Callum Hudson-Odoi is likely to be handed a rare start for Chelsea as they take on Rennes in Group E of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
Frank Lampard registered his first Champions League win as manager away at Krasnodar in a comfortable manner. However, after the Matchday 1 draw against Sevilla, their Wednesday fixture against Rennes becomes important. The former midfielder is also easing up to a fully available squad at his disposal.
Edouard Mendy is poised to start against his former club at Stamford Bridge. The former Rennes goalkeeper has impressed in recent outings and has proven to be a safer option than Kepa Arrizabalaga at the moment. In front of Mendy, Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma should command the central defence, with Thiago Silva also an option.
Ben Chilwell will continue his exploits on the left, with Cesar Azpilicueta likely to earn a start on the right. In midfield, Frank Lampard has finally found some structure, with N’Golo Kante forming the bedrock of it while Mason Mount and Kai Havertz act as advanced playmakers.
Christian Pulisic’s hamstring injury is yet to be properly assessed, but the USMNT star is unlikely to take any part against Rennes. Lampard spoke of Pulisic’s hamstring woes during the pre-match conference.
“Christian had a scan yesterday, which showed a very minor injury to his hamstring. It’s very minor, which is good, and he’s already back outside. He won’t be fit for tomorrow’s game but we will see after that. We are pleased it’s not a serious injury and we hope to have him back very soon, because he’s an important player for us.”
“Muscle injuries are things you have to be careful with and some players who play on the edge and have speed could be more susceptible to them. We are looking at ways to manage Christian, we are all working in the same direction on that front. We all know the talent he has and he’s a very important player for us.”
WIth Pulisic out, this could make way for a start for Callum Hudson-Odoi in attack. Hakim Ziyech is the in-form man at the moment at Chelsea and should be the other attacker out wide, with Timo Werner primed to be the man upfront. The German international would have been relieved to get a goal during the weekend’s 3-0 win over Burnley and will look to spur on.
Jorginho could be an active option as a second-half substitute in midfield to bring on a fresh pair of legs or for tactical purposes.
Predicted Chelsea Starting XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Chilwell; Havertz, Kante, Mount; Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Ziyech