Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to retain his place in the starting lineup when Chelsea welcome West Ham United to Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Chelsea will be hoping to climb up to third on the Premier League table when they play hosts to West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Maurizio Sarri though, has a few concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of the Hammers.
Four first-team players are struggling with minor complaints, including Marcos Alonso (hamstring), Ethan Ampadu (back), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (hamstring) and Pedro (knock). None of these, however, are pressing issues for the Chelsea boss, for one reason or another.
In Alonso’s stead, Emerson Palmieri has generally stepped up well, and although the Spaniard is set to undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability, the former AS Roma full-back should start against West Ham. On the opposite flank, Cesar Azpilicueta is likely to retain his place.
At the heart of the Chelsea defence, there is expected to be one shuffle as well, with Antonio Rudiger replacing Andreas Christensen to partner David Luiz. Behind the defence, there is no looking past Kepa Arrizabalaga. Meanwhile, Sarri was pressed on the subject of team selection during his pre-match press conference.
“Of course it will be difficult, but I have to consider in this moment of the season we need to change. We have played 51 matches, and in the last part of the season I want 20 players completely involved in our targets.”
One player who has impressed lately and ought to be in contention to start is Ruben Loftus-Cheek. But, with the Englishman struggling to overcome a minor complaint, it is likely that he will only be fit to make the bench, meaning Ross Barkley should replace him in midfield.
The other two spots in the middle of the park should be taken up by N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, even though Sarri has hinted that Mateo Kovacic could take the Italian international’s place. Up ahead in attack, Callum Hudson-Odoi will be keen on keeping his place in the side after impressing against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Sarri addressed the subject of the young English international, while also reserving a word of praise for Loftus-Cheek, insisting that both the Chelsea academy graduates are an important part of the first-team squad.
“At the beginning of the season, Hudson-Odoi had a very great potential but wasn’t ready to play in the Premier League. Loftus-Cheek was the same. Loftus-Cheek had only to adapt to my football, to improve tactically for my football.”
“Then he had a lot of problems with his back and so we had to wait for him. But now they are fresh, they are ready. They are improving so in this moment of the season they are fresh. I think that in this moment they are really very important for us.”
Hudson-Odoi should keep his place in the starting lineup, with Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain completing the starting lineup for Chelsea, with Willian, Pedro and Olivier Giroud being backup options.