Predicted Chelsea Line-up To Face Qarabag FC In The Champions League
After a one-season hiatus, Chelsea are back in the Champions League and they face Qarabag FC in the first game of the group stage. They take on the Azerbaijani champions at the Stamford Bridge, so it will give Antonio Conte a chance to rotate the squad and give some rest to his key players as it is expected to be the easiest game of their set Champions League campaign this season. Chelsea won their third league game in a row, away at Leicester, with goals from Alvaro Morata and ex-Foxes midfielder N’Golo Kante securing them a 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium.
The Blues have a thin squad and their Italian manager will be wary of the fact. As such, we can expect him to make changes in his squad, and give chances to the fringe players.
Manager: Antonio Conte
Goalkeeper: Willy Caballero
Caballero was bought to play second fiddle to Thibault Courtois, and the Argentinian is likely to do so in this game against such a lowkey opposition. He is good on the ball and commands his box well, but do not expect to see a lot of him this season.
Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger
Expect Conte to start Rudiger instead of Azpilicueta as it is impossible to not rest one of the best Premier League defenders in recent times ahead of a big game against a team like Arsenal coming up in the weekend.
Centre-back: Andreas Christensen
Christensen was held on to by Conte and he is more or less like a new summer signing. He showed glimpses of his unquestionable talent during the pre-season the Dane is likely to start ahead of David Luiz. The onus will be on him to impress his boss ahead of an important run of fixtures in September.
Centre-back: Gary Cahill
Cahill has been a bedrock of Chelsea’s defence over the last few years, and at 31, he looks fitter than ever. A good performance from the former Bolton Wanderers defender could see him get a start in the weekend derby versus Arsenal as well.
Wingbacks: David Zappacosta and Marcos Alonso
Zappacosta’s substitute appearance against Leicester means he will probably start ahead of Victor Moses, while on the other side, it will be the familiar face of Marcos Alonso marauding the wings. The Italian and the Spaniard will be playing in one of the most demanding positions on the pitch and will have a huge say on the game’s outcome.
Central Midfield: Tiemoue Bakayoko and N’Golo Kante
Bakayoko and Kante look to be at ease playing alongside each other and Conte might want to give his midfielders more game time together before the huge Premier League fixture against Arsenal.
Chelsea changed their formation last game to rest Willian, and the Brazilian is certain to start against Qarabag. He will look to provide the firepower up front, as well as cover for the wing-back on his side incase of an unlikely counter attack.
Batshuayi needs to take his game to the next level and this game could certainly be the perfect stage to show that he can fill the big boots left by Diego Costa. The Belgian has been known more for his social media antics than his on-field performances, but a good show against Qarabag could help him win the trust of his manager and establish his case to serve as a backup to Alvaro Morata.
With Pedro likely to be rested ahead of the Arsenal game and Eden Hazard still not matchfit, Musonda is likely to start on the left. This the perfect platform for him to impress all those who rate him so highly.