Chelsea’s team for the second-leg of their Europa League clash against Slavia Prague has been announced, the Blues won the first-leg thanks to a late winner from Marcos Alonso.
Maurizio Sarri has made five changes to the Blues side that lost 2-0 to Liverpool last Sunday.
There’s a change at centre-back as Andreas Christensen starts in the place of Antonio Rudiger – the Germany international was replaced by Christensen after picking up an injury in Sunday’s defeat.
In the middle of the park, N’Golo Kante is the only man to retain his place in the starting lineup. England international Ruben Loftus-Cheek seems to have been rested and is not part of the matchday squad tonight, Ross Barkley takes the star’s place in the starting eleven. Surprisingly, Sarri’s on-field general Jorginho has been dropped to the bench and Real Madrid loanee Mateo Kovacic comes into the side.
At a first glance it looks as though the Blues will be playing more attacking, this could be a good move considering that the side lacked a cutting edge against Slavia Prague last week.
Sarri has gone for a front three of Pedro, Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian have both been dropped to the bench.
One surprise on the bench is Gary Cahill, the veteran defender has moved up in the pecking order at centre-back because of Rudiger’s injury.
Check out the team-sheet below:
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 18, 2019
Some Chelsea fans are surprised to see that Hazard is starting, this would of been a perfect opportunity to rest the star but given the Blues’ lacklustre performance last week, Hazard will be expected to bring the attacking spark tonight.
The omissions of Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek is also surprising, Sarri could just be resting the stars for the two-game week that is on the horizon. Given Loftus-Cheek’s history with injury it’s certainly safer to rest the star and keep him fully fit for the crucial clash against Manchester United next weekend.
Some Chelsea fans were also happy to see Jorginho dropped, although this could just be Sarri resting his trusted midfielder ahead of a busy week.
Check out some reaction to the team news below:
Finally no Jorginho! Wouldn’t be surprised if we play much quicker football. Well done sarri ????
— pinkster 2??6??? (@THECFCNUTTER) April 18, 2019
Never thought I’d see Sarri bench Jorginho ?
— Zac Campbell (@zprcampbell99) April 18, 2019
Why hazard? Is he really needed
— Coree Pullen (@CoreePullen) April 18, 2019
why no ruben
— diablos729 (@diablos729) April 18, 2019
Why Pedro, play CHO ffs,
— Pradyumna (@Pradyum94070371) April 18, 2019
NO JORGINHO FINALLY
— Saad Amjad (@SaadAmjad_) April 18, 2019
Cahill finally made it to the bench.
— El Toro (@Vkykhoza) April 18, 2019
No CHO and I won’t watch.
— Walter Kileo (@keyleowalter) April 18, 2019
Thank God Jorginho is missing. Come on CHELSEA!!!!!
— oluwatoyin kushalu (@toyinkush) April 18, 2019
I think he just guesses the forward line week by week
— BlueOysterCardCult (@oystercardcult) April 18, 2019
No loftus cheek on the team sheet why?
— junior pee (@juniorpee85) April 18, 2019
The Blues need to be much better from the get-go tonight, the west London club were frustrated for a large portion of the first-leg against the Czech Republican side.
Chelsea also need to step things up in the league, they are currently fifth in the table and they will need to win all of their remaining games if they are to secure a top four finish. If the Blues fail to do this, being triumphant in the Europa League is the side’s only hope of playing Champions League football next season.