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350139 / Antonio Rudiger / Blog / Callum Hudson-Odoi / Chelsea / David Luiz / Ethan Ampadu / Europa League / Football / Gary Cahill / Gonzalo Higuain / Kepa Arrizabalaga / Malmo / N'Golo Kante / Olivier Giroud / Willy Caballero

How Chelsea could line up against Malmo

How Chelsea could line up against Malmo

Ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Malmo in the last 32 of the Europa League, Sports Mole looks at how Maurizio Sarri may set out his side.

Maurizio Sarri will be hoping for an instant response from his Chelsea side when they take on Malmo in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday evening.

The Blues make the trip to Sweden on the back of a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City that saw them trail by four goals with a little over a quarter of the game played.

Questions have been asked of Sarri in the wake of that heavy loss, but the ex-Napoli boss now appears certain to still be in charge as Chelsea’s European campaign resumes at the Swedbank Stadion.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how the 2013 winners could line up on Thursday.


Out: None
Doubtful: Callum Hudson-Odoi (illness), Gary Cahill (back)

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Despite being under intense pressure, Sarri is expected to heavily rotate his side for this trip to Scandinavia as it comes ahead of an FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United.

A number of fringe players are pushing for inclusion, including Bayern Munich target Hudson-Odoi. The youngster missed a couple of training session last week through illness but should be fit in time for Thursday’s match.

Cahill is the only other player carrying a slight knock, and Sarri will be keen to get the experienced centre-back into his side so that David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger can have the night off.

In fact, the entire backline could be different to the one that started against Man City, while Willy Caballero is in contention to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal.

Sarri must decide which of his first-team regulars – if any – to call upon, with N’Golo Kante possibly being seen as an insurance policy in defensive midfield at the expense of Ethan Ampadu.

Elsewhere, Olivier Giroud – who has scored four goals in his last three Europa League games – should get the nod over Gonzalo Higuain through the middle.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in their EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham Hotspur on January 24, 2019

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