Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcos Alonso have not travelled with the Chelsea squad to face Malmo FF in the Round of 32 first leg tie of the UEFA Europa League.
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from the 6-0 mauling received at the hands of Manchester City over the weekend. The focus will now shift towards Europe, with Chelsea traveling to Sweden to face Malmo FF in the first leg of the Round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League. Maurizio Sarri has decided to leave Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcos Alonso out of the traveling squad.
Kepa Arrizabalaga should start in goal, with Sarri looking to rebuild some morale in the dressing room with a win on Thursday. The back four should be rotated, especially with Alonso not traveling with the squad. Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen should come into the back four, with Cesar Azpilicueta retaining his role on the right and Emerson Palmieri coming in for Alonso.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the other person not part of the traveling squad and Maurizio Sarri explained the decision in his pre-match conference.
Sarri explained,“Loftus-Cheek is out with the same problem, with his back. It’s not the most serious problem, I hope he [is back] for the FA Cup, but it was impossible for tomorrow. I want Marcos to rest for one match. No physical problem.”
It is interesting to note that, while Loftus-Cheek has an injury, Sarri chose to rest Alonso, who reportedly had somewhat of a bust-up with the manager after the 6-0 defeat. Ethan Ampadu should replace Jorginho in midfield, with Mateo Kovacic coming in for Ross Barkley.
With Drinkwater injured, we could see N’Golo Kante start. Alternatively, he could also be rested, with Barkley given a chance to redeem himself after a poor outing against Manchester City.
In attack, Olivier Giroud has a prolific record in Europe but could find himself on the bench, with Gonzalo Higuain set for his European debut as a Chelsea player. Callum Hudson-Odoi has not been a part of the starting eleven in recent games and could be afforded an opportunity on the left, with Eden Hazard likely to be rested.
Willian should start on the right to complete the lineup in what is a rotated but strong starting eleven, should Sarri choose to field this.