Maurizio Sarri has hinted upon Callum Hudson-Odoi’s involvement as Chelsea are at home in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie against Dynamo Kyiv.
Chelsea are looking to build some momentum going into the crunch phase of the 2018-19 campaign. Their domestic form has improved over the last couple of matches and the focus now shifts to Europe, with the first leg against Dynamo Kyiv in the Round of 16 UEFA Europa League tie at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a clean bill of health, much to the elation of manager Maurizio Sarri.
The manager confirmed the positive news in his pre-match conference and proceeded to highlight that while there are no absentees or injuries, there will be rotation in the starting eleven, with some players more tired than others.
“We are lucky, we have no injuries. Of course we have some players very tired because the last week was very hard. We started with 130 minutes in the Carabao Cup final so it was a very hard and we need to consider this situation very well and we may need to rest some players,” said Sarri.
Willy Caballero should come in goal for Kepa Arrizabalaga, who looks to have been reinstated as the first-choice for the Premier League fixtures. In defence, Andreas Christensen should replace David Luiz, who will be rested. Marcos Alonso should be afforded a chance to prove himself, with Emerson Palmieri making way. The rest of the back four should remain the same.
In midfield, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho should start again, with Maurizio Sarri likely to be wary of the fact that too many changes can disrupt the rhythm of the squad. Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be the third man in the midfield, with Mateo Kovacic likely to be rested.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is one of the players that are comparatively fresher, but Sarri was coy about the winger’s prospects of being in the starting eleven while maintaining that the media needs to tone down their focus on English youngsters to allow them to flourish.
“Hudson-Odoi is always in my mind in every match. I don’t know if tomorrow he will be on the pitch or not but also the media have to put less pressure on the young English players, because they need to improve.”
“I have never seen a player of 18 at the top, so Callum, as with all the other young players in England, needs to improve. That is important and then he will be able to be at the top when he is 22, 23. [He needs to be] without pressure at the moment, I think the media put too much pressures on the young English players,”, Sarri added.
Gonzalo Higuain is likely to be rotated regularly in order to get the best out of him, which means Olivier Giroud should start upfront, with Eden Hazard almost certain to start on the left. Pedro should come in and take his usual place on the right.