Chelsea will visit to Greece to face Paok in the Group Stage match of Europa League on Thursday. Chelsea’s European campaign will be limited to Europa League in this season. Previously when they have participated in the second tier tournament of European football, they became the Champions in the that season. Chelsea fans can still memorize the World class goal of Branislav Ivanovic in the stoppage time Benfica in the Europa League Final of 2012-13 season which was regarded as the winning goal of the match. The scenario is something different from that season this time.

The Blues were out of the Group Stage of the tournament in that season. Then, they took part in this tournament from the round of 32 stage. This time the Blues will participate in the tournament from the Group Stage. Chelsea are in a relatively easier Group compared to the others in the Europa League. They are situated with Paok, Bate Borisov and Mol Vidi FC in the  Group L of the Europa League. This season’s Europa League is going to be lit with the presence of teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, Sevilla, Villarreal, Lazio, RB Leipzig etc. The third placed sides of the group stage of Champions League will also join the competition in the round of 32 stage. So it will not be a cake walk for the Blues to win this tournament in this season.

 

Team News :

 

Chelsea :

 

Chelsea will miss the service of Mateo Kovacic, Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Emerson Palmieri in this match as these four players did not travel with the squad of the Blues to face Paok in Greece. Maurizio Sarri has indicated that there will not be much change in the starting lineup of Chelsea in this match. But we can expect five or six changes in the starting lineup of the Blues in this match against Paok. There might be a chance for Willy Caballero to prove himself under the bars in this match for the Blues.

The Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga might be given rest in this match to be fit against West Ham United in the London Derby on Sunday. On the other hand, it might be the debut appearance of Davide Zappacosta under the management of Maurizio Sarri. Christensen and Gary Cahill are expected to pair up in the central defense while Marcos Alonso might be forced to play in the left back position as Emerson Palmieri is ill and could not make it to the first eleven of the Blues in this match. In the midfield, Ross Barkley will surely play along with Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus Cheek. Willian, Alvaro Morata and Victor Moses is expected to lead the attacking line of the Blues from the upfront in this match against Paok in the Europa League.

Predicted Starting Eleven :

 

Paok :(4-2-3-1)

 

Goalkeeper : Paschalakis

 

Defenders : Matos, Crespo, Varela, Freitas.

 

Midfielders : Silveira Junior, Canas; Lima, El Kaddouri, Biseswar.

 

Attackers : Prijovic

 

Chelsea: (4-3-3)

 

Goalkeeper : Caballero

 

Defenders : Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Alonso.

 

Midfielders : Ampadu, Fabregas, Barkley

 

Attackers : Moses , Pedro, Morata.

 

My Predicted Scoreline :

 

Paok 0-3 Chelsea