Predicted Chelsea XI for Morecambe: £71m man starts, as Lampard gives two debuts

Chelsea return after an unprecedented break from Premier League action to host Morecambe in the FA Cup third round this weekend.

Frank Lampard has been gifted a rare seven-day interval between fixtures, allowing to reboot his squad and refresh his ideas.

Although all his players will be well-rested, the Blues boss will likely offer a number of senior debuts, alongside a chance for those on the fringe, to impress in front of their League Two opponents.

Goal reported that academy trio Tino Anjorin, Henry Lawrence and Lewis Bate have all been training with the first team, providing an opportunity to prove themselves to the Chelsea hierarchy.

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Lampard’s only major absentees are Reece James, who is suffering from a hamstring problem, and Andreas Christensen, who picked up a knock in the draw with Aston Villa.

The Dane was a probable candidate to start against the Shrimps, therefore Lampard will have to look for a different dish to serve in defence.

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Expect a very alternative back five, with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Antonio Rudiger offered a rare run out despite Sky Sports suggesting they were the pair likeliest to leave in the transfer window.

Emerson will likely get the nod at left-back, whilst Kurt Zouma will probably partner Rudiger in the centre. Despite playing most of the season in midfield for the U23s, Lawrence’s versatility has thrown him into a variety of positions, including right-back.

Across the midfield, Lampard will look to Billy Gilmour for his controlling and calm presence, alongside Bate, who was recently nominated for the PL2’s Player of the Month award. Ironically, £71 million man Kai Havertz (BBC Sport) will be the most senior of the three and will be hoping to rid his poor form with a commanding display.

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Anjorin has already made his Champions League bow this campaign and will look to add youthful exuberance on the flanks alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi. We have seen flashes of Hudson-Odoi, coming off the bench at Arsenal and against Manchester City to score, therefore the stage is set to show his skills from the off.

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Tammy Abraham should lead the line and top off this fledgling side that will be expected see the job through.

Predicted Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Kepa; Lawrence, Zouma, Rudiger, Emerson; Havertz, Gilmour, Bate; Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Anjorin.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.