Premier League giants Chelsea are in a fantastic position in the Europa League ahead of their last 16 second half clash with Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev on Thursday.
West London giants Chelsea are one step closer to the quarterfinals after they won the first leg 3-0 courtesy goals from Pedro Rodriguez, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The Blues showed why they are considered one of the favourites to win the Europa League in their first leg meeting with their Ukrainian opponents.
Chelsea could have scored at least six goals against the Ukrainians at Stamford Bridge but the scoring was restricted to just three goals.
Alongside the Blues, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Napoli are all considered favourites in the competition.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is expected to retain the majority of the squad that navigated the first leg meaning that star forward Eden Hazard and striker Gonzalo Higuain are expected to sit out the game just like what happened in the first meeting at Stamford Bridge.
A likely away win for the Blues is at the odds of 2.20 according to SportPesa while victory for Dynamo Kiev is at the odds of 3.50.
The possibility of a stalemate between the two teams is at the odds of 3.20.
Why United is a better team for Callum Hudson-Odoi
English Premier League outfit Man United have been linked with a move for Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi ahead of the coming summer transfer window.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has been linked away from the Stamford Bridge over his lack of playing time at the club but there have been strong resistance by the club to grant him his wish.
German Bundesliga outfit Bayern Munich have been linked with Callum Hudson-Odoi and they are reported to have submitted a number of offers but they have been rejected by the Blues management as they insist that he is a major part of the club’s future.
However, Man United and Liverpool are latest to be linked with a move for Callum Hudson-Odoi but the Red Devils have been tipped to be a better side to accommodate the England international because of their ability to grant him first team appearances and regular playing time.
This is the major reason why Callum Hudson-Odoi seeks to leave the West London outfit and the solution could be available at the Old Trafford as there are no chances he would be handed a first team shirt in Liverpool as well.
More so, the Red Devils have got the ability to hand Callum Hudson-Odoi a good weekly pay that will make him more comfortable than he is at Chelsea.
Hazard Celebrates 100th Belgium Appearance With Goal
Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard was on target on the occasion of his 100th appearance for the Red Devils of Belgium.
The 28-year-old scored the opening goal for Belgium as they maintained their perfect start to the qualifiers with an away win over Cyprus.
Belgium won 2-0 over the Cypriot team to make it two wins from as many games in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
Chelsea star Hazard gave Belgium the lead inside ten minutes before striker Michy Batshuayi added a second goal eight minutes later.
Batshuayi is also a Chelsea player but the former Valencia and Marseille striker is on loan at fellow London club Crystal Palace whom he joined during the January transfer window.
Eden Hazard was able to mark his landmark 100th appearance for the Red Devils of Belgium with a goal, meaning that he has now scored 30 goals and also provided 26 assists for his country.
The Chelsea forward recently revealed in an interview with French media outlet L’Equipe that the highlight of his career was when he led Belgium to a historic World Cup win at last summer ‘s tournament in Russia.
Hazard produced a man-of-the-match showing to lead the Belgian team to the semifinals via a 2-1 win over five-time world champions Brazil in their quarterfinal clash.
Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Chelsea Loanee Stars In Belgium Win
Crystal Palace striker Michy Batshuayi was the star of the show as Belgium secured a second win from many games at the start of their Euro 2020 qualifiers.
The Red Devils had earlier beaten Russia 3-1 in the first game of their qualifying campaign before the duel with Cyprus.
Belgium took an early lead in Nicosia against the Cypriot team through Eden Hazard.
The 28-year-old was making his 100th appearance for his country and he marked it with a goal off an assist from Michy Batshuayi in the 10th minute.
Hazard has now scored 30 goals and provided 26 more in his 100 caps for the Belgium national team.
Belgium added a second goal eight minutes later as the aforementioned Batshuayi graduated from provider to goalscorer.
The 25-year-old scored the second goal in the 18th minute off an assist from Borussia Moenchengladbach star Thorgan Hazard.
The early goals were enough to give Belgium the three points at stake.
Belgium have a comfortable lead at the top of Group I of the qualifiers with six points.
Michy Batshuayi is presently on loan at fellow London club Crystal Palace from Chelsea.
He has now scored 12 goals for his country in 23 appearances since he made his debut in 2015.
Winger Encouraged To Stay At Chelsea
England national team manager Gareth Southgate has told winger Callum Hudson-Odoi that he does not leave Chelsea in search of regular first-team football.
Gareth Southgate encouraged Hudson-Odoi to continue his football development at Chelsea.
The young winger has been left frustrated with the lack of playing time at Chelsea especially in the Premier League and that prompted him to hand in a transfer request amidst the intense interest from the Bavarian giants.
German champions Bayern Munich made several bids for the newly-capped England international during the January transfer window but Chelsea were adamant that Callum Hudson-Odoi was not available for a transfer.
In his pre-match press conference on Sunday ahead of England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Monday night, Gareth Southgate revealed that Callum Hudson-Odoi would be better served continuing his football career at Chelsea.
Callum Hudson-Odoi made his first appearance for the Three Lions of England as a second-half substitute against Czech Republic on Friday night.
England began their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win over Czech Republic with Raheem Sterling stealing the show.
The Manchester City forward scored a treble in addition to further goals from team captain Harry Kane and Tomas Kalas (own goal).
Hudson-Odoi replaced Sterling in the second half of that game.
Chelsea Talisman Reveals Career Highlight
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has revealed the highlight of his football career till date.
The Belgian international talked about his career highlight in a chat with French media outlet L’Equipe.
According to him, the World Cup quarterfinal clash with Brazil was the highlight of his career.
Belgium beat Brazil 2-1 to qualify for semifinals of last summer’s FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
Fernandinho (own goal) and Kevin De Bruyne strike gave Belgium a 2-0 lead at the halftime interval before substitute Renato Augusto pulled one back for five-time world champions Brazil.
Belgium thereafter held on to that slim advantage to record a big victory over the Brazilians.
Eden Hazard didn’t score but he produced a man-of-the-match performance for the Red Devils in that last eight clash.
Hazard and Belgium were beaten in the semifinals by eventual champions France before they sealed the third spot with a 2-0 win over the Three Lions of England in their 3rd/4th place playoff.
Chelsea star Hazard will make his 100th appearance for Belgium in their Euro 2020 qualifier away to Cyprus on Sunday.
He has scored 29 goals and provided 26 assists in his previous 99 games for the Red Devils of Belgium.
The 28-year-old would be hoping to continue his good form after he scored a brace in the Red Devils’ 3-1 win over Russia in their first game of the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Sarri Questioned Over Lack Of Playing Time For Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has been questioned over the lack of playing time allowed to newly-capped England international Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright questioned the Blues boss as he was at a loss on why Hudson-Odoi was not given more playing time by the Italian tactician.
The former Arsenal striker wondered why the young Chelsea winger was good enough to be selected by England manager Gareth Southgate.
Ian Wright talked about both Sarri and Hudson-Odoi while he was doing his punditry job on British media channel ITV.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has been heavily criticised for his failure to give Hudson-Odoi more playing time at the club.
The 18-year-old broke into the first team at Chelsea during preseason ahead of this campaign but he’s yet to start a game for Chelsea in the Premier League.
The majority of his playing minutes have come in the cup competitions especially in the Europa League.
Callum Hudson-Odoi received his first call-up to the England national team setup despite the fact that he has not started a game for Chelsea in the Premier League.
He impressed as a substitute for England during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Czech Republic.
Callum Hudson-Odoi had a hand in the fifth and final goal as England ran out 5-0 winners.
Chelsea Forward Denies Real Madrid Agreement
Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard has debunked transfer rumours claiming that he has an agreement in place to join outgoing European champions Real Madrid this summer.
Hazard was quick to turn down the widespread transfer rumours when he faced reporters on Saturday in a pre-match press conference ahead of Belgium’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Cyprus on Sunday.
The 28-year-old revealed that there’s nothing with Real Madrid before adding that his focus is on the game against Cyprus.
Eden Hazard would be hoping to maintain his good form in the qualifiers after he scored a brace to lead Belgium to a 3-1 home win over Russia.
Youri Tielemans scored the other goal for Belgium while Denis Cheryshev got the lone goal for the Russians.
Eden Hazard has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid and those transfer rumours have soared in recent weeks following the return of Zinedine Zidane to the dugout at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Belgian international Hazard has always said that French football legend Zidane is his idol.
Zidane had led Real Madrid to three successive Champions League titles before he resigned from his post as the Real Madrid manager last summer.
He was reappointed as the Real Madrid manager two weeks ago following the dismissal of Santiago Solari due to the club’s recent poor run of results.
Giroud Wants More Playing Time At Chelsea
French national team manager Didier Deschamps has revealed that Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud wants more game time at the club.
Deschamps spoke about Giroud in his pre-match thoughts ahead of the French team’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland.
Giroud has struggled for playing time at Chelsea especially in the Premier League.
The 32-year-old played second fiddle to Spanish international Alvaro Morata for the first choice striker role at the start of the season and he has retained that status following the loan signing of Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain as a direct replacement for Morata who has signed for Atletico Madrid.
Former French national team captain Deschamps led France to the 2018 FIFA World Cup title triumph in Russia via a 4-2 win over surprise finalists Croatia in their final clash last summer and Olivier Giroud was his first choice striker during the tournament.
Deschamps was heavily criticised after he handed the aforementioned Giroud an invitation to the latest French squad for the games against Moldova and Iceland ahead of in-form strikers like Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) and Sevilla attacker Wissam Ben Yedder.
The France manager had defended his inclusion in his squad and the player repaid his faith with a good performance against Moldova.
France won 4-1 against the Moldovans with Giroud getting one of the goals.
Cagliari Chief Reveals Chelsea’s Interest In Barella
Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini has confirmed Chelsea’s interest in one of his players.
In a recent interview with popular Italian transfer news outlet Corriere dello Sport, Giulini revealed that the Blues wanted to sign highly rated midfielder Nicolo Barella.
According to him, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri was interested in signing Barella.
Tommaso Giulini also revealed that talks were held with Chelsea over the Italian international player.
The Cagliari supremo went ahead to reveal the interest of both Inter Milan and Napoli.
Giulini revealed that the two Italian Serie A giants also had an interest in Nicolo Barella.
Barella was one of several midfield players linked with a move to West London giants Chelsea following the exit of Cesc Fabregas.
Spanish international Fabregas left Chelsea for French Ligue 1 giants AS Monaco during the winter transfer window and the Blues were keen to replace him.
Apart from Nicolo Barella, Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) star Leandro Paredes were also linked with a move to Chelsea.
Paredes was with Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg before his transfer to PSG in January.
Nicolo Barella has been one of the best midfielders in the Italian top flight for the better part of the last two years.
He has scored one goal and provided one assist in 29 appearances this term.
Mikel Obi Narrates Father’s Kidnap Ordeal
Middlesbrough midfielder John Mikel Obi has opened up on his father’s kidnapping ordeal during last summer’s FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
The former Chelsea player was on duty for the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia while his father was being kidnapped.
John Mikel Obi was informed of his father’s kidnap shortly before he led the Super Eagles for their final game in Group D of the tournament.
Mikel Obi and Nigeria crashed out of the tournament after they were beaten 2-1 by two-time world champions Argentina in their final Group D game.
Narrating the kidnapping ordeal of his father (Pa Mikel Obi) with Sportsworld on BBC World Service, John Mikel Obi thought that his father would be killed by the kidnappers.
Mikel Obi thought that he would be greeted with the news of his father’s death after the Argentina game.
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr gave Mikel Obi the permission to miss the crucial match against Argentina but the former Chelsea midfielder opted to play the game.
John Mikel Obi revealed that the kidnapping ordeal of his father made him a better person.
He has been earning rave reviews since joining Championship side Middlesbrough as a free agent at the start of this year.
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