Potter makes four changes, as £58m player gets rare start: Chelsea predicted XI vs AC Milan tonight

Chelsea host Italian giants AC Milan tonight in a critical European tie at Stamford Bridge.

The Chelsea Chronicle has attempted a predicted line-up that will play against AC Milan, something that is a steep task now that Graham Potter is in charge as manager with a strong squad.

It’s a Champions League group stage match on Wednesday night where the Blues desperately need three points. They’ve had a poor start in Group E with one point from two games, which leaves them at the foot of the table with a lot of work to do.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Potter delivered some intriguing fitness updates yesterday regarding his squad, with most of them appearing to be in contention to play.

It sounds like N’Golo Kante is the only first teamer definitely unavailable in midweek, but he is stepping up his training work ahead of a comeback. Kai Havertz and Jorginho, who both came off with potential injuries in the weekend’s league win against Crystal Palace, did manage to train successfully on Tuesday. Also Potter confirmed that goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is available for selection after his recent injury absence.

Here is the predicted Blues line-up against Milan in a 3-5-2 shape, which includes four changes from the side that beat Palace:

GK and defence

It’s a straight shootout between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mendy to play in-between the sticks, but we’re guessing the former will continue to keep his starting position for now.

A change of shape means it could be a back three with a centre-half trio.

Wesley Fofana keeps his starting position from the weekend, dropping into a right-sided defensive position. Meanwhile, he’s joined by two of the four changes, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella.

Koulibaly’s due his first minutes under Potter after a patient start, so perhaps he’ll get a start in the heart of defence to allow Thiago Silva the night off.

Cucurella, who’s fit again after his illness, could replace Ben Chilwell in the line-up. This system would see him play as the left-sided centre-back, though.

Midfield

Reece James, who should be among the first names on the team sheet, starts yet again. However, he could play in a more offensive right wing-back position compared to a traditional right-back in a back four.

Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount keep their starting positions, but line up as two No.8s in a three-man midfield. They’re joined by Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the base of midfield, who replaces Jorginho in the third of four switches from the weekend. Potter did mention Jorginho as an injury doubt ahead of the Milan game, and Loftus-Cheek has shown he can act as a replacement in his role.

£58million man Christian Pulisic completes the Chelsea midfield, lining up in the left wing-back position. It would be a rare start for the wide man and only his second of the season, but he’s done plenty of good work from the bench lately.

Kai Havertz makes way for Pulisic in the fourth change.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Attack

The forward line is made up of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling, who have started both of Potter’s two games in charge so far. It looks like Chelsea’s head coach is leaning on the experience and know-how of the duo in these early weeks.

It means that Armando Broja may need to wait just a little longer for his opportunity from the start.

Predicted Chelsea line-up against AC Milan

Kepa
Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella
James, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Mount, Pulisic
Aubameyang, Sterling

IN: Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic
OUT: Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Jorginho, Kai Havertz

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.