Having already qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea may consider resting several starters in their dead rubber match against fellow Group E qualifiers Sevilla on Wednesday evening.
Chelsea secured their passage into the next round with their late 2-1 win against Rennes while Sevilla 2-1 win away to Krasnodar was enough to earn qualification.
Chelsea have had an impressive run of results, with their last and only loss in the Premier League coming way back in September against Liverpool.
They’ve gone on an eight-match unbeaten run which has catapulted them to third in the table, just two points behind second place Liverpool and league leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
A player who is set to start against Sevilla is one Callum Hudson-Odoi who’s experienced a mixed start to the season.
He’s been in and out of the squad despite positive performances, especially in the Champions League where he’s featured in all four group stage games.
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard said he spoke to Hudson-Odoi about his decision not to include him in the matchday squad against Tottenham last week despite the youngster netting against Rennes just five days prior.
“It was hard not to include him in the Tottenham game,” Lampard said. “His attitude is bang on, his work ethic, so it was a tough decision to make. When you have a top squad, fully fit, as we do now, it’s tough to leave out four or five players a game who are desperate to play, so I spoke to him personally.
“I wanted him to see that. He’s in progression and the main thing is that he stays positive. He took it well. His reaction in training was great.
“It’s not nice to tell someone he’s not in the squad but I have to see the bigger picture and he has hundreds of games ahead of him. In the short term he might not like it, I get that.”
Sevilla have the opportunity to put themselves in a good position to top the group if they can manage a result at home on Wednesday and Lampard was particularly positive about the Spanish side and what they offer on the pitch.
“We felt that when they played at Stamford Bridge, it was a difficult match for us. They have a really great coach, it is very evident when you watch his teams play that he is a top coach, with the style of the team, the work he must do behind the scenes.
“They have a lot that reminds me of Premier League teams in terms of their attributes, the physicality, the speed of their game, with their willingness to cross balls into the box and the energy in their team. I expect it to be a tough match.”
With both sides through to the next round, I see this match ending in a 1-1 stalemate with Chelsea retaining their place at the top of Group E. Sportsbooks odds on a Sevilla home win open at +180. Odds on a Chelsea win open at +155. Odds on a draw open at +230.