by Andrew Robertson, who now sits joint-second with team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (both 43) for the most assists in the league since the start of the 2017-18 season, with only Kevin De Bruyne boasting more (52).

Odsonne Edouard halved the deficit in the second half, but Fabinho secured three points with Liverpool's 169th Premier League spot-kick – the joint-most awarded to a team in the competition's history along with Manchester United.

Arsenal 0-0 Burnley: Gunners fail to fire against Clarets

Arsenal have failed to win any of their opening five games of a calendar year for the first time since 1995 after being held to a 0-0 draw by Burnley.

Nick Pope was in excellent form, while Alexandre Lacazette spurned a glorious open-goal opportunity, as the Clarets conceded 20 shots – the most they have faced in the Premier League without conceding since May 2021 (21 versus Fulham).

Lacazette's profligacy meant the Gunners have failed to score in four consecutive matches across all competitions for the first time since December 2005.

Arsenal will be desperate to improve upon their torrid run of form to challenge for the top four, with this stalemate being the first time the Gunners have failed to beat the team starting the day bottom of the table at home for the first time since October 2008.

Leicester City 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Foxes tamed by away specialists

Leicester remained unbeaten at home to Brighton in the Premier League, though Brendan Rodgers may feel they should have claimed victory after a 1-1 draw.

Patson Daka broke the deadlock as he became just the second Foxes player to score in each of his first three home starts in the competition, after Leonardo Ulloa in the 2014-15 season.

The Zambia striker found the net just 26 seconds after the interval, the quickest goal scored in the second half of a top-flight game since February 2020.

However, Danny Welbeck levelled things up as he scored his fourth goal against Leicester in the Premier League, only bettering that haul in games with Aston Villa (five).

Neither side could find a late winner, ensuring the Foxes remain unbeaten at home to the Seagulls in the top flight since December 1980, while Graham Potter's side have only lost one of their last 11 away leagues games – a joint-low with Manchester City.

Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham: Blues make London derby history  

Chelsea registered their fourth win in all competitions this season – and third in January alone – over London rivals Tottenham with a 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge.

Harry Kane thought he had struck first before the break but a slight push on Thiago Silva saw his finish ruled out before Hakim Ziyech expertly curled in his fifth league goal for Chelsea – all five of those having come at different venues.

Silva added a second soon after as he became the oldest player (37 years, 123 days) to score in the Premier League since February 2013 to condemn Antonio Conte to his first top-flight defeat as Spurs head coach.

The defender's header was set up by a free-kick from Mason Mount, who provided his 20th assist since the start of the 2019-20 campaign – the most by any Chelsea player across all competitions in that period.

Spurs were unable to breach the Blues' goal, meaning they have now gone six matches across all competitions since last scoring against Chelsea, who became the first side to collect 500 points in Premier League London derby matches (501 points from 272 derbies).

Antonio Conte saw his unbeaten Premier League run as Tottenham boss end on familiar turf as Chelsea claimed a 2-0 derby win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

A stunning finish from Hakim Ziyech and a Thiago Silva header early in the second half gave the Blues the victory as they became the first team to pass 500 points in London derby matches in the Premier League era.

Silva had earlier been involved in a controversial incident, Harry Kane seeing a goal disallowed at 0-0 after a hand in the back of the defender sent him tumbling to ground.

For Spurs, whose only win in their past 32 away league matches against Chelsea came against Conte's side in April 2018, it was a first league loss since the 3-0 reverse at home to Manchester United in October that brought Nuno Espirito Santo's short reign to an end.

Romelu Lukaku passed up the best early openings, slicing a shot over the bar in the first minute and missing the ball from a teasing Mason Mount cross when he should have done better.

Spurs had barely offered a threat until Kane gathered Steven Bergwijn's low cross and drilled home a finish on the turn, but the goal was was ruled out for a push on Silva.

The visitors were lucky not to go a man down before half-time, though, VAR deeming no further action was needed for a Matt Doherty foul on Malang Sarr and Japhet Tanganga somehow escaping even a free-kick for pulling back the shirt of Callum Hudson-Odoi after previously being booked.

It was Tanganga who was left for dead by Hudson-Odoi a minute after the restart, the winger then teeing up Ziyech to curl a sublime finish into the top-left corner and put Chelsea ahead.

Hugo Lloris denied Ziyech a second soon after as Chelsea ramped up the pressure, with Mount whistling a shot just over the bar from Hudson-Odoi's cut-back.

The Chelsea winger was proving a real handful for Spurs and, after Eric Dier tripped him down the left wing, the resulting Mount delivery was glanced in via the head of Silva.

 

What does it mean? Chelsea close on City as Spurs suffer top-four blow

The defeat means Spurs stay seventh, having missed out on the chance to leapfrog Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester United to climb into the top four.

Chelsea move to within 10 points of leaders Manchester City, having played a game more, with Liverpool a point further ahead.

Mercurial Mount

Mount was exceptional on the right of the Chelsea attack as he exploited space whenever Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was dragged out of position trying to break up passing lanes.

The England midfielder created a team-high four chances and found the target with five of nine crosses, including the head of Silva for the second goal.

Conte counts cost of Tanganga inaction

After Tanganga escaped a second yellow card, it looked likely Conte would substitute him at half-time to remove the risk of falling a man behind.

His decision not to proved key to Chelsea's breakthrough, as he allowed Hudson-Odoi to run clear for fear of being punished for any attempt to halt his run. It was 2-0 before he was finally replaced by Lucas Moura.

What's next?

Chelsea host Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup on February 5 after their winter break before their Club World Cup campaign begins. Spurs's fourth-round clash is at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on the same day.

Time off is the only antidote to Chelsea's ongoing malaise, according to Thomas Tuchel. 

The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday, extending their winless streak in the Premier League to four matches – their worst such run under Tuchel. 

Chelsea have won just one of their past seven top-flight matches and sit 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand. 

The meeting with Brighton was Chelsea's 15th game in all competitions since the start of December and Tuchel believes the only way they can get back on track for a prolonged period is through rest. 

"We look tired. And we are. It's like this," Tuchel told BT Sport after Adam Webster's header cancelled out Hakim Ziyech's opener. 

"We knew they were well prepared, they had more time to prepare and you saw at the end the stadium celebrates like a victory. That's what you face. 

"We need our full strength to overcome these obstacles. In these moments there's no blame for the team. We tried everything. We are mentally and physically tired. We need some days off, there's no other solution. 

"We have two days off then we have two days to prepare the match against Tottenham. There's no other solution." 

Tuchel was critical of Ziyech after the 1-0 loss to City at the weekend and the former Ajax winger did not celebrate his first-half goal. He was also regularly engaged in heated conversations with Romelu Lukaku. 

The Chelsea boss was unbothered by either of those aspects, though.

"I am happy. [Ziyech] can score 20 more and not celebrate, I have no problem," said Tuchel. 

"It's normal that they talk. It's normal they're not happy and they don't like it if we say we want more from them. In the reaction to the goal, you can see we are tired because we are saving energy even there." 

Brighton boss Graham Potter said: "We're really pleased and proud of the performance, definitely. We gave Chelsea a good game. Our performance was full of everything. 

"It's not easy because they have some top players but the courage of our defenders... The boys played on the front foot as much as they could. They scored from not much, but it was a performance I really enjoyed. 

"We were well in the game and the boys could feel it was a good performance. Chelsea don't give much away, so you have to work for everything. We could maybe test the goalkeeper more, but I thought we had everything." 

Newcastle United are set to flex their financial muscles during the January transfer window.

The Magpies are struggling in the Premier League drop zone even after claiming a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

But following a change of ownership they have funds available to bolster their squad.
 

TOP STORY - MAGPIES KEEN ON BARCELONA'S UMTITI

Cashed-up Newcastle are considering a move for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti according to The Sun.

The 2018 World Cup winner has fallen out of favour at Barcelona, who are looking to offload players due to their financial issues.

Eddie Howe's side have conceded a league-high 42 goals and want to shore up their backline to aid their case to avoid relegation.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich have ramped up their bid to sign Leeds United's Raphinha, claims The Sun. Leeds remain hopeful of keeping the Brazil international.

- Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Raphinha according to the Express, who also claim they will allow Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech to depart.

- Tottenham are leading the way to secure the signature of Milan midfielder Franck Kessie with the two parties in advanced talks, reports the Express.

- Ex-Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho's preferred new home is Arsenal,  with Barcelona keen to offload the Brazil international according to Sport.

- Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina are all on high alert with Torino's Italy international striker Andrea Belotti set to exit the club when his contract expires at season's end, reports Calciomercato.

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