Chelsea kickstart their Champions League campaign with a home game against Valencia on Tuesday night. The west London side have gathered momentum with seven points accumulated from the past three league games and Tammy Abraham has been the main catalyst for the upheaval in league form with seven goals in this period.
Blues boss Frank Lampard has confirmed that there are no potential injury comebacks from the previous game with N’Golo Kante (ankle), Callum Hudson-Odoi (fitness), Emerson (muscular problem) and Reece James (fitness) ruled out. Antonio Rudiger has joined the quartet in the unavailable list with a groin problem which he has been carrying for the past few weeks.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has not kept a clean sheet during the course of the current campaign and that has largely resulted from a defence, which has looked vulnerable at certain stages. He will be hoping for his maiden shutout of the campaign against Los Che.
Lampard may stick with a three-man central defence which worked splendidly during the opening half against Wolves, in particular. Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori are expected to keep their places with Kurt Zouma replacing the injured Rudiger.
Cesar Azpilicueta has been the subject of regular criticism from the Blues fans this season but he continues to get the support from manager Lampard. The Spaniard looked much better with the link-up play in the right wing-back spot at Wolves and there are no doubts regarding his involvement.
At left wing-back, Marcos Alonso remains the undisputed choice with Emerson in the treatment room. The Spaniard has looked defensively vulnerable but going forward, he remains a threat and recently provided an assist for Tammy Abraham in his first start of the season.
In the centre of the park, there are no doubts regarding the personnel. With Kante still unavailable, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic should feature once more. The duo have formed an impressive partnership since pre-season and they have carried over their form into the new league campaign. Both players have impressed with their passing range and Jorginho recently grabbed a sublime assist for Abraham to complete his hat-trick at Wolves.
Further forward, there may be the solitary change from the weekend with Christian Pulisic getting the nod ahead of Willian. Mason Mount and Pulisic should take up the attacking midfield duties with Abraham almost certain to lead the line ahead of Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham