Cesar Azpilicueta will replace Reece James when Chelsea and Southampton face off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea will be desperate to return to winning ways when they welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. And Graham Potter has a new injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Ben Chilwell picked up an ankle injury against Borussia Dortmund and will likely be unavailable on Saturday. Chilwell and Raheem Sterling (knock) face late fitness tests to determine their availability. In addition, Edouard Mendy (finger), N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Christian Pulisic (knee), and Armando Broja (knee) remain on the sidelines.
During his pre-match press conference, Potter spoke about Sterling and Chilwell. The Chelsea boss provided a promising update on the duo, suggesting they might be available to take on Southampton this weekend.
Potter said, “It’s positive. We’re going to train later on this afternoon, so providing they come through that okay there’s a good chance they’ll be in the squad. With Ben the challenge for us at the moment is managing his return.”
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“He had 30 minutes against West Ham, 60 minutes against Dortmund, so the decision will be based on how he recovers today and how he reports. So we’ll make that call probably tonight or tomorrow, as to the extent that he can play, but it’s certainly something we have to be mindful of.”
Kepa Arrizabalaga picks himself between the sticks, with Chelsea lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him. Benoit Badiashile should return to the starting lineup after missing the Borussia Dortmund game. The Frenchman will replace Kalidou Koulibaly to become Thiago Silva’s central defensive partner.
As for the full-backs, Potter might manage Reece James’s minutes. That should mean that Cesar Azpilicueta will replace the English international as Chelsea’s right-back. And Marc Cucurella should come in for Chilwell on the left flank.
Enzo Fernandez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek should retain their spots in the double pivot. The duo will be workhorses in the middle of the park. So Conor Gallagher will again be an option on the bench for Potter.
Mason Mount might find himself on the bench again, with Joao Felix playing in the hole. Noni Madueke and Mykhaylo Mudryk should flank the Portuguese international, with Hakim Ziyech dropping to the bench. And finally, Kai Havertz will spearhead the attack against Southampton. That leaves Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a substitute again.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; James, Thiago Silva, Badiashile, Cucurella; Loftus-Cheek, Enzo Fernandez; Madueke, Felix, Mudryk; Havertz
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