Kante and Kovacic to start in midfield? – Predicted 4-3-3 Chelsea XI to face Slavia Prague

Eden Hazard Chelsea

Eden Hazard and the Chelsea players celebrate

Chelsea welcome Slavia Prague at the Stamford Bridge on Thursday in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Blues defeated Slavia Prague 1-0 last week to ensure we have a slim advantage heading into the second-leg. Maurizio Sarri’s side are the favourites to progress into the next round, but underestimating our opponents could hurt us.

The Europa League remains the most realistic route back into the Champions League and Sarri should prioritise winning it over claiming a place in the top four.

Team News

Antonio Rudiger hobbled off in the first half of the 2-0 at Liverpool at the weekend and is set to miss out. The Evening Standard, however, claim Gary Cahill has been called in to replace the injured German.

Other than that, Sarri has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game.

Probable Chelsea XI

Formation: 4-3-3

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Kepa Arrizabalga (GK)

Kepa is Chelsea’s undoubted no.1 and should start in goal on Thursday.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB)

Given the importance of the Europa League, Sarri will stick with Azpilicueta at right-back rather bring in Zappacosta.

David Luiz Chelsea

David Luiz

David Luiz (CB)

Luiz will have to be at the top of his game to keep the visitors’ at bay in the second leg.

Gary Cahill (CB)

With Rudiger injured and Christensen having replaced him at Liverpool, Sarri could bring in the experienced Cahill for this game. The former England international hasn’t played much this season but he’ll be raring to repay his manager’s faith.

Marcos Alonso (LB)

It was his goal that made the difference in the first leg in the Czech Republic. With Emerson having played the full 90 minutes at Anfield, Sarri could recall the Spaniard back into the starting XI.

Jorginho (CDM)

Jorginho hasn’t settled completely in the Premier League, yet he remains one of the first names on our gaffer’s team sheet.

N’Golo Kante (RCM)

We cannot afford to take Slavia Prague lightly and that could be a prime reason why Kante has to start this game.

Ross Barkley (LCM)

Barkley has blown hot and cold this season but he’ll be aiming to make a difference on Thursday.

Willian (RW)

He was one of Chelsea’s best players in Prague last week, so expect Willian to keep his place in the team.

Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW)

Speedy, agile and tricky, Hudson-Odoi will look to give the Slavia Prague defenders nightmare on Thursday.

Read more: Boost for Sarri as Chelsea could be possible destination for this 26-year-old La Liga dynamo

Olivier Giroud (ST)

Giroud has delivered the goods consistently in the Europa League this campaign and deserves to start the second leg.

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