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Chelsea played a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of the Europa League semifinal clash.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri made a shocking decision to rest Eden Hazard for this crucial game as he started Willian and Pedro on the flanks against the German side who are unbeaten at home in the Europa League this season.
Sarri made five changes to the Chelsea team that started against Manchester United last weekend, with Pedro, Olivier Giroud, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Emerson all coming in for Marcos Alonso, Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain.
Speaking to BT Sport before the match, Sarri explained his decision as he said: “We have to play five matches in two weeks with the same level of importance. We need to make changes.
“This is why Eden is on the bench. He played ten matches in a row and usually he is really able to change the match from the bench.
“After ten matches in a row he needs a rest. I don’t want him to play for 90 minutes.”
Former Chelsea player-manager Glenn Hoddle was surprised at Sarri’s decision not to start Hazard in such an important fixture.
Reacting to Sarri’s decision to bench Hazard, Glenn Hoddle said: “We’re sitting here scratching our heads – why would you leave him out?
“I really can’t understand why you wouldn’t play your best player in the semi-final. You need your star players. For the life of me I can’t understand it.
“The Frankfurt dressing room has been given a big lift.”
Owen Hargreaves added: “His whole life he’s been playing multiple games in a week. It’s a big risk. It needs to come good for Sarri.
“No way do you ever leave one of the best players in Europe out for a game like this.”