Chelsea have very little time to turn around from Thursday’s exertions against Malmö FF in the Europa League and face the best team in the land (and possibly Europe) in Sunday’s League Cup final. In fact, Maurizio Sarri has opted for just one day of preparation before the Wembley showdown, choosing to relax the atmosphere around the squad in hopes that it will let them approach the game with less nervousness than on Thursday.
“I don’t want to press them, I want to keep their minds very free. We will prepare for the match only on Saturday, because I didn’t like our minds in the first 30 minutes [against Malmö]. I want to see something more free. We prepare for the match in 60 minutes, no more. The quantity is not important.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Chelsea FC
But while that sounds reasonable enough, Chelsea’s usual approach got us destroyed at the Etihad two weeks ago. Meanwhile, a less standard approach got us the impressive 2-0 win in the home league meeting a couple months prior. One would think more preparation would be the way to go this time as well, but Sarri’s made his choices.
Now, it’s your turn to make some decisions in picking your preferred starting lineup for Sunday. There are questions about the fitness of Kepa Arrizabalaga, who missed Thursday’s game with a minor hamstring issue, as well as Pedro and Davide Zappacosta, both of whom were ruled out with a stomach flu or something similarly viral. Those sorts of things tend to affect players for more than just a day or two, but they could be available. It seems less likely that Kepa will be ready.