Jorginho is expected to come in for N’Golo Kante while Tammy Abraham could start when Chelsea face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday
Chelsea will be hoping to strengthen their position in the top four of the Premier League table when they lock horns with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday evening. Frank Lampard, though, has a fresh fitness issue hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
However, there are no concerns whatsoever at the back, even though Fikayo Tomori is still not fit enough to be in contention to start. In Tomori’s absence, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger should pair up at the heart of the Chelsea defence, with Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta being the full-back pairing once again. Kepa Arrizabalaga will keep his place in goal.
Meanwhile, during his pre-match press conference, Lampard did provide an update on Tomori, as well as Mateo Kovacic. The Croat is back in training, but the game against Crystal Palace has come too soon for him. The Chelsea boss will also be without the services of N’Golo Kante, who is out with a hamstring injury.
“Kante won’t be in the squad. He has a low-level hamstring injury. We’re hoping it’ll be a week or so. I would expect we’ll be very lucky to have him for Sheffield United. [Mateo] Kovacic trained with us today, he’s not ready for this game [Crystal Palace], hopefully the next. [Fikayo] Tomori is still not ready. He had a small setback in training so hopefully next week.”
With Kovacic and Kante unavailable, Lampard’s midfield options are wearing thin. Jorginho is, therefore, expected to start for the first time since the resumption of the Premier League. The Chelsea manager did talk about Jorginho and his absence from the side during his presser.
“He’s been very professional about it. He wants to play as every player does. One of the hardest parts of the job is telling a player they’re not playing, particularly when they train well and Jorginho always trains well. He has handled it professionally, and that’s what I would expect. We’ll see with my selection tomorrow whether he plays.”
The Chelsea vice-captain should sit at the base of the three-man midfield, with Ross Barkley and Mason Mount providing him company in the middle of the park. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Billy Gilmour will be the backup options in midfield.
Upfront, Olivier Giroud has stepped up well in the absence of Tammy Abraham, even scoring last time out against Watford. The Frenchman, though, could be benched so as to guard against fatigue. Abraham is, thus, likely to lead the line for Chelsea, with Christian Pulisic and Willian being certain starters out wide.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Kepa; James, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Barkley, Jorginho, Mount; Willian, Abraham, Pulisic