Malmo vs Chelsea: Maurizio Sarri’s Best Available Blues Lineup

Chelsea travel to Malmo in the Europa League round of 32, first leg, seeking an immediate reaction after their 6-0 hammering at Manchester City on Sunday.

The Blues have lost their last three away games without scoring, leaving Maurizio Sarri under scrutiny in his first season in charge. However, they will see this game as an opportunity to right some of their recent wrongs.

Sarri could hand starts to several of his fringe players, including trio Gary Cahill, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Emerson. 

Here’s how they could lineup.

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – On the end of a six goal mauling last time out, the shot stopper will be looking for a welcomed clean sheet. 

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – Despite making one start in the competition so far this season, Sarri could give the Spaniard the nod seeing as he’s one of the most experienced players in the Blues’ ranks. 

Gary Cahill (CB) – With his defensive counterparts struggling for form at this current time, Cahill could be handed a lifeline back into the Chelsea first team. He’s one of four survivors from their 2012-2013 final triumph over Benfica. 

Andreas Christensen (CB) – Similar to Cahill, the Danish centre half has endured a frustrating time on the sidelines on the domestic front, but has featured in every group game in Europe.

Emerson (LB) – Starting five of their group games, the speedy Brazilian full back is yet to register a goal or assist in his first full season at the club. 

2. Midfielders

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Jorginho (CM) – Made a scapegoat in Sunday’s defeat, Sarri has typically stuck with the Italian in difficult periods this term, and is expected to feature once again. 

N’Golo Kante (CM) – It’s only a matter of time before the Frenchman is switched back into his accustomed defensive midfield role. In the mean time, he’ll be expected to interlink with attacking widemen Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) – Criminally underrated, the 23-year-old Englishman has netted three goals in just five appearances in this season’s competition, one less than top scorer Olivier Giroud. 

3. Forwards

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi (RW) – Back in the frame after widespread interest in the transfer window, the 18-year-old starlet has impressed in his breakthrough season and scored his first goal for the Blues in their 4-0 victory over PAOK in November.

Willian (LW) – With fellow winger Pedro preferred in recent weeks, the Brazilian will be looking to prove a point on Thursday. He’s scored two goals in six appearances in Europe. 

Gonzalo Higuain (ST) – Sarri’s go to man, the Argentinean loanee is seeking a third goal in the Europa League, having previously netted twice for AC Milan in the first half of the season. 


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