Tuesday Kickoff: Chelsea to start Costa; Zlatan ruled out; and more

Tuesday Kickoff: Chelsea to start Costa; Zlatan ruled out; and more

European Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: Chelsea to start Costa; Zlatan ruled out; and more

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Diego Costa  of Chelsea

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is ready to play star forward Diego Costa in midweek matches.

Just two weeks after stating that he would have to manage the Spanish international’s minutes due to a lingering hamstring injury, Mourinho is prepared to risk Costa as Chelsea visit Lisbon to face Sporting Club de Portugal. Chelsea struggled to score in their 1-1 draw with Schalke 04 in their Champions League opener. Didier Drogba started over Costa in that match.

“Diego starts,” Mourinho said. “I have the feeling that, next week, he goes to the national team. And I have the feeling that, with the national team, they will make no consideration for the fact he’s in trouble. So, in Lisbon, he plays. And, hopefully, he plays Sunday again against Arsenal.

“There is a risk, yes. But we accept that risk, he plays and, hopefully, everything goes well. Then we hope, from Tuesday to Sunday, he has enough time to be back on track again and play against Arsenal.”

With Costa in the lineup, Chelsea have been a scoring juggernaut. In six English Premier League matches, Costa has scored eight goals.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Tuesday:

IBRAHIMOVIC TO MISS MATCH VS. BARCELONA

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss out on a chance to face his former club Barcelona.

Paris Saint-Germain announced on Monday afternoon that Ibrahimovic will miss the club’s UEFA Champions League match against Barcelona on Tuesday with a heel injury. The Swedish star suffered the injury on Sept. 21 in a draw at Lyon. He had hoped to be fit in time to face his former club, but the medical staff ruled him out on Monday after the heel failed to heal in time.

Even with a couple of early-season injuries, Ibrahimovic has been off to a hot start, scoring five goals in five league matches, though PSG are currently sitting in fourth place in the league standings. PSG are tied for third place in their Champions League group after a surprising 1-1 draw at Ajax.

GIROUD SIGNS NEW ARSENAL DEAL

Olivier Giroud may be sidelined for the short term, but he’s decided to stay in North London for the long term.

The French forward has signed a new two-year contract extension with Arsenal, according to multiple reports in England. The extension takes Giroud’s deal through June 2018.

Giroud is currently sidelined until the end of December or early January due to a broken tibia, which he suffered during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Everton on Aug. 23. The injury left Arsenal with only Yaya Sanogo as a healthy forward, and helped force manager Arsene Wenger to sign Danny Welbeck on deadline day.

BRAZIL PLACED IN TOUGH GROUP IN SOUTH AMERICAN YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP

Brazil’s path to the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand will pit them against some of the best soccer nations in South America.

The highly-anticipated youth tournament, set to take place in two Uruguayan cities between Jan. 14-Feb. 7, conducted its draw on Monday evening. Argentina was placed in Group A along with Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru. Brazil, meanwhile, was drawn with Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The first round of the tournament sees each team play each other once in the group. The top three finishers in each group advance to a final group of six, where they’ll play each other once as well. The top four finishers in the final group will advance to the U-20 World Cup.

Both Brazil and Argentina failed to make it out of the first groups in the last South American Youth Championship, opening up inquests into the current shape of both nation’s youth development programs.

QUICK KICKS

Argentine national team legend Mario Kempes is set to undergo triple-bypass heart surgery to repair blocked arteries. (REPORT)

Hamburg midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart will return to full training on Wednesday. (REPORT)

Chivas de Guadalajara sporting director Paco Palencia has decided to resign. (REPORT)

Norway has called up 15-year-old star Martin Odegaard to the national team for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualification matches against Bulgaria and Malta. (REPORT)

Yossi Benayoun and Eden Ben Basat have been dropped from the Israeli national team, with Moanas Dabbur and Toto Tamuz taking their place. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you think starting Costa is a good idea for Chelsea? What are PSG’s chances without Zlatan in the lineup? Do you see Giroud staying at Arsenal for the long-term?

Share your thoughts below.

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