Chelsea have the opportunity to register back-to-back Premier League wins when they host Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The Blues registered their maiden triumph under manager Frank Lampard as they picked up a 3-2 victory at Norwich City last weekend and the game will have provided plenty of confidence to the players after a rough start to the campaign.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has been ever-present between the sticks for Chelsea this term and that is no surprise, given he is the number one goalkeeper. The Spaniard is expected to start in goal at the weekend and will be hoping to register his maiden clean sheet of the campaign.
In the defence, no changes are likely. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta should keep his position on the right side of the backline with Emerson once again getting the nod over Marcos Alonso for the left-back role.
Emerson has been one of the Blues’ most consistent performers this term despite their mixed run of form and he has certainly cemented himself as a regular starter under Lampard.
In between the full-backs, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma will be expected to start. Antonio Rudiger has already played a couple of games with the development squad following his return from a knee injury.
However, Lampard may decide to play it safe and delay the defender’s first-team comeback until after the international break, where the Blues are scheduled to face a testing trip at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In the centre of the park, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic should keep their places with N’Golo Kante unlikely to be 100 percent for the weekend’s encounter against Chris Wilder’s men.
Kante has recently been excluded from the France national squad due to his fitness concerns and the two-week break should aide his recovery from the ankle sprain sustained in training.
In the attack, the Blues boss will most probably stick with the same combination from last weekend with Pedro nursing a hamstring concern while Willian has yet to find his touch after recovering from a similar injury.
Lampard has the choice to field Olivier Giroud upfront against a Sheffield side, who may come up with a defensive-minded formation but Tammy Abraham won’t surely be ignored after his match-winning brace at Norwich.
Predicted XI: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Emerson, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham