Frank Lampard will carefully choose the Chelsea starting lineup to face Arsenal, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang possibly leading the line.
Frank Lampard will hope the game against Arsenal is the one where he breaks his Chelsea duck. Since returning to the club as caretaker manager, the Englishman has endured a difficult period, losing all five games in charge.
While there was not much noteworthy to report from the pre-match press conference, Lampard did hint at some interesting team selection ahead of the Arsenal game. One of the names was of former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang, who might get the nod to lead the line.
Lampard said, “When I came in, it was clear that Aubameyang had not played a lot of minutes this season. But what was also clear was the level of player we have. I have had no time to look at players in training over big areas, as we’ve had a game coming every few days. I’ve had no time to see where he is at, other than feeling.”
“Possibly Auba’s past with Arsenal might come into my thinking because we all think a player going back to their old club gives a certain motivation. I haven’t delved into that too much with Auba himself, so I’ll pick that position based on how we’ve trained and what the team structure looks like.”
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Lampard also confirmed Kai Havertz was back in contention and that he would make a late call on the final selection. He said, “Kai Havertz is in contention for the game; he’s trained this week. ‘We’ll see who starts. I’ve got Auba, I’ve got Kai, I’ve got David Fofana. I’m not going to divulge the team, but they’re all fit and ready.”
On the injury front, Chelsea have plenty to worry about, with Mason Mount and Reece James out for the season. Kalidou Koulibaly could recover from his hamstring problem before the campaign ends but remains out of the Arsenal clash. Marc Cucurella also has an issue and will sit out.
Regarding team news, Lampard could tweak his setup and revert to a 4-3-3. N’Golo Kante’s importance has been clear in the last weeks, and he will continue playing. The Frenchman will feature on the right side of a midfield three, with Enzo Fernandez at the base and Mateo Kovacic on the left.
At the back, Thiago Silva should feature alongside Wesley Fofana in central defence. Trevoh Chalobah could replace Cesar Azpilicueta at right back, with Ben Chilwell keeping his place on the left.
Aubameyang could lead the line for Chelsea, with Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk taking the wide areas. The Blues will have options from the bench in Havertz, Joao Felix and Conor Gallagher if they need changing at some stage of the game.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Chalobah, Fofana, Silva, Chilwell; Kante, Fernandez, Kovacic; Sterling, Aubameyang, Mudryk
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