Billy Gilmour is set to make his first Premier League start while Kepa Arrizabalaga should start his first league game since January when Chelsea face Everton.
Chelsea will be aiming to strengthen their hold on the fourth spot in the Premier League standings when they lock horns with Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon. And manager Frank Lampard has his hands full with injury and suspension concerns heading into the game.
Chelsea are set to be without star midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who got injured against Liverpool in midweek, while Willian, who also picked up a knock in the FA Cup tie, is a major doubt for the game. The duo join N’Golo Kante, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has suffered another setback, on the sidelines.
There is some positive news, though, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic taking part in a in-house game, but the duo are still lacking match fitness to start on Sunday. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Lampard provided an update on the injury situation of his squad.
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“Kovacic isn’t fit, out of the weekend but hopefully not long after that. Willian, we will assess him. He is a question mark for Sunday. We had an in-house game in which Ruben and Christian took part in. It’s great to see Christian get minutes… a big step forward. Ruben played half that game and is short of match fitness, which he has said himself,” he said.
There could be a change in shape for Chelsea against Everton, with Lampard likely to revert to a three-man backline given the shortage of options at his disposal in the midfield department.
The Blues’ skipper Cesar Azpilicueta is a certainty to feature, alongside the duo of Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma, who helped Chelsea to a clean sheet against Liverpool. Reece James and the in-form Marcos Alonso ought to start as the wing-backs for the home team.
Kepa Arrizabalaga hasn’t started a league game since a 2-2 draw against Arsenal back in January. However, the Spaniard was one of Chelsea’s best players in the midweek cup tie against Liverpool, which could see him get recalled against Everton.
While Kovacic and Kante are injured, Chelsea will also be without Jorginho, who is suspended for the game after receiving his tenth yellow card of the season last time out. This could see young Billy Gilmour make his first Premier League start, after putting in a Man of the Match display against Liverpool.
“Billy is a very determined young lad, very smart. He’ll understand it was a good game for him, but the hard work starts now,” Lampard said speaking about Gilmour ahead of the game. The teenage Scotsman is set to be partnered by former Everton star Ross Barkley in the Chelsea midfield.
With Willian a major doubt for the game, Mason Mount is set to start as a wide attacking midfielder against Everton, with Pedro lining up on the opposite flank. The duo will be playing off of main striker Olivier Giroud once again.
Chelsea Predicted Lineup: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma; James, Barkley, Gilmour, Alonso; Pedro, Mount; Giroud