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Manchester City
Crystal Palace
3
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2
1
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1
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Cech: No excuses at Chelsea

Petr Cech insists Chelsea's season of transition is no excuse for them ending up empty-handed after seeing their squad bolstered by further reinforcements.

• Cahill finally completes Chelsea move

Cech has been joined at Stamford Bridge by new signing Gary Cahill and will shortly see the eagerly-anticipated return of Michael Essien from injury. Cahill was the fourth major capture of the Andre Villas-Boas era as the Portuguese continues his rebuilding job at Chelsea.

The Blues, meanwhile, have never gone two successive seasons without lifting a trophy since Roman Abramovich bought the club and goalkeeper Cech said: "We set a standard in recent years, and that's the way it is at a big club - especially here.

"We want, ourselves, to win something. We don't want to go another season without trophies, so our aim is to end this season with silverware.

"We're doing everything in our power to achieve that, alongside the transformation and transition of the team. I think it will be a good year to build on for the future."

Cech sees similarities between Chelsea and the Czech Republic team he represents.

"I've lived this in the last few years with the Czech national team," he added. "We had two generations of players who basically retired at the same time, and it takes time to recover.

"It took us nearly three years to rebuild the team and now we are grateful that we managed to qualify for the Euros. That is a big achievement as a result with such a new team.

"You can see this team, there have been changes in recent years because you can't stop players ageing.

"It's normal in a top club that people change. We changed the manager and a bit of the philosophy, so it needs time."

Essien's return will help smooth the transition, while Cahill will be expected to improve a defence which has been uncharacteristically brittle this season.

"They'll basically be two new players for us," Cech said. "It's been a tough time for Michael, getting injured again and again, and the cruciate ligament is not what you wish on any footballer.

"So big credit to the medical staff and especially to Michael for getting back so soon. It's great to have him back. With Gary, he's an international defender, an English defender, and you always welcome internationals into the fold because it improves the squad.''

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