Chelsea will face Newcastle United in their ninth game of the Premier League campaign on Saturday as they look for their fifth win in a row in all competitions.
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Once again, the international break has thrown up some fresh injury worries for boss Frank Lampard, with N’Golo Kante, Andreas Christensen and Reece James all having picked up problems with their respective countries. As such, there will be plenty for the 41-year-old to think about when he names his starting XI for the match. Here, we try to predict exactly what that will be.
Fortunately for Lampard, it was David De Gea rather than Kepa Arrizabalaga that picked up an injury whilst playing for Spain. As such, the 25-year-old will keep his place between the sticks, just like he has done for each and every league game so far this term.
Although Emerson is back in training, he will unlikely be ready to play against the Toon. As such, Marcos Alonso should be given the nod. At centre-back, Fikayo Tomori should keep his place, whilst Kurt Zouma can be expected to line up alongside him. With no Antonio Rudiger or Christensen, there is little other choice. At right-back Cesar Azpilicueta will likely start.
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Kante’s absence is a blow, but should give Ross Barkley the opportunity to transfer his England form to the Blues. Jorginho was on the scoresheet for Italy recently, and will be hoping to play a vital part for his club side again this weekend.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, fresh from his brace for England’s U21s, should start on the left, whilst Mason Mount is expected to play in attacking midfield following his maiden Three Lions start against the Czech Republic. Willian was not called up to the Brazil squad, so is fresh enough to begin against Steve Bruce’s men. This, of course, means that there is no place for Christian Pulisic, who continues to struggle in London.
Up front, Tammy Abraham is all but guaranteed to be included. Fresh from England duty, he will be hoping to add to the nine goals in 11 games he has bagged for Chelsea so far this term.