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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.

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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.

Giroud plans to continue international career

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French defender Laurent Koscielny has retired from international play, but his former Arsenal teammate is planning to keep plugging along. At least, until there’s no more room for his services.

In the wake of Koscielny’s departure from selection for Frnace, the 32-year-old Giroud has no plans of fading into the sunset after winning the 2018 World Cup.

“The guys at Chelsea, notably Antonio Rudiger, have said to me: ‘Why do you carry on? You are on a high, on top of the world and you will soon be 32’,” Giroud said ahead of France’s UEFA Nations League match against struggling Germany. “But it would have been too easy to leave like that. I feel that I am still good enough. I can bring something to the team. So if the coach [Didier Deschamps] feels the same thing, I will be available. I know too well how much I am going to miss football after my career for me to put up my own barriers.”

Giroud says that a little part of him even hopes that the game will decide when it is time to retire instead of having to make the decision himself.

“I am going to make the most of every chance because, obviously, I am closer to the end than the start,” Giroud said. “There is a risk that the youngsters will push me out of the door. It will maybe happen like that. It is maybe even better. But I am a competitor.”

While Giroud has scored just one goal in his last 12 international appearances – including none in this summer’s World Cup – he joked about an uptick in his creativity.

“There have been no goals but I have made four assists. All of a sudden, this season, I am going to aim for the title of best passer.”

Barkley, Hazard lead Chelsea past Southampton

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  • Hazard puts Saints ahead
  • Southampton misses pair of big chances
  • Morata strikes late for 3-0

Ross Barkley posted a goal and an assist as Chelsea beat Southampton 3-0 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

Eden Hazard‘s fine campaign continued with another Chelsea goal to open the scoring and Alvaro Morata also scored for the Blues, who take hold of the top spot in the Premier League ahead of Man City’s visit to Liverpool.

Southampton is 16th, three points clear of the drop zone.

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Chelsea was living in the Southampton final third from Moment No. 1, but unable to produce the finishing touch.

How dominant was Chelsea? Blues backstop Kepa Arrizabalaga did not touch the ball until the 21st minute.

Once Saints sprung to life, though, the attack was very real. In-form forward Danny Ings missed a seemingly surefire opener when he planted his foot to meet a cross and popped the ball over the frame.

Wesley Hoedt‘s slide tackle of Olivier Giroud in Saints’ box had a bang-bang feel to it, but replays showed that Hoedt did not get a piece of the ball and Chelsea should’ve been at the spot for a penalty kick.

And of course it was Hazard.

As the clock hit 30:00, the Belgian capitalized on a turnover to side-foot Ross Barkley’s perfect pass past Alex McCarthy

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Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg found Bertrand at the back post in a mirror image of Ings’ chance in the first half, with the same result.

And again Chelsea was ready to punish at the other end, with Olivier Giroud scissor kicking Willian‘s free kick into the path of Barkley for 2-0.

Arrizabalaga tipped a long distance Nathan Redmond rip off the bar and over in the 79th minute, and McCarthy stopped substitute Alvaro Morata at the other end within a minute.

Ings tested Arrizabalaga with a distance effort of his own, but the Chelsea keeper pushed it over the bar in the 84th minute.

Morata scored in stoppage time to round off the scoring.

Chelsea’s Sarri ‘not happy’ after scoreless draw at West Ham

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Maurizio Sarri is frustrated after his Chelsea side couldn’t find a way past West Ham United on Sunday.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Chelsea ]

It was the Blues first setback of the season, Sarri’s men failing to meet Liverpool’s 6-0 start to the season.

The scoreless draw saw Sarri try a few things, including the second half introduction of Alvaro Morata for Olivier Giroud. Morata proved more of a threat but his luckless run continued in London.

“Giroud is very important to be a point of reference for mates, but in that moment they were handling this kind of pass. So I preferred Morata, a player with movement off the ball.

“Save maybe the last 20-25 minutes of the first half, (West Ham) are really a very good team. Now that they have won away at Everton, there’s confidence.”

Sarri said he was “not happy” with the result, which came after Chelsea had a similar performance but managed a 1-0 win at PAOK in the Europa League.

Willian, Hazard wow as Chelsea rout Cardiff

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Eden Hazard scored a hat trick while Willian was the star of the second half as Chelsea overcame an early concession to rock Cardiff City 4-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Hazard’s first two goals were set-up by Olivier Giroud, while Willian scored a beauty and drew the penalty kick that became Hazard’s third.

Chelsea goes ahead of Liverpool on goal differential to lead the table, while Cardiff is one point ahead of the Bottom Three.

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Cardiff took a shock lead, with Bamba in position to deposit a Sean Morrison flick beyond the reach of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Pedro missed a significant chance to make it 1-1, failing to challenge Neil Etheridge with a 36th minute shot.

It was one of several first half chances created by the Blues that did not have appropriate finish.

Hazard, however, did when he worked a 1-2 with Olivier Giroud to slot a gorgeous low shot inside the far post.

And it wasn’t long after the Giroud stuck out a leg to perfectly set up Hazard for his second of the game.

Pedro missed making it 3-0, set up by Antonio Rudiger in the 62nd minute.

And it could’ve been 2-2 out of nowhere had Bobby Reid not dragged his shot wide of goal.

That’s when Willian stepped to the front, earning a penalty that Hazard converted for his hat trick and then scoring a gorgeous curling shot from outside the 18 to make it 4-1.

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