Europa League winners Chelsea face last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax in the elite European competition on Wednesday evening, but they will be without four big players when they do so.
The Blues began their campaign with an unfortunate defeat at home to Valencia, but got back on track when they came out on top against French side Lille in their previous game in the competition.
That means that Chelsea boss Frank Lampard knows that if his side can get any sort of result inside the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday evening, they will be in a decent position at the halfway mark in the group.
However if the Blues are going to pick up the outcome they desire, they are going to have to achieve it without four key players, each of whom haven’t made the journey across to the Netherlands.
Ross Barkley, N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christiansen have all been ruled out of the contest, as the Chelsea boss confirmed when he addressed the media ahead of the match, providing an update on the first three in doing so.
‘Ross will hopefully be fit to train by the time we get back on Thursday,’ the Blues official website quote him as saying.
‘Toni trained with us today which is part of a small programme to have him fit. He is out of contention for the weekend but [he will be] hopefully soon. N’Golo similarly is training but we shall see how he is for the weekend. We are not clear yet on that one.’
Lampard is expected to continue with the Chelsea youngsters against the Eredivisie champions, which means the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic could all be included, as the Londoners look to continue the fine run of form they have been on in recent times.