Chelsea travel to Slavia Prague on Thursday night for a crucial first leg against the Czech outfit in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Blues currently sit third in the Premier League table and finishing in the top four is still a possible route into the Champions League next year, but an alternative option is winning the Europa League.

(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Maurizio Sarri’s team have won their last three consecutive games, with league victories over Cardiff City, Brighton and West Ham.

There will be a temptation to continue with a similar XI that is playing some impressive football, but the manager surely has to make some rotations and there is also a trip to Liverpool on Sunday to factor in.

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the individuals that desperately needs the night off against Slavia Prague, despite the fact they pose a dangerous threat at home.

(Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old has started every league game at right-back and at times in the last game with West Ham looked tired against Felipe Anderson.

Azpilicueta has been a £7million (Guardian) bargain since he moved to Stamford Bridge, but is perhaps being overused right now and needs the rest.

 (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Davide Zappacosta is the alternative option and he should be starting in the full-back slot on Thursday night.

There could be an argument to say Chelsea should go extremely strong against a Slavia Prague team that eliminated Sevilla in the previous round, as the Europa League is an important competition for the club.

But they can’t run Azpilicueta into the ground and he would be in much better shape against Liverpool if he gets the night off.

Have something to tell us about this article?