Thursday nights are going to be a lot busier for Chelsea in the 2018/19 season as they will be playing in the Europa League for the first time from the very beginning.
Of course the Blues one it in 2013, however they joined the competition halfway through, but this time they will be looking to try to get out of the group stages.
However, that means that Chelsea’s Premier League fixtures, which were announced this morning, will get moved around and those games after the group stages will likely get moved back to the following Sunday.
Whether it is Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri or someone else in charge of the Blues for the campaign, it is likely that they will rotate the squad heavily and maybe use some youngsters, meaning that the first team players might be more rested.
Chelsea will have to play Liverpool, Manchester United, Spurs and Manchester City before Europa League matches, which means that they will have Champions League games to prepare for as well, which could benefit the Blues.
The Europa League final could see a return for Chelsea to Baku, set to be played on May 29, and Chelsea will find out their group stage opponents on August 31 when the draw is made.
Europa League group stages
15 September: Cardiff City (H)
20 September: Group stage, matchday one
22 September: West Ham United (A)
29 September: Liverpool (H)
4 October: Group stage, matchday two
6 October: Southampton (A)
20 October: Manchester United (H)
25 October: Group stage, matchday three
27 October: Burnley (A)
3 November: Crystal Palace (H)
8 November: Group stage, matchday four
10 November: Everton (H)
24 November: Tottenham Hotspur (A)
29 November: Group stage, matchday five
1 December: Fulham (H)
8 December: Manchester City (H)
13 December: Group stage, matchday six
15 December: Brighton (A)
Europa League knockout stages
14 February: Round of 32, first leg
21 February: Round of 32, second leg
7 March: Round of 16, first leg
14 March: Round of 16, second leg
11 April: Quarter-finals, first leg
18 April: Quarter-finals, second leg
2 May: Semi-finals, first leg
9 May: Semi-finals, second leg
29 May: Final – Olympic Stadium, Baku