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Seven new rule changes in the Premier League next season

Football’s governing bodies are always striving to making football a better sport.

And they’re doing a… great job.

Here are seven new rules coming to the Premier League next season.

Substitutions
New premier league rules

To prevent time wasting, players can now leave the pitch at the nearest point to them.

No more slow walks to the fourth official, taking your wrist tape and shin pads off.

Free-kick walls
New premier league rules

With a defensive wall of three or more defenders, attackers are not allowed within one yard of the wall.

This will supposedly stop opposition players interfering with the wall. That doesn’t seem fair though.

Drop balls
New premier league rules

Officially no more drop balls! An age old, chaotic method of restarting play is no more.

Whoever touches the ball last gets the ball. Pretty simple.

Goalkeepers’ behaviour for penalties
New premier league rules

Goalkeepers have long been menaces when preparing to face penalties, but they’re being watched.

Next season, they will officially not be allowed to:

Touch the goal frame
Move along their line
Sprint off their line
Stand behind the line
Goal kicks

From next season, a goal-kick is in play from the moment the ball is kicked.

Before, a goal-kick had to leave the area before being in play. Not anymore.

Handballs
New premier league rules 4

A goal scored directly from the hand/arm will no longer be allowed.

This had long been the case, but even accidental handballs will be punished. Take notes, strikers!

Celebrations
New premier league rules

Players can now be booked for their celebration – even if the goal is disallowed.

We have absolutely no idea who thought this was a good idea. But we’re hardly surprised.

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Arsenal plotting a summer bid for Wilfried Zaha.

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Arsenal are plotting a summer bid for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha in a move to beef up their squad this summer.

According to UK Sun, the Emirate dwellers are eager to land the Ivorian international, but Palace £80m price tag may prove too costly for the Gunners. Palace are not ready to let go of the 26-year-old without recouping part of the investment, but Arsenal manager Unai Emery’s budget will get only £40m mark if the club fail to beat Chelsea to reach the Champions League.

Arsenal might be forced to hold on until the later stages of the summer window – and seeing if Palace will lower the valuation on Zaha. The Ivorian has already informed Palace chiefs he will be heading for Champions League club – and Emery are eager to land homegrown talent in its squad with lose Aaron Ramsey leaving for Juventus. Despite switching international allegiance Zaha from England for Ivory Coast Zaha is still regarded as homegrown on Premier League quotas. On the other hand, Chelsea are also linked with the forward and are ready to spend big if they survive the two-window transfer this summer, but the Blues are principally looking for an outright. However, Zaha meets Arsenal expectation and the Gunners could table any of the trio of Calum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson or Reiss Nelson in any deal to have their man. Earlier, it was reported that Chelsea have listed Wilfried Zaha alongside the trio of Philippe Coutinho, Edinson Cavani and Marco Asensio that will be heading to Stamford Bridge this summer. According to UK Sun report citing BBC’s David Ornstein, the Blues have concluded plans to storm the transfer market if they escape the two-window transfer Chelsea are presently on the verge of not signing any player until the summer of 2020 after FIFA’s sanction for illegal signing of youngsters like Bertrand Traore.

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Sport

Victor Moses emerges most valuable player in Turkish Super Lig

The Nigerian Player has claimed the top spot as the most valuable player in the Turkish Super Lig with a price tag of 14m euros with Besiktas Midfielder Adem Ljajic with 13m euros while Galatasaray’s Badou Ndiaye (12m euros) in third place.

V.M

The player who happens to be on loan to Fernabache from the Chelsea side currently soars top after recent update by the Transfer Market.

v.m 2

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Madrid to confirm Hazard move after Europa League final

Hazard appeared to say goodbye to Chelsea fans on Sunday (Picture: Getty)
Hazard appeared to say goodbye to Chelsea fans on Sunday (Picture: Getty)

Eden Hazard is set to join Real Madrid (Picture: Getty) Real Madrid will wait until after Chelsea’s Europa League final clash against Arsenal to announce the signing of Eden Hazard, according to reports in France.

The Belgian has one year remaining on his deal at Stamford Bridge and he confirmed on Sunday that he’d informed the club of his decision ‘weeks ago’.

While Hazard did not specify what his decision was, it’s believed he’s told Chelsea that he wants the chance to complete a dream move to Madrid to play under Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane wants Hazard in for the start of pre-season and Madrid wanted to announce the deal as soon as possible.

However, Chelsea play Premier League rivals Arsenal in the final in Baku in a fortnight and L’Equipe claim Real will do the Blues the courtesy of waiting until after the game to announce the signing.

A fee of €100m – roughly £86m – is said to have been agreed several weeks ago, while Hazard is set to become one of the club’s highest earners.

Chelsea signed Chritisan Pulisic in January for £58m as a replacement for Hazard and the club must deal with the exit of the Belgian during a two-window transfer ban issued by FIFA.

Hazard joined the Blues in 2012 and won two league titles, one Europa League, one FA Cup and one League Cup during his seven years with the club. He was crowned PFA Player of the year in 2015 after an eye-catching season under Jose Mourinho.

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Hazard wins Premier League Playmaker Award

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Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has won the Premier League’s Playmaker Award.

The Belgium international – who came off the substitutes’ bench in his side’s 0-0 draw with Leicester City on Sunday – has been given the award for his 15 Premier League assists this season.

That total put him one ahead of Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser.

Hazard has been heavily linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid during the off-season after another glittering campaign for the Blues, which has seen him plunder 19 goals in all competitions so far.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri insists he wants the 28-year-old to remain at Stamford Bridge but admits there will be little the club can do if he decides he wants to move.

Speaking after the draw at the King Power Stadium, he said: “I know very well that Eden tried to do his best for seven seasons at Chelsea.

“He did very well and he has become one of the best two or three players in the world, but I think that we have to respect him and his decision.

“I hope of course, like every fan of Chelsea, that he will remain with us, but at the moment I don’t know.”

The point against Leicester confirmed third place in the Premier League for Sarri’s side, who now turn their attention to a Europa League final against Arsenal on May 29.

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Premier League title race comes down to final 90 minutes

The most exciting Premier League title race in recent memory has gone down to the final day of the season, with one of Manchester City or Liverpool just 90 minutes away from lifting the trophy.
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Pep Guardiola’s team currently hold a one-point advantage over Liverpool and simply need to match the result the Reds achieve in their fixture in order to secure a second successive title.

Brighton and Hove Albion will welcome the Manchester club for the final match of the season, whilst Liverpool host Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield.

It’s a truly unique situation in English football for two teams be touching the 100-point mark, and it’s looking increasingly likely that Liverpool will finishing second with 97 points.

For context, 97 points would have been a Premier League record prior to City’s century of points in the 2017/18 season.

Klopp has seen his team lose just one Premier League match this term, and it just so happened to be the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City just after the turn of the year.

2019 will be the eighth time in the Premier League era where the title has been decided on the final day of the season, although those on Merseyside won’t wish to hear that no team who wasn’t in first going into the final match has ever taken the crown.

City had to overturn a seven-point deficit to Liverpool after a lack of consistency in the first half of the campaign, yet both teams have been flawless for the past three months.

The incompetence of teams around them has contributed to the skewed nature at the top of the table, but nothing can be taken away from either club.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling have hit 20 and 17 goals respectively, whilst Mohamed Salah leads the Golden Boot race with 22.

There is also the potential for a play-off to decide the destination of the championship, harking back to the clash between Arsenal and Liverpool in 1989, although that was merely due to how the fixtures fell.

Should Brighton secure a 4-0 win and Liverpool draw 4-4 with Wolves, the two teams will be level on every single tiebreaker, and they would have to play a match against each other.

Liverpool haven’t won a domestic championship since 1990, yet Klopp has taken them out of the wilderness and they are hoping for a second miracle in the space of a week.

A 4-0 victory over Barcelona booked the Reds’ place in the Champions League final, although the Premier League is the title the fans really want.

29 years without winning a league championship has tested even the most ardent of Liverpool supporter, but that run could finally come to an end on Sunday.

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Miracles, plot twists and last-day drama to come – what a week of football

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By Eni Aluko, contributor at TheGuardian UK

This week, football has improvised the perfect movie script, full of fight, heart, desire, determination, tears of anguish, tears of joy, unsung heroes taking centre stage and the impossible becoming possible.

This movie is a true story that ended with two English teams reaching the Champions League final, proving that maybe the Premier League is the best in the world after all.

Now it goes into its final weekend with Manchester City one apparently inevitable win from the title while just behind them Liverpool, after Tuesday night’s miracle at Anfield, can make up for any domestic disappointment at the Champions League final in Madrid next month.

With City determined one day to complete their transformation under Sheikh Mansour with victory in Europe’s top club competition and Liverpool desperately seeking their first league title for 29 years, I suspect that if the two teams had been offered their choice of either of those positions at the start of the season, City would immediately have taken Liverpool’s and the Reds would have delightedly snatched City’s.

Belief fuels era of remarkable Champions League comebacks | Jonathan Wilson

But what a journey they have taken to reach this spot. On Monday Vincent Kompany was in tears at the Etihad Stadium after his incredible shot sealed victory for City over Leicester. On Tuesday there was hardly a dry eye at Anfield after Liverpool’s astonishing comeback against Barcelona. Mo Salah might not have been able to play but he even gets his T-shirts right: the slogan he was wearing, “Never give up”, said it all.

On Wednesday, we saw Lucas Moura demonstrate that being allowed to leave by PSG last January and his lack of playing time since does not restrict his ability to achieve a superhero hat-trick in a Champions League semi-final.

I am sure I was not the only player watching Liverpool’s victory over Barcelona on television who identified one big emotion in themselves: jealousy.

Some of those jealous players might even play for Manchester City, the team that are probably about to win the league at Liverpool’s expense. I was jealous of Liverpool fans, able to watch that team and call it their own. I was jealous of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s youth and ingenuity, the way he walked away from that corner before turning back to set up the fourth goal.

And I was jealous of all the players who shared that experience, and who are part of a team blessed with such spirit and drive. A quote from Jürgen Klopp’s pre-match team talk later emerged: “I think it’s impossible, but because it’s you we have a chance.”

What more can you ask of a manager than to come up with things like that, and what more can you expect of a team than to actually live up to it?

Then came the tears of joy in Mauricio Pochettino’s post-match interview the following night that left me choked, understanding that after five years in the job, unable to buy players in the previous transfer window, he and his team had gone way above and far beyond expectations.

It shows that this game is not all about technique and that character, will and emotion also have a massive impact. There can be no other explanation for the fact that Lionel Messi, one of the greatest players of his era and of all time, was so massively outshone by Gini Wijnaldum and Divock Origi.

Tuesday was not the first time that I have seen Messi, when his back is against the wall either for Barcelona or for Argentina, somehow look sorry for himself. When his teams need leadership and look to him, sometimes he seems just to have a blank expression.

Compare that to the character shown by players such as Origi and Tottenham’s hat-trick scorer, Lucas Moura, who bore huge responsibility on their shoulders in the absence of Mo Salah and Harry Kane.

One of the things that made Liverpool’s achievement all the more impressive was that this is the same squad that were seven points clear at the top of the Premier League in January, that looked certain to win the title, and have probably messed it up.

Other teams, having had to come to terms with that kind of disappointment, would not be fighting the way Liverpool are fighting now. They did not let that failure define them or defeat them, and instead that same side will now be defined by a brilliant victory over one of the greatest teams and probably the greatest player in the world.

Tottenham go into today’s home game against Everton knowing a place in the top four, their key objective this season, is virtually guaranteed. Had Tuesday night gone differently Liverpool would have gone into their match against Wolves knowing that a brilliant season was likely to end 90 minutes later with nothing to show for it. I am sure they will still feel devastated to have let such a fabulous opportunity to end that long wait for a title slip through their hands, if the incredible form they have shown domestically since August in the end brings them nothing in return.

But what might have been a miserable atmosphere will now be a celebration, and perhaps – who knows – Anfield might yet witness its second miracle of the week.

‘Wow’ factor puts Trent Alexander-Arnold centre stage for Liverpool
Sunday is a last opportunity to watch two of the great teams in modern English football history complete one of the most remarkable league campaigns.

City’s win over Leicester was their 13th in a row in the league; Liverpool have lost one league game all season. The table tells me City are the better side, and they remain on course for a domestic treble.

For all the praise Liverpool have got and deserve since Tuesday, however great their fans, their manager and their players, after 37 games they remain second.

But if I had to pick a team of the year from the Premier League, it would be Liverpool. It has to be.

Pep Guardiola’s side faltered in Europe where Liverpool have succeeded, and for all the grit and skill they have shown in somehow conjuring winning goals in game after game during the title run-in, I don’t believe that Manchester City could have achieved what Liverpool achieved against Barcelona or what Spurs did against Ajax.

Watching the unbearably tense final moments of both semi-finals I was stunned and nearly in tears. Regardless of what team we support they were two nights that, if only for a few hours, made us fall in love with football all over again.

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Sport

David Luiz signs new two-year Chelsea contract

david-luiz-
Chelsea centre-back David Luiz has signed a new two-year contract, the Europa League finalists have confirmed.

The Brazil defender helped the Blues to reach an all-London showpiece against Arsenal with a penalty shoot-out win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, and he has been rewarded with fresh terms.

David Luiz’s contract was due to expire at the end of the season but his second spell at the club will now be extended to the end of 2020-21.

Having fallen out of favour under Antonio Conte last season, David Luiz has again become a regular since Maurizio Sarri’s appointment as head coach, starting 35 Premier League games this term.

“I am so happy to be here and to have this opportunity to stay. I love this club and I still have the ambition of a young player,” the 32-year-old said to Chelsea’s official website.

“It means a lot to reach another European final, and we still have the opportunity to finish in the top three of the Premier League this season and I will continue to try to do my best to help the team.”

“We are delighted David Luiz will be staying with the club,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added.

“He has set the perfect example to those around him throughout the campaign and been a huge influence on and off the pitch.

“With the Europa League final still to come, we hope to finish off the season with silverware and David will be central to that success in Baku and beyond.”

David Luiz has made a total of 246 appearances, scoring 18 goals, across his two spells with the club.

He was part of the Chelsea side that won the Premier League title under Conte’s leadership in 2016-17, while he lifted the 2011-2012 Champions League in his first term at Stamford Bridge.

He has also won two FA Cup titles with Chelsea, who have guaranteed their return to the Champions League by confirming a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.

David Luiz was far from certain to agree a new deal with Chelsea, but the club’s transfer ban has seemingly encouraged them to keep him at the club.

Chelsea have announced they will appeal against this week’s decision by FIFA to block them from registering new players for the next two transfer windows, the club taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Sport

Neymar handed three-match ban

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The French Football Federation has sanctioned Neymar after he was involved in an incident with a Rennes fan after the Coupe de France final.

Neymar has been handed a three-match ban plus an additional two-game suspended suspension for an altercation with a Rennes supporter at the end of the Coupe de France final.

PSG squandered a 2-0 lead in the match on April 27 and ultimately lost 6-5 on penalties, but the contest was marred by an incident after the game.

As PSG made their way up the steps into the Stade de France stands, a supporter goaded Neymar while filming, and the Brazilian seemed to react.

Someone else also caught the incident on camera and the clearer footage appeared to show Neymar striking the spectator on the head.

Neymar’s suspension will begin on Monday after Saturday’s Ligue 1 meeting with Angers, meaning he will be unable to feature against Dijon and Reims in the final games of the campaign.

The Brazil star will also miss the first match of the 2019-20 season, while the suspended ban covers the two games after that.

The French Football Federation has also handed down a €35,000 fine to PSG for fans using fireworks and lasers.

Rennes have been fined €23,000 for the use of fireworks.

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Man Utd announces Solskjaer as permanent manager

Man Utd Solskjaer manager

Premier League Club, Manchester United, have announced caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, as the club’s permanent manager.

The former striker signed a three-year contract.

“From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club,” Solskjær said after signing the contract on Thursday.

Solskjær was announced as caretaker manager on 19 December 2018 and had since had an impressive run by winning his first eight games.

Man Utd Solskjaer manager

He won 14 games and drew 2 games in 19 games, amassing more Premier League points than any other club during that time.

“It was an honour to be a Manchester United player, and then to start my coaching career here. The last few months have been a fantastic experience and I want to thank all of the coaches, players and staff for the work we’ve done so far,” he added.

Solskjær scored 126 goals in 366 appearances for United between 1996 and 2007. He also managed the club’s reserve team until the end of 2010.

Man Utd Solskjaer manager  news

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Breaking: Chelsea banned from signing players for two windows

Chelsea ban
The club have been banned by Fifa from signing players for the next two transfer windows after the club breached transfer rules.

Chelsea have been banned by Fifa from signing players for the next two transfer windows.

The charge comes after the club breached rules around the transfer of minors. The club have also been fined £460,000.

The football’s world governing body looked into over 100 cases involving players under the age of 18, an investigation into deals dating back years.

Chelsea are expected to appeal the decision, a time-consuming process which could push the process into and past the upcoming summer window.

A statement reads: “Chelsea was found to have breached art. 19 of the Regulations in the case of twenty-nine (29) minor players and to have committed several other infringements relating to registration requirements for players. The club also breached art. 18bis of the Regulations in connection with two agreements it concluded concerning minors and which allowed it to influence other clubs in transfer-related matters.

“The Disciplinary Committee sanctioned Chelsea with a ban on registering new players at both national and international level for the next two (2) complete and consecutive registration periods. This ban applies to the club as a whole – with the exception of the women’s and futsal teams – and does not prevent the release of players.”

The ban comes at a time where there are serious question marks over the future of manager Maurizio Sarri, star player Eden Hazard’s desire to join Real Madrid and Bayern Munich’s public pursuit of youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The Football Association has also been found guilty of similar breaches involving minors and subsequently fined £390,000 and ordered to to resolve issues within six months.

The statement continues: “The protection of minors is a key element in FIFA’s overall regulatory framework relating to the transfer of players and effective enforcement of these rules is paramount, as also confirmed on various occasions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“The decisions issued by the Disciplinary Committee were notified today and can be contested before the FIFA Appeal Committee.”

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Court orders Jay Jay Okocha’s arrest

A Lagos Division of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of former Super Eagles star, Austin Okocha, over tax evasion charges.

Mr Okocha – or Jay Jay Okocha as he is popularly known – has repeatedly failed to appear before the court to answer why he allegedly failed to pay his income taxes.

Adedayo Akintoye, the judge, issued the warrant for the arrest of the former Eagles captain on January 29 and thereafter adjourned until February 19.

However, on February 19, the prosecution had not effected the arrest forcing the judge to, again, adjourn till April 15 and ordering that the warrant be executed by then.

The football star is facing a three-count charge instituted by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice bordering on failure to furnish his income returns and nonpayment of tax.

The state filed the charges through its prosecutor, Jide Martins, in June 2017 and the suit began four months later.

The defendant, however, had failed to appear in court.

After several adjournments without Mr Okocha appearing despite having been served the court papers, Mr Martins prayed the court to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

According to the prosecutor, Mr Okocha had failed to furnish his income returns for tax purposes to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service.

Mr Martins also said that the defendant had failed to pay his income taxes.

He said the offences contravened Sections 56 (a) and (b) of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law No. 8, 2006 and Section 94 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

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The clearest sign that Maurizio Sarri’s days are numbered at Chelsea

The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge at the inception of Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United was a charged one. The home fans were in the mood to support their team all the way to the end but something changed in there when they fell 2-0 behind their opponents.

The fans joined Man United supporters to chant ‘you are getting sacked in the morning’ in the second half and even were head singing ‘f*** Sarri-ball’. The BBC’s Phil McNulty described the chants as a clear ‘disapproval’ of Sarri’s tactics.

“And I’ll censor this one – let’s just say Chelsea’s fans are delivering the time-honoured chant of disapproval about “Sarri-Ball,” Phil McNulty tweeted.

Sarri has failed to win the hearts of some die-hard Blues who would have otherwise stuck with him until the end of the season at least. But some of the Italian’s decisions have been baffling. His substitutions are too predictable, just as his starting line-ups, giving opposition managers the advantage to plot moves excellently against his sides.

Those chants by the Chelsea fans were telling of one fact. They are frustrated by the stubbornness of their head coach and if it has begun like this, the worst is yet to come. If the club’s board feel the pressure from the fans, Sarri’s days at the Bridge are being counted now.

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Breaking: Chelsea in talks with Zidane, Lampard

Zinedine Zidane and Frank Lampard have been identified by Chelsea as potential replacements for head coach Maurizio Sarri after internal discussions, Sky Sports reports

More to follow…

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Sport

Chelsea vs Manchester United – FA Cup predicted lineups and more

After their ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City getting qualified for the next round in the FA Cup, Manchester United will be hoping to do the same when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Monday. Although there is a slump in the hosts’ performance, their home record has always been excellent.

The Red Devils have been rampant in front of the goal, but their defensive fragility was exposed against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Solskjaer will be keen to get the perfect balance in the backline to keep the Chelsea forwards in check. The Blues signed Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus in the January transfer window to bolster their front line and the Argentine will be keen to revive his form in London.

Manchester United will be given the nod above Chelsea as they head into this fixture as favourites because of their fantastic form since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over the club. On the other hand, Maurizio Sarri will be keen to put the Manchester City disappointment away with a win over the Red Devils.

Injuries
Chelsea have no fresh injuries concerns, but their midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will have to pass a late fitness test.

On the other hand, Manchester United have been dealt with a huge blow as both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial will miss this particular tie due to injuries.

Suspensions
Neither team has any suspensions.

Player form
Injuries to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard will come as a huge upset for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba are pivotal to their play. The French international is literally playing as a second striker behind the English international to score plenty of goals up front.

Chelsea will be expected to turn up for this game at least. Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain who scored five goals in between them against Huddersfield Town will be expected to give constant difficulty to the Manchester United backline as their defensive part of the game is not strong.

Likely XI
Chelsea: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Eden Hazard, Willian, Gonzalo Higuain.

Chelsea expected lineup
Manchester United: Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku.