Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has promised that the Blues will put out a strong side as they look to advance from a tricky FA Cup fifth-round game against Manchester United on Monday night.

The London side will have home advantage for the fixture and the tie is guaranteed to finish at Stamford Bridge, with no replays for a draw from this stage of the competition onwards.

Zola was not giving too much away in the pre-match press conference, but did hint that Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be involved.

Having played 25 minutes in the nightmare 6-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League last weekend, the England man was not in the squad that defeated Malmo 2-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, but could recover from his minor back problem to take on the Red Devils.

As for the much talked about Callum Hudson-Odoi, he played only a cameo in Sweden but Zola insisted that he is always in consideration for the first team and may feature in the cup.

Chelsea rested several key players for the Malmo match, and N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain are all expected to come back into the side against United.

That would likely mean no place for Olivier Giroud, who scored the second and decisive goal on Thursday night.

Ross Barkley endured a torrid time in the drubbing at City, but made his mark with a dominating display in Europe, which included his fourth strike of the season to open the scoring, and he may well keep his place.

In defence, Antonio Rudiger could return to the back four alongside David Luiz, with Andreas Christensen the man who would make way.

Chelsea fielded an experienced XI against Malmo and with two away goals to their name they have the chance to rest players in the return leg on Thursday, rather than in the encounter with United.

With the Blues sitting sixth in the league table, Sarri knows that cup football offers his only chance of silverware and the means to buy time in the job, after he has come under pressure following poor results in recent weeks.


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