Christian Pulisic is set to return to the starting lineup while Emerson is in contention to feature when Chelsea face Burnley on Saturday.
Chelsea will be looking to keep pace with their top four rivals when they travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley on Saturday evening. And, Frank Lampard does not have any fresh injury concerns to contend with ahead of his side’s latest Premier League fixture.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is a certainty in the Chelsea goal, with the Spaniard expected to start ahead of Willy Caballero once again. The backline will not be tinkered with much, especially at the heart of the defence, with Antonio Rudiger (groin) and Andreas Christensen (hamstring) still not fit enough to be in contention to feature.
Lampard provided an update on the central defensive duo as well as Ross Barkley (ankle) during his pre-match press conference, iterating that while they are not ready this weekend, they are inching closer to their return, with Rudiger at the very least likely to be available next week.
Putting in the work. 💪
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“Rudiger won’t be ready for the weekend, but he’s getting closer. He’s outside training with us. He had a bad injury. He didn’t play since April, played half a game against Wolves, so this is again a fallout from last season’s injury for us. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of it.”
“Rudi’s close now, so he should hopefully be involved with us in the next week or two. Christensen is still out. Ross Barkley is out, not majorly out, just out, so hopefully fit for next week.”
With Rudiger and Christensen still unavailable, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori pick themselves. Cesar Azpilicueta should keep hold of his place as well, but Emerson Palmieri is in contention to replace Marcos Alonso on the left side of the Chelsea defence after recovering from his thigh injury. But, Alonso should pip Emerson for the left-back slot.
Up ahead in midfield, as iterated earlier, Barkley is not fully fit yet. N’Golo Kante, too, misses the trip to Burnley, as he continues to recover from the groin injury he sustained during the international break. And, Lampard talked about Kante and his situation as well during his presser.
“N’Golo won’t be ready. He’s training on his own with some physical work because he’s had a few issues. We need to get him right now because he’s been in and out through the season as we all know. There’s no real timeframe on it. I just want him fit.”
With Kante and Barkley unavailable, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho will continue as the pairing in the midfield double pivot. The attacking unit might see only one change, with Christian Pulisic forcing his way into contention on the back of some eye-catching cameos.
Pulisic is likely to replace Callum Hudson-Odoi, who started two games within a four-day span. With the young winger only just back from a long-term injury, a breather could be on the cards, with Pulisic starting on the left flank in his stead. The rest of the attacking unit should remain unchanged, with Willian, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham retaining their places.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Pulisic; Abraham