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AS Roma
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Athletic Bilbao
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Tottenham Hotspur
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Borussia Monchengladbach
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FC Dallas
Arabe Unido
1:00 AM UTC Feb 24, 2017
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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League

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By ESPN Staff

Essien backing struggling Cech to hit form

Michael Essien insists Petr Cech will be unaffected by his recent blunders when Chelsea meet Arsenal in on Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.

Cech has admitted he was at fault for two of the seven goals that Chelsea have leaked during their last two matches.

The 26-year-old looked flustered throughout the 4-4 Champions League draw with Liverpool in midweek but Essien is convinced he will not be taking any emotional baggage to Wembley.

"Petr is OK. It's one of those things that happen in football. It's over now and he's looking forward to the rest of the season," he said.

"I don't think he's lost confidence. These things happen and when they happen you must accept it and move on. He has put it behind him."

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink is equally unperturbed by Cech's dip in form, claiming keepers are occasionally entitled to make mistakes.

"My thoughts on Petr are very positive because since I've been here he has done very good goalkeeping work," he said.

"We don't neglect the reality because we want to get better but Petr is an intelligent person and knows that he had one or two moments when it was not going as he wished. That's it.

"When a goalkeeper makes a mistake there's always direct consequences.

"Every now and then a keeper has the right to make an error and then we move on.

"We didn't want to over-emphasise it. He hasn't lost confidence. I've seen him in previous games and now in these matches."

Chelsea have won the FA Cup four times and Hiddink is an admirer of the competition.

"In many countries the cup is not that important but England is an exception where it is beautiful and important," he said.

"Abroad, Saturday afternoons when you were watching the semis and then the finals were very exciting. That means it's a very important competition."


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