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Chelsea

Chelsea announce Zola as Sarri’s assistant manager

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Chelsea have confirmed that Gianfranco Zola will be Maurizio Sarri’s assistant manager.

Zola returns to Stamford Bridge, having enjoyed a wonderful seven-year playing career at Chelsea during which he scored 80 goals and won four major trophies.

“For me it is an amazing thing. I am very willing to work hard because it is going to be a difficult challenge but I am pleased to be here, and to work hard with Maurizio to be successful.

“It would be great to be successful with Maurizio and for the club and I will give my best, as I did in the past as a player, so I will give my best in my new position.

“I am very much looking forward to the challenge in general. I would love us to start well and we are all very excited to start this new adventure,” Zola told the club’s official website.

On heading off for the first pre-season game in Perth, Australia, he added: “It is a long way to travel but we are very pleased to go there and entertain our supporters over there. I know they are big fans so it will be a pleasure.”

Chelsea

Europa League: I hope to meet Napoli in final – Sarri

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Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri, has said he hopes to meet Napoli in the Europa League final.

Sarri stated this, after watching Chelsea storm into the quarter-finals, thanks to a 5-0 thrashing of Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine.

A hat-trick from Olivier Giroud, along with strikes from Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi, built on Chelsea’s 3-0 victory from the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

Napoli advanced 4-3 on aggregate against RB Salzburg, after falling to a 3-1 defeat in Austria.

“I prefer to find them in the final,” Chelsea’s head coach said when informed that Napoli had also qualified.

“It means we are in the final, that would make me happy and Napoli are in the final and that would make me happy.

“It would be difficult to play them with my history with the club.”

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Arsenal

Europa League: Chelsea, Arsenal qualify for quarter-final

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Chelsea and Arsenal will fly the Premier League’s flag in the Europa League quarter-final this season.

The Blues, who were all but assured of their place after a 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev, won 5-0 in Ukraine.

Olivier Giroud scored a hat-trick, while Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi also got on the score sheet for Maurizio Sarri’s men.

Arsenal overcame a 3-1 deficit, to beat Rennes 3-0 at at the Emirates.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in each half and set up a goal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The draw for the last eight will be conducted Friday afternoon in Nyon, Switzerland.

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Chelsea

Chelsea’s squad to face Dynamo Kiev revealed

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Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has named a strong squad to face Dynamo Kiev, in the second leg of their Europa League round of 16 clash on Thursday.

Sarri has rested key players during trips to Greece (PAOK), Belarus (BATE), and Hungary (Vidi FC) in the group stages, as well as in the first knockout round against Malmo, when Marcos Alonso was dropped and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had to stay behind through injury.

However, he is not taking any chances this time around.

The only absence is a forced one, as Gonzalo Higuain has apparently been struck down by a fever.

“He had a fever after the league match for two days. Yesterday in the evening with the doctor we decided to leave him at home in order to recover him for the next match,” Sarri told reporters.

The rest of the 21-man traveling squad is as follows:

GOALKEEPERS: Arrizabalaga, Caballero, Bulka

DEFENDERS: Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Alonso, Emerson, Zappacosta, Ampadu

MIDFIELDERS: Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek

ATTACKERS: Hudson-Odoi, Hazard, Pedro, Willian, Giroud

With Chelsea holding a 3-0 first leg lead, surely just about any reasonable combination of these name should (“should”) be able to finish the job. Higuain’s absence probably not a big deal in any case since Giroud, who’s the team’s leading goalscorer in Europe this season with six goals, was going to start anyway.

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