Chelsea’s match against MOL Vidi on Thursday night will be their fifth in the space of a fortnight.
Since the Blues’ Europa League victory over PAOK Salonika two weeks ago in Group L at the Toumba Stadium, they have faced West Ham United in the Premier League and Liverpool in both the EFL Cup and the top-flight.
Maurizio Sarri’s side has been chopped and changed a lot during that time, with 21 different players starting for Chelsea in the past four matches.
Just three days after their home match against Vidi this week, they face a trip to the St Mary’s Stadium to take on Southampton in the league on Sunday.
This fixture congestion is bound to cause Sarri a lot of dilemmas when selecting his side, making him have to balance quality with fitness.
Because of this, we are predicting that the Italian will make 10 changes from the team that drew 1-1 against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and here is who makes our team and why.
Predicted team: (4-3-3) Willy Caballero; Davide Zappacosta, Andreas Christensen, Gary Cahill, Emerson; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley; Victor Moses, Alvaro Morata, Pedro
Predicted substitutes: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Ethan Ampadu, N’Golo Kante, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud
Reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s only appearance of the season came during the Blues’ 2-1 victory against Liverpool at Anfield last Wednesday. After impressing during that match, Sarri may give the veteran Argentina international another chance in the team, resting club-record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga in the process.
Davide Zappacosta’s only start of the campaign saw him play for the duration of the Blues’ 1-0 win over PAOK and he could continue his start as the club’s Europa League right-back tomorrow evening.
The duo of Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill have made a combined total of just three starts for Chelsea this season, with Sarri opting to play David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger ahead of them. They did, however, play together last week in Merseyside and could be trusted in the heart of Sarri’s defence against Group L’s lowest-ranked side.
After netting his first goal for the club a week ago, Emerson may start ahead of Marcos Alonso at left-back.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek would have been a key part of Sarri’s rotational plans so far this season, but he has struggled with a shin injury recently. The England international could be one of three changes to Sarri’s midfield, where he may potentially play alongside Ross Barkley and Cesc Fabregas, who both started during Carabao Cup win in the North West last Wednesday.
Winger Victor Moses’ only start of the campaign also took place against Liverpool last month but he could make his first competitive full home appearance of this campaign in the competition he helped Chelsea to win back in 2013.
With Moses on the right-wing, Spaniard Pedro, who has missed the last three matches through injury, may return down the left side.
Leading the forward-line could be Alvaro Morata, who has netted just once in his 490 minutes of competitive football this season. He had seven shots in the first half against PAOK in his first ever Europa League match but failed to put any of them on target.
Chelsea are likely to make wholesale changes in midweek, but regardless of what team they put out, Vidi have an almightily tough test on their hand as they prepare to take on the 20th best side in Europe in their own backyard.
Scored prediction: Chelsea 2-0 MOL Vidi