Cesar Azpilicueta and Callum Hudson-Odoi should start for the first time this season when Chelsea face Barnsley in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday.
Chelsea will be aiming to progress through to the next stage of the Carabao Cup when they welcome Barnsley to Stamford Bridge in the third round tie on Wednesday night. And, Frank Lampard is close to having a full strength squad at his disposal.
The only player who remains on the treatment table is youngster Billy Gilmour, who is recovering from a long-term knee injury. Apart from Gilmour, Lampard will also be bereft of the services of Andreas Christensen, who is suspended after being sent off against Liverpool this past weekend.
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In Christensen’s absence, Thiago Silva could finally get the chance to make his Chelsea debut. And, during his pre-match press conference, Lampard confirmed that the Brazilian defender will be in the matchday squad against Barnsley, although he has not decided how many minutes Silva will get.
“Thiago Silva is in the squad for tomorrow,” the Chelsea manager said before continuing, “He’s getting fit so I’ll make a decision on how many minutes he may get during the game depending on what’s best for him.”
Silva, though, should continue to be eased into the side, with Fikayo Tomori and Antonio Rudiger likely to get the nod at the heart of the Chelsea defence. For the left-back slot, Ben Chilwell would be hoping to make his Chelsea debut against Barnsley after Lampard iterated that he will be in the squad as well.
Lampard also provided an update on Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic, while informing that Willy Caballero will start in the Chelsea goal. He said, “Ben Chilwell is also in the squad, while Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech are getting closer as well. The decision on Willy Caballero was made before Liverpool and it was a decision I made a lot in cup competitions last year.”
Chilwell, like Silva, ought to be on the bench, with Emerson Palmieri starting as the left-back. On the opposite flank, Cesar Azpilicueta will make his first start of the season. Up ahead in midfield, Jorginho might be the only one retaining his spot. The Chelsea vice-captain should have Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for company in the middle of the park.
Finally, in attack, we should see two players make the starting lineup for the first time this term, like Azpilicueta. Tammy Abraham should lead the line for Chelsea against Barnsley while Callum Hudson-Odoi starts on the left flank. The final spot, on the right wing, is likely to be handed to Kai Havertz, who will be keen on finally make his mark.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Caballero; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Tomori, Emerson; Barkley, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Havertz, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi