Pedro & Willian lighten load on Hazard’s shoulders

first_imgEden Hazard has looked like a man carrying a great burden this season, as he has all too often found himself having to win games for Chelsea almost all on his own.Against Newcastle United on Saturday evening, though, Pedro and Willian helped lighten the brilliant Belgian’s load, with both men on target in a hard-fought but vitally important 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.David Luiz’s fantastic through-ball – remarkably, his 26th of the Premier League season – cut out Newcastle’s midfield to tee up Pedro for the opener, though the Spaniard deserves great credit himself for a sublime first touch and a delicate lobbed finish over Martin Dubravka. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Chelsea suffered a surprise setback just before the break, when Ciaran Clark levelled matters with a fine header from a Matt Ritchie corner, but a mazy dribble from Chelsea’s main man Hazard opened up space for Willian, who curled home a brilliant match-winning goal early in the second half.Maurizio Sarri’s side remain in fourth place but, crucially, this latest win takes them six points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who surprisingly lost at West Ham earlier in the day, and nine ahead of Manchester United, who face Tottenham away on Sunday afternoon.Hazard’s role in the victory wasn’t insignificant but the game once again highlighted the way in which he is so often starved of possession when deployed in a ‘false nine’ role.The 28-year-old gets a huge number of his goals by carrying the ball, either on the counter-attack or in tight spaces in the box. However, as a false nine, he is required to act as a pivot and provide a threat in behind defences, a discipline to which he is still adapting.It often seems like a terrible waste of his talents. Indeed, he had fewer touches than any of his team-mates to have completed the game, which means that much of his work goes into opening space for his fellow forwards.Willian, of course, was a big beneficiary, netting what was only his fifth goal of the season in all competitions. The Brazilian has rightly copped some flak for his work in the final third from some sections of the Chelsea support of late, so Sarri will now be hoping that Willian’s wonderful winner sparks a return to form for the 30-year-old, who the Blues boss criticised in his most recent press conference.Sarri still views him as a pivotal part of his plans, though, and he has said that it is “impossible” for him to leave in January, despite reports claiming Barcelona have made a £50 million bid for the Brazil international as part of a deal that would also allegedly include Blaugrana misfit Malcom.Willian Chelsea 2018-19Pedro is another player who Sarri believes he can extract more from, as arguably the best striker of the ball at the club. The 31-year-old began the season on fire, but two injuries have hampered his progress and seen his strike rate drop over the winter period.Again, the hope will be that Pedro’s goal will lift the former Barca man, as Chelsea need a fully fit and firing front three if ‘Sarriball’ is to succeed at Stamford Bridge.Misfiring Alvaro Morata remains the subject of much transfer speculation, with Chelsea looking for ways to offload the Spaniard and replace him with AC Milan striker, and Sarri favourite, Gonzalo Higuain. However, a deal for the Argentine remains both complicated and unlikely at this point.Consequently, Sarri may have to stick with his ‘false 9’ formation for now, meaning Hazard will have to continue in the role in which former winger Dries Mertens excelled at Napoli.However, that would mean an even greater onus being placed upon Pedro and Willian to help out Hazard. Saturday represented a good start in that regard. The challenge now, though, is for Pedro and Willian to continue in the same vein. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

African Development Bank Supports Morocco’s Agriculture

Rabat – African Development Bank (BAD) has outlined EU 200 million loan dedicated to finance the program of support for the inclusive and sustainable development of agricultural sectors in Morocco.The new operation aims to support job creation in rural areas through the inclusive development of agricultural value chains, the African bank said in a statement.“This program will thus strengthen the sustainability of jobs created through green governance and even more effective management of water resources,” adds the same source, stressing that “in the continuity of the Bank’s historic support, the program will contribute to the implementation of agriculture, environment, employment, and professional training.” Aligned with three of the Bank’s five strategic priorities, the project responds primarily to the “Feeding Africa” goal and hopes to promote the two other strategic objectives, namely “Improve life quality of the African people” and “Industrialize Africa,” according to BAD.The agricultural support is one aspect of the 2017-2021 Country-Strategy document for Morocco, in line with its second pillar focused on improving living conditions through employment for young people, women, and men living in rural area.The country manager of the BAD in Morocco, Leila Farah Mokaddem, highlighted how the project is projected to boost Morocco’s exports revenues to MAD 45 million by 2030 and save 990 million cubic meters of water. By 2020, it aims to mobilize MAD 4 billion of private investment in the agricultural sector to create thousands of jobs for young people and women in rural areas.Foundational infrastructure, covering the energy, water, transport, agriculture, and social development sectors, will compose 80 percent of the total financing. read more

IMF Encourages Morocco to Expand Currency Reform

Rabat – When Morocco introduced a more flexible exchange rate policy in January of 2018, it aimed to keep the county’s economy competitive and maintain the value of the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). The IMF has since reported that the transition was a success. On Tuesday, the IMF urged Morocco to expand its exchange rate flexibility by again increasing the float of the MAD. In an effort to boost resilience and increase exports, Morocco first introduced a floating exchange rate in January of 2018, increasing the rate from 0.03% to 2.5%.In a report released on Tuesday, the IMF’s Executive Directors said “they welcomed the beginning of the transition to greater exchange rate flexibility last year which will help the economy absorb potential external shocks and remain competitive. They encouraged the authorities to use the current window of opportunity to continue this reform in a carefully sequenced and well-communicated manner.” Moroccan Authorities responded to the IMF’s continued encouragement by saying reforms would continue, economic conditions in the country permitting.In a floating rate rate system, a currency’s value is typically determined by supply and demand on the open market. The value of a currency over time is an indication of the country’s relative economic strength.Read also: Strong, Flexible MAD: Successful First Year for Morocco’s IMF-Approved PLLPrior to 2018, Morocco’s currency operated on a fixed exchange rate. In a fixed exchange rate a currency is tied, or held at the same value relative to a major world currency such as the U.S. dollar or the euro.The flexibility of a floating rate offers an advantage in case of an economic shock where significant pressure is put on foreign exchange reserves. Not everyone is in favor of continued reform to the MAD.High Commissioner for Planning Ahmed al-Halimi warned that Morocco needs to focus on other reforms before pursuing reforms to the currency exchange system. In a country with a 10% unemployment rate, and where one third of college students graduate unqualified to find a job, Halimi said Morocco needed to instead focus on education and vocational training systems. “What is needed now in a country like Morocco is not a reform in the currency exchange system,” Halimi said last August. “Before we do that, “We must first carry out other reforms or finish the reforms already initiated.” read more