Sarri set to make late Hazard call

Updated: 13/07/2024


Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says he could opt to rest Eden Hazard when they face Slavia Prague in the Europa League quarter-final first leg on Thursday evening (Slavia Prague 9/2, Draw 29/10, Chelsea 4/6 Match Betting).

The competition is Chelsea’s last chance to win silverware this season, and possibly save Sarri’s job, but the well-travelled coach is still toying with the idea of resting Hazard in the Czech capital.

With Liverpool on the horizon this weekend, the Italian tactician has suggested he could make “five or six changes” to the side that beat West Ham on Monday night.

“I want to wait until tomorrow and then I will decide [on his availability],” he said when asked over whether Hazard will play. “Of course, we have to play in Liverpool three days after.”

The 60-year-old wants to make the top four of the Premier League but winning this event could be his best chance of qualifying for the Champions League, so resting key players is a gamble (15/8 Europa League Outright).

Meanwhile, the former Napoli chief is well aware of the threat that Slavia possess and says Chelsea will have to be at their best to keep things tight (Chelsea 23/20 to keep clean sheet).

“We need to be very compact and to defend very well,” he added. “Especially on crosses because they attack the box with five or six players, and they are dangerous on counter-attacks.

“They scored six goals in two matches against Sevilla and it won’t be easy for us.”

Slavia are seven points clear at the top of the Czech league and their manager Jindrich Trpisovsky says they are up for the challenge of taking on Chelsea.

“We are talking about a club that plays in the Premier League and challenges for trophies year in, year out,” he said. “Their qualities are indisputable and I honestly think that Chelsea is the best defensive team in Premier League.”

Odds subject to change   

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