Chelsea are well and truly back in the mix for the top four in the Premier League, but taking the Europa League seriously as a back-up plan to get in the Champions League should continue to be the case. However, sandwiched between two games 72 hours on either side, rotation will be a must in Prague today.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is the one player who almost never rotates, or needs to rotate. Presumably, he will continue to start every match through the end of the season.
Maurizio Sarri rested Andreas Christensen in our last game, but the birthday boy was picked to do the pre-match press conference and will presumably start. A once again fit Marcos Alonso should return on the left, while David Luiz and César Azpilicueta are probably due to be rotated out after making four consecutive starts.
Ross Barkley had an almost instant impact after coming on against West Ham, recording a lovely assist, and should get the nod, alongside Mateo Kovačić, who did not play on Monday. Jorginho has featured in 21 straight games (18 starts, 3 subs) and perhaps will get to rest his weary legs at the start of this one along with Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
It’s been brilliant seeing Callum Hudson-Odoi start the last two games, but if Sarri’s looking to rotate and neither Willian nor Pedro (especially Willian) will take too kindly to too many bench appearances. Olivier Giroud is the main man for the Europa League, while Eden Hazard will be ready to pounce from the bench, if needed.
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Christensen, Rüdiger, Zappacosta | Barkley, Kovačić, Kanté | Willian, Giroud, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community is in full agreement with my prediction, which is a bit weird. Maybe I did this wrong? It would be a strange situation for all of us to agree with Sarri for like three games in a row! Signs of the apocalypse, and all that jazz.
Arrizabalaga (65%) | Alonso (56%), Christensen (63%), Rüdiger (67%), Zappacosta (70%) | Barkley (85%), Kovačić (83%), Kanté (63%) | Willian (81%), Giroud (81%), Pedro (76%)
JIMMY’S PREFERRED LINEUP
Jimmy says no to Zappacosta’s mustache and wants to run Hazard and Jorginho into the ground, while feeling the wrath of Willian. Trophy emojis incoming!
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Barkley, Jorginho, Kovačić | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!