Paul Merson has suggested that Cesar Azpilicueta will soon be dropped from the Chelsea starting line-up by Graham Potter.

Azpilicueta, 33, did start in midweek against Red Bull Salzburg during Potter’s first game in charge as the new Blues head coach.

The Spanish defender has the versatility to play anywhere across the backline, and he started as the right-sided centre-back in a back three.

His inclusion in the XI meant the likes of Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly were left on the bench, though.

Chelsea FC v FC Salzburg: Group E - UEFA Champions League
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Azpilicueta will be dropped

Sky Sports pundit Merson is predicting the Chelsea captain won’t be able to keep a starting position at centre-back under Potter moving forward.

“I don’t see Azpilicueta playing at centre-half for the rest of the season. I don’t know how that’s going to work,” Merson told Sky Sports’ News channel (2:18pm, 17 September).

Azpilicueta was in and out of the starting team during the back end of Thomas Tuchel’s reign, so it was a surprise to see him start in the 1-1 Champions League match against Salzburg.

In fairness, Potter may have felt comfortable relying on the experience and the know-how of Chelsea’s club captain for his first ever match.

However, it would be a massive call to keep him above Fofana and Koulibaly in the defensive pecking order.

TalkSPORT pundit Andy Jacobs has claimed he wouldn’t start Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva in the same line-up in the Premier League.

Chelsea FC v FC Salzburg: Group E - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Azpilicueta’s qualities mean he can still be an important player in the Chelsea group this season, especially when you see the crazy fixture schedule next month that will enforce rotation.

However, it’s fair enough to suggest this club legend doesn’t belong in the best line-up any longer.

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