Chelsea start their Premier League campaign with a testing away challenge against Manchester United this weekend. The Blues could not benefit from the transfer window with the ban levied on them by FIFA but there were still able to make meaningful business with the permanent signing of Mateo Kovac while Christian Pulisic has pretty much joined the team like a new purchase.
Blues boss Frank Lampard should stick with the same defensive combination from the recent clash against Borussia Monchengladbach. Kepa Arrizabalaga should feature in goal with Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson in the right and left-back roles. In the central defence, Kurt Zouma should partner Andreas Christensen with Antonio Rudiger still injured while David Luiz has made the shock exit from the club.
Lampard has recently admitted that he has yet to make the decision over N’Golo Kante’s involvement, and the Frenchman may not be risked from the starting XI after the recent injury setback. With this in mind, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho could take up the two midfield positions after forming an impressive partnership in pre-season.
In the attack, Lampard has a potential selection headache with the recent rise of Mason Mount. However, he may prefer to go with experience from the starting lineup, and we are fancying Pedro and Christian Pulisic to feature on the wings with Barkley in the advanced midfield role.
Up front, Tammy Abraham seems the likelier choice for the encounter, considering he featured predominantly from the starting lineup during the final pre-season games against Reading and Monchengladbach. He should get have the head start over Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi.
Predicted Chelsea lineup (4-2-3-1) to face Manchester United: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, Emerson, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro, Barkley, Pulisic, Abraham