Cesar Azpilicueta believes Pedro the perfect fit for Chelsea

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You ain’t seen nothing yet: Pedro.

Cesar Azpilicueta has warned Chelsea’s title rivals Pedro is ready to take the Premier League by storm.

Winger Pedro scored on his debut as Jose Mourinho’s men kick-started their title defence with a 3-2 win at West Brom on Sunday.

He also set up Diego Costa for Chelsea’s second just days after arriving from Barcelona as the visitors survived the second-half dismissal of John Terry.

And Azpilicueta, who scored Chelsea’s third at The Hawthorns, believes there is even more to come from his Spain team-mate.

He said: “He has trained for one week, he played his first game, he is discovering the Premier League and I’m sure he will get better.

“I know him very well and he fits into the team very well. I know his ambition, he is hungry to help the team, win trophies and I know the way he started the first game is amazing.

“I know from the national team he is a top player. He played for Barcelona for so many years and he fits into our team and the Premier League.”

– #360debate: Would Chelsea move be good for Stones?
– EPL: Pedro scores on debut as Chelsea beat West Brom
– #360view: United need Rooney options to compete
– GALLERY: Eight players to snub United for Chelsea

Pedro – who held a press conference in Barcelona yesterday to say goodbye to his former team-mates – joined Baba Rahman at Stamford Bridge last week as Mourinho reacted to Chelsea’s sluggish start following a draw with Swansea and defeat at Manchester City.

Left-back Rahman signed from Augsburg and Azpilicueta welcomed the extra competition, having already seen off Ashley Cole and Filipe Luis.

“It helps everybody to have competition,” said the 25-year-old.

“We know in football there’s nothing in the past, you have to prove (yourself) every day. We won the league last year but we have to show in every game and training we are ready.

"I am confident to keep working, keep doing my job. I know the competition is good for the team and I had a few great players around me. At the end, hopefully the team will be better.”

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Kompany claims squad competition motivates Man City stars

Andy Hampson 25/08/2015
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Vincent has Kompany: The City captain hailed the strength of their squad.

Vincent Kompany feels standards have been driven up at Manchester City by increased competition for places.

City have started the season in blistering fashion, winning their opening three Premier League games without conceding a goal and scoring eight.

After a frustrating 2014-15 campaign the squad was bolstered over the summer, chiefly with the signings of Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph.

And, despite the impressive results since, City are still recruiting. They spent £32 million (Dh185.2m) to sign defender Nicolas Otamendi from Valencia and continue to be heavily linked with Wolfsburg’s Kevin de Bruyne.

Kompany said: “That is one of the reasons we have started so strong. You can’t really afford to do anything wrong during the week leading up to the game. Then, during the game, you can’t do anything wrong either as there is always someone looking over your shoulder, waiting, who is just as good as you.

“If they are in a better moment and they deserve a chance, they will take your place. You have got to be at the top of your game. This is what you are seeing – a group of guys who know that they need to perform. If they don’t, someone else will do it.”

Kompany, 29, is likely to be feeling the competition as keenly as anyone. The Belgian fell below his own high standards last season and consequently reported back early for pre-season training to get ready for the new campaign.

– #360debate: Would Chelsea move be good for Stones?
– EPL: Pedro scores on debut as Chelsea beat West Brom
– #360view: United need Rooney options to compete
– GALLERY: Eight players to snub United for Chelsea

His performances have suggested he is back to his best, but with Otamendi arriving to boost central defensive ranks that also include Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis, he cannot ease off.

He said: “It shows on the pitch that I feel good and I feel happy with myself. I just don’t want to miss any opportunities to have a good game or have a good season. Every game counts for me. This when I need to perform.”

City’s defensive solidity so far this season is a source of great satisfaction for Kompany who said: “It is as important as the goals we score. As long as you don’t concede you are still in the game. From that moment, anything is possible.”

One man who won’t be battling Kompany for first-team football, however, is fellow Belgian centre-back Jason Denayer who is set to join Galatasaray on loan. 

Denayer, 20, enjoyed a fine loan spell at Celtic last season.

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Brilliant Petr Cech saves a point for Arsenal against Liverpool

Mark Bryans 25/08/2015
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World-class: Petr Cech was at his best against Liverpool.

Arsenal and Liverpool each enjoyed a half of dominance at the Emirates Stadium last night – but neither side could find a winning goal to take the three points.

The visitors will be the more frustrated having started brightly against a Gunners defence severely weakened by the enforced absences of the ill Per Mertesacker and injured Laurent Koscielny – with Calum Chambers enduring a particularly fraught evening.

But, if Arsenal’s defence showed weakness new goalkeeper Petr Cech showed just why Arsene Wenger was so determined to bring him to the club, twice denying Liverpool superbly in the opening 45 minutes, with Brendan Rodgers’ side also hitting the woodwork twice.

It was a different story after the break as Arsenal dominated, also hitting the post through Alexis Sanchez and working Simon Mignolet on a number of occasions.

A first-half ‘goal’ from Aaron Ramsey which was incorrectly ruled offside will rankle the home side, who are without a win or a goal from their first two home games of the campaign.

Liverpool showed their intent early on with Christian Benteke beating the offside trap as Chambers dropped deep, with the Belgium forward turning provider as he squared for Philippe Coutinho, whose effort came back off the crossbar with Cech beaten.

– #360debate: Would Chelsea move be good for Stones?
– EPL: Pedro scores on debut as Chelsea beat West Brom
– #360view: United need Rooney options to compete
– GALLERY: Eight players to snub United for Chelsea

Arsenal had started slowly but Sanchez threatened as he headed Nacho Monreal’s cross over on five minutes before Ramsey saw his effort wrongly chalked off having been slid through by Santi Cazorla – the second time in a week Liverpool have benefited from an incorrect decision by an assistant referee.

Coutinho and Benteke were causing constant problems for Arsenal’s new-look defence and the two combined again with the latter shooting straight at Cech from a tight angle.

Chambers gifted possession to Coutinho, only for Francis Coquelin to make a firm challenge, before the defensive midfielder slid in to challenge Benteke with the striker bearing down on goal.

Liverpool’s captain for the night, James Milner, got the luck of a deflection before testing the Arsenal goalkeeper with a volley.

Cech has had an unsteady start to life at the Emirates Stadium but he showed just how crucial he can be as he miraculously kept out Benteke’s close-range shot after good work from Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, with the Czech also getting down low to keep out Firmino’s drive moments later.

Liverpool were getting closer and only Cech was able to keep them from taking the lead as he made a fingertip save to deflect Coutinho’s superb solo effort onto the post.

Arsenal created some chances of their own after the interval, with Sanchez teeing up Olivier Giroud only for the Frenchman to flash a shot well wide of Mignolet’s goal.

A free-flowing move followed as Cazorla fed Sanchez, with the Chilean forward hitting the outside of the post as the hosts took over as the side in the ascendency.

Mignolet pawed away Giroud’s effort before clutching Ramsey’s curler. Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gabriel then had late chances to win it for the hosts.

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