David Luiz

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Luiz says ‘Sarri deserves this’ as uncertain future turns to present

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Maurizio Sarri‘s first season as Chelsea manager — and his first in the Premier League — is now officially complete, with a third-place league finish and the Europa League trophy.

[ MORE: Hazard: “I think it is goodbye, but you never know” ]

Wednesday’s triumph in the UEL final saw Sarri claim the first winner’s medal of his 30-year managerial career. It was a heartwarming sight to behold.

No one knows — not even Sarri himself — if there will be a second season for the Italian in west London. Not only did Sarri have a testy relationship with the club’s fans, but also with owner Roman Abramovich, leading to months of speculation that Sarri could be fired at any moment.

If the decision was to be left up to Sarri’s players, it sounds like he’d be the one roaming the sideline at Stamford Bridge come August. David Luiz, one of the most tenured players at the club (seven seasons over two different spells), was hugely complimentary of Sarri after the game and heaped loads of praise upon the 60-year-old — quotes from the BBC:

“We had some ups and downs but we have improved a lot and learned a lot this season. We finished well and won a trophy. It is my third title in Europe with Chelsea, they believe in my game. Sarri is a great guy, a great coach and he deserves this.

“The manager did amazing for this club. I don’t know about speculation, now is the time to talk about the title.”

[ MORE: Chelsea win Europa League after Arsenal capitulate (video) ]

With Eden Hazard seemingly already out the door, things could be looking drastically different at the start of next season. Chelsea won’t be the top job with a vacancy this summer, though, as whoever’s in charge — Sarri or otherwise — will be forced to operate under a two-window transfer ban.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri charged by FA for outburst against Burnley

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri was officially charged with misconduct by the FA after being sent to the standings during Monday’s 2-2 draw with Burnley.

During stoppage time near the end of the match, Sarri lost his cool over Burnley time wasting, but assistant manager Gianfranco Zola said after the match that his boss’s sending to the stands was harsh, explaining that his demonstrations were simply to “tell our players to get into position.”

Chelsea appeared frustrated the entire match with Burnley’s tactics, with David Luiz slamming the Clarets’ approach after finding himself in a tunnel incident with Ashley Westwood. “We tried everything to win the game,” Luiz said to Sky Sports. “It’s difficult when you play against a team who have two chances and score two goals and didn’t want to play the game. It’s anti-football. Time wasting all the time, especially when you have the ball. Their players went to the floor and stopped the game. They were playing 11 inside the box. It’s difficult to score against a team like that.”

In a separate incident, referee Kevin Friend has reportedly received a complaint about a racial remark that came from the Burnley bench towards Sarri, and has included that in his match report. Zola did mention after the match that Sarri was frustrated with something the Burnley bench said towards Sarri that was “offensive.”

“I think there will be a follow-up on that. Maurizio felt very unhappy,” Zola said, having taken over postgame press conference duties for his boss. “We understand it’s a football game. You say words because of the adrenaline, but he wasn’t particularly happy.”

Sarri has until Friday to respond to the formal FA charge.

Chelsea players Luiz, Azpilicueta, Rudiger open up on Kepa defiance

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Chelsea players all over the pitch tried to play mediator as goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga shockingly refused to be substituted towards the end of the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.

While Kepa shocked manager Maurizio Sarri with his act of defiance, others looked to calm the situation. Defender David Luiz was first on the scene, approaching Kepa during the confusion and speaking in his ear while the goalkeeper looked to the bench.

[ WATCH: Kepa clashes with Sarri by refusing sub ]

“I told him to respect the decision of the coach,” Luiz told the media after the match. “But, I don’t know if the coach wanted to change him because he was feeling pain or it was his [tactical] decision. I think the coach he wished to do the substitution because of the injury, he didn’t understand that [Kepa was ok].”

Fellow center-back Antonio Rudiger was on hand as well to calm Sarri as the boss looked to have angry words with his goalkeeper during the break before penalties. However, he wasn’t in a sharing mood after the match as the media looked to get his view of the events.

[ MORE: Sarri, Kepa explain Carabao Cup “misunderstanding” ]

“This is something the coach and the player have to speak about,” Rudiger said. “I cannot say much about it. I think, for sure, the coach and the goalkeeper will speak about it and everything will be fine.”

However, many Chelsea fans noted that captain Cesar Azpilicueta was nowhere to be found during the heated moments. That’s because, he says, he was on the opposite end of the field. “Honestly I don’t know because I was on the other side of the pitch so I cannot comment on this incident,” he said to Sky Sports. There was plenty of discontent after the match about Azpilicueta’s lack of response, with fans believing the captain should be the first to step in and help calm the situation.

Azpilicueta has never been an outspoken or fiery individual, but has worn the captain’s armband the entire season, having played every single minute in Premier League play and nearly every minute of the whole Carabao Cup run. He is not yet the official full-time captain, but has worn the armband all season with captain Gary Cahill out of the squad. It would have been difficult to not notice the incident at all, even if “on the other side of the pitch,” because the verbal back-and-forth lasted a good two full minutes and presented a massive delay in the match. Nevertheless, the captain pled the fifth to explain why he wasn’t involved, and it will be interesting if Sarri not only disciplines Kepa for his public display of insubordination, but also Azpilicueta for not fulfilling his role as captain.

Higuain, Hazard too much for Huddersfield (video)

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  • Higuain scores his 1st two Chelsea goals
  • Hazard also scores twice
  • Luiz adds deflected marker

Whatever Maurizio Sarri said after Chelsea’s beatdown by Bournemouth, it was the tonic.

Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard both bagged braces as Chelsea hammered Huddersfield Town 5-0 on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea is likely to stay the weekend in fourth with 50 points (unless Arsenal beats Man City by five or more goals on Sunday).

Huddersfield Town is 12 points off safety.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Both teams tempted the goal early, with Ross Barkley just missing his target with a spinning effort and Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy snapping a shot wide himself.

Higuain put Chelsea ahead from a terrific pass from N'Golo Kante, and the finish was very much as advertised, with touch and power to the short side of Jonas Lossl.

Hazard then took advantage of a chance from the spot produced by a tripping Cesar Azpilicueta and his mark Elias Kachunga. He finished it, then was upset not to win another chance himself in stoppage time.

Town was very unfortunate in the 55th minute, when Andreas Christensen stepped on Kachunga in the box but was not whistled for a penalty.

Hazard turned his mark inside out in the 64th minute, but no one was at the back post for his dangerous cross through the six.

So he did it himself; Hazard ran onto an incisive Barkley pass and broke Lossl’s ankles before slotting inside the near post.

Kante then set up Higuain again, a deflected strike which looked pretty after zipping into the upper 90.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Willian wins it for Chelsea v. Newcastle (video)

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  • Luiz sets up Pedro opener
  • Clark levels before half for Newcastle
  • Willian scores beauty off Hazard assist
  • Magpies drop into 18th

Stop us if you’ve read this one before: Chelsea has firmed up its Top Four credentials and Newcastle United is back in the drop zone.

Keep reading anyway, as the Blues got goals from Pedro and Willian in an entertaining 2-1 win over the Magpies on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Ciaran Clark scored for Newcastle, who is now a point back of Cardiff City and Southampton. The Magpies host the Bluebirds next weekend.

Chelsea now has a six-point advantage on fifth place Arsenal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pedro made it 1-0 in the ninth minute, as David Luiz played the Spaniard over the top of the Newcastle defense. Ciaran Clark lost Pedro, who chipped Martin Dubravka with the Irish defender draped all over him.

There were not a ton more chances early, with Newcastle center back Florian Lejeune hitting a ball into the hands of Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 27th.

A surprising rush saw a nice flick by Salomon Rondon spring Ayoze Perez on goal but the lunging Spaniard hit the ball wide of his countryman’s near post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Pedro almost regained the lead for Chelsea but was denied by Dubravka in the 47th minute.

Willian restored Chelsea’s lead with a goal that earned a collective gasp from the crowd, as he cut right to earn space past Yedlin for a shot that took a slight turn off Jamaal Lascelles‘ head on its way into goal.

Perez had calls for a penalty unheard, and Willian came close to scoring again at the other end as Chelsea warmed to its attack. Dubravka made the save, but Lascelles was injured in the event.

Rondon missed with a bid to head a Javier Manquillo cross past Arrizabalaga.

Newcastle youngster Sean Longstaff earned a corner with a deflected shot deep in stoppage time. Ritchie’s service was played shot and wasted by Christian Atsu.