Predicted Chelsea XI for Fulham: Big moment for 19-year-old midfielder, new-look front three

Chelsea prepare to make the short trip across town for a London derby as they face Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.

Frank Lampard will have been afforded almost a week with his players without interruption after the 4-0 FA Cup victory over Morecambe.

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This should have given the Chelsea manager plenty of time to iron out the creases that have cropped up during their latest league outings.

With almost a full-strength squad to pick from, expect Lampard’s line-up to be strong from top to bottom.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

N’Golo Kante is the only major component missing, lost through a suspension picked up in the defeat to Manchester City.

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Edouard Mendy might be the no.1 ‘keeper, but his performances have dipped since his unbreachable start to life in Chelsea colours and will need to ensure he is steady-handed as to avoid further inquest.

Only Kurt Zouma retains his place in the back four from the Morecambe win, as Reece James returns having missed the last three games through injury.

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Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva also come back in to form Lampard’s first choice rear-guard.

His decision in midfield is far less simple. Due to Kante’s absence, Chelsea might have to turn to Billy Gilmour as the deepest of the three. The 19-year-old has the trust of his boss and is more than capable of dictating or disrupting where necessary.

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Alongside him, the ever-present Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic, who was an unused substitute last weekend, could be reintroduced for his experience and ability on the ball.

The front line is an equally intriguing prospect. Lampard opted for an attack of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech in the previous fixture, with all three involved in either a goal or assist.

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Lampard may try this combination again but for the first time in the league, deploying Werner through the middle once more, which was “an area of the pitch he likes to start from” according to his boss (Chelsea FC Youtube).

Hudson-Odoi has four goal contributions in his last five appearances and is arguably Chelsea’s most inform player.

Predicted Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Mendy; James, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell; Mount, Gilmour, Kovacic; Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Ziyech

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.