Rafael Benitez is set to rotate his Chelsea side for the visit of Sparta Prague in the second-leg of the Europa League last-32 tie.
With the Blues in a commanding position having secured a 1-0 victory in the Czech Republic last week, Benitez has already confirmed that both Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic will not be involved at Stamford Bridge.
Benitez is not worried about his side’s demanding schedule, however, and believes, following the return from African Cup of Nations duty of John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses and John Terry and David Luiz from injury, that he has a squad capable of competing on multiple fronts.
“We have a lot of confidence and the good thing is that there's competition between the players, that's important, especially if you play twice a week,” Benitez said, according to Chelsea’s official website.
“We have more competition now, which is a problem, but it's good for me. It's good because we have so many games and it's important to have the whole squad available.”
Demba Ba is cup-tied for the competition, but Benitez is keen that his side hammers down either advantage against Sparta Prague.
“We have to win tomorrow, progress in the competition and then we have tough games ahead,” he added. “The tournament is difficult; you can see that by the names left in.”
Sparta Prague striker David Lafata was guilty of missing more than one opportunity in the first leg and may be in jeopardy of losing his place to Cameroonian Leonard Kweuke. Former Chelsea man Jiri Jarosik is again likely to miss out through injury.
D: Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Bertrand
M: Ramires, Mikel
Moses, Oscar, Hazard
Sparta Prague (probable)
D: Zapotocny, Svejdik, Holek, Hybs
M: Husbauer, Vacha
Kadlec, Matejovsky, Krejci
Prediction: It was a poor game in Prague, with Sparta missing their chances to win the match and likely the tie as well. Even with a changed side, Chelsea should progress with something to spare.
Chelsea 2-0 Sparta Prague
Where to watch: The Europa League Round-of-32 second-leg will kick-off at 3:05 p.m. eastern time. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with a live stream provided by Fox Soccer 2Go.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.