4-3-3: Teenager starts as Sarri makes 7 changes | Expected Chelsea line-up vs Malmo
Chelsea take on Malmo this evening in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie. Here is the side I think Maurizio Sarri will select
Chelsea will look to finish the job when they take on Malmo at Stamford Bridge this evening in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie. Here is the side I think Maurizio Sarri will select for the game:
Goalkeeper: Sarri may be tempted to give Kepa Arrizabalaga a rest but the Spaniard started in the first leg last week and I think the Chelsea number one will retain his place tonight so Willy Caballero may have to make-do with a place on the bench.
Defence: Sarri is likely to make plenty of changes ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final so Cesar Azpilicueta should be rested with Davide Zappacosta coming in at right-back. Marcos Alonso’s poor form continued during the defeat to Man Utd on Monday night so Emerson Palmeiri should be recalled on the left side of defence.
Andreas Christensen started in the first leg so is likely to come in to the back four tonight. Antonio Rudiger was rested in Sweden so it may be the turn of David Luiz to get a breather ahead of the Man City game.
Midfield: Chelsea don’t have too many options to rotate in midfield after failing to sign a replacement for Cesc Fabregas in January while Ruben Loftus-Cheek hasn’t been involved much lately due to a niggling back injury.
Ross Barkley is expected to be recalled so he should start in the middle of the park while Jorginho is likely to keep his place in the deep lying playmaker role as he’s central to Sarri’s system.
The Italian coach may take the opportunity to give N’Golo Kante a rest so Mateo Kovacic could get another run out alongside Jorginho and Barkley. Ethan Ampadu is an option in midfield but a place on the bench is probably the best he can hope for.
Attack: We should see plenty of changes in the Chelsea attack with Eden Hazard almost certain to be given a rest ahead of the trip to Wembley at the weekend while Gonzalo Higuain should also be given a breather.
Olivier Giroud is likely to be recalled to lead the line up front after scoring the eventual winner in the first leg last week while Willian is also expected to come back in to the Chelsea line-up after being named on the bench against United.
Pedro will therefore drop out with youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi in-line to make a rare start in attack. Blues fans are desperate to see more of the talented 18-year-old so this is a great opportunity for Sarri to hand him a start.
Here is how we think Chelsea will line-up:
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