A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s Europa League match at home to MOL Vidi.
This Thursday sees european football return to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host MOL Vidi in their Europa League group L clash. This match will be the first time The Blues have ever played against a Hungarian side and is generally seen as a match up of the strongest and the weakest sides in their group.
After there exploits against Liverpool in their last 2 matches, manager Maurizio Sarri will make multiple changes to his starting line up. With potentially the most winnable match of the season so far, the Italian may even finally put his faith in some youngsters. Ethan Ampadu, Callum Hudson-Odoi and especially Ruben Loftus-Cheek could well be given an opportunity.
With Andreas Christensen, Davide Zappacosta, Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley and Alvaro Morata very likely to be called up, there will be a familiar, fairly experienced core to the team. With Willy Caballero in goal and Gary Cahill in defence that will be enhanced further.
While The Blues gained a narrow 1-0 win away in Salonika in the opening group match, Vidi lost 2-0 at home to BATE Borisov and therefore lie at the bottom of the group already. However, the Hungarian champions will arrive in London with this match being the draw they dreamt about and will be desperate to do their best.
After back to back matches against a side who played on the front foot, we can expect Chelsea’s opponents to be a defensively driven, determined side. Patience will be key if The Blues are unable to find an early breakthrough and fortunately they have shown plenty of patience so far this season.
However, Sarri, the players and the fans will be expecting a reasonably comfortable victory as Chelsea aim to qualify for the knockout phases as soon as they can. Sarri clearly believes that the Europa League is a trophy that Chelsea can win again this season and will focus his squad to achieve his target. Keeping the winning start to the competition would be the perfect foundation.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue