With Eden Hazard just back to semi-match-fitness and Chelsea facing a 2300-mile round-trip to Belarus, head coach Maurizio Sarri is reportedly “considering” the sensible decision to leave Eden Hazard at home and spare him the wear and tear and travel.
Even if Hazard were fully fit, he may have been unlikely to travel. He’s only played in one of Chelsea’s three Europa League matches so far — a necessary 35 minutes against feisty Vidi FC — and he, alongside David Luiz and Mateo Kovacic, stayed behind in mid-September as well, when Chelsea traveled to Greece to take on PAOK.
Sarri cited fatigue for the decision back then, and he has even better reasons now. With Hazard still recovering from the back injury he sustained in Ashley Young’s scissor challenge a couple weeks ago, he was only fit for the bench and a maximum 30-minute appearance on Sunday.
It only makes sense to take it easy and carefully with Chelsea’s biggest star and most important attacking player, especially in a match where Chelsea are likely to rotate most of the squad anyway.