Predicted line-up against PAOK: mass changes made by Sarri?

Chelsea fans and players alike are no doubt disappointed about not playing in the Champions League this year.

However, playing in the Europa League offers fringe players an opportunity to shine.

The high physical demand of having a Thursday-Sunday schedule means Chelsea’s star players will require rest.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

And Maurizio Sarri will most likely decide to rest them for the long trips they have to make on Thursday nights.

Drawn in a group with PAOK, Mol Vidi and BATE Borisov, Chelsea’s fringe players will be licking their lips.

So, let’s look ahead to some of the changes Sarri may make for the Blue’s trip to Thessaloniki on Tuesday:

Complete midfield overhaul?

Chelsea’s midfield depth is one of their strong suits.

With Mateo Kovacic limping off against Cardiff City on Saturday, he will not play on Thursday.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

The same can be said for Jorginho – who has played every game – but N’Golo Kante could feature.

Ross Barkley will take the spot of Kovacic, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek faces a race to get fit for Thursday.

As reported by Goal, he picked up a tibia injury which ruled him out against Cardiff, but could feature against PAOK.

Cesc Fabregas won’t play after struggling with a knee injury.

Forward line rotation?

Sarri has already said that Alvaro Morata will start as he rests Olivier Giroud.

And with Eden Hazard likely to remain in London, it may be Willian’s opportunity to impress.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

The Brazilian has started slowly this season, but scored a scorcher on Saturday against Cardiff.

Callum Hudson-Odoi – after impressing during the preseason – could be on the bench for the first time as well.

Changes in defence?

Sarri has picked an unchanged defence for all five Premier League games.

But Marcos Alonso likely will rest so Emerson Palmieri could start.

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

Andreas Christensen and Davide Zappacosta could also be in-line for their first starts of the season.