Well thank you Mr Ross Barkley! That’s what many Chelsea fans including myself thought after that dramatic finale against a rather stimulated Manchester United side on Saturday.
A provoked Jose Mourinho added to the climactic ending of the game, reacting to a goading gesture from Marco Ianni, one of Maurizio Sarri’s backroom staff by almost chasing him down the tunnel before being held back. We then saw Mourinho show three fingers to the Stamford Bridge crowd stating how many Premier League trophies he has won with the Blues.
Taking the theatrics away, we probably saw a Chelsea side who looked maybe the most vulnerable we have seen since the Community Shield in August.
With this in mind, Sarri may want to think of a plan B incase scenarios like this one against Man United comes up again. Other teams will match the blues in terms of playing the same formation and will have good qualities playing on the counter-attack.
Thursday’s BATE game comes at a good time, as the international games are a now a distance away. Squad members such as the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and even Alvaro Morata will be keen to impress Sarri to better their chances of holding down a regular place within the starting eleven.
Morata has shown glimpses of his potential within his time in West London and a nice Europa League goalscoring run would surely aid a tough start to the season for the Spaniard.
BATE Borisov will come into the group stage game against the Pensioners on a high after beating Gorodeya 3-2 in the Belarusian Premier League on Saturday. They also currently sit top of their domestic league nine points ahead of second placed FC Shakhtyor.
The Belarusian side have had a taste of European football since the late nineties playing various teams of experience including the likes of Real Madrid, Benfica, Everton and more recently, Arsenal. Borisov of late have generally ended up on the wrong side of the group stage draws of Europe’s two main competitions, getting to the Round of 32 of the Europa League at best.
The Blues will be looking to make it three from three in the Europa League after one-goal wins against PAOK and Vidi respectively.
Eden Hazard is likely to sit out on Thursday night due to a back injury sustained against Manchester United. Maurizio Sarri has mentioned in his previous press conference on Friday that both Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu are unlikely to feature due to short term injuries.
My predicted Chelsea line-up :
Kepa, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson, Loftus-Cheek, Kante, Fabregas, Pedro, Willian, Morata
Twitter – @Brad29_