Chelsea will be aiming to end their 2018-19 Premier League campaign on a high, when they travel to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City.
Chelsea will be hoping to end the 2018-19 Premier League season with a victory and seal a third-place finish, when they lock horns with Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea have already qualified for next season’s Champions League and have also made it to the final of the Europa League, after their penalty shootout win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday. The players are sure to be fatigued after exerting themselves for 120 minutes in midweek.
And speaking of the after-effects of the game in his press conference, Maurizio Sarri said, “For sure it will be very difficult on Sunday. It will be difficult not only physically but also mentally because it is not easy to recover from a match like Thursday. Physically I think we can recover even if not 100 per cent, but mentally it is more difficult.”
With a trip to USA scheduled next week for a post-season friendly before the Europa League final against Arsenal, Sarri could be tempted to make some tweaks to his starting XI for the weekend game and rest some of his regulars. Kepa Arrizabalaga, however, will be stuck with on Sunday, following his shootout heroics against Eintracht earlier in the week.
There could be changes afoot in defence, with Antonio Rudiger ruled out of the season, while Andreas Christensen came off injured in the midweek clash, meaning club captain Gary Cahill is in line to start in what will be his final Premier League game for Chelsea. The 33-year-old will pair up with David Luiz, who signed a new contract with Chelsea this week.
Cesar Azpilicueta has been an ever-present for Chelsea and could very well use some rest, which could see Davide Zappacosta start at right-back after he made a solid impression coming on as a substitute against Eintracht. The left-back slot could also see a change, with Marcos Alonso set to step in for Emerson Palmieri.
N’Golo Kante will once again miss out for Chelsea, while young midfielder Ethan Ampadu is out for the season, which restricts Sarri in terms of rotation in the midfield department. Jorginho is likely to continue as the deepest of the three midfielders for the Blues, while Mateo Kovacic too is expected to hold on to his spot in the starting XI.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who scored Chelsea’s goal against Eintracht, could be benched though, with Sarri previously hinting that the youngster’s game-time needs to be managed owing to a back issue. That could see Ross Barkley getting a look-in on Sunday against Leicester.
The attack too could see some restructuring against the Foxes. Callum Hudson-Odoi is ruled out for the campaign, while star man Eden Hazard, who won the club’s Player of the Year award, could be given some rest by Sarri. This would pave way for Pedro to start on Sunday on the right flank, with Willian moving out to the left side.
Spearheading the attack for Chelsea at the King Power will be Gonzalo Higuain, with Olivier Giroud making way for the on-loan Argentine striker.