Carlo Ancelotti is planning on testing his younger players on the biggest stage of them all as only a point will guarantee them top spot in Champions League Group F.
Chelsea are assured of their qualification into the last 16, so their Italian manager is taking the opportunity of seeing how some of the next generation of Stamford Bridge stars will cope.
They are however taking on the whipping boys of Group F in the shape of MSK Zilina. The opponents have not won a game, have scored only one goal and conceded 15, so Chelsea are capable of winning this match without their international stars and the Champions League promotions reflect this.
Ancelotti has confirmed that Alex and Michael Essien will both not play as they have been struggling with injuries in recent weeks, which gives an opportunity to Josh McEachran and Jeffrey Bruma.
Teenager McEachran has played for Chelsea this season but this will be his first start, and he better not get complacent and think all games are as easy as the Champions League predictions suggest this match will be.
“Bruma will play from the beginning and also McEachran. Bruma at centre-back and McEachran as a holding midfielder,” Ancelotti said.
“It is the time for McEachran to play. He’s shown a good attitude and personality. It’s a good moment for him. It’s the time for him to have his chance.”
Chelsea have had a dire recent run in the Premier League, where they have lost three of the last four, and a good result in the Champions League could get some confidence back.
True, Zilina are never going to be giving them much of a challenge but a comprehensive win, and good performances by the kids, could reigning the Stamford Bridge crowd.