Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel could hand Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly their debuts when the Blues take on Everton on Saturday.

Chelsea will begin their 2022/23 Premier League campaign with an away trip to Goodison Park as they face Frank Lampard’s Everton side on Saturday evening. Heading into the game, manager Thomas Tuchel does not have any major injury concerns, although exit-linked striker Timo Werner is a doubt due to a thigh issue.

Youngster Armando Broja is also a slight doubt due to an ankle problem he picked up in pre-season, although the Albanian international is expected to be available against Everton. New signings Carney Chukwuemeka and Marc Cucurella might not be involved, though, given they have hardly had any time to train with their new teammates.

Tuchel is likely to stick with his preferred three-man backline against Everton on Saturday. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who signed a new two-year deal earlier this week, should start at the back, alongside fellow veteran Thiago Silva. Summer signing Kalidou Koulibaly should make his Premier League debut, slotting in as the third central defender for Chelsea, with Edouard Mendy in goal.

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Reece James is a guaranteed starter in the right-sided wing-back slot, while Ben Chilwell should feature on the opposite flank, with Marcos Alonso headed out of the club and Cucurella only recently arriving. It will be interesting to see if Tuchel decides to hand some minutes to the Spaniard at some stage of the contest.

Moving into the centre of the park, the Chelsea manager is likely to count on the brilliance of N’Golo Kante, who will be keen on starting well after an injury-riddled campaign last time out. The Frenchman should be partnered by Mateo Kovacic, with the likes of Jorginho and Conor Gallagher providing options from the bench.

The attacking unit is where things get interesting for Chelsea, given the lack of a top-quality striker in their ranks. However, Tuchel hinted that he could opt to field a fluid and flexible frontline in the new season in his pre-match presser, saying, “If we play in the same structure with our three offensive players, I think it will be very fluid.”

“Liverpool and Man City showed that it’s possible to be very successful with a fluid type of offensive player in the number nine position. It can be Kai, it can be Raheem, it can be Timo Werner, it can also be Armando Broja who is now in the squad so different profiles and different ways of playing.”

With Werner a doubt and Broja’s fitness also uncertain, Kai Havertz is likely to operate through the middle for Chelsea. He will have support on either side from Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling, who will be looking to score his first competitive goal for the Blues after netting in the pre-season friendly against Udinese.

Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Koulibaly, James, Kante, Kovacic, Chilwell, Mount, Sterling, Havertz

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