N’Golo Kante is in contention to feature while Mateo Kovacic could come into the starting XI when Chelsea face off against Newcastle United this weekend.
Chelsea will be looking to strengthen their hold on the fourth spot in the Premier League standings when they travel to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United on Saturday evening. And Frank Lampard provided a positive update regarding midfielder N’Golo Kante, who had missed the last game against Burnley due to a hamstring injury.
“He has had a few issue through the week and it is a decision I have to make with absolute certainty, but at the minute it looks like he is good to go,” Lampard said in his pre-match presser.
However, the Blues will once again be without the services of long-term absentees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco van Ginkel. Christian Pulisic is also ruled out of the weekend contest, whereas full-back Marcos Alonso is also a major doubt for the game.
There are unlikely to be any changes at the back with Kepa Arrizabalaga continuing in goal, guarded by a back four comprising of captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James as the full-backs, while Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen pair up at the centre after having impressed against Burnley last time out.
Kante’s potential return could prompt Lampard to rejig his midfield, although there is a good chance that the Chelsea boss might hold the Frenchman back ahead of the key clash against Arsenal coming up in midweek.
Jorginho ought to continue as the deepest of the three midfielders for Chelsea, while Mason Mount is also likely to be retained by Lampard. The third midfield slot would be a toss-up between Ross Barkley, who impressed against Burnley and Mateo Kovacic, with the latter likely to get the nod ahead of the Englishman.
Pulisic is expected to be out of action till the next month, Lampard revealed in his press conference. “We would like to think so, which kind of goes towards the break in February which might fall at a nice time and give us a bit more to play with. Hopefully he will be back for the other end of that break. It’s in line with how we expected him to be,” Lampard told the reporters.
With the USMNT international unavailable, Callum Hudson-Odoi, who scored his first Premier League goal against Burnley, ought to continue in the attacking trident. The Englishman will start on the right flank, with Willian slotting in on the opposite wing. In-form striker Tammy Abraham will spearhead the Chelsea attack against Newcastle.
Chelsea Predicted Lineup: Kepa; James, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Mount, Jorginho, Kovacic; Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Willian