After a disastrous performance against Tottenham, Chelsea are in need of a win just to shore up morale and get back to the winning habit as soon as possible. Sarri has made it clear he, too, wants to win this one, even if a single point would guarantee top spot in the group (and Chelsea have already qualified for the knockout round).
Kepa Arrizabalaga started all four Europa League matches to this point and since we’re looking for all three points, he’s likely to continue in that role in the fifth one as well.
In defense, Chelsea should welcome back the recurring Europa League back four of Emerson, Andreas Christensen, Gary Cahill and Davide Zappacosta. The quartet will surely try to impress the manager after the regular choices under-performed on Saturday.
Chelsea started both Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in our last Europa League tie but Sarri wasn’t too convinced by the combination at full time. I’d expect him to draft in Mateo Kovačić for one of the two, to play on either side of Jorginho-replacement Cesc Fàbregas.
Sarri has already revealed that Callum Hudson-Odoi probably won’t get a start, even though both Eden Hazard and Victor Moses are set to miss out due to injuries.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta | Kovačić, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek | Willian, Giroud, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community’s preferred lineup mirrors the predicted one in all but two instances: Hudson-Odoi is preferred to Willian (32%) while Barkley gets the nod ahead of Kovačić (33%). It’s worth noting that Ethan Ampadu (52%) received over half the votes as well and just missed out, while third goalkeeper Marcin Bulka collected a not negligible 22% as well.
Arrizabalaga (44%) | Emerson (94%), Christensen (94%), Cahill (62%), Zappacosta (91%) | Loftus-Cheek (90%), Fàbregas (78%), Barkley (76%) | Hudson-Odoi (71%), Giroud (62%), Pedro (52%)
For me, it’s pretty simple: play the youth. This may be a bold choice but one very well worth taking. If we can’t give the likes of Hudson-Odoi a start tomorrow then we probably never will. I haven’t included Andreas Christensen in the first eleven as I’d pencil him in to start the game against Fulham on Sunday instead.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Ampadu, Cahill, Zappacosta | Kovačić, Fàbregas, Loftus-Cheek | Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Willian
COME ON, YOU BLUES!