Chelsea team news: Expected XI vs Crystal Palace as Potter may make three changes


Chelsea boss Graham Potter will be desperately hoping to register his first Premier League victory while in charge of the Blues against Crystal Palace this afternoon. The former Brighton manager was held to a draw against Red Bull Salzburg before the international break as he made his debut in the dugout for the west Londoners, who have only won two of their last six league matches and could reap the rewards of gaining some much-needed positive momentum.

Chelsea currently lie seventh in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of early leaders Arsenal, and will be aiming to return to the division’s upper reaches over the coming weeks and months. They will have a big opportunity to earn a welcome haul of points in their next outing against Palace, who remain winless in their last three matches and will be the underdogs in spite of their home advantage.

There is every chance that Palace could upset the odds, though, with the Eagles having taken a point from Liverpool before giving Manchester City a hard time at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the campaign. However, it remains to be seen whether Patrick Vieira’s men will be able to get the job done against a Chelsea side in desperate need of a confidence-boosting victory in order to spark a fresh surge up the Premier League table.

Express Sport takes a look at how the Blues could line up against Palace when the two sides go head-to-head later today.

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Goalkeeper – Arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga will retain his spot between the sticks at Selhurst Park ahead of Edouard Mendy, who remains sidelined with a knee injury. It was hoped that the Senegalese stopper would have been ready for a return to action against Palace but Potter insisted on Friday that he still needs additional time to recover despite taking part in full training over the last few days.

His setback means that Arrizabalaga will almost certainly be required to deputise once again, with the Spaniard looking for his first clean sheet of the new campaign after conceding a goal per game in Chelsea’s recent fixtures against Dinamo Zagreb and Salzburg. He is also yet to play in the Premier League for the Blues this season and could face a tricky task in keeping the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Jean-Phillippe Mateta at bay over the course of today’s match.

Defence – Fofana, Silva, Koulibaly

Chelsea look set to deploy two of their summer signings in their back three against Palace, with Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly likely to come in alongside Thiago Silva. The Blues currently have a clean bill of health in their defensive ranks and may end up naming the same trio that managed to grind out a narrow victory over West Ham United prior to the international break.

This would mean a place on the bench for Cesar Azpilicueta, who played against Salzburg last time around but may be forced to yield at Selhurst Park this afternoon. Trevoh Chalobah may also end up joining the 33-year-old in the dugout after playing as a defensive midfielder against Brighton in a behind-closed-doors friendly last week, which suggests that he will not be considered as a starting centre-back for the trip to Palace.

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Midfield – James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Chilwell

A central midfield pairing of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho is likely to take to the field against Palace, with N’Golo Kante still recovering from a hamstring injury that was sustained last month. The Frenchman has recently returned to full training at Cobham alongside Mendy but is yet to achieve peak match fitness in spite of his best efforts.

Marc Cucurella will also miss out on facing Palace after picking up an illness, which means that Reece James and Ben Chilwell are set to be deployed on the flanks. Conor Gallagher, meanwhile, is available for selection but may be dropped to the bench against his former employers after a mixed start to the new campaign from an individual perspective.

Attack – Sterling, Mount, Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to lead the line for Chelsea later today and will be determined to grab his first goal for the Blues over the course of the 90 minutes. The former Arsenal man is yet to open his account for his new club despite starting in both of their Champions League games and will be hoping to get on the board upon his return to Premier League action in south London this afternoon.

He will be helped to do so by Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount, who are seemingly poised to feature in the two playmaking roles behind the lone striker against Palace. This would see Kai Havertz made to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench once again after failing to start in either of Chelsea’s last two games against Salzburg and West Ham.

Expected Chelsea XI (3-4-3) – Mendy; Fofana, Silva, Koulibaly; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Chilwell; Sterling, Mount, Aubameyang.

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