MX23RW : Friday, October 19 20:49:44

Sarri hopes to avoid Europa League hangover as Chelsea face Southampton

The Blues manager made eight changes for the 1-0 win against Hungarian champions Vidi.

Maurizio Sarri hopes to avoid a Europa League hangover in Sunday’s Premier League clash at Southampton.

Chelsea dropped points for the first time this season after their opening Europa League win at PAOK in Greece, drawing 0-0 at West Ham.

Sarri made eight changes for Thursday’s 1-0 win over Hungarian champions Vidi in the second Europa League game and is optimistic there will be no ill-effects at Saints.

The 59-year-old Italian head coach said: “This match we have changed eight players. In Greece I think only five. I hope we can do better this time.”

Alvaro Morata scored for the second time this season against Vidi
Alvaro Morata scored for the second time this season against Vidi (Nigel French/PA)

Alvaro Morata’s goal proved the difference against Vidi.

It was just the striker’s second goal of the season, after he spurned a host of chances earlier in the game.

Sarri is credited with bringing the fun back to Chelsea, but Morata was tearful after finding the net.

Asked if the striker should have more fun, Sarri said: “They have to enjoy, but I want to enjoy myself first of all. Usually I have more fun when I win. I don’t know why.”

N'Golo Kante is expected to return for Chelsea after a rare midweek rest
N’Golo Kante is expected to return for Chelsea after a rare midweek rest (Victoria Jones/PA)

Eden Hazard is expected to start, with Sarri likely to revert to his first-choice line-up as he seeks to maintain Chelsea’s unbeaten start.

Defenders Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso are set to return as the Blues chase a sixth win from eight games.

Olivier Giroud is likely to replace Morata and Jorginho is anticipated to come in for Cesc Fabregas, with N’Golo Kante also likely to be back in the starting XI.

Willian or Pedro will likely be in competition for one place alongside Giroud and Hazard.

Mateo Kovacic played the full 90 minutes against Vidi, so could drop to the substitutes’ bench, with Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek options in midfield.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

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