Chelsea ride their luck as Giroud’s goal takes them through

Olivier Giroud ended his drought by scoring the only goal as Chelsea won 1-0 at BATE Borisov on Thursday to clinch a place in the knockout stage of the Europa League with two group games to spare.

Affectionately called Sarri-ball, this free-flowing, easy-on-the-eye football has seen many purring, not least of which is a former Blues stalwart in Ballack and the ex-Germany favourite, who starred at west London for four years in the late 2000s, reckons that Sarri has finally tapped into the attacking capabilities of the Blues. Last season, he was on target in both games against the Belarusian champion when he played for Arsenal in Europe's second tier competition. "All these things, added to what he already had, is making him one of the best midfielders in the country".

"It is a bit more flexible now, I would say, with a little bit more freedom to go forward". There was all the conditions to play very badly, for the cold, for the opponents, for the pitch, for everything.

But Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck, given a rare start just hours after being named in Gareth Southgate's England squad, had to be stretchered down the tunnel with what looked a nasty ankle injury in the first half.

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'I think we could have done better. I think we didn't play very well, I didn't like the first half because we moved the ball only horizontally and slowly, so it was hard to be unsafe. It was really very hard to be risky. But I know very well strikers want to score.

Both sides were the beneficiaries of comical own goals in a insane first half which ended with Glenn Middleton putting the Scots 3-2 ahead, but Luiz Adriano and Sofiane Hanni both scored in the space of 71 seconds to snatch Spartak victory. "Then we managed not really very well the last 15 minutes". And so for his confidence I think it's very important.

'But I don't want him to be anxious about scoring because, for us, he's very important and very useful.

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