N’Golo Kante could be rested by Frank Lampard when Chelsea take on Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea will be hoping to break into the top four of the Premier League table when they travel to St. Mary’s Stadium to face off against Southampton on Sunday. And, Frank Lampard has a big decision to make as regards N’Golo Kante ahead of this weekend’s visit to the south coast.
In goal, the Chelsea manager has no issues whatsoever, with both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero at his disposal. And, Kepa ought to continue between the sticks for the visitors, when they face Southampton. In front of him, Lampard should revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Among the defenders, Emerson Palmieri and Antonio Rudiger continue to remain sidelined. But, Lampard has enough cover in his squad to compensate for the absence of the duo. With Emerson unavailable, Marcos Alonso should continue to reprise the left-back role.
Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori are the options for the heart of the Chelsea defence. Tomori has cemented his place on the back of some wonderful performances so far this season. As for his partner, Christensen is likely to get the nod over Zouma.
Up ahead in midfield, the decision concerning N’Golo Kante is the reason why Lampard could return to the 4-2-3-1. During his pre-match press conference, the Chelsea boss confirmed that Kante is not carrying an injury anymore, but will have to be managed going forward.
“It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay. All the players are on a semi-recovery programme after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much. In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make.”
Given that Kante has struggled with minor niggles all through the season so far, Lampard might not risk him for the trip to Southampton. The fact that Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho have also been in fine nick so far also eases some of Lampard’s concern. And, Kovacic should replace Kante to partner newly named Chelsea vice-captain Jorginho in the midfield double pivot.
The reversion of formation also means that Mason Mount will get to start in his favoured No. 10 role. The Englishman is likely to be flanked by Willian and Pedro, with Callum Hudson-Odoi, in contention to start, missing out, while Christian Pulisic will be snubbed again. Tammy Abraham should lead the line once again for Chelsea ahead of Olivier Giroud.
Predicted Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Tomori, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Pedro; Abraham