Chelsea fans will be over the moon after their team’s impressive display against Wolves on Saturday.
In what could have been a tricky encounter against a worthy opponent that finished 7th last season, the Blues were by far the better side, and came away with a 5-2 victory.
Frank Lampard and co should now be full of confidence as they kick off their Champions League campaign against Valencia at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. With a long season ahead, the former Derby County boss will need to rotate his squad to some extent.
As such, we have predicted the XI to face the Liga outfit.
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In goal, there should be more of the same. Kepa Arrizabalaga has started all five Premier League games this term and, as a goalkeeper, his fitness levels should not be lowered by regular outings, so his place between the sticks should be safe.
Injuries will require Lampard to make changes to his defence. Although the Blues lined up with three central defenders at the weekend, Antonio Rudiger’s absence – he was forced off against Wolves – should see a return to a standard back four. Andreas Christensen is expected to keep his place, with Kurt Zouma to come in alongside him.
Fikayo Tomori was fantastic against Wolves to bag an 8.74 WhoScored rating but, with a need to start the group stage with a win, the France international’s superior experience could be telling; he has, after all, made 77 senior appearances for the club compared to Tomori’s four. At right-back, Cesar Azpilicueta will play opposite Marcos Alonso, who gets the nod on the left as Emerson remains unavailable.
Expect Chelsea to feature three central midfielders. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic start once again, whilst Ross Barkley should come back into the fold. In a 4-3-3 formation, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, who regains his place in the team after missing out in the last fixture, play on the flanks.
Usually, Lampard may be tempted to choose Olivier Giroud to lead the line, especially with that aforementioned rotation in mind. However, Tammy Abraham has scored seven goals in his last three appearances and his red-hot form means his manager would be crazy to leave him out.