Chelsea welcome Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to Stamford Bridge on Sunday evening in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Since cruising past Nottingham Forest in the third round, Chelsea’s form has been inconsistent but the Blues have progressed to the Carabao Cup final to face Manchester City next month after knocking out Tottenham Hotspur on penalties on Thursday.
The FA Cup often means Chelsea will look to field a second string side and use the opportunity to give academy products some game time. Here’s how Maurizio Sarri might ring the changes against Sheffield Wednesday:
1. Goalkeeper and Defenders
Willy Caballero (GK) – After Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty heroics on Thursday, Caballero should start between the sticks as he did against Forest.
Davide Zappacosta (RB) – Left out of the squad for three consecutive games but Cesar Azpilicueta will need a rest and the Italian is the only obvious alternative.
Gary Cahill (CB) – A transfer for the club captain is yet to materialise and an injury to Andreas Christensen may give Cahill another chance to say goodbye to Blues fans.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – David Luiz picked up a knock from a late tackle by Eric Dier and although he played on, Rudiger is in the best condition to take the second centre-back spot.
Marcos Alonso (LB) – Whether he was rested or dropped against Spurs, the Spaniard has been out of sorts recently and is now facing stern competition from the improving Emerson.
Ethan Ampadu (DM) – Excelling wherever he plays, the 18-year-old Welshman is being touted as the future of Chelsea and can be trusted to fill in for Jorginho with ease.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – Rested in midweek, Kovacic is still looking for his first Chelsea goal and his first since 29 January 2017.
Ross Barkley (CM) – Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a doubt therefore Barkley is expected to make his second consecutive start.
Willian (RW) – Left out of the squad in the third round, the Brazilian has faced some criticism from the Chelsea faithful but remains a key player for the Blues.
Gonzalo Higuain (ST) – A great opportunity to hit the ground running for the 31-year-old against lower league opposition on what will be his Chelsea debut.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW) – It doesn’t look like the 18-year-old will get a move to Bayern Munich this January but Hudson-Odoi has another chance to play himself into Sarri’s team after assisting twice against Nottingham Forest in the last round.