Why Eden Hazard & N’Golo Kante were benched vs Cardiff City

Cardiff vs Chelsea

The opening game in the Premier League on Sunday saw Cardiff take on Chelsea.

Both sides were in need of the points for different reasons.

Can Cardiff beat the drop? The Bluebirds remain in the bottom three despite a recent upturn in form.

Can Chelsea finish in the top four? The Blues started the weekend in sixth spot in the league.

Shock Chelsea team news

When the teams were announced before Sunday’s game, there were plenty of raised eyebrows.

The respective line-ups were as follows:

Cardiff City XI: Etheridge, Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett, Gunnarsson, Josh Murphy, Victor Camarasa, Arter, Hoilett, Niasse

Subs: Ralls, Zohore, Reid, Bacuna, Mendez-Laing, Harris, Brian Murphy

Chelsea XI: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Barkley, Pedro, Higuain, Willian

Subs: Kante, Hazard, Loftus-Cheek, Caballero, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Christensen

Why Eden Hazard & N’Golo Kante were benched

Neither Eden Hazard nor N’Golo Kante were in the Chelsea XI. Why?

For the record, this is the first time Kante hasn’t started for the Blues this season.

Moreover, while both Hazard and Kante were in international action during the break, neither player suffered an injury.

With that being the case, the only assumption is that Hazard and Kante were left out by Maurizio Sarri for tactical reasons.

Also of note was Callum Hudson-Odoi on the bench.

The teenager, who has yet to start a Premier League game for Chelsea, started for England during the break.

When asked about his XI before the game, Sarri said:

At the moment, Kante has played 50 matches this season and Hazard 47. They both played with the national team, Hazard for 187 minutes and Kante for 175 minutes and so I think that it’s time to rest.

Social media reaction

Also see: Cardiff City vs Chelsea live streaming: Watch online & confirmed line-ups.

Chelsea’s Gonzalo Higuain & Ross Barkley criticised before Cardiff.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *