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Chelsea plan to replace Sarri with Zinedine Zidane

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Chelsea have identified Zinedine Zidane as a candidate to take over from Maurizio Sarri and the board are already in discussions over a strategy to get their man, according to reports.

Sarri is on thin ice at Chelsea after the 6-0 humiliation against Manchester City and having dropped to sixth in the Premier League.

It is understood he has the rest of the month – where they face Malmo in the Europa League, Manchester United in the FA Cup, Man City in the Carabao Cup final and Tottenham in the Premier League – to save his job.

And the Sun report that the Chelsea board are keen on former Real Madrid boss Zidane and would be keen on him taking over straight away.

It is claimed the Chelsea board have held discussions about making a change this week following the horror defeat at the Etihad.

And it is also suggested they believe Zidane’s appointment would help keep Eden Hazard at the club.

Hazard is into the final 18 months of his contract and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid over the last few years.

He is stalling on the new deal on the table – worth £300,000 a week – and is expected to push for a move this summer.

Zidane is among the candidates to replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the favourite after guiding them to 10 wins in 12 games since coming in as interim boss.

Zidane is on a sabbatical after leaving Mardid following a third Champions League success in a row last summer.

And Madrid have been in free-fall since. They sacked Julen Lopetgeui in October after appointing him in the summer and Santiago Solari is now in charge but could leave at the end of the season.

Madrid are finally back up to second but remain six points behind leaders Barcelona, who haven’t been as good as normal seasons themselves.

Chelsea meanwhile have been on the slide under Sarri after a positive start.
Since the turn of the year they’ve won two of six Premier League games – against Huddersfield and Newcastle – losing to City, Bournemouth and Arsenal, while drawing with Southampton.

Manchester United and Arsenal have both overtaken them in the Champions League race and they now sit sixth with a big few months ahead.

A report from AS was published yesterday claiming Chelsea would be forced to sell Hazard – their biggest asset – should they fail to qualify for the Champions League a second year in a row.

Madrid are expected to bid around £100m and could use Isco or Marco Asensio in the deal.

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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