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Football London
Football London
Adam Newson & Bobby Vincent & Daniel Childs

Kai Havertz decision, Thiago Silva return: Chelsea lineups vs Man Utd Graham Potter should pick

Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening in what is arguably Graham Potter's biggest challenge to date.

It's fourth (Chelsea) against fifth in west London. A victory for Chelsea would see them move four points ahead of Man United, while a win for the visitors would see them leapfrog the hosts into the top four of the Premier League.

United have been in strong recent form in the top-flight and put in a wonderful performance against Tottenham in the week. Goals from Fred and Bruno Fernandes capped off a dominant performance from the hosts at Old Trafford.

READ MORE: Mason Mount answers Jack Grealish transfer question that Chelsea fans will love

Meanwhile, Chelsea too are in great form. Wednesday evening's goalless draw with Brentford was their fifth clean sheet in a row, but before that Potter had led his side to five victories on the bounce.

Potter will be without Reece James, Wesley Fofana and N'Golo Kante, who are all ruled out with long-term injuries. The likes of Thiago Silva and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who are both over 30 now, got some sort of rest on Wednesday at Brentford, so a return could be on the cards for the experienced duo.

With all of that being said,'s Chelsea contingent Bobby Vincent, Adam Newson and Daniel Childs give their best attempt at predicting the unpredictable – the XI Potter will choose on Saturday.

Adam Newson

Having kept five clean sheets in his previous five matches, Kepa Arrizabalaga will rightfully keep his place in the Chelsea goal. How things shape up in front of him is a little more difficult to predict but I suspect Potter will continue with a back three system.

That would see Trevoh Chalobah return to the right centre-back role and Thiago Silva come back into the starting XI in the centre. Kalidou Koulibaly can then occupy the spot on the left.

Having tried both Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at right wing-back in the previous two matches in the absence of Reece James, I think it's worth going with the more tried and trusted figure of Cesar Azpilicueta, even though the Spaniard doesn't offer the same on-the-ball dynamism. On the opposite flank, I'd bring back Ben Chilwell.

Kovacic has become one of the most influential members of the side and will start in midfield. There are several players to pair him with but I think Loftus-Cheek, who has impressed since Potter's arrival, will get the nod ahead of the experienced Jorginho.

I'd start Mason Mount further forward as part of the front three and bring Christian Pulisic into the starting XI on the left flank after his impressive cameo off the bench in midweek. Aubameyang only played ten minutes at the Gtech Community Stadium so will be fresh and ready to lead the attack.

Adam's XI: Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly; Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Aubameyang, Pulisic

Bobby Vincent

Kepa Arrizabalaga has been Chelsea's standout performer over recent weeks and he will definitely keep his place in the line-up. Edouard Mendy needs to be patient and wait for his time to shine once again.

Potter could go with a three-at-the-back again for the visit of Man United. Trevoh Chalobah, Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly look to be Chelsea's strongest back-three on paper and they could all be chosen to deal with the visitors' threat at Stamford Bridge.

With James out, Ruben Loftus-Cheek could come in on the right-hand side once again. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the centre of midfield, with Marc Cucurella on the left.

The front three could be Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Aubameyang. Kai Havertz was poor on Wednesday evening and we can expect to see the German dropped down to the bench.

Bobby's XI: Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly; Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Jorginho, Cucurella; Sterling, Mount, Aubameyang.

Daniel Childs

We should expect some form of rotation from Potter now after 25 changes in his first seven games in charge. But this game presents his biggest challenge so far with eyes firmly pointed towards Stamford Bridge.

This game will likely be won and lost in two key areas, central midfield and how Chelsea copes without James. The latter question is not just isolated to this game and will continue until after the World Cup when he hopefully can return to full fitness. Although Cesar Azpilicueta is not a great solution for a team who needs mobility and speed down the right, keeping Ruben Loftus-Cheek in central midfield feels preferable.

I would not disrupt the back three of Chalobah, Silva and Koulibaly who have played well together so far for Potter and feel with that in mind, we may see a similar approach to the two AC Milan games with a more conventional 3-4-3. It is a system a majority of the players are comfortable with and can hopefully offer enough balance against an opponent who will look to gain joy in transition.

Christian Pulisic should be given a start here also after an exciting cameo from the bench against Brentford whilst Aubameyang returns to a starting spot in the centre of attack.

Daniel's XI: Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly, Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Chilwell, Pulisic, Mount, Aubameyang.


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