Chelsea fly out to Greece today ahead of tomorrow night’s match against PAOK in Thessaloniki, but Eden Hazard, the Premier League’s leading goalscorer is not expected to be part of the traveling squad.
According to the Telegraph’s John Percy, the move is purely rotational in nature, with Hazard not expected to take part and thus not saddled with the extra air miles. Presumably, he will spend his time at Cobham and resting at home instead, getting ready for the trip across London to West Ham United on Sunday.
Eden Hazard set to be rested for Chelsea's Europa League match with PAOK https://t.co/Y5LWBLnKZT— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) September 19, 2018
Sarri had hinted at this possibility over the weekend, proclaiming his intent to give either Hazard or Pedro a rest, while also rotating out Giroud for Morata up top. The Telegraph’s report further hints at potential game-time for the likes of Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen, Ross Barkley, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, if fit.
Loftus-Cheek has been battling an upper leg injury, but he was a full participant in Monday’s training, so hopefully he will be good to go. Sarri wants to give him playing time, but only if he’s fit.
To help round out the squad, the expected trio of teenagers are all traveling with the squad. Marcin Bułka is unlikely to play, but both Ethan Ampadu (new contract and all) and Callum Hudson-Odoi should see some game-time. After all, being able to give minutes to youngsters is one of the few great things about being in the Europa League.