Two wins from two, six points from six, six goals, third place ... it’s looking pretty good, at times even great, for Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea so far. But up next is the long trip to the far north. Newcastle away has not seen a Chelsea victory in over six years — that’s before any of the current members of the squad had joined the club (Cahill arrived a month or so after Chelsea’s 3-0 win at St James’s in December 2011.)
Sarri has a few options to change this unfortunate streak for the Blues. He could stick with the exact same lineup that has started the first two matches of the season, or he could switch things around to include the likes of Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovačić, now presumably both fit, from the start.
Still unfit is Cesc Fàbregas, while both Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi have played and trained with the Development Squad this week (and should play for them on Friday again, after Monday’s 3-0 win over Blackburn), so they won’t be counted on for Sunday’s first-team trip.
Chelsea only have one more match before the first international break of the season, at home against Bournemouth next Saturday, so there’s little concern to be had about burnout at this point. If anything, the concern is keeping players match fit, which explains why the two 17-year-olds were, in effect, sent back down.
They will be back soon, undoubtedly, as the schedule gets more congested.
Until then, choose wisely.