Manchester City won’t be the only club representing the English Premier League in the knockout phase this UEFA Champions League campaign, as Arsenal and Chelsea both secured advancement on Wednesday.
Needing a win on the road at Karaiskakis Stadium, Arsenal, specifically Olivier Giroud, came to play. The French international led the Gunners to a 3-0 win vs. Olympiacos FC with a hat trick.
Meanwhile, Chelsea may be one of the worst teams in the EPL to date, sitting only two points above the relegation zone, but the Blues didn’t let their league form affect their tournament play on Wednesday. With the help of an early FC Porto own goal and another Willian goal, Chelsea qualified for the next stage of the competition and pushed Porto into third place in the group.
While his team bounced out of the competition on Wednesday, Mexican international Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez continued his incredible form with Bayer 04 Leverkusen. He scored a goal, his 14th of the season, three minutes after Lionel Messi at BayArena. The match against Barcelona ended in a 1-1 tie, with the Spanish giant advancing to the next stage of the tournament.
AS Roma, Bayern Munich, FC Dynamo Kyiv, FC Zenit and KAA Gent also advanced to the knockout phase on Wednesday. Porto, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Olympiacos and Valencia will now compete in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
The draw for the UCL round of 16 will take place on Monday.
Here are some more news and notes:
KLOPP: STURRIDGE’S NEW INJURY ‘NOT THAT SERIOUS’
Daniel Sturridge can’t seem to stay healthy this season, but it seems as though his latest injury won’t sideline him for too long.
On Wednesday, Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the English international striker had suffered yet another injury. This time, a hamstring strain.
“The good thing with the muscle injury is that early [on] he can start to run and to train – not football but all the other things he needs. If you look at his history in the last months, and maybe the last year, it’s not a long time he’s been able to train,” Klopp told the club’s website.
“The injury is not that serious,” he added. “The last time he trained, he got 60 minutes at Southampton, which was quite good, and then another 30 at Newcastle, which was not that good because in one of the first moments when he had a shot at goal, he felt something in the muscle. It’s not that serious, but it’s not possible to play. Now we have to build up his resistance. It is like it is. We have to help him be more resistant for all the games we have.”
Sturridge missed time at the beginning of the season after having surgery on his hip. Then, he missed more time recovering from a foot injury and a knee injury as well.
SWANSEA CITY ‘RELUCTANTLY’ PARTS WAYS WITH MANAGER MONK
One of the youngest English Premier League managers departed Swansea City on Wednesday.
Garry Monk, 36, officially parted ways with the club after being a part of Swansea City for 11 years as a player then coach. He took over the managerial position in February 2014.
“The decision has been made very reluctantly and with a heavy heart,” Swansea City chairperson Huw Jenkins said of the decision. “To find ourselves in our current situation from where we were in the first week of September, and considering the drop of performance levels and run of results over the last three months, it has brought us to this unfortunate decision today.”
Monk’s last game in charge of Swansea City was a 3-0 home loss to Leicester City. Meanwhile, assistant coaches Pep Clotet and James Beattie are also set to depart.
Swansea City currently is 15th on the EPL table, only one point above Newcastle in the relegation zone.
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