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LIVE, Europa League: Chelsea, Arsenal aim to clinch groups

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Both Arsenal and Chelsea are in UEFA Europa League action on Thursday, with the London clubs eager to wrap up their groups after already securing their place in the Round of 32.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

The Gunners know a victory against Vorskla Poltava in Ukraine (the game has been moved to Kiev due to security concerns) could see them clinch top spot ahead of their final game of Group E against FK Qarabag.

Unai Emery made plenty of changes to his starting lineup ahead of the North London derby on Sunday, with the game kicking off at 12:55 p.m. ET.

Chelsea host PAOK Salonika at Stamford Bridge at 3 p.m. ET, and Maurizio Sarri knows a point against the Greek side will secure top spot in Group L for the Blues.

Elsewhere in the Europa League, some tasty games see Steven Gerrard‘s Glasgow Rangers host Villarreal as the Scottish giants aim to cause an upset, while Red Bull Salzburg host sister club RB Leipzig and Sevilla head to Standard Liege in a pivotal clash.

Click on the link above to follow all of the games on Thursday, while click below to check out the live group standings as the games take place.

[ MORE: Europa League standings

Super Spurs end Chelsea’s unbeaten run

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As odd as this sounds, Tottenham Hotspur was wasteful in a 3-1 demolition of Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Ascendant all afternoon, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men missed several chances to further a score line which would not have deceived anyone who watched Spurs climb over their London rivals and into third place.

Tottenham now has 30 points, five back of first, thanks to goals from Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane, and Dele Alli.

Chelsea will finish the weekend fourth, with 28 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Kepa Arrizabalaga had a pair of early moments, including a collection of a ball Harry Kane nodded off the head of his marker.

It was a precursor to the opener, as Arrizabalaga could not handle Dele’s header to the back post. The effort was enough to throw off the keeper, as Christian Eriksen‘s free kick was on a similar trajectory before the turn.

Eriksen was in the richest vein of form, chipping an effort over three backs for Heung-min Son to hammer just over the frame.

Son then cooked Antonio Rudiger to force Arrizabalaga into a leg save.

Kane was shown acres of space and Arrizabalaga was nowhere to be found when Luiz moved to stop the Spurs’ man shot from hitting his backside. 2-0 after 16 minutes.

Eden Hazard sprung to life as the match reached the latter stages of the first half, forcing Hugo Lloris into a couple interventions.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

And then, my goodness, an exclamation point from Son.

The South Korean star torched Jorginho for pace, rounded the corner, and cut back David Luiz before beating Arrizabalaga low inside the far post.

Magical stuff.

Kane missed a chance to make it 4-0 in the 68th, firing an 8-yard effort well over the bar.

Chelsea substitute Olivier Giroud rose above Serge Aurier to pound a header off the ground and past Lloris in the 85th minute to ruin the clean sheet.

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.

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.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

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

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

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.