Chelsea vs Slavia Prague predictions: Chelsea line-up
A 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend saw Chelsea drop out of the top four altogether, with Arsenal leapfrogging them. Now with four games left in the season, the Blues are in trouble, especially considering the fact that both Arsenal and Manchester United have a game in hand.
This makes the second leg against Slavia Prague that much more important as it represents their best chance at Champions League qualification. They take a 1-0 lead into the second leg but more importantly, an away goal that should help them.
The Blues are the favourites to move forward, but underestimating Slavia Prague could hurt them.
The Czech Republic side are in decent shape and currently lead the Czech first league with a five-point lead at the top. This shows that they are no pushovers and Chelsea have to be careful.
Antonio Rudiger limped off against Liverpool and that does give manager Maurizio Sarri a big headache. But the Evening Standard has reported that Gary Cahill has been called in, with the Englishman set to replace the German.
Barring that, the Blues have a fully fit squad at their disposal with the exception of Marco Van Ginkel and Ethan Ampadu.
Probable Chelsea XI
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Kepa Arrizabalga (GK)
The defeat to Liverpool would have hurt his confidence and he needs to get back up to help Chelsea move forward.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB)
The Blues don’t have too many quality right-backs at their disposal and Azpilicueta should find his way into the Europa League squad.
David Luiz (CB)
Despite being 31 years old, Luiz has found his stride this season and with an injury to Antonio Rudiger, he should keep his place.
Andreas Christensen (CB)
The Dane replaced Rudiger against Liverpool and did relatively well, making him the best player to keep his place in the team-sheet.
Marcos Alonso (LB)
Dropped against Liverpool, the 28-year-old should make his way into the team for the mid-week fixture.
A talented player, the former Napoli man needs to start playing to his potential or could find his way out of the team.
Matteo Kovacic (CM)
Dropped after struggling in the first leg, Kovacic really needs to start stepping up his performances for the club.
Ross Barkley (CM)
Inconsistent and yet talented, Ross Barkley started off the season well and has since struggled to find his form.
Easily Chelsea’s best player in the first leg, the 30-year-old needs to be one of the few players to make the cut.
Olivier Giroud (CF)
He’s been brilliant in the Europa League and needs to start, especially because of Higuain’s struggles in front of goal.
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The Spaniard has played in every single Europa League game except one this season and should keep his place.