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Mudryk, James And Chukwuemeka To Start, Fernandez On The Bench: Chelsea’s Predicted XI To Play Fulham



While all the attention has been on Chelsea’s transfer dealings over the past week, it would have been easy to forget that the Blues return to Premier League action on Friday evening,

Mudryk, James And Chukwuemeka To Start, Fernandez On The Bench: Chelsea’s Predicted XI To Play Fulham

They will be facing a Fulham side who have not won since they beat Graham Potter’s side at Craven Cottage last month, having failed to beat second-tier Sunderland at home in the FA Cup last time out.

After the Cottagers got the better of them a few weeks ago, though, Chelsea will be looking to right the wrongs of that defeat.

Press the next page as we predict Chelsea’s starting eleven for the match.

GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga

The Spaniard didn’t look entirely convincing from crosses against Liverpool but he did make some important saves when called upon.

Kepa’s form in recent weeks has been rather patchy, to say the least, and he will be looking to put in a better performance than the last time he faced the Cottagers.

Carlos Vinicius’s winner was a direct result of the Chelsea no.1 misreading the flight of the ball, and he won’t want to repeat that error.

RB – Reece James
Reece James

Potter played a three-man defence at Anfield but the return of the England international to the fold could see the Blues change formation again.

There is a possibility that James will be eased back into things after returning too earlier from a knee injury in December.

However, the fullback has been in full training for quite a while, so he could be given 60 minutes against Fulham.

CB – Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva

Outstanding as ever at Anfield, the Brazilian is believed to be considering staying at Stamford Bridge for another year.

On this season’s form, there is no doubt that Silva is fully deserving of another contract extension, despite now being 38 years of age.

Aleksandar Mitrovic returned from injury to make the bench against Sunderland so the Serbian could be ready to start. He will be a handful for Silva but you’d back the defender to come out on top.

CB – Benoit Badiashile

The Frenchman has looked pretty impressive in his two appearances against Crystal Palace and Liverpool so far.

Two clean sheets demonstrate that Badiashile has made an instant impact and he will be hoping to make it three shutouts versus Fulham.

It does appear as if the 21-year-old has already moved above the more experienced Kalidou Koulibaly in the pecking order.

LB – Lewis Hall
Lewis Hall

Marc Cucurella did a decent job against an admittedly out-of-form Mo Salah last time out in the league, but Potter has favoured Hall in recent games.

The teenager did struggle in midfield at Anfield but he has looked more at home at fullback where his energy to get up and down the pitch can be better utilised.

Hall will need to make the most of his opportunities, though, with Ben Chilwell close to returning to full fitness.

CM – Mateo Kovacic

Potter says he is hopeful that the Croatian international will be available to face the Cottagers after missing the trip to Merseyside.

Kovacic picked up a minor calf problem which meant he wasn’t included in the squad for the Liverpool game.

The midfielder will now have to take on extra responsibility in midfield following Jorginho’s departure for Arsenal.

CM – Carney Chukwuemeka

At the time of writing, Enzo Fernandez’s switch to Chelsea hasn’t officially been announced by the club, even though the paperwork has gone through.

With everything that has happened in the last couple of days, it would be a surprise if he was picked to start by Potter, especially without even a proper training session. A place on the bench is not out of the question.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is fit but Chukwuemeka looks more likely to start considering his recent substitute appearances.

AM -Mason Mount

The midfielder is clearly struggling at the moment, but the lack of alternatives in midfield and in the forward line means he will remain in the team for now.

Whether it is a lack of confidence or burnout, Mount seems well off his top levels currently and fans will hope he can kick back into gear soon.

With competition for his place increasing as well, it could offer the 24-year-old the additional focus he needs to get back to his best.

RW – Conor Gallagher

With Hakim Ziyech’s loan to Paris Saint-Germain collapsing at the last moment, the Moroccan is unlikely to be in the right frame of mind to play.

It leaves very few options for the right flank, with Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic also not available.

Mount could be an option, but Gallagher did play as part of a front three against Liverpool. He showed endeavour, although he did lack an end product and it will be hoped he can offer a bit more of a threat versus Fulham.

ST – Kai Havertz

Would have felt hard done by after his early goal was ruled out against Liverpool for offside, but the German didn’t offer much of a threat after that.

Considering how much Chelsea have spent in January, it is a surprise that they didn’t delve into the market for an out-and-out forward.

It seems as though Potter will have to choose between Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the rest of the season.

LW – Mykhailo Mudryk

The Ukrainian looked very lively during his cameo performance at Anfield so his first start beckons.

Mudryk seems to have the pace and trickery from the left flank to cause trouble against any opponent.

The winger should have the beating of Fulham right-back Kenny Tete, who isn’t the strongest defensively


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