Maurizio Sarri may leave Chelsea's star man Eden Hazard out of the Blues 2,300 mile Europa League trip to Belarus.
Chelsea will face BATE Borisov in Europa League duty on Thursday, and will head for Minsk on Wednesday morning. Hazard has only recently returned from a back injury that kept the Belgian winger out of three games. Sarri is now wondering whether it is worth risking Hazard with important Premier League fixtures on the horizon.
The Belgian has been Chelsea’s best player so far this term and currently has eight goals to his name. Sarri conceded before Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace that Hazard wasn’t match fit, bit the Belgian was fit enough to make a cameo appearance in the second half of the game.
According to the Evening Standard, Sarri is aware that Hazard could aggravate his injury if he is thrown into the starting XI too early. Chelsea have an important fixture against Everton on Sunday, a game which will be of more importance to Sarri than the trip to Belarus. This has been highlighted by the fact Sarri is considering leaving Hazard behind, so that the Belgian international can fully recover in time for Sunday.
Chelsea have won all three of their games in Group L, and Hazard has only appeared in one of these fixtures, when he came off the bench at home to MOL Vidi.
Sarri will have a wide variety of options to use if Hazard does not travel to Minsk. Willian, Pedro, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi will all be available for selection. Chelsea could secure progression to the round of 32 in the Europa League with victory over BATE.