Tuchel outlines why Chelsea signed Saul on loan
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Manchester United and Liverpool made the headlines in the Premier League this weekend, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut the stand-out moment of the matchday. But Gary Neville says it is Chelsea who quietly sent the strongest message of the weekend.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea brushed Aston Villa aside in a comfortable 3-0 win to move second in the Premier League after four full rounds of matches.
The European champions have only dropped points when down to ten men against Liverpool, and Neville – speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast – says that Chelsea’s form is ominous.
“It was interesting because I’d expect Manchester United to beat Newcastle the way in which they did – with or without Ronaldo,” Neville said.
“But then I went home from Salford to watch the Chelsea-Villa game and Villa played well, and Villa are a decent side, but Chelsea again, just like robotic, methodical.
“When they scored that first goal, Lukaku, I just thought, “Ooh, it’s ominous”. The striker scoring, guaranteed, the players in behind him, a good midfield. They’re going to be very difficult to stop.”
The return of Cristiano Ronaldo means that the two Manchester clubs will be central to the title conversation, but Chelsea are the real deal too, says Neville.
“The talk will all be about Manchester – Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United – but Chelsea I think everyone knows they’re serious.
“We’ve watched them now two or three times this season, I watched them against Liverpool at Anfield and it was a real performance.
“They’re just a good team. Good at Arsenal, they’ve got Tottenham next week away from home, that will be interesting.”
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Another team that Neville believes are in the title mix are Liverpool, who beat Leeds United 3-0 to move to 10 points from four games.
And the Sky Sports pundit says that having so many strong sides in contention should make for a great season.
“I’m looking forward to what’s going to come in the next few months,” Neville said. “We just have to let it develop.
“Obviously everyone is looking to predict the champions earlier – Manchester United? Chelsea? City? – but Liverpool are really in it too. They really are in it.”
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Mohamed Salah scored his third goal of the campaign already for Liverpool in the win over Leeds, bringing his career Premier League tally to 100 goals.
And Neville says that Salah’s focus on goalscoring is reminiscent of Man Utd’s recent Portuguese signing.
“We talk about Ronaldo being single-minded to score goals, and that’s what Salah is.
“He is single-minded, more single-minded than Firmino and Mane. He is absolutely outstanding.”
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The Liverpool forward brought up the century in his 162nd match in the English top-flight, putting him in an elite group of goalscorers.
Only four players in the history of the competition have reached the landmark tally in fewer games – Alan Shearer (124 games), Harry Kane (141), Sergio Aguero (147) and Thierry Henry (160).
Salah and his teammates return to action against AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, before welcoming Crystal Palace to Anfield in the Premier league on Saturday.
Chelsea take on Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League on the same evening. And Tuchel’s side will face another opportunity to underline their title quality when they play London rivals Spurs on Sunday.
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