Chelsea will be aiming to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they host Norwich City at Stamford Bridge tonight. The Blues suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat on the road to Sheffield United last time around, but fortunately, the teams behind them did not capitalise.
Leicester City, who were previously third on the table, suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth while Manchester United could only register a 2-2 draw against Southampton after a late fightback from the Saints.
Hence, Frank Lampard’s side are currently one point clear of the duo in third, but they can’t afford any more lapses in the pursuit of Champions League football. Norwich, who are already relegated, won’t have anything to lose and the Blues must stay focused to get maximum points.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has started every game following the resumption of play in the Premier League and he is expected to keep his position in goal. The defence may witness a couple of changes.
Lampard may opt for a traditional left-back and that could see the return of Marcos Alonso to the starting lineup. That should automatically witness Cesar Azpilicueta move into the right-back spot ahead of Reece James, who had a tough outing at Bramall Lane.
At the heart of the backline, Andreas Christensen could get the axe from the starting XI after a couple of difficult games at Sheffield and Crystal Palace. Antonio Rudiger could return to the fray to partner Kurt Zouma in the central defence.
In the midfield, there could be the solitary change. Jorginho struggled to control the proceedings during the recent trip to south Yorkshire. He may be replaced with Mateo Kovacic, who recently recovered from a minor Achilles problem.
Mason Mount and Ross Barkley should keep their places in the central midfield roles. In this case, Ruben Loftus-Cheek will have to settle for another game off the bench. N’Golo Kante remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, but he could make a comeback for the FA Cup semi-final. Billy Gilmour, however, is out for the season following a knee surgery.
Further forward, Willian and Christian Pulisic should keep their wide attacking roles. Willian was far less influential than Pulisic last weekend, but Lampard has banked on his experience regularly. The Brazilian will most likely start ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Upfront, it should be a straight swap with Olivier Giroud replacing Tammy Abraham. It was a surprise in the previous outing at Sheffield when Lampard dropped Giroud to the bench despite him having scored in successive league games.
How Chelsea could lineup vs Norwich City