Expected Chelsea XI vs Nottingham Forest as Blues injury crisis deepens
Chelsea caretaker manager Frank Lampard reviews Bournemouth game
Chelsea interim boss Frank Lampard will be hoping to register back-to-back wins for the first time since returning to Stamford Bridge when the Blues do battle with Nottingham Forest this afternoon. A run of five successive defeats in all competitions was finally brought to an end against Bournemouth last time around, but a couple of new injuries will likely force Lampard into changing his winning team for the visit of Forest.
Express Sport takes a look at how Chelsea could line up against Steve Cooper’s side at Stamford Bridge this weekend…
Goalkeeper – Kepa
Kepa Arrizabalaga will be given the nod between the sticks against Forest, with Edouard Mendy still very much Chelsea’s second-choice goalkeeper as things stand. The latter recently returned from a long-term layoff after undergoing surgery on a broken finger and has not played in the Premier League since November, leaving Kepa as the obvious choice to start later today ahead of his Senegalese team-mate and fellow back-up option Marcus Bettinelli.
The Spaniard has kept 12 clean sheets in all competitions for the Blues so far this season and will be hoping to register another shut-out against Forest over the course of this afternoon’s game, although it remains to be seen if he will be able to keep the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi and Morgan Gibbs-White quiet for the duration of the 90 minutes.
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Defence – Chalobah, Silva, Badiashile, Azpilicueta
Chelsea are currently dealing with several high-profile injuries in their defensive ranks, with the likes of Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella among those on the treatment table as things stand. Ben Chilwell also joined the growing list of absentees at the back last weekend when he picked up a knock against Bournemouth, which should see Cesar Azpilicueta drafted in to deputise on the left flank.
Trevoh Chalobah could be given the nod to start for the Blues on the opposite side of the pitch, while a centre-back pairing of Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile will likely be called upon by Lampard this afternoon.
Midfield – Kante, Fernandez, Kovacic
There are unlikely to be too many surprises in the middle of the park for Chelsea against Forest, with Enzo Fernandez poised to retain his prominent spot in the engine room for the Blues later today. The Argentine playmaker could be partnered with N’Golo Kante once again, while Mateo Kovacic might be in line for a return to Chelsea’s starting side at the expense of Conor Gallagher.
The latter could be forced to settle for a place on the bench in spite of his goal against Bournemouth at the last time of asking, with Kovacic’s greater levels of experience and all-round quality able to give Chelsea a better chance of winning the midfield battle.
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Attack – Madueke, Havertz, Sterling
Noni Madueke looks a safe bet to retain his spot in the Chelsea side this afternoon, with the former PSV Eindhoven winger having turned plenty of heads with his impressive performances in recent weeks. He could once again be paired with Kai Havertz, who could be tasked with leading the line for the Blues against Forest, with Raheem Sterling in line to return on the other flank in place of Mykhaylo Mudryk.
Joao Felix, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech will also be pushing to start at Stamford Bridge but there will be no place in the side for Mason Mount, who will remain sidelined until the end of the season after undergoing abdominal surgery last month.
Possible Chelsea XI (4-3-3) – Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Badiashile, Azpilicueta; Kante, Fernandez, Kovacic; Madueke, Havertz, Sterling.
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