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Vidi FC vs. Chelsea, Europa League: Preview, team news, how to watch

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Chelsea finish out the Europa League group stages with a meaningless but hopefully fun 90 minutes in Hungary

Chelsea v Vidi FC - UEFA Europa League - Group L Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Perhaps the most interesting part of this, Chelsea’s first ever competitive visit to Hungary, is that the match won’t be played in Székesfehérvár, where Videoton Vidi FC actually play, but rather in Budapest, and not just any stadium, but the exact stadium that Chelsea helped unveil back in 2014 in a pre-season friendly against the team that normally plays there, Ferencváros (i.e. FTC or Fradi).

Vidi’s new stadium was supposed to open at the beginning of the calendar year, but it just opened in late November after ten months of delays. So their European games have been moved to the Groupama Arena to meet UEFA standards and regulations. Fortunately, Budapest is a lovely place, though obviously I’m a bit biased.

Yeah, that’s not very interesting. But that’s what you get for a Thursday.

Okay, how about ... Academy Day?

Date / Time: Thursday, December 13, 2018, 18:00 GMT; 1pm EST; 11:30pm IST

Venue: Groupama Arena, Budapest, Hungary

Referee: Aleksandr Stavrev — the man from Macedonia has about a decade of UEFA-level experience, which is about as good as it gets for the Europa League group stages.

Forecast: Freezing cold.

On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); UniMás (USA); SONY TEN 2 HD (India); elsewhere

Streaming online: BT Sport Live (UK); B/R Live, Univision NOW (USA); SONY LIV (India)

Vidi FC team news: Since we last saw them, way back on Matchday 2 of the Europa League group stage in early October, defending champions Vidi have maintained their status of trailing league leaders FTC (whose Arena this match will be played in) by eight points (now without a game-in-hand), winning just 5 of the 9 NB1 matches played. Having already played an absolutely ridiculous 34 competitive matches this season (Chelsea are on 24, counting the Community Shield), they are probably desperate for the 1.5-month-long winter break, which will begin after this weekend’s top of the league showdown against, you guessed it, FTC.

As much as the game is meaningless for Chelsea, Vidi could yet finish second in the group if they get a better result than BATE might manage playing away to bottom of the group PAOK. Vidi head coach Marko Nikolic claims his team will not be playing for the (scoreless) draw, but considering that they’re better at defense than offense, it would not be surprising to see them bunker in a bit and see if they can squeeze into the knockout stage (BATE own the tiebreaker and the two teams are level on points heading into this final day).

Chelsea team news: Having left almost all of the big guns at home (Hazard, Kante, Azpi, Rudiger, Kepa, Kovacic), Sarri’s set to play an entirely rotated starting XI, featuring the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ethan Ampadu, Andreas Christensen, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Should be a fun time.

Previously: A surprisingly close 1-0 win at the Bridge