Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will have to work around Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic’s absences for Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United.
Lampard ruled out the centre-back and the left-winger in his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
Kai Havertz, who is still trying to regain his fitness after a couple of weeks of self-isolation, is unlikely to start but he could be an option from the bench.
While Chelsea arguably have the squad depth to cover these absences, they would certainly miss Silva’s presence and leadership at the back.
Antonio Rudiger seems to be Lampard’s preferred replacement for the Brazil international.
While Kurt Zouma, who has been an enormous aerial presence at both ends of the pitch, is likely to keep his place in the starting line-up.
In midfield, Lampard is likely to stick with the same midfield three of N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic, he used in the last game against Sheffield United.
However, despite his impressive natural fitness, Mount started all three England games during the international break.
If Lampard decides to rest him, Jorginho will be an obvious choice.
For the right side of the front three, Lampard would certainly want to capitalise on Hakim Ziyech’s red-hot form.
The winger has five goals and three assists in his last six appearances for Chelsea and Morocco.
Timo Werner was surprisingly not seen among those who trained on Thursday.
But if he is available, he will likely operate on the left-flank once again, with Callum Hudson-Odoi as a back-up option.
Will recent Giroud talks affect Lampard’s team selection?
The striker spot will certainly be interesting.
There has been a lot of talk surrounding Olivier Giroud’s future at Stamford Bridge following Didier Deschamps’ statement.
However, Tammy Abraham has shown good link-up with Werner in the last few games, and it makes sense that Lampard would want to keep it going.
Predicted Chelsea line-up v Newcastle United (4-3-3)
James – Rudiger – Zouma – Chilwell
Kovacic – Kante – Mount
Ziyech – Abraham – Werner