Chelsea will today tursday 20th September, take on PAOK in their Europa League opener at the Toumba Stadium. The West London club head to the game following a 4-1 victory against Cardiff City in their last Premier League encounter last weekend. Chelsea Manager, Maurizio Sarri, is expected to rotate his team when they battle the Greek giants.
Sarri’s men have made a flying start to the new Premier League campaign, winning each of their five matches to sit top of the table on 15 points. Marco van Ginkel (Knee), Mateo Kovacic (thigh), Cesc Fabregas (knee) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (heel) have all been ruled out from the clash due to various injuries.
Line Up –
Chelsea’s potential starting XI: Caballero; Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Palmieri; Fabregas, Kante, Barkley; Willian, Morata, Hudson-Odoi.
PAOK’s potential starting XI: Paschalakis; Matos, Crespo, Varela, Freitas; Silveira, Canas; Lima, EL Kaddouri, Biseswar; Prijovic
Willy Caballero is expected to start in place of world record goalkeeper signing Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Meanwhile, PAOK, who finished second in the Greek top flight league last season, last faced English opposition during the 2011-12 Europa League, and actually beat Tottenham Hotspur in London during that particular campaign.
Razvan Lucescu’s side head to the match having won three of their last four matches in all competitions, but the defeat during that run – at home to Benfica – saw them fail to make the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
PAOK will now be firmly focused on making an impression in the Europa League, however, as they prepare to welcome Chelsea.
Aleksandar Prijovic is doubtful for the clash due to a hamstring injury he sustained, while Jose Crespo, Fernando Varela and Vierinha are all expected to start in the defence for the hosts.