Predicted Chelsea lineup against Aston Villa: Palmer to return; Sterling on the left

Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling will return to the Chelsea starting lineup against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday.

Chelsea will aim to return to winning ways when they lock horns with Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday night. And Mauricio Pochettino has greeted a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.

Cole Palmer has resumed training after missing the game against Arsenal due to an illness. However, Enzo Fernandez has likely played for the final time in the 2023/24 season after picking up a groin injury. Meanwhile, Ben Chilwell could also return on Saturday.

However, Robert Sanchez (illness), Levi Colwill (knee), Reece James (hamstring), Wesley Fofana (knee), Malo Gusto (knee), Romeo Lavia (hamstring), Lesley Ugochukwu (thigh), and Christopher Nkunku (hamstring) remain on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Pochettino discussed the fitness of a few players during his pre-match press conference.

The Chelsea manager said, “Cole has trained well in the past two days. We assume he will be ready for tomorrow’s game and be part of the squad. They [James and Colwill] are close and yesterday they were doing partial training with the squad. But they are not available [for the game against Aston Villa].”

“The moment Enzo felt pain and limitations because of the problem, the most important thing was to fix the situation for him. If he does not feel well and can’t perform because of the situation, it’s not good for him, not good for the team and not good for the club. So, as soon as possible we fix the situation, move on, and focus on his recovery as soon as possible.”

With Enzo Fernandez unavailable, Conor Gallagher, who will don the captain’s armband for Chelsea, will drop into the double pivot, lining up alongside Moises Caicedo in the middle of the park. Cole Palmer will reprise the no. 10 role, with Raheem Sterling and Noni Madueke being the two wide attackers.

Nicolas Jackson will lead the line for Chelsea against Aston Villa. On the other end of the pitch, Djordje Petrovic is an automatic pick between the sticks. Finally, Axel Disasi, Trevoh Chalobah, Thiago Silva, and Marc Cucurella will make the numbers in the backline.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Petrovic; Disasi, Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella; Caicedo, Gallagher; Madueke, Palmer, Sterling; Jackson

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