Chelsea falter at Goodison

Chelsea's top four credentials suffered a blow at Goodison Park after they were beaten 2-0 by Everton.

Chelsea had the better of the first half but failed to make their superiority count and two second half goals, one from the penalty spot, leaves them sixth in the Premier League table.

Chelsea almost went in front on just eight minutes, Gonzalo Higuain putting in Eden Hazard whose shot hit the woodwork and Higuain himself had a chance in the same move but Jordan Pickford was able to make the save.

Ross Barkley, facing his old club, was involved on the 20-minute mark, putting in a cross which Higuain reached and put in Jorginho but again Pickford was equal to it.

Andre Gomes had an effort for Everton but it was the visitors who went closest to breaking the deadlock just before half-time, Pedro getting the ball into the net but he was well offside.

So, half-time came with Chelsea the better side but failing to make their superiority count.

Everton had to improve for the second half and they did, having the first effort on target in the second period, Gomes with a smart shot which Kepa Arrizabalaga palmed away for a corner.

However a minute later they took the lead from a corner. Dominic Calvert-Lewin's header from close range was kept out by the keeper but it fell invitingly to Richarlison who nodded home.

It was a blow to Maurizio Sarri's side who had been much the better side up to that point.

They were the next to threaten, Marcos Alonso getting a shot in which hit the side netting.

However, they fell further behind with about 20 minutes remaining, Alonso adjudged to have fouled Richarlison in the box and Gylfi Sigurdsson took the penalty which was saved by Arrizabalaga but the ball fell kindly back to the Everton man who tucked it away.

Everton are back in action after the international break on 30th March when they play away at West Ham. They are 9/5 to come away from the London Stadium with three points while the Hammers are 6/4 and the draw 9/4. Everton are 9/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Dyche says red card a hindrance

Burnley manager Sean Dyche says that his side's reaction to Leicester going down to ten men contributed to their defeat.

The Clarets lost 2-1 to Leicester at Turf Moor despite the visitors playing most of the match a man down after Harry Maguire's early dismissal for a foul on Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

James Maddison gave the Foxes the lead from a free-kick but Burnley equalised through Dwight McNeil and looked the more likely to take all three points having the extra man advantage.

However Brendan Rodgers was left celebrating his first away win as new Leicester boss after substitute Wes Morgan scored the winner in the last minute.

The win kept Leicester in the top half of the Premier League but the table looks far less attractive for Burnley who are just a place and two points clear of the relegation zone after their fourth defeat in a row.

Afterwards Dyche admitted that his side had failed to make their extra man count.

He said: "First half we didn't get to grips with it really. They went to 10 men and I think it was so early it kind of shocked us and we didn't get to grips with it.

"Second half we adjusted it and we kept the ball better without really breaking them open. But it is difficult. Teams bank in with a 4-4-1 as they often do and they look for a counter.

"They didn't really counter many times and in the end they win it on a soft set-piece from our point of view."

The Clarets have two weeks off due to the international break and Dyche says that it has come at a good time for the squad.

"The clarity has to come," Dyche added. "[The international break] gives the chance for the players to clear their minds."

Burnley return to action on 30th March when they play Wolves at home.

They are 23/10 for a welcome three points with Wolves 5/4 and the draw 11/5.

Burnley are 8/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Hammers aim for top seven

Javier Hernandez says that West Ham have the top seven firmly in their sights after coming from behind to beat Huddersfield 4-3.

The Terriers, bottom of the Premier League table and well adrift of safety had only scored 15 goals in 30 league games before their trip to the London Stadium.

However, after 65 minutes they were leading 3-1, goals from Juninho Bacuna and a double from Karlam Grant.

They were well on course for their first away win since November but the Hammers fought back in a thrilling game.

Mark Noble gave them an early lead with a penalty but they were trailing 3-1 when Angelo Ogbonna headed a second and then two late goals from Hernandez turned the game around.

The win means that West Ham are ninth in the table but are just two points off Wolves who are seventh.

It means the Hammers have plenty to aim for towards the end of the season according to Hernandez.

He said: "Against Cardiff we didn't play so well but we did it in the second half today. The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world so every game home or away is always tough.

"I always try to do my best, to give my best performances for this club, hopefully we can finish in the top seven."

In other games on Saturday Leicester won 2-1 at Burnley despite playing for most of the game with 10 men, Harry Maguire getting sent off in just the fourth minute.

It finished all square at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth and Newcastle drawing 2-2 though the visitors had to wait until almost the last kick of the game to equalise, Matt Ritchie scoring against his old club to earn a point for Rafa Benitez's side.

West Ham are at home to Everton after the international break and are 11/8 for the win with the Toffees 2/1 and the draw 9/4. The Hammers are 17/2 to win the game 1-0.

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Gracia delight at Gray impact

Watford manager Javia Gracia was delighted with the impact Andre Gray made when coming on, scoring to send the Hornets into the FA Cup semi-finals.

Watford are the first team through to the last four of the competition after beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

Etienne Capoue had given the home side the lead just before the half hour mark. Michy Batshuayi equalised for the Eagles after an hour but Gracia sent on Gray as a second half substitute, replacing Will Hughes and the striker made an immediate impact.

Roberto Pereyra found Gray in space in the penalty area and he made no mistake, firing past Vincente Guaita to send the Hornets through to their sixth FA Cup semi-final.

Gracia said afterwards that he was thrilled with the impact Gray made when coming on.

He said to the BBC: "It was a difficult moment (when Crystal Palace equalised), a mistake when we conceded but I was confident we would be able to win the game.

"We put Andre Gray on the pitch, he always has a good chance to score and scores important goals for the team, he deserves it and I am happy for him.

"There are other players working hard from the beginning but when he plays he shows me his quality and is scoring important goals. We have different options and all of them are ready to compete well." Watford are 7/1 to win the FA Cup.

With his side through to the last four of the FA Cup, it is turning into a very satisfying season all round for Gracia and Watford.
His side are eighth in the Premier League table and within sight of European football next season, either through the league or cup.

They now have the benefit of two weeks off before their next game, the international break giving the Premier League a week off.

The Hornets are back in action on 30th March when they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. The Hornets are 7/1 for the win with United 4/9 and the draw 3/1.

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Vardy pleased with new style

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy believes he can thrive under Brendan Rodgers and is much happier with the team's high-press style of play.

The 32-year-old former Fleetwood Town forward scored two late goals in Saturday's 3-1 victory against relegation-haunted Fulham to bring his tally for the club up to 101.

Vardy has scored five times in his last five appearances for the Foxes after struggling during Claude Puel's spell in charge of the club.

He said: "We had a proper full week of the new manager's training and I think that showed with what we put in against Fulham.

"He wants it at a high-tempo with a quick press, trying to win the ball back as quickly as possible and, if you win it high up, you're going to get lots of chances.

"It has definitely benefited me but we all know there is a lot more hard work to come and that starts when we get back on the training field. We're looking forward to it."

Saturday's victory lifted Leicester up to 10th in the Premier League table and they are available at 4/6 to finish in the top half this season.

They visit Burnley on Saturday and are 15/2 to win 1-0 at Turf Moor. The Clarets, who lost 4-2 at Liverpool on Sunday, are 4/1 to be relegated this term.

Deeney vows to end season well

Watford skipper Troy Deeney has insisted there is no chance of Watford's form dropping off as they bid for their best ever season in the Premier League.

The Hornets stay in the top flight has been characterised by strong starts and poor finishes but there is little sign of this campaign following the same pattern.

Javi Gracia's side sit eighth in the Premier League table and have lost just two of their last 10 league games.

They beat Leicester at the weekend with Deeney getting a goal and an assist and he says his striking partnership with Andre Gray has been crucial to their success.

He told the club's official website: "Me and Dre always say we feel like we've got chances in us. We've got an understanding – naturally having two strikers who are used to playing that way."

While Deeney says the side are keen to progress and achieve more this season he does want to see the Hornets improve their record against the "big six".

Though they beat Tottenham at home this season they have generally struggled against the top sides and their only defeats so far this year in the league have been away to Spurs and Liverpool.

"Obviously the one [improvement] would be trying to get some points on the board against the big teams away from home," Deeney added. "I think that's a clear one to try and address – and we've got the 'easy' task of playing Manchester City away this week, so let's try and make it there!"

Watford are 16/1 to win the match with Pep Guardiola's side 1/7 and the draw 13/2.

The Hornets are also still in the FA Cup and follow Saturday's match with a home tie in the quarter-finals where they take on Crystal Palace.

Watford are 12/1 to win the FA Cup with Palace 16/1.

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Rodgers encouraged by start

Brendan Rodgers said he has loved every minute at Leicester so far despite falling to defeat at Watford in his first game in charge.

Appointed last week to replace Claude Puel, the former Liverpool and Celtic boss saw his side lose 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

He looked set to begin his time in charge of the Foxes with a draw, Jamie Vardy levelling after Troy Deeney had given the Hornets an early lead.

However, in injury-time at the end of the game, Kasper Schmeichel's poor clearance saw Deeney find substitute Andre Gray who finished well to give the home side the points.

Rodgers said, despite the result, he was encouraged by what he had seen from his new side.

He told the BBC: "We started to get into really good areas and the goal at the end is a case of managing the game. It is something that will get better as we work together. I was pleased with the spirit of the team.

"Performance-wise it was something new for the players and they worked very, very well. It will take time to impose a lot of the ideas we want. There were a lot of good signs. I was pleased despite not getting the result."

The new Foxes boss added that he had seen signs of the spirit and intensity he had asked for and there was plenty to work on over the rest of the season.

The result keeps Leicester in mid-table with 35 points. Watford, with the victory, are on 43 points and moved level with Wolves who sit seventh.

Rodgers' first home game in charge of Leicester comes next weekend when strugglers Fulham are the visitors to the King Power Stadium.

Leicester are 8/13 to win the game with Fulham 9/2 and the draw 14/5.

The Foxes are 7/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Rodgers sets out his aims

Brendan Rodgers says his target for Leicester City next season is to challenge for a European place and aim to win a trophy.

The former Liverpool boss has been criticised for leaving Celtic with just over two months left of the season and joining a mid-table Premier League side.

Celtic fans unfurled a banner during their match against Hearts on Wednesday calling Rodgers a "fraud" for trading "immortality for mediocrity".

Celtic are attempting to win the domestic treble for the third campaign in a row while the Foxes are 11th in the Premier League table and face Watford on Sunday.

Leicester can be backed at 2/1 to beat the Hornets and at 7/2 to win the match by a one-goal margin.

"I certainly haven't swapped to come into a mediocre club. This is a fantastic club with a rich history of its own. The expectancy is to challenge for a European place and look to win a trophy," Rodgers said.
 
"Celtic supporters will hurt. I understand how they feel. For me, this was about the challenge and coming back into the Premier League.

"It was a very difficult decision. If I was making this decision with my heart I would have been at Celtic for life because it is an incredible club and one I've supported all my life.

"After nearly three years at Celtic with everything we had achieved I felt it was time to move on to my next challenge. I've had opportunities to leave but this one was too good to turn down, with the ambition that Leicester have."

Pellegrini won’t write off Wilshere

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini remains hopeful that Jack Wilshere will be able to return to action before the end of the season.

Pellegrini signed Wilshere last summer but the former Arsenal midfielder has started just four Premier League games for the Hammers this season because of two ankle injuries.

The 27-year-old has not played since December and recent reports have indicated that he has suffered several setbacks in his recovery and will sit out the remainder of the campaign.

He has not yet been able to return to training but Pellegrini remains upbeat and hopes the England international will be back to full-fitness before the season ends in May.

"We must wait for Jack when he comes back and how he feels," said the former Manchester City and Malaga boss. "Those [reports] are all rumours we cannot confirm 100 per cent.

"Will he feature again this season? Just resting a couple of months will not be easy for him to recover his best shape as a player but the important thing for me is that he must feel that he is OK, has no pain in his ankle. After that, we will see what happens with him."

Meanwhile, Pellegrini has Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell available again for this weekend's trip to Newcastle United after they missed the midweek defeat to Manchester City.

However, Fabian Balbuena will once again miss out although he is expected to be available for the game against Cardiff City later this month.

West Ham, 8/13 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season, are 23/20 to beat Newcastle on Saturday and 8/1 to win the match from behind.

Dire away form concerns Howe

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe accepts that his side's recent performances away from home have simply not been good enough.

The Cherries slumped to a 5-1 defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday and have now lost nine away games in the Premier League in a row.

Early goals by Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan put the Gunners in control of the match and, although Lys Mousset pulled a goal back for Howe's team, further goals by Laurent Koscielny, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette completed the rout.

Despite their wretched away form Bournemouth are 12th in the table and nine points away from the relegation zone but Howe accepts there needs to be a big improvement.

He said: "It was a difficult night for us, epitomised by the start of the match and we never really truly recovered.

"I don't think we were good in any aspects of the game – with or without the ball. The mentality wasn't great. It was a disappointing night and one we have to reflect on honestly.

"Has anything got to change? Yes, the results. We've got to perform better, that will certainly change at some point but we've got to make that change ourselves.

"First of all we have a home game but in our next away game we have to give everything to try to get a turn in fortune."

Bournemouth are 12/1 to beat Manchester City on Saturday and 11/8 to finish in the top half of the table this season.