Chelsea will be without the services of N’Golo Kante and Pedro when they face off against Sheffield United at home on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea will be looking to pick up their second victory under new manager Frank Lampard when they welcome newly-promoted Sheffield United to the Stamford Bridge this weekend. The Blues registered their first competitive win under Lampard last week, beating Norwich City 3-2 and will want to build on that by grabbing three points against another promoted side on Saturday.

Chelsea have a number of injury concerns heading into the game. Starting with defence, the Blues will continue to be without academy product Reece James, while Antonio Rudiger will also miss out, having turned out for the U23s on Friday night as he looks to build his fitness after a lengthy layoff.

So, Lampard is unlikely to make any changes to the back five (four and the goalkeeper) that has featured in all of Chelsea’s first three league games so far, meaning Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Emerson Palmieri should all start again, in front of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Chelsea have a couple of absentees in the midfield department as well, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek still working his way back from an Achilles tendon rupture, while mainstay N’Golo Kante is also ruled out with an ankle problem and is expected to return after the international break.

Speaking of the Frenchman’s condition in his pre-match presser, Lampard said: “N’Golo Kante is not fit. It’s a continuation of his ankle problem. He won’t be travelling with the French squad either. I had a conversation with Didier Deschamps and we both agreed it was the best thing for him, so let’s try and get him fit over the break.”

With Kante still unavailable, Lampard will be forced to stick with the same midfield three that started against Norwich last time out, meaning Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and Ross Barkley should all retain their spots in the starting XI.

Chelsea will once again be without the services of Pedro, who picked up a hamstring injury just prior to the Norwich game last weekend. “Pedro is not fit. Hopefully he should be fit the other side of the international break as well,” said Lampard ahead of the game.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi still not ready for a return and Willian not in the best of form, Christian Pulisic should continue on the right flank for Chelsea against Sheffield United. Mason Mount, who has netted in the previous two matches, should be fit to start on the opposite side after limping off with a minor problem against Norwich.

Tammy Abraham bagged a brace last time out against Norwich which should seal his place as the lone striker for Chelsea, ahead of Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho, Barkley; Pulisic, Abraham, Mount.

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