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.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud admitted he found Maurizio Sarri's decision to sign Gonzalo Higuain rather than give him a regular starting place "annoying", but stressed he remains committed to the club.

Giroud made just seven Premier League starts among 27 top-flight appearances for the Blues in Sarri's first campaign in charge at Stamford Bridge, scoring two goals as Chelsea finished third in the table.

He was utilised more often in the club's charge to Europa League glory with 11 goals in 14 appearances, but he revealed the signing of Higuain in January left a sour taste.

Higuain arrived on loan as Sarri looked to a player he knew well from his time in charge of Napoli for firepower rather than giving Giroud more game time.

The Argentine netted five goals in 14 Premier League appearances, during which time Giroud spoke to Sarri about his reasons for overlooking him.

"It is true that at one point I went to see him [Sarri] when I did not understand his choices," Giroud told reporters ahead of France's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra. 

"He gave me explanations. What was annoying is in January, when he preferred to recruit an attacker who he knew very well, Higuain, it was not easy for me to reap any benefits.

"As usual, I tried to stay focused to prove that I could play. I tried to stay focused to prove that he was wrong about some of the choices.

"But when you bring in a player in January it's hard to put him back on the bench and disown him."

Giroud, 32, signed a one-year contract extension in May and, with Chelsea currently unable to sign new players due to a transfer ban, he remains optimistic about his chances of playing regularly in 2019-20.

Prior to his arrival he spent five-and-a-half years at Arsenal, and he expressed his desire to stay in English football for the foreseeable future while hinting that changes are afoot at Stamford Bridge, where Sarri's future is the subject of speculation.

"I have at least another year in England and the chances are it will be more than a year," said Giroud. "I do not see myself anywhere other than in Chelsea.

"I did not have a lot of playing time in the league, and it's not something that pleased me, but I tried to be effective every time I played. I did not give up, despite my frustration.

"We're going to start over for next year with a few changes, I'm happy and I cannot wait to get back.

"I won a title this year. It's a great pride to continue at a club that wins titles and is expected to challenge for the Premier League.

"I am very happy to continue, whoever the coach is next year."

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas thanked Chelsea after their Europa League final victory over Arsenal confirmed his team's return to the Champions League group stage.

Chelsea beat Premier League rivals Arsenal 4-1 in Baku on Wednesday, a result that means Lyon will not have to compete in a qualifying round next season.

Lyon will enter 2019-20 with ex-Arsenal left-back Sylvinho in charge after the departure of head coach Bruno Genesio, who was also congratulated by Aulas.

Eden Hazard struck twice with Pedro and Olivier Giroud – who was linked with Lyon before renewing his Chelsea deal – also on target to earn Maurizio Sarri his first major silverware in charge.

"Bravo to Chelsea for this beautiful victory in the Europa League thanks to N'Golo [Kante] and Olivier who gave us the happiness to participate in the group phase of the Champions League," Aulas wrote on Twitter.

"Bravo and thanks to Bruno for this tremendous performance."

Perhaps it was inevitable a game between two teams from the same league played in the middle of nowhere often felt more like a pre-season warm-up than a major European final, hardly providing the fitting farewell Eden Hazard's Chelsea career deserved.

Arguments over travel and ticketing arrangements dominated the build-up to Wednesday's Europa League final between Arsenal and the Blues, with only a few thousand fans of either side able to attend and witness Hazard signing off in style.

UEFA selecting Baku as the host city for the final always seemed a curious call - money and Azerbaijan's increasing use of soft power plays the most obvious logical reasons - but once Arsenal qualified it was thrown even more sharply into focus by the Henrikh Mkhitaryan issue.

That the Arsenal playmaker, who featured 11 times in the competition this season, felt unable to travel to Azeri capital over safety concerns will surely be remembered as a blight on the European game. Had it been Lionel Messi or another superstar like Hazard put in Mkhitaryan's position, it is tempting to wonder whether the final would have gone ahead.

UEFA insisted both Arsenal and Mkhitaryan had been guaranteed the player's safety, but it was completely understandable the Armenia international opted not to take any risks. And Arsenal will rightly think they would have been more competitive with Mkhitaryan available, although the gifted midfielder would hardly have stemmed the Hazard-inspired flow of constant Chelsea attacks down the Gunners' right in a chastening 4-1 loss.

Had Baku been equipped to hold a game of this magnitude - Arsenal needed to win to gain qualification for the Champions League, which Chelsea had already secured via a top-four finish in the Premier League - UEFA's decision may have been forgiven, or at least forgotten.

But the vast Olympic Stadium was a bad choice regardless of the complications of trying to get to Baku from London, with the cavernous stands situated a huge distance away from the pitch and featuring plenty of empty seats. Those hardy supporters who did make a near 3,000-mile trip would have welcomed binoculars.

Speaking of the pitch, it did not appear conducive to hosting a final, with regular bobbles resulting in bad control, misplaced passes and general low quality in a first half of non-action. Even a magician like Hazard initially struggled to cast his spell on the contest.

Chelsea adjusted to testing conditions slower than Arsenal, who had a strong penalty appeal rejected when Alexandre Lacazette went down under a challenge from Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Although VAR was in use, video replays were somewhat oddly not called into play.

By half-time Chelsea were on top and three goals in 20 minutes after the restart then set up the first major silverware of Maurizio Sarri's career, in what might well prove the Italian's final game in charge of the club. Juventus are reportedly keen to appoint him as Massimiliano Allegri's successor, Sarri having pushed the Bianconeri all the way with Napoli in Serie A last term.

Hazard is also virtually certain to depart, with Real Madrid set to complete a long-mooted move for the Belgium star, and he was able to mark what was surely his farewell appearance with two goals.

"I think it is a goodbye," Hazard told BT Sport after the game and Chelsea will miss him something rotten, especially if their appeal against a two-window transfer ban is not overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

In Petr Cech's last game before retirement, the veteran goalkeeper's brilliant low save to deny Olivier Giroud in the first half was left moot as his own exit ahead of a reported return to Stamford Bridge to take an off the field role turned into a comparative nightmare.

And for Arsenal there was only the prospect of a horribly long trip home from Baku, which should never have hosted this final or Hazard's farewell.

Olivier Giroud says he refused to celebrate his goal in Chelsea's Europa League final triumph over Arsenal because the Gunners "changed his life".

The France international opened the scoring in Baku shortly after half-time – his 11th of this season's competition – to set his side on their way to a resounding 4-1 win.

Giroud joined Chelsea in January 2018 after spending five and a half years with the Gunners and says it would not have felt right to celebrate against a club that has given him so much.

"These two clubs changed my life, they gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League," he told BT Sport.

"I didn't want to celebrate against Arsenal but I am so proud to win this trophy with Chelsea.

"It was a good final and we have been better and more efficient in the second half.

"I am very proud. This team deserved to win something. It was special for me and I am happy for this club.

"When you give me the chance to get game time, I always try my best. It was our second target to win the Europa League after finishing in the top four, so I feel blessed."

Eden Hazard's brace helped Maurizio Sarri claim his first major trophy as Chelsea crushed Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday.

In perhaps his final appearance before a mooted move to Real Madrid, star man Hazard struck two second half goals to confirm Chelsea's second triumph in six seasons in this competition.

Olivier Giroud sparked the landslide against his former employers in the 49th minute before Pedro put a second past retiring Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Alex Iwobi pulled one back in between Hazard's double but Arsenal faded horribly after half-time and, having finished fifth in the Premier League, are now consigned to another season outside the Champions League.

Kepa Arrizabalaga exuded nerves early with a poor punch and was fortunate that referee Gianluca Rocchi overlooked a slight touch on Alexandre Lacazette when the forward went to ground in the 18th minute.

Cech, Chelsea's keeper in their 2013 success, appeared a picture of calm at the other end.

The 37-year-old parried an Emerson Palmieri shot and then brilliantly clawed away Giroud's angled effort.

He could do little to stop the striker a second time, however, with World Cup winner Giroud stooping to nod in Emerson's cross from the left.

Arsenal's encouraging start had fallen apart and Hazard teed up Pedro to slide in Chelsea's second with an hour played, before Ainsley Maitland-Niles bundled into Giroud's back.

Chelsea's talismanic Belgian made no mistake from the resultant spot-kick, although substitute Iwobi momentarily give Unai Emery's men a glimmer of hope courtesy of a thunderous volley.

But the ex-Sevilla coach's bid for a fourth Europa League crown was shattered within three minutes, Hazard capping off a classy combination with the tournament's top scorer Giroud to completing the humiliation.

Olivier Giroud has signed a new one-year contract at Chelsea, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Giroud, who joined from Arsenal in January 2018, will now remain with the Blues for the 2019-20 season.

The striker has scored a competition-high 10 Europa League goals this season and is set to face his old club in next week's final in Baku.

And he will do so with his future settled by putting pen to paper on a 12-month extension.

"I am very happy to sign a new contract," France forward Giroud told Chelsea's official club website.

"I really wanted to stay at least one more year - I have felt a part of the team, the family, since the beginning and hopefully there will be more trophies to come."

Giroud had been linked with a return to Ligue 1, with Lyon having expressed an interest in signing him on a free transfer and the 32-year-old also indicating he was open to the move.

But with Chelsea under a two-window transfer ban - which the club are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport - they have opted to keep Giroud at Stamford Bridge.

"We are very pleased that Olivier will be a Chelsea player for another season," said Blues director Marina Granovskaia. "Since joining us 18 months ago, he has at times had to be patient and wait for opportunities, but has still been able to make a positive contribution to the team.

"Whether it is his unselfish link-up play or his 10 Europa League goals this season, he has been a crucial member of the squad and we hope he will be able to pick up a second Chelsea winner's medal in Baku later this month to accompany last season's FA Cup win."

Giroud featured in every game as France won last year's World Cup in Russia, although he did not manage to find the net for Didier Deschamps' side.

Olivier Giroud is relishing facing his old club when Chelsea take on Arsenal in the Europa League final.

Giroud is expected to lead the line in the May 29 showpiece, with his 10 Europa League goals the most anyone has scored in this season's tournament.

The World Cup winner left Arsenal for Chelsea in January 2018 but has been linked with a return to Ligue 1 for more playing time at the end of the season.

Giroud therefore has the chance to sign off in style when Maurizio Sarri's side take on the Gunners in Baku.

"I always like playing against my old teams," Giroud told the Daily Mail. "It's going to be tough, and it could be painful if it's not going the right way, but you have to put the feelings and memories aside.

"I enjoyed the years I spent there. It has been a big part of my career, my first club in England and it will always be special, but now I feel my blood is blue. The same as the national team, blue suits me well.

"I settled in quickly. I felt like part of the family straight away. I knew a few of the players and I'm a sociable person, I always try to communicate. It wasn't difficult to integrate. I always see it as a new challenge. 

"I couldn't have hoped for it to be better. And now I want to win my second trophy with Chelsea, to finish as top scorer and help my team. Our target is to win a trophy every season and this is the last chance."

Giroud previously aired his frustration over his back-up role at Stamford Bridge but indicated he is open to signing a new contract at Chelsea.

"I feel very happy at the club," he said. "Maybe I need a bit more game time but I won't give up. That's my mentality. That's how I'm made. It's not sorted yet but we are talking about another year."

Chelsea's transfer ban - which is being appealed by the club - could see the Blues forced to put faith in young talent, a move that would be welcomed by Giroud.

"The main difference is Arsenal always tried to give the chances to the young players," he added. "It felt like more players formed at the club could have the opportunity to play. Maybe you would get more time at Arsenal. They would be more patient.

"At Chelsea you have to be ready quickly because, in terms of trophies, it has been the best club in England for the last 10 years. You don't have time at Chelsea and when you are young it is quite difficult to find your place.

"You can see we have a very good academy producing very good players and a few of them are in the first team. That is a good example for the future generation.

"I don't want to kill the dreams of these young Chelsea players. They are very talented, but it makes sense because Chelsea invest more in every transfer window and they buy more top players in the world who are more experienced.

"I am just being honest. People who know football and the Premier League and these two clubs, they know Arsene Wenger could not spend too much money. It was the philosophy of the club and because of that — or thanks to that — he would give the opportunity to young players."

Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a suspected ankle injury in Chelsea's 3-0 friendly win over New England Revolution on Wednesday.

Maurizio Sarri's men continued their preparations for the Europa League final with a comfortable victory, but they were dealt an injury blow in the untimely charity friendly.

Loftus-Cheek, introduced at half-time, came off after appearing to hurt his ankle at Gillette Stadium.

The midfielder went down under a challenge and was in discomfort before being replaced in the 69th minute, the injury a blow ahead of the May 29 decider against Arsenal in Baku.

The friendly looked to be going well for Chelsea, with Ross Barkley scoring a brace to go with an Olivier Giroud header.

Barkley scored in the third minute before Giroud headed in Davide Zappacosta's cross just prior to the half-hour mark as Chelsea outclassed the MLS outfit.

Gonzalo Higuain, who struck the crossbar early in the second half, had an effort hit Barkley before going in to make it 3-0.

But Loftus-Cheek's ankle injury soured what was an otherwise comfortable outing for Chelsea.

Olivier Giroud will stay at Chelsea next season even if he is frustrated with a lack of playing time, according to head coach Maurizio Sarri.

The striker admitted this week that he is unhappy with his role as a back-up to Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard in attack, having made only seven Premier League starts in 2018-19.

The 32-year-old has been linked with a return to France with Lyon, although any transfer plans are complicated by Chelsea having been banned by FIFA from registering new players for the next two transfer windows for breaking rules related to the signing of overseas youngsters.

And Sarri says they intend to keep Giroud, having already decided to take up the option to extend his contract for a further 12 months.

"He is sure, because the club has an option for another year, another season," he told Sky Sports News when asked if Giroud is unsure of his future.

"I spoke to the club two days ago and we agreed to exercise the option. So, he will remain.

"He cannot do anything, but I spoke with the club and I spoke with Marina [Granovskaia] two days ago and Olivier will remain with us and she didn't say to me anything about this question."

Giroud was on target in Thursday's 4-3 Europa League win over Slavia Prague as the Blues progressed to the semi-finals 5-3 on aggregate. 

Olivier Giroud believes Chelsea allowed their intensity to drop in the second half of Thursday's 4-3 Europa League win over Slavia Prague and that allowed the visitors to get back into the contest.

The Blues produced a brilliant first-half performance, finding themselves 4-1 up at the break thanks to a Pedro brace, Giroud's strike and a comical Simon Deli own goal.

But Petr Sevcik scored two fine long-range efforts early in the second period, causing the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge to become extremely tetchy towards the end.

Chelsea ultimately did enough to advance 5-3 on aggregate, but their second-half display will have alarm bells ringing and undoubtedly give semi-final opponents Eintracht Frankfurt reason for optimism.

"We started well with good intentions," Giroud told BT Sport. "We have been efficient up front and solid at the back, but we dropped our intensity after the break.

"But this team never gives up and the last 10 minutes was box-to-box. It was a good fight and now we are in the semi-finals."

Not only did Sevcik's brace give Slavia greater encouragement, it proved to be a proud individual moment for him as a Chelsea supporter.

"It was a great experience for me," he is quoted as saying by UEFA. "I am a lifelong fan of Chelsea and it was a fulfilled dream for me.

"I was a bit lucky, especially with my right-footed goal. But two goals against Chelsea, it is a dream."

Chelsea beat Slavia Prague 4-3 in a thrilling encounter to book their place in the Europa League semi-finals despite an alarmingly complacent second-half performance at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

Petr Sevcik scored a fine brace just after the break to make Chelsea nervous, but luckily for Maurizio Sarri, his team's stunning four-goal first-half performance ultimately gave Slavia too much to do and the Blues progressed 5-3 on aggregate.  

Chelsea appeared to be in complete control of the tie by the ninth minute, as Pedro's brilliant opener was followed by Simon Deli's comical own goal, before Olivier Giroud and the Spanish forward later added further gloss to the scoreline either side of Tomas Soucek's header.

Sevcik breathed life into the tie with two long-range strikes early in the second half, but Slavia still needed another couple of goals and Chelsea did enough to see out an entertaining contest and set up a last-four meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt.

A purposeful start saw Chelsea stylishly take the lead just five minutes in, as Pedro played consecutive one-twos with Cesar Azpilicueta and Giroud before cleverly clipping over Ondrej Kolar.

It was 2-0 soon after, with fortune smiling on Chelsea. Pedro inexplicably hit the post from two yards, though it ricocheted back off Deli's face and into the net.

The excellent Giroud got in on the act with 17 minutes played, tapping in from Pedro's squared pass, only for Slavia to pull one back via a thumping Soucek header a few moments later.

Back came Chelsea, however, Pedro restoring their three-goal cushion just before the half-hour mark with a scuffed close-range finish into the bottom-right corner after Giroud's pass.

Sevcik gave Slavia a little hope six minutes after the break, with his 25-yard left-footed strike going just inside the right-hand post.

And he produced an even better effort shortly after, this time a right-footed attempt from similar distance flying into the top-left corner.

Chelsea looked to absorb pressure in the latter stages and Kepa Arrizabalaga was booked for time-wasting, a damning indictment of the drop-off in their performance, but they managed to hang on.

 

What does it mean? Chelsea's attitude leaves alarm bells ringing

Chelsea seemingly thought everything was all wrapped up at half-time, beginning the second period way off the pace. They never recovered the intensity showed in the first half, but fortunately for them Slavia could only get the two goals after the interval. Questions have to be asked of the hosts' mentality.

No answer to Pedro

Slavia simply could not stop Pedro. His pace and movement on the right flank made him a constant nuisance, devastating the visitors for his first and Giroud's goal. He went on to score Chelsea's fourth, and it was his effort which led to Deli's own goal. A fine outing.

Deli's difficult day

Positionally Deli was dire on several occasions, particularly in the build-up to Giroud's strike. His own goal was unfortunate, though it never would have occurred had he been tracking Pedro more competently. In all, it was a day to forget for the defender.

What's next?

Chelsea return to Premier League action on Monday at home to Burnley, while Slavia travel to Zlin on Sunday hoping to retain their five-point lead at the top of their domestic table.

Olivier Giroud is not shying away from feeling "very frustrated" about playing back-up at Chelsea and demanded a more important role if he stays.

Giroud arrived at Chelsea from Arsenal in January 2017, but he has since gone on to make just 13 Premier League starts for the Stamford Bridge club.

He initially found himself playing second fiddle to Alvaro Morata, and although the Spaniard departed earlier this year, Gonzalo Higuain was brought in and Giroud has remained a peripheral figure despite the Argentinian failing to impress.

Giroud was a part of the France team which won the 2018 World Cup and he is adamant he is deserving of a bigger part at Chelsea.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague, Giroud said: "Trust me, I am very frustrated when I am not on the pitch, but I don't want to show it.

"You need to keep that frustration and transform it into positive energy. Trust me, I'm not happy to play the second role.

"Next year I will need to have a more important role to play. The most important thing for me is to be happy on the pitch, to enjoy the game and to have more minutes.

"I'm a competitor. I really want to play more. The thing is, I just want to enjoy it, because I'm 32 and I've won the World Cup, but I want to retire satisfied."

Giroud also accepts the uncertainty surrounding Chelsea's transfer ban is not helping produce clarity over his future.

FIFA handed down a two-window transfer embargo relating to the purchases of players under the age of 18, but they have appealed and could yet take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"I have to meet Marina [Granovskaia, club director], but obviously I might be here [next season]," Giroud said. "I don't know, I have no clue about that now, but before the end of the season [he wants clarity].

"Obviously we still don't know if the club will have the opportunity to sign players or not.

"Maybe it's a bit confusing now. There is no reason that they are not going to give me one more year, but I need to be happy as well."

Olivier Giroud believes the Chelsea fans who sang discriminatory chants against Mohamed Salah should not be considered part of the club.

Social media footage shared before the Blues' Europa League game at Slavia Prague on Thursday showed a small group of fans singing about their former player Salah, calling the Egypt international "a bomber".

Chelsea condemned the incident as "an embarrassment", while three of the six fans shown in the video were identified as they made their way into the Eden Arena and turned away by club security staff.

Liverpool issued a statement of their own, condemning the "vile discriminatory chants" against their star forward Salah as "dangerous and disturbing" examples of "unadulterated bigotry".

Speaking to Sky Sports after a 1-0 win for Maurizio Sarri's men, Giroud was similarly scathing.

"I think these people shouldn't belong to Chelsea," he said.

"The club and everybody condemns these kind of things.

"We are 100 per cent behind Mo Salah. Nowadays it shouldn't happen."

Chelsea travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp's side top of the Premier League heading into this weekend – two points clear of champions Manchester City at the summit, having played a game more.

Olivier Giroud urged Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri to play Callum Hudson-Odoi more often after the young winger impressed in his first Premier League start on Wednesday.

Chelsea ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Brighton and Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge, with England international Hudson-Odoi setting up Giroud's opening goal with a pinpoint right-wing cross, as well as being a general nuisance to Brighton's defence.

Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek got the other goals, but Hudson-Odoi was arguably the standout performer for long periods.

Giroud is convinced the 18-year-old has what it takes to be a star, and suggested he needs to be played more regularly.

"I'm not surprised [about Hudson-Odoi]," Giroud told BBC Sport. "He's improving. He's got huge potential.

"I'm sure he will become a top, top player. He needs to play in more games, but it's coming. He's a good player and a good man in the dressing room. England can be happy to have him."

Sarri was also impressed with Hudson-Odoi and hinted he can expect to be a regular starter in the near future.

"After 50 matches it's very difficult to play every three days," the Italian said. "We needed to change.

"We're lucky because Callum is doing very well. Loftus-Cheek has no problem with his back for the first time this season. Giroud is in a good period. We're lucky.

"Callum played very well and defended very well. He has improved during the season a lot. He's ready to play 90 minutes in very important matches."

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