Maurizio Sarri is likely to reinstate Eden Hazard into the Chelsea starting eleven against West Ham after the Belgian was rested during the midweek.
Maurizio Sarri is a happy man. The Chelsea manager has himself been surprised by the start to his managerial career at the club and in the Premier League as he stated in his pre-match conference, that the first few months at Napoli were difficult for him and he had expected the same here at Chelsea.
Five wins out of five in the league now and a narrow but somewhat comfortable win to kick off their Europa League campaign, Maurizio Sarri will be looking for his sixth in a row that will stand him on the same pedestal as Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti. The manager is likely to reinstate the key players within the starting lineup.
In defence, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz were rested during the midweek. They should return, with Andreas Christensen and Davide Zappacosta giving way. Mateo Kovacic though, is a doubt for the game and could see his place being filled up by Cesc Fabregas against West Ham.
In attack, Pedro has been preferred over Willian by Sarri up until now. But, the Spaniard’s availability is in doubt after having played during the last weekend and on Thursday, which should see the Brazilian make the cut on the right. Eden Hazard should assume his place on the left.
Alvaro Morata was a disappointment in front of goal against PAOK on Thursday and will lose his place to Olivier Giroud for the Sunday bout against West Ham. The Frenchman has a good record against West Ham, his favourite opponents according to the statistics, and Sarri would hope for him to continue.
While Sarri did not reflect on any player in particular during the pre-match conference, the manager did highlight the difference in approaches in Italy and England as far as acclimatizing to the midweek fixtures are concerned. The manager iterated that, while it is early in the season, he might be compelled to rest more and more key players as the season wears on.
“In Italy, if you play in the Champions League you can ask to play the match before on the Friday or the Saturday depending on whether you’re playing on the Tuesday or the Wednesday. If you play in the Europa League away, not at home, away, you can ask to play on Monday night after. I think that’s right if you want to be competitive in Europe.”
“In this moment it’s not a great problem because we have played only six or seven matches, but in two or three months maybe it could be a problem. Maybe I will need to rest many players, but I don’t know at the moment. I hope to qualify before the last match of the group, but maybe six or seven players need to rest in the future.”
West Ham though, won the last time Chelsea paid them a visit. The London derby starts at 13:30 BST.