Frank Lampard

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Sarri’s job status reportedly in jeopardy

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Reports out of Italy say Maurizio Sarri could be fired even if Chelsea wins the Europa League.

Yep, really.

Sarri, 60, is wrapping up his first season at Chelsea. The Blues lost the League Cup Final in penalty kicks, finished third in the Premier League, and meet rivals Arsenal for the UEL crown.

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Why would he be fired? Because the fans don’t love him. The manager would then potentially be wanted by AC Milan, Roma, and Juventus, says Football Italia.

The same outlet goes as far as to say that AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis, formerly of Arsenal, is headed to London to chat with Sarri. The same report says Roma would look to Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini.

Will Chelsea move on from Sarri, even with silverware in tow? It’s possible, and some salacious reports claim Frank Lampard could be targeted by Roman Abramovich.

It seems ludicrous, given how much work went into prying Sarri from his Napoli deal while Antonio Conte marinated in London.

With a transfer ban looming, Chelsea is going to need every bit of its reserves as well as consistency to continue to qualify for the UCL. Four of their five chief rivals are returning their managers for another season.

Cutting ties with Sarri would seem a mistake, especially if he took City to kicks and went on to beat Arsenal in a final.

Lampard: Derby ‘underdogs again, but we’re there’

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It’s a banner day for Derby County, who hopes there’s another to come for the Pride Park outfit.

Frank Lampard‘s Rams became the first club in Championship playoff history to lose the first leg at home and advance, topping Leeds United 4-2 on Wednesday for a 4-3 aggregate win and a date with Aston Villa in the final.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

And Derby owner Mel Morris has a lot of love for Lampard’s efforts following the Rams’ earning their first playoff final berth since 2014. From the BBC:

“What a night. If we were going to do it, that is the way to do it. I was more nervous when we had a goal lead than I was before the game when I was quite calm. But towards the end I was on the edge. This is Frank’s first season as manager and no one has done this before. What an achievement.”

As for the man himself, Lampard is buzzing and claimed the team was better over both legs of a glorious win. From Sky Sports:

“We were 1-0 down, I said to the lads everyone had written us off. It’s 1/8 for them to go through or something, everyone says they’ve beaten us three times, but we made a little tweak, and it worked brilliantly but you need bravery on the ball and the lads showed it.

“There’s work to do, this isn’t the end, we’re underdogs again and we’ll have a tough game against a brilliant Villa team, but we’re there.”

Derby and Aston Villa is a match-up of historic English clubs, and the subplots are plenty. It’s difficult to bet against either side given their seasons.

Lampard’s Derby County comes back to reach promotion playoff final

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With two red cards and six goals in one thriller, Derby County and Leeds United gave us a beauty in the second leg of their Football League Championship promotion playoffs semifinal second leg on Wednesday.

Frank Lampard‘s Derby emerged victorious with a 4-2 win in the leg, 4-3 on aggregate, as Leeds went crashing out of the playoffs.

It had to feel delightful times two for Lampard, who discovered Leeds was spying on his Rams before a match in January.

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Derby will meet Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium on May 27 in a match full of subplots, including Lampard matching wits with Aston Villa assistant and former Chelsea teammate John Terry.

Jack Marriott scored twice, with Chelsea loanee Mason Mount and Liverpool man Harry Wilson also scoring for the Rams.

Stuart Dallas scored a pair of goals for Leeds.

Gaetano Berardi was sent off with 12 minutes to play in the first 90 minutes, his side down 3-2 on the day.

Leeds entered the game with a 1-0 lead, and doubled its advantage through Dallas’ first goal of the match.

But Derby scored in the final minute of the first half and the first minute of the second, with Marriott and Mount getting on the score sheet. The former of the two goals also included very poor goalkeeping from one-time Real Madrid man Kiko Casilla.

Berardi saw his second yellow card in the 78th minute for a wayward, late slide tackle.

Liverpool man Harry Wilson nearly had it 4-2 with a chipped finish off the post before Marriott used a classy finish to deliver the score line. Derby’s Scott Malone then saw his second yellow as the match finished 10v10.

Championship Focus: Leeds falters, Sheffield United takes advantage

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The race for Premier League promotion took a few more turns on Monday, as Norwich City missed a chance to assure itself a place in the top flight.

Still, its next point gained or point lost by Leeds or Sheffield United will do the trick.

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Speaking of Sheffield United, the Blades took advantage of Norwich’s stumble and have a shot at Championship title, while Leeds fell at Brentford to fall behind in the race for automatic promotion.

Frank Lampard had a good day with his Derby County, thanks to a win and losses by two playoff contenders. And Aston Villa is buzzing.

Stoke City 2-2 Norwich City

The Canaries blew two leads and now lead the Blades by three points with two matches to play. Teemu Pukki scored his 28th league goal of the season in the draw, which puts them six points clear of third with a 10-point goal differential advantage on Leeds. Thumbs up.

Hull City 0-3 Sheffield United

David McGoldrick scored two of the Blades’ three first-half goals in a tremendous win at the KC Stadium that pulled United three points ahead of Leeds, three back of Norwich City.

Brentford 2-0 Leeds United

Neil Maupay and Sergi Canos scored on either side of halftime as Brentford continued to push Leeds United away from the Top Two. Marcelo Bielsa’s men are now 9W-1D-7L since his staff was caught spying on Derby County training and beat the Rams 2-0, compared with 16W-6D-5L in the run-up to the kerfuffle.

Leeds next hosts red-hot Villa before finishing away to relegated Ipswich Town. Sheffield United hosts Ipswich Town and goes to Stoke, while Norwich City hosts Blackburn and goes to Villa.

Derby County 2-0 Queens Park Rangers

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson scored two goals in 11 minutes of stoppage time to send Lampard’s men into sixth thanks to losses from Middlesbrough and Bristol City.

“Itโ€™s cup football almost now,” Lampard said. “Whatโ€™s on these games is so much. And weโ€™ve got to get up for it, and we will be. No doubt about that.”

Aston Villa 1-0 Millwall

Dean Smith’s men broke a 109-year-old record with a 10th successive win, as Jonathan Kodjia scored the lone goal at Villa Park. Villa is now fifth on the table and will head to the playoffs.

Elsewhere
Blackburn 2-0 Bolton
Ipswich Town 0-1 Swansea City
Reading 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
Rothertham 1-3 Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Bristol City
Wigan Athletic 2-0 Preston North End
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Middlesbrough

Fan arrested after American player Holmes racially-abused in England

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A man has been arrested for racially abusing American midfielder Duane Holmes during a Football League Championship match on Sunday.

The incident occurs as a high-profile time for racism in soccer, which has seen Moise Kean and Raheem Sterling racially abused during matches in recent weeks.

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Holmes, 24, is having a terrific year for Frank Lampard at Derby County following his arrival from Scunthorpe United. The diminutive right midfielder, who also plays centrally, is starting regularly and had a goal and an assist last week against Rotherham United.

Saturday at Brentford was a different story, as Holmes was targeted by a Bees season ticket holder after subbing off the pitch.

Here’s Derby manager Frank Lampard, from the BBC:

“Duane Holmes complained that he was racially abused – I didn’t see it, I was facing play and a fan came up to him at the side of the dugout and abused him,” he told Sky Sports.

“Because it’s such an important issue I don’t want to go beyond what I know, but it was very clearly reported by the players and the people around.”

The arrest shows that Lampard’s comments were backed by authorities.

Holmes, for his part, retweeted a supporter’s message backing “Kick It Out,” which aims to eradicate racism from the game.