The main talking points ahead of Chelsea’s Europa League clash

Maurizio Sarri’s side will face BATE Borisov on Thursday. [Picture: Steve Paston/PA Wire]

Chelsea will seek a third-straight Europa League win when facing BATE Borisov at Stamford Bridge tonight.

Here are the key talking points ahead of the game.

What will Chelsea be like without Hazard?

Eden Hazard will miss Thursday’s encounter with a back problem, with Chelsea fighting to have the Belgian fit in time for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Burnley.  

Hazard has proved the attacking fulcrum and the main source of goals for the Blues this term, so his absence will be keenly felt.

The hosts will be expected to win with a little to spare however, so this could be an ideal opportunity for the players to acclimatise to prevailing without him.

Hazard is nursing a back problem. [Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire]

Can Sarri keep all his players happy?

Boss Maurizio Sarri admitted on Wednesday that while he will rotate his resources for the visit of the Belarusians, he can ill afford to make wholesale changes.

The taskmaster Italian cited as an example the folly of fielding an entirely new back four defensive unit, as the Blues are still adapting to his style of play.

So while the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen can expect to see some action, other fringe players may end up disappointed. Sarri could find striking the right balance across his squad becomes trickier as the season unfolds.

Will coach Marco Ianni take his seat on the bench?

Backroom staff member Ianni has been handed a chance to redeem himself by Blues boss Sarri following Saturday’s unsavoury goading of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Ianni taunted Mourinho in celebrating Chelsea’s equaliser as the Blues grabbed a last-gasp 2-2 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.

Ianni apologised to Mourinho after the match, with Sarri making public apologies to United and their Portuguese boss. Sarri has insisted Chelsea will accept any punishment coming Ianni’s way from the Football Association.

The experienced Italian manager will keep his counsel on any internal punishment however until the FA confirm their sanction. It remains to be seen whether Ianni will be among Chelsea’s dugout contingent on Thursday, but Sarri’s comments suggest he will.