Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Chelsea's Eden Hazard 'no risk' to play vs BATE Maurizio Sarri

Davide Zappacosta is in contention to come back into Chelsea's starting line-up at full back Davide Zappacosta is in contention to come back into Chelsea's starting line-up at full back
Cassandra Castillo | 09 November, 2018, 09:36

'We felt that for him it's better to play, not for 90 minutes, but to play after two weeks of not playing.

Cesc Fabregas was left out of the 19-man Chelsea squad that travelled to Belarus on Wednesday after suffering a fever, and Sarri revealed Alvaro Morata has stayed in the United Kingdom to rest after his two-goal contribution against Palace. And Chelsea will fancy themselves better than any of the teams now in the Europa League, though it could all change from the Champions League dropouts join for the knockout stages.

BATE nearly snatched a leveller in the third minute of added-on time, but Baha's 20-yard volley struck the post before Chelsea frantically cleared the ball away from danger and saw out the remaining seconds for their fourth successive win of the group.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri will continue to restrict the 27-year-old's game time in Belarus, though he insists it is not a gamble to include him in the squad.

"In the last match he played 30 minutes, the best for [the BATE game] is that he plays 45 to 50 minutes".

Sarri made a decision to go with a three man midfield of Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley on the night, meaning summer signing Matteo Kovacic had to make do with a place on the bench.

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Predicted Home XI: Shcherbitski; Poljakov, Filipenko, Milunovic, Filipovic; Baga, Yablonski, Dragun; Ivanic, Tuominen, Stasevich.

Predicted Away XI: Arrizabalaga; Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson; Fabregas; Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic; Pedro, Giroud, Willian.

Chelsea would have liked to score another, but instead it was BATE pressing late on. He was due to play but picked up an injury, which the Blues manager also revealed ahead of the game.

'I think we could have done better.

In Chelsea's 17 games so far this season, the Blues have scored in both halves of a match on eight occasions including five of the past six.

Giroud ended his 11-game goal drought this season by giving Chelsea a 53rd-minute lead, and the Premier League giants held on despite BATE striking the woodwork three times in the match.

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