Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is considering leaving Eden Hazard out of the Blues’ upcoming meeting wth BATE Borisov in Minsk.
The Belgium forward has only recently recovered from a back injury, having missed three matches before his return off the substitutes’ bench against Crystal Palace on Sunday.Hazard was not considered fully match fit ahead of the 3-1 win over the Eagles and may not be risked with Chelsea already commanding a strong position in Group L.
The Blues have a perfect record from their three matches and can qualify for the knockout stages with another victory. The Evening Standard suggest Sarri could leave Hazard at home, sparing his star man the 2,300-mile round trip to Belarus.
The 27-year-old has only featured in one Europa League match so far this campaign, and even that was as a substitute against MOL Vidi. Sarri seems content to save Hazard for the Premier League, with Chelsea taking on Everton next weekend in their final match before the international break.
Willian is likely to start on the left flank if Hazard is left out, with Pedro expected to take up a spot on the opposite flank. Sarri has hinted that Olivier Giroud is ready to return to action following a leg problem and could replace the in-form Alvaro Morata up front.
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are likely to be rested so Mateo Kovacic and Cesc Fabregas could be handed starts while Ruben Loftus-Cheek will also hope to feature. At the back, Chelsea have utilised their second-string players in the competition so far meaning Davide Zappacosta, Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen and Emerson Palmieri should all come in.
Kepa Arrizabalaga should retain his spot in goal while youngsters Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi may be named on the bench.