Chelsea host Slavia Prague in the second leg of their Europa League quarter final at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening, but they will be without a key defender for the match.

The Blues are in the middle of a pretty hectic run of fixtures at the present time, but that did not stop them from picking up a 1-0 win in the Czech Republic, an advantage they will be looking to protect, and hopefully from their point of view, increase in this deciding half of the tie.

In between the two clashes with Prague, Chelsea have had to take on Liverpool in the Premier League and they host Burnley domestically on Monday evening, so the Londoners are expected to be forced into rotating their personnel, in a bid to keep everyone as fresh as they can and avoid picking up huge numbers of injuries.

Blues assistant boss Gianfranco Zola addressed the media ahead of the match, and hinted that there would be changes to the side which lost at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

‘I wouldn’t say we put out a weak side when we played over there,’ The Chelsea official website quotes him as saying.

‘We made changes because we know we have a good squad and players who can come in and do well, as we did over there.

‘There will probably be some changes but there will not be many, because it is a tough match. We knew that before and the match over there confirmed that. We are very aware we are playing a good team and need to play at our best.’

One man who the Blues will have to do without for this tie is Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international left the field with a knee injury against Liverpool and that has ruled him out here, although Zola was positive about his prognosis.

‘It looks not as bad as we thought, luckily,’ he said.

‘When he came off limping we were worried, but apparently it is not that bad, plus he is a strong boy and he will be back sooner than you expect.’

It could be that Gary Cahill gets a rare outing after impressing in training, as Chelsea look to book their spot in the semi-final of Europe’ secondary competition.


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