Chelsea rest one of their key players – but it’s an important sacrifice with huge games ahead

Mauricio Pochettino’s lineup is out for today’s game, and it means a rest at last for Malo Gusto, who isn’t even in the squad and presumably is watching from the sofa back in London.

The right back plays a very demanding role in a very demanding way, and he was quite clearly physically broken by the end of the game on Thursday. We’re glad he made it through unscathed, and hopefully this rest will do him good.

We need him at his very sharpest for the games to come. After one final easier home game against Everton next Monday, our tough run begins – Man City in the FA Cup semi final, Arsenal in the Premier League the midweek after that, then Aston Villa that weekend. We will want Gusto to play all 4 of those games, so a rest today was crucial.

Mauricio Pochettino had his say on his decision before kick off:

“Malo Gusto has to rest. He was ill before playing two games, so he has to rest. For us, even if we miss important players, we need to accept we cannot take a risk in this way.”

What isn’t clear is exactly who will replace him. We’ve seen Axel Disasi slide from the centre out to the right on a few occasions this season when Gusto hasn’t been available, and that could be repeated. On the other hand, Trevoh Chalobah is fit now and is starting today, so it could well be the academy product who makes that move, allowing the previously regular combination of Thiago Silva and Disasi to hopefully play with some familiarity right from the start following the Brazilian’s restoration to the starting XI.

It’s always a gamble to leave out your best players, but this is a necessary sacrifice, and there’s no reason we can’t win without him.

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