After the physically and emotionally draining 2-2 draw against Manchester United on Saturday, Chelsea switch gears for a bit of Europa League action against back-to-back-to-back-to...to-back-to-back (twelve in a row and counting) Belorussian champions BATE Borisov.
That doesn’t mean that BATE are any good though, certainly not in terms of relative strength. They lost to PAOK at home, 4-1, on the previous matchday, for example, and Chelsea should really be taking care of business here to put us in a dominant position at the top of the table halfway through the group stage.
That’s two good reasons to expect or wish for rotation (controlling fatigue; giving opportunities). Another is to prevent injuries and ensure that the likes of Eden Hazard, who picked up a (minor?) back injury over the weekend, recover properly for tougher, more crucial matches ahead. Hazard has basically been ruled out already, although he was always likely to be rested anyway.
Danny Drinkwater, Rob Green, and Lucas Piazon were not included in the Europa League squad for the first half of the season and are thus ineligible. There are still concerns over Ethan Ampadu’s health following his knee injury with Wales, while both Barkley and Hudson-Odoi were under fitness watches as well last week (though Barkley was good enough to make the bench and score off of it over the weekend). Everyone else should be available.