Predicted Chelsea lineup against Bournemouth: Pulisic, Chalobah to return; Havertz up front

Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, and Trevoh Chalobah will return when Chelsea and Bournemouth clash at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

Frank Lampard will be desperate for his first win as the Chelsea caretaker manager when the Blues lock horns with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon. And Frank Lampard has several injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.

Marc Cucurella is the latest absentee after picking up a thigh injury. Cucurella has joined Marcus Bettinelli (knock), Reece James (hamstring), Kalidou Koulibaly (hamstring), Mason Mount (pelvis), and Armando Broja (knee) on the sidelines.

Lampard did not discuss any team news updates during his pre-match press conference. But the Englishman had words of encouragement for a player who has not featured for Chelsea in the last few weeks, Benoit Badiashile.

He said, “He’s very close. He couldn’t play in the Champions League for me. He played against Brighton which was a difficult match for everybody. He’s in competition with Thiago, with Wesley, Trevoh. He’s very close, he’s training well. There are a lot of young players who have come from a different league.”

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“It’s understandable to have moments of game time and moments when you’re not. You’re finding your feet in this league. In a normal case, these players come in at a club like Chelsea at a moment of big stability. At this moment, it’s not the case. Credit to those players, it’s not easy to take that responsibility on their shoulders. They’re all trying to work and keep going and we’re here as staff to support that.”

Badiashile will not start on Saturday despite Lampard’s comments, with Wesley Fofana and Thiago Silva forming the central defensive partnership again. But the defensive unit should see one change, with Trevoh Chalobah replacing Cesar Azpilicueta. And Ben Chilwell will complete the numbers in the backline, with Kepa Arrizabalaga taking his place in the goal.

As for the midfield unit, despite N’Golo Kante’s fitness issues, the Frenchman should start again. Kante will join Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park. So Denis Zakaria, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Conor Gallagher will be options on the bench.

Finally, the attack should see wholesale changes after the incumbent trio struggled against Arsenal. So Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should make way for Kai Havertz. And Mykhailo Mudryk and Christian Pulisic will be the two wide attackers for Chelsea against Bournemouth. So Raheem Sterling, Aubameyang, Noni Madueke, and Hakim Ziyech will be backup options on the bench.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Chalobah, Wesley Fofana, Silva, Chilwell; Kante, Enzo Fernandez, Kovacic; Pulisic, Havertz, Mudryk

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