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Emerson says Chelsea ‘afraid’ that Hazard might leave

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Emerson Palmieri says Chelsea’s nine remaining Premier League matches amount to “nine Cup finals” when it comes to keeping its UEFA Champions League status, and improving the odds of hanging onto its best player.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

Palmieri admits that Eden Hazard is a cut above the rest, even on Chelsea, and says the team has concerns about hanging onto the Belgian star.

“Obviously we have many players of quality in our team but he is on another level, and is one of the best in the world,” says the 24-year-old Italian international. From Sky Sports:

“I personally cannot see him leaving, but you never know in football. Like Chelsea fans, we are afraid that he might leave, I still believe that he will stay and we really want him to stay.”

Hazard has a year left on his Chelsea deal, but the Blues are set for a transfer ban this summer and winter.

For his part, Palmieri has become a big part of Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri. He’s started and gone the distance in five of the club’s last six matches, pushing Marcos Alonso into the background.

Emerson, Giroud lead Chelsea past BATE (video)

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Chelsea traveled a long way for Thursday’s Europa League match at BATE Borisov, and Olivier Giroud made sure their trip to Belarus was a success.

Giroud thumped a trademark header home in the 52nd minute, meeting a pinpoint cross from Emerson Palmieri to lift Chelsea to a 1-0 win.

[ MORE: Les Reed leaves Southampton ]

The Blues had 74 percent of the ball and out-attempted their hosts 17-9 in a victory that propels them into the knockout rounds.

Chelsea will win Group L with a single point earned or MOL Vidi point lost over the final two match days.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, David Zappacosta, and Gary Cahill joined Emerson as unusual starters for the Blues.

Klopp unhappy with VAR decision in Liverpool loss

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp doesn’t believe VAR got it right on Chelsea’s first goal in a 2-1 defeat of the Reds at Anfield on Wednesday.

“I think the first goal is offside,” he said. “Three players are offside – two for sure. They watched it and didn’t think it was offside. We have to take it.”

[ MORE: League Cup wrap ]

Alvaro Morata was offside on the free kick but was not a part of the play. Ross Barkley, who helped produce the chance finished by Emerson Palmieri, may or may not have been offside. It was very difficult to tell, and the goal stood.

The Reds led 1-0 through ex-Chelsea man Daniel Sturridge, but Eden Hazard followed up Emerson’s goal with a wonderful winner.

Both teams made loads of changes, with Hazard, N'Golo Kante, and Mohamed Salah coming off the bench and Virgil Van Dijk rested along with Alisson Becker and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

That will be a bit different on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

“We could have played calmer football but it’s normal when you make changes. It was intense, a bit unlucky. Will I change anything for the weekend because of tonight? (long pause, before laughing). Yes.”

League Cup wrap: West Ham scores eight; Spurs, Arsenal join 4th round

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The League Cup delivered the goods again, at least when it comes to entertainment, as London clubs were center stage on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Pulisic shines in BVB blowout ]

Spurs and Chelsea had to work hard for their berths in the fourth round, but Arsenal and West Ham found life a bit easier.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 (4-2 PKs) Watford

Isaac Success scored just after halftime to give the Hornets a lead at the Stadium MK, where Spurs hosted the encounter thanks to construction delays at their new stadium and an NFL game at Wembley Stadium.

Dele Alli converted a late penalty in the 82nd minute, as Watford went down to 10 men via a Christian Kabasele red card.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring, as Erik Lamela put Spurs in front in the 86th only to see ex-Tottenham man Etienne Capoue lock the score at 2 in the 89th.

Paulo Gazzaniga saved efforts from Watford’s Capoue and Domingos Quina, and Dele converted the deciding penalty in the win.

Nottingham Forest 3-2 Stoke City

Forest scored five minutes before and after halftime in building a 3-0 lead en route to the next round. Benik Afobe and Saido Berahino pulled goals back for the Potters, but an equalizer did not arrive at the City Ground.

Liverpool 1-2 ChelseaFULL RECAP

Eden Hazard‘s sensational late goal capped off Chelsea’s comeback at Anfield, where Emerson Palmieri had earlier scored to cancel out the advantage sourced by Daniel Sturridge.

West Ham United 8-0 Macclesfield Town

This one went according to the script, with Michail Antonio, Robert Snodgrass, and Lucas Perez scoring before halftime as the Irons cruised into the next round.

Snodgrass scored another to join debutant Grady Diangana in bagging braces, while Angelo Ogbonna and Ryan Fredericks also scored finished chances in the blowout.

Arsenal 3-1 Brentford

Danny Welbeck scored in the 5th and 37th minutes, but Arsenal’s neighbors pulled one back with the goal of the afternoon via Alan Judge. Alexandre Lacazette scored late to complete the score line.

League Cup fourth round qualifiers

Arsenal
Blackpool
Bournemouth
Burton Albion
Chelsea
Crystal Palace
Derby County
Fulham
Leicester City
Manchester City
Middlesbrough
Norwich City
Nottingham Forest
Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United
Everton -or- Southampton (Oct. 2)

PL Preview: Burnley vs. Chelsea

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  • Clarets won 3-2 on Aug. 12
  • Chelsea 8 points back of 4th place
  • Burnley leads all-time 37W-24D-34L

Burnley can climb into sixth place with a win over visiting Chelsea on Thursday at Turf Moor (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s the two clubs’ first meeting since a bonkers Opening Day saw Burnley build a 3-0 lead, then hold on for a 3-2 win against a Blues side which finished with nine men.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Antonio Conte says he’ll use January signing Emerson Palmieri in the match ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Southampton.

What they’re saying

Burnley’s Sean Dyche on how opening win set season’s tone“Apart from the real superpowers everyone waits for that first win and it makes a story if you don’t get that first win in a number of games. That’s gone immediately, so your away win and a win have cleared up. It changes the immediate feel of a season. … And we’ve not really looked back, even with a tough period of 11 games when our performance levels were still pretty decent.”

Chelsea’s Conte on chasing the Top Four: “We have to try until the end to reach this target. If we want to be realistic, then with five games to go it’s not simple to reduce the gap. But we must have the will to fight until the end and the desire to reach this target. We play a really strong team in Burnley, a team having a fantastic season and it won’t be easy to get the three points. But we have to try to win this game. We can’t allow for a start like what happened against Southampton, we have to try to avoid this if we want to keep the hope of finishing in the top four.”

Prediction

Burnley have defied all odds this season and just may chase down Arsenal for sixth if it can beat the Gunners in May and pick up a result here. We think they manage just that in a 1-1 draw against a weakened Chelsea focused on Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal.