Europa League Review - Arsenal score 2-0 win over Napoli

By Sports Desk April 12, 2019

Goals from Aaron Ramsey and an own goal from Kalidou Koulibaly gave Arsenal a 2-0 win over Napoli in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals.

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  • Rumour Has It: PSG willing to sell Neymar Rumour Has It: PSG willing to sell Neymar

    Neymar appears to be on thin ice at Paris Saint-Germain.

    PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi warned he will not tolerate any "celebrity behaviour" from players.

    And the Brazil star could be set to pay the price for his lavish ways in the French capital.

     

    TOP STORY – PSG PREPARED TO PART WITH NEYMAR

    If you can stump up €222million or more, Neymar could be yours.

    According to L'Equipe, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are willing to sell their world-record signing.

    Neymar – who is recovering from an ankle injury that forced him out of Brazil's Copa America campaign – arrived from Barcelona for a world-record fee in 2017.

    And the 27-year-old continues to be linked with a return to LaLiga with former club Barcelona or their great rivals Real Madrid.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - The Standard says Paul Pogba has been told he will not be sold by Manchester United, despite the Frenchman publicly stating his desire to seek a challenge elsewhere. Pogba has been linked to Real Madrid and a return to Juventus.

    - Juventus have not given up on signing in-demand Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, according to Tuttosport. PSG are believed to be favourites but Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved is set to meet with agent Mino Raiola.

    - Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal reportedly has an offer from the Chinese Super League, according to soccerlink.fr. The arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax could spell the end of the Chilean's career at Camp Nou.

    - L'Equipe says Arsenal have moved closer to signing 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba. The Teenager has reportedly agreed a five-year contract in London.

    - Ligue 1 side Lyon have opened talks to sign Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, according to L'Equipe. The Brazil international full-back's contract expires at the end of June and he has been linked to Barcelona.

    - With Maurizio Sarri confirmed as Juventus head coach, the Italian champions are set to target Inter outcast Mauro Icardi and Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

  • Jorginho in limbo? Kante back in position? The winners and losers of Sarri's Chelsea exit Jorginho in limbo? Kante back in position? The winners and losers of Sarri's Chelsea exit

    Maurizio Sarri's spell as Chelsea boss is officially over after just 11 months in charge as it was confirmed on Sunday he is returning to Serie A with Juventus.

    The former Napoli boss lifted the Europa League and finished third in the Premier League during his only season at Stamford Bridge, while also only missing out on EFL Cup glory in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City in the final.

    But Sarri never truly won over Chelsea supporters with his style of play and a new man - likely to be Blues legend Frank Lampard - will now take over ahead of the new season.

    Lampard has just one year of managerial experience under his belt, having guided Derby County to the Championship play-off final in 2018-19, yet he is considered the frontrunner to succeed Sarri.

    Here, we look at the winners and losers following the Italian's exit and Lampard's possible appointment.


    LOSERS

    Jorginho

    He was the marquee signing lured to Chelsea last year following Sarri's arrival and was supposed to be the player that personified his coach's style of play. That in many ways turned out to be true, but not in a good way. Pass-master Jorginho was often criticised by his own supporters last season, not helped by Sarri's decision to play him in the position favoured by fan favourite N'Golo Kante, and it remains to be seen whether he has a future at Stamford Bridge under the new management.

    Gianfranco Zola

    Zola, whose return to Chelsea in a coaching capacity seemed like a shrewd piece of business at the time, is expected to make way during the close-season as part of a backroom reshuffle. Each member of Sarri's coaching staff reportedly only had one-year deals and that was no different for Zola, who it is said will not form part of Lampard's team.

    Gonzalo Higuain

    Chelsea chiefs will argue they backed Sarri in January by bringing in Higuain from Juventus in a complicated and protracted deal. The Blues have the option of signing the striker on a permanent basis, but that now seems even more unlikely to happen following Sarri's departure. Another reunion with the man who got so much out of him at Napoli awaits, but Juventus have already loaned him out twice and his chances will surely be limited in a side that already contains Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Moise Kean and Mario Mandzukic.

     

    WINNERS

    Olivier Giroud

    The Frenchman did not hide his frustration at a lack of first-team chances last season, made all the more disappointing by the fact that he regularly took his opportunities when they arrived in the Europa League. Chelsea triggered a one-year extension in Giroud's contract last month and he may now have a bigger part to play, especially given that Higuain - used regularly through the middle by Sarri - is seemingly heading back to his parent club.

    N'Golo Kante

    Easily the most frustrating of Sarri's tactical tweaks, the experiment to use Kante out of position went on for far too long - eight months too long, in the view of many Shed End regulars. The Word Cup winner, widely considered to be the best defensive midfielder in the world in the two seasons leading up to Sarri's arrival, was used on the right of a three-man midfield. Moving Kante back into his favoured holding role should be the first tweak made by the next manager..

    The youngsters

    Sarri was reluctant to use Callum Hudson-Odoi for large parts of last season, despite coming in for criticism from the stands, and there was also limited playing time for many of the other talented youngsters in Chelsea's bloated squad. With Sarri no longer around, though, and a two-window transfer ban hanging over the club, the younger players may play a more significant role from next season - not least the likes of Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori following their successful time on loan in the Championship with Lampard's Derby.

  • Sarri leaves Chelsea and takes over at Juventus Sarri leaves Chelsea and takes over at Juventus

    Maurizio Sarri has left Chelsea to take over Juventus on a three-year contract, it has been confirmed.

    Sarri had only completed one of the three seasons Chelsea contracted him for, but an agreement was reached to allow him to return to Serie A, where he led Napoli to a second-place finish in 2017-18.

    The Italian coach's position had been in doubt for several months due to a number of issues at Chelsea, and Frank Lampard has been tipped to replace him at the helm.

    Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: "In talks we had following the Europa League final, Maurizio made it clear how strongly he desired to return to his native country, explaining that his reasons for wanting to return to work in Italy were significant.

    "He also believed it important to be nearer his family, and for the wellbeing of his elderly parents he felt he needed to live closer to them at this point.

    "Maurizio leaves Chelsea with thanks from us all for the work he and his assistants did during the season he spent as our head coach, and for winning the Europa League, guiding us to another cup final and a third-place finish in the Premier League.

    "We would also like to congratulate him on securing the role as big as any in Serie A and to wish him the best of luck for the future."

    Although he departs after a commendable third-place finish in the Premier League and winning the Europa League, Sarri's time in England was anything but smooth.

    After an encouraging start domestically, Sarri's style of play began to be criticised and there were suggestions it was not quick enough to thrive in England.

    The signing of Jorginho, who followed the coach from Napoli, received particularly negative attention.

    A poor run of form towards the end of 2018 stretched into the New Year and saw Chelsea ship 10 goals without reply in successive away matches to Bournemouth and Manchester City.

    That left Sarri's job in doubt, while Kepa Arrizabalaga's decision to defy the coach's attempt to substitute him in the EFL Cup final defeat to City led to suggestions the Italian had lost the dressing room.

    Sarri held on and managed to guide Chelsea to a third-place finish and Europa League glory, with reports prior to the game in Baku suggesting defeat would result in his sacking.

    However, he has been allowed to leave in a move that could pave the way for fan favourite Lampard to return to Stamford Bridge following his first season in management.

    Lampard's strong links to Chelsea will not be his only advantage – he thrived under a tight budget at Derby County, using loans and young players, and that will likely stand him in good stead if the Blues' transfer embargo stands.

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