In a surprise move, Maurizio Sarri has decided to omit Eden Hazard from the starting lineup for Chelsea’s first leg semi-final tie against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has opted to leave out star attacker Eden Hazard out of the starting XI for his team’s UEFA Europa League first leg semi-final assignment against Eintracht Frankfurt. The Belgian wing-wizard has been named among the substitutes, with Spanish winger Pedro getting the nod in his place.

Willian has shaken off a knock he picked up against Manchester United to hold on to his place in the starting lineup, but Gonzalo Higuain has been dropped to the bench. UEFA Europa League top-scorer for the season, Olivier Giroud gets the nod ahead of the Argentine as the lone striker for Chelsea.

Kepa Arrizabalaga continues in goal for the Blues against Eintracht Frankfurt, but there are a couple of changes in the backline shielding him, one of which is enforced. Antonio Rudiger’s season-ending knee injury means Andreas Christensen starts at the heart of the defence, along with David Luiz, while Marcos Alonso makes way for Emerson Palmieri at left-back, with Cesar Azpilicueta completing the backline.

The midfield department sees a solitary change, with Mateo Kovacic dropping out to the bench after his underwhelming performance against Manchester United. In his place, academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek gets the nod to partner Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the middle of the park.

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