Thursday night sees Chelsea take on MOL Vidi in the Europa League, in what will be the first meeting ever between the London side and the Hungarian champions.
In fact, prior to Thursday Vidi have faced only one English side – Manchester United in 1985’s UEFA Cup quarter finals, beating them in a penalty shootout.
The Blues will be in good spirits, despite ex-Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge snatching a late draw for Liverpool in the Premier League on the weekend. They are still unbeaten in both European and local competitions, with talisman Eden Hazard in fiery form.
This could potentially be a difficult group match in the Europa League, despite Vidi being the lowest ranked in the group, so it will be interesting to see Maurizio Sarri’s team selection prior to Sunday’s away fixture against Southampton.
Chelsea will be bolstered by the fact that they have yet to have lost a match since the beginning of the season, but there are a few injury concerns to take into account before the match on Thursday.
It is unclear whether Pedro Rodriguez has recovered from the shoulder injury sustained in their last Europa League match against PAOK, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still in doubt after a shin injury that prevented him from playing in the last match against Liverpool.
Chelsea’s reliance on Hazard in the Premier League should see the Belgian international get some rest on Thursday, as he will most likely start on the bench.
The Hungarians have not had a good start to the season as they currently sit in third place in the local league, eight points behind the leaders, and losing their first Europa League group stage match 2-0 to BATE Borisov.
However, they have bounced back winning their last three matches, and have no major injury concerns coming into the tie.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Caballero; Zappacosta, Rudiger, Cahill, Alonso; Barkley, Jorginho, Fabregas; Moses, Willian, Morata.
MOL Vidi (4-4-2): Kovacsik; Fiola, Juhasz, Sousa dos Santos, Tavares; Nego, Hadzic, Nikolov, Kovacs; Milanov, Scepovic.
Chelsea vs Complacency
Perhaps not too shocking. Chelsea are expected to win this, and if they somehow don’t – it can be simply put down to complacency. Sarri will need to keep his team focused and disciplined so that they don’t slack off in the face of the weaker Hungarian side.
It is not as if upsets haven’t happened before – in Europe, anything can happen. Manchester United fans will know that more than anybody.
Alvaro Morata vs Ádám Kovácsik
Morata has struggled at Chelsea, but these are the types of matches he could really shine. It is highly likely that he will view this game as target practice, and if he gets the right service from midfield he could finally add to his scoring tally.
The man likely to be tasked with stopping Chelsea’s front line is keeper Kovácsik. The Hungarian has on average conceded less than a goal a game, and his height should give Vidi some breathing room during set pieces.
Although Vidi aren’t to be underestimated, we know that Chelsea have a tight defence and strong attack, particularly on the counter. It is difficult to see where Vidi could get a goal, especially away, as Chelsea are one of the strongest home teams in the Premier League.
Score Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 MOL Vidi