Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has decided against starting Eden Hazard for the club’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Belgian has once again been Chelsea’s star player this season, and with the Blues pushing for a place in the final, some thought Hazard would be required to get a job done.
Who starts for Chelsea against Eintracht Frankfurt? Five key things to know…
- Chelsea travel to the Waldstadion on Thursday for their Europa League semi-final first leg.
- Despite the importance of the game, Maurizio Sarri has decided against starting Eden Hazard with Willian and Pedro preferred.
- Olivier Giroud also starts ahead of Gonzalo Higuain, having made the Europa League his own this season.
- There is also a start for Ruben Loftus-Cheek who was dropped to the bench for Sunday’s draw against Manchester United.
- Frankfurt meanwhile, have named a strong side including reported Chelsea target Luka Jovic.
But if that is the case, it will have to come from the bench with Willian and Pedro starting as the wingers. The pair flank the Europa League’s top scorer Olivier Giroud, who will be looking to add to his 10 goals for the season.
There is also a start for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who had to make do with a substitute appearance against Manchester United on Sunday, with Mateo Kovacic dropping down to the bench.
Eintracht XI: Trapp; Abraham, Hinteregger, Falette; Da Costa, Fernandes, Hasebe, Rode; Gacinović; Kostić, Jović.
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 2, 2019
Andreas Christensen partners David Luiz in defence, an unsurprising pairing given they are Chelsea’s only two fit centre-backs.
Meanwhile, hosts Eintracht Frankfurt will be hoping Luka Jovic can hurt their English opponents, starting him up front alongside Filip Kostic.
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Chelsea fans react to Sarri’s ‘ballsy’ starting XI
Despite Hazard rarely featuring on Thursday nights for Chelsea, some fans were unhappy to see the Belgian on the bench given how important the Europa League could be to their Champions League hopes for next season.
— perfectionist (@MaestroGabz) May 2, 2019
Want to hope that Hazard decision doesn’t become costly.
— CFC Daily (@CFCDaily) May 2, 2019
No hazard but we move 🤝 pic.twitter.com/RB2r1OzB9f
— Ali-Hasnain (@kashmirichaixd) May 2, 2019
Hazard should be starting
— Yaron Zongo🇯🇲🇬🇭 (@arymah_rashid) May 2, 2019
— Martin (@CookStarr) May 2, 2019
Yeah cool drop Hazard pic.twitter.com/pKSwsyx4rp
— Matty Berry (@MattyBerry4) May 2, 2019
Why are we still resting Hazard? This is our best chance of getting CL football next season.
— . (@ForeverBlue_07) May 2, 2019
Need hazard to start with willian
— elizabeth czerny (@ElizabethCzerny) May 2, 2019
😮😮😮😮😮 please tell me Eden is lost in Frankfurt somewhere because if he’s not, how is he not starting this match!!!??? OMG!!!
— Cutnthingsup (@cutnthingsup) May 2, 2019
– Best XI besides Hazard for either Willian/Pedro we can have right now.
– Sarri still sees Watford as an important game which is good to see.
– Hopefully, this is a good enough team to bring back a positive result to Stamford Bridge next week.
— ForeverBlue⁸⁴ 🏴🇮🇹 (@sazio1984) May 2, 2019