Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic are expected to return to the lineup when Chelsea face Krasnodar in a UEFA Champions League Group E tie on Wednesday.

After starting their 2020/21 Champions League campaign with a draw, Chelsea will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they travel to Southern Russia to lock horns with FC Krasnodar at the Krasnodar stadium.

Chelsea have a fully fit squad at their disposal for this game barring the injured Kepa Arrizabalaga, who picked up a shoulder injury in the build-up for the game against Manchester United. Thiago Silva, too, is not travelling, but his exclusion stems from a technical decision to rest him for the game against Burnley on the weekend.

With Silva out of contention for this game, there is a chance that Antonio Rudiger could feature tonight. Frank Lampard spoke about his relationship with the German defender in his pre-game press conference, dropping a hint about his backline for the game against Krasnodar.

“I have always had a positive relationship with him. Everything I do, I do for the club and selections and the team, and at the minute sometimes you have to have players out of the squad, and it is big news for everybody,” the Chelsea boss said before reiterating, “I have a very positive relationship with him, and he’s in the squad and very much in contention to play.”

Kurt Zouma will start the game alongside Rudiger at the heart of the Chelsea defence, with new signing Ben Chilwell slotting in on the left, while Reece James starts as the right-back. The full-back duo will be hoping to continue their impressive start to the season when they travel to the chilly Krasnodar. Edouard Mendy will pick up the gloves for the game.

Mateo Kovacic, who was left out of the lineup for two games running, is expected to start as one half of the double pivot that Lampard will deploy. N’Golo Kante will be the player starting alongside the Croat, with Jorginho dropping to the bench.

There will be some shuffle in attack as well, as Mason Mount returns to the starting XI, slotting in on the left-wing, with Christian Pulisic shouldering responsibility on the right. Kai Havertz seems to be taking life in London one game at a time and is slowly gelling in with the rest of the team. He will be the focal point of attack in the no. 10 role.

Timo Werner is expected to be rested after starting multiple games in a row and will be replaced by deputy Tammy Abraham as the leading man in Lampard’s 4-2-3-1. That said, Werner might make an appearance in the second half from the bench.

Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; James, Zouma, Rudiger, Chilwell; Kante, Kovacic; Pulisic, Havertz, Mount; Abraham

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