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Sarri mocks Arsenal’s season, defends his Chelsea record

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Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has taken a swipe at Arsenal while defending his record in charge of the Blues, and believes he is being unfairly criticised compared to Unai Emery.

Sarri watched on as Chelsea beat Malmo 3-0 in the Europa League last 32 to progress to the next round.

His team have however struggled on the domestic front, knocked out of the FA Cup and hammered 6-0 at the Etihad.

Sarri faces mounting pressure at Stamford Bridge amid speculation he could be sacked, but he is bewildered by why he faces so much more scrutiny than his Arsenal counterpart.

Asked by Sky Sport Italia if he was one defeat away from sack, Sarri responded: “I am not interested, to be honest.

“I have to think of my work as a big picture issue, otherwise I’d do my work badly. So I continue along my path and nothing has changed, as far as I am concerned.

“I keep hearing people praise Arsenal’s season, but they are not in the Cup Final, they have fewer points than us in the Premier League and reached the last 16 of the Europa League just like us.

“I don’t understand why people act as if our season is so negative and Arsenal’s is impressive.

“It’s true there have been many peaks and troughs, including some very deep troughs, but considering it’s my first season in a new league and environment, I think that’s acceptable.

“I did take over a team that finished fifth with 70 points.”

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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