Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic will both be hopeful of getting their first start of the 2018-19 season as Chelsea travel to face Newcastle United on Sunday.
Chelsea will look to continue their winning start to life under Maurizio Sarri as they travel to face a Newcastle United where the off-field things are starting to take the spotlight over the actual football side of the club. The Blues will hope to take advantage of the situation.
Kepa Arrizabalaga should continue in goal for Chelsea. As far as the defence is concerned, the quartet of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso will likely be retained. Andreas Christensen will have to make do with a place on the bench.
Maurizio Sarri did not give away any transfer speculation about Gary Cahill during the pre-match conference, instead iterating that the English veteran needs more days in training in order to be fit enough to be considered for selection.
“In this moment for a defender it’s more difficult to play in my team after only 20 days of training. It’s easier for offensive players so in this moment he needs to have much more training with us.”
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho will likely retain their places. But, Ross Barkley’s spot in the starting eleven is under threat, with Mateo Kovacic impressing after coming on during the second half against Arsenal. The manager was also questioned over the absence of Ruben Loftus-Cheek from the matchday squad against Arsenal.
Sarri said,“ It was only a decision about the positions, I chose to put two wingers on the bench and only one midfielder. I’ve spoken with him twice this week after I spoke to the club, I think Loftus will remain with us, we can speak again about his situation but only in December.”
The forward line is also expected to change, with Eden Hazard likely to come in for either of Willian or Pedro. Judging by form, Sarri is likely to bench Willian.
Sarri hinted at a start for both Hazard and Kovacic but stressed that neither are expected to complete the full 90 minutes on the pitch.
“I thought Mateo and Eden played very well in the last 30 minutes, but also in that moment the intensity of the match was going down. Like Eden, Mateo is ready to play for 60 or 65 minutes.”