Reece James will miss the game against Brighton & Hove Albion through suspension, but Christopher Nkunku might make his Chelsea debut.
Chelsea will aim to return to winning ways when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon. And Mauricio Pochettino has greeted a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Reece James is unavailable to take on Brighton after seeing red against Newcastle United last week. In addition, Marc Cucurella is unavailable this weekend after picking up his fifth booking of the 2023/24 season.
The duo has joined Wesley Fofana (knee), Ben Chilwell (hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), and Carney Chukwuemeka (knee) on the sidelines. But there is some good news, as Romeo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku are in contention to feature this weekend.
Pochettino provided a general fitness update during his pre-match press conference before discussing Lavia and Nkunku’s situations. He said, “I don’t believe we can recover some players that we maybe thought was possible.”
“There is still one training session more and we will see what is going on tomorrow and see if some players can be available. We need to assess Lavia and Nkunku tomorrow and then decide. They are close but we need tomorrow to take the decision. Maybe Lavia is the more difficult.”
Pochettino’s comments suggest Romeo Lavia might not be fit enough to feature against Brighton. But Nkunku might feature in the matchday squad and appear late off the bench to make his Chelsea debut.
However, with Nkunku unlikely to start, the offensive trifecta of Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Jackson, and Cole Palmer remains unchanged. Nkunku, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Noni Madueke will be backup options on the bench.
As for the midfield unit, Moises Caicedo should return to the starting lineup, with Lesley Ugochukwu dropping to the bench. Caicedo will join Enzo Fernandez and Conor Gallagher in the middle of the park.
The defensive unit will see two changes, but the quartet picks itself, with Pochettino down to his bare bones. So, Axel Disasi and Levi Colwill will feature as the full-backs, with Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile forming the central defensive unit. Finally, Robert Sanchez will take his spot between the sticks against Brighton.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Badiashile, Colwill; Gallagher, Caicedo, Fernandez; Palmer, Jackson, Sterling