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Gary Cahill of Chelsea

Gary Cahill

Chelsea are back in European action after a couple of brilliant displays against Liverpool. The Blues drew at home against Jurgen Klopp’s side and face Vidi in the Europa League on Thursday.

Maurizio Sarri’s men started their European campaign with a win last time around and we should start as favourites for this game at Stamford Bridge too.

The Blues face Southampton before the international break and Sarri could make a few changes to the team on Thursday.

Predicted Chelsea XI

Formation: 4-3-3

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Willy Caballero (GK)

The Argentine should replace Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks as we make a number of changes to the side.

Davide Zappacosta (RB)

Cesar Azpilicueta needs a break at the back and we should see the Italian come to replace the Spaniard.

Gary Cahill (CB)

The Englishman hasn’t seen a lot of game time for us this season but Cahill should start against Vidi.

Antonio Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger (CB)

Andreas Christensen could have started but the defender has a slight issue and we could see Rudiger continuing at the back.

Emerson Palmieri (LB)

Marcos Alonso also could do with a break and Palmieri should get a start after a decent game against the Reds in the Carabao Cup.

Cesc Fabregas (CM)

Fabregas needs to start for the Blues as he has returned to full fitness. The former Barcelona man can be a key player for us but needs games under Sarri.

Mateo Kovacic (CM)

The Croatian has slowly gotten better under the manager and could keep his place in the team as Ruben Loftus-Cheek isn’t 100% yet.

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley (CM)

The English midfielder also needs some time on the pitch and this should be a game where he starts for us.

Pedro (RW)

The Spaniard could be fit for the clash against the Hungarians as we rest some of our other attackers after a couple of incredible ties against Liverpool.

Alvaro Morata (ST)

Morata came on as a substitute against the Reds in the Premier League clash and should start as Sarri rotates his strikers.

Read more: Chelsea legend set to return to club in managerial role

Victor Moses (LW)

The winger should get a start against the Hungarian outfit as we rest Eden Hazard and Willian.

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Former English icon pinpoints three Chelsea stars who have to improve under Tuchel

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Rio Ferdinand wants three Chelsea players to improve under Thomas Tuchel

According to Football.london, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand wants the trio of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to do better for Chelsea. The three players were expensive new recruits for the club this season, costing the club more than £150million combined.

However, pretty much all three have struggled to replicate the form that prompted Chelsea to spill the cash on them. They have tallied a meagre 17 goals between them this season, which is fairly disappointing for players of their calibre.

Instead of them, other Chelsea players have flourished and taken up the spots. Giroud is slowly getting more and more game time. Midfielders and wingers like Mason Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Kovacic have all been playing ahead of Havertz and Ziyech.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes he holds the key that can unlock his side's attack.
Both Kai Havertz (L) and Timo Werber (R) scored against Morecambe

The Manchester United icon believes that Chelsea need to phase away from the reliance on a 34-year-old Giroud and start maximising the usage of Werner, Ziyech and Havertz.

“How long are they going to keep relying on Giroud? At his age and where he is at in his career, he is an impact player, 100 per cent. For Chelsea to have Giroud leading the line probably says where they are at and maybe they need to recruit in that area.

Is Timo Werner a No.9? I would probably say he is better off out wide where he played at Leipzig. But they are fully stocked out there. They have got [Christian] Pulisic who can play out there.”

Ferdinand also added that Tuchel needs to figure out a way to use these three expensive players with training.

“Where does Havertz fit into this team? I think there are a lot of questions for Tuchel to be answering. That will come with games and more time on the training field. He has got to get into these players and unlock them and give them the best chance of staying there and producing something.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 27: Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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These comments from Ferdinand are not without reason. The three players amassed a staggering 60 goals and 43 assists last season for Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig. There is no doubting the talent but Tuchel needs to figure out a way to tap into that to benefit the side.

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“I expect more”: Blues icon has his say on current Chelsea midfield star

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N'Golo Kante was the star of the show for Chelsea against Aston Villa

Claude Makelele has his say on N’Golo Kante

According to Football.london, former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele has urged N’golo Kante to do more for the club. Makelele feels that Kante should help Chelsea score more goals in the coming games.

While Kante did a good job of keeping the Manchester United creative players at bay, most notably Bruno Fernandes, Makelele expects the Frenchman to provide more impetus to Chelsea and help them add to their goal tally.

“For me, I expect more from N’Golo Kante because he can be better than me. He needs more communication with his defenders. You want him to have more responsibility, more power to say: ‘I’m here. You do this behind me and I’ll do this in front of you’.

CLAUDE MAKELELE FOOTBALL : Monaco vs Rennes – Ligue 1 Conforama – 20/10/2019 FEP/Panoramic

The former Blues midfielder wants Kante to become more of a leader despite knowing about his shy nature. He feels that Kante can provide more in terms of attacking play by helping out the forwards but at the same time, not compromise on his defensive duties.

Kante has been a vital part of the club since his arrival from Leicester City in 2017. He has won the Premier League and Europa League for Chelsea. However, the World Cup winner’s role has been changed a lot by managers over the seasons.

Under Antonio Conte, he played as a defensive midfielder. However, after Maurizio Sarri took over, he has been used in a box-to-box role. That increased his goal contributions as he was often seen surging forward with the ball or playing forward passes.

N'Golo Kante at Chelsea. (GETTY Images)
N’Golo Kante at Chelsea. (GETTY Images)

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Kante has continued as a box-to-box midfielder under Tuchel while his goal-scoring output has reduced a bit since 2019. Kante has often been compared to Makelele due to their position and playing style.

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“I want to try and surpass” – Promising Chelsea starlet sets his sights on emulating Drogba

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Armando Broja wants to surpass Didier Drogba at Chelsea

According to Goal.com (h/t Metro), Chelsea youngster Armando Broja wants to surpass the legendary Didier Drogba at the club. The 19-year-old is on loan at Vitesse Arnhem and has impressed with his goal-scoring feats.

He is an academy graduate who has played once for the senior side so far. It was against Everton last year in March. The Albanian was sent on loan this season to gain some experience at the Dutch side, which is often a regular place for the Blues to send players on loan.

Armando Broja of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge, London, England on 8 March 2020.

So far, he has 9 goals and 2 assists in just 20 games. However, the youngster is looking ahead and has lofty ambitions at Chelsea. He wants to surpass what Ivorian legend Didier Drogba achieved at the club.

‘I was like: ‘Wow! That’s Frank Lampard, [Didier] Drogba or John Terry right in front of me’, when I would see them around. I loved to take pictures with them because I wanted to be them.

I wanted to be in their shoes at the top level. Now I am approaching the age they were when they were playing, I want to try and surpass Drogba. It might not be easy, but that’s my mentality and how I am feeling.’

Chelsea s Didier Drogba celebrates with the trophy Barclays Premier League – Chelsea vs Sunderland – Stamford Bridge – England – 24th May 2015 – Picture David Klein/Sportimage.

Broja’s hunger to achieve more was evident when he said he wanted to improve on the numbers he has for the season.

‘Nine goals and two assists is good but I am never satisfied. I want to get more goals and assists to keep tallying them up. I have played over 1000 minutes and I have 11 goal contributions. It is not bad but I want more goals and assists. I want to do more.’

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It bodes well for Chelsea that their youth players are flourishing as always. Although it would be hard to eclipse what Drogba did and won at Chelsea, it’s always good to see players with ambitions who want to do well for the club.

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Chelsea receive injury boost as 20-year-old ace could be available for Liverpool clash

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Callum Hudson-Odoi linked with a move to Bayern Munich again.

Chelsea injury boost as Callum Hudson-Odoi could be fit to face Liverpool

Chelsea are set to have Callum Hudson-Odoi fit for the Liverpool clash during the midweek (via Daily Star h/t Metro). While most of the attention on him was due to the handball incident, he was taken off at half-time, very likely due to an injury concern.

Later, it was shown that the youngster was sitting on the benches with an ice pack strapped around his left thigh. While Thomas Tuchel did confirm it was a minor injury, he also said that the winger was taken off for tactical reasons.

Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea during the Premier League behind closed doors match between Chelsea and Manchester United, ManU at Stamford Bridge, London, England on 28 February 2021.

‘[He was] a little bit injured. The reason [he was replaced] was a tactical reason and a little injury, a combination, because we switched to a back-five in defence and covered the wide position from [Marcus] Rashford in between [Cesar] Azpilicueta and Reece James. In the second half, that was not an option to use Callum there and that’s why it was a tactical choice.’

However, he is now making good progress with his injury and could be in line to face Liverpool on Thursday. The only other injury concern remaining is Thiago Silva and he is likely to miss the game.

Chelsea’s English midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League football match between Krasnodar and Chelsea at the Krasnodar stadium in Krasnodar on October 28, 2020. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

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Hudson-Odoi has prominently featured in Thomas Tuchel’s plans and been deployed at wing-back so far. The 20-year-old has done well in that role after overcoming his problems in the Southampton game. Tuchel will be hoping to have him fully fit for the vital game.

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