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Football London
Football London
Scott Trotter

Mykhailo Mudryk starts, Enzo Fernandez in - Ideal Chelsea lineup vs Fulham after £300m transfers

The transfer window is shut and Chelsea can turn their attention entirely back to matters on the pitch. Fulham await on Friday as the Blues welcome their local rivals to Stamford Bridge looking for a small amount of revenge.

Marco Silva's side came away 2-1 victors at Craven Cottage just a few weeks ago when Joao Felix was sent off after what had been an impressive debut. Graham Potter will hope to earn three points having secured a victory against Crystal Palace and a draw against Liverpool since.

With £300million spent in January and plenty of new additions since the middle of January, Potter has some new tools to try out on their cross-town rivals. Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Enzo Fernandez have all arrived since that defeat, while Benoit Badiashile has established himself in Chelsea's team. No pressure to hit the ground running.

READ MORE: Graham Potter makes Hakim Ziyech decision as Chelsea receive triple injury boost ahead of Fulham

"Everybody that has been in this room over the last four months, the word that we've always spoken about is pressure. So that isn't going to change," said Potter in his press conference. "Clearly, if you spend money, the external noise goes up. I understand that. I've also said that resources are one thing and spending money is another.

"You need to be able to align them, make the right decisions, and create a team culture because it isn't the amount you spend on its own that gets success."

Friday night will see Potter's first attempt to set out a new Chelsea side for the rest of the season. So who is it ideal to pick against Fulham?

Kepa Arrizabalga will continue in goal given Edouard Mendy's continued absence, so the first decision will be to decide whether to opt for a back three or four. Regardless, Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile's performances in recent outings earn them a place, and given the Chelsea boss' preference to utilise wing-backs against Fulham in their last outing, Chalobah could start too.

Reece James will be unable to complete 90 minutes against Fulham but he elevates Chelsea's side enough where a start is barely even a question. Lewis Hall, Marc Cucurella and Ben Chilwell will all be competing to start on the left.

Midfield may cause Potter the most issues following Jorginho's departure to Arsenal. Mateo Kovacic remains out injured and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is deemed not fit for a full 90 minutes, leaving the 47-year-old head coach with his three most regular options in the centre and Denis Zakaria also injured.

As a result, Enzo Fernandez should see an easy route into the starting line-up should he be available to play and choosing who compliments him best and can guide him through Potter's methods will be crucial. The discipline of Loftus-Cheek may see him favoured rather than Conor Gallagher, who flourishes with slightly more freedom.

Mason Mount may find his place in the side despite his lacking form. Hopefully Chelsea's break will ensure that he can return rejuvenated to support Kai Havertz, while filling into the centre of the pitch when required.

That should allow Mudryk an aggressive forward position on his full debut where he has the opportunity to go one step further than Felix when tormenting Fulham's backline. Noni Madueke will also hope to be involved at the first opportunity and that will come down to whether he has impressed Potter enough in training but he could very well see minutes from the bench.

Chelsea XI: Kepa, Chalobah, Silva, Badiashile; James, Fernandez, Loftus-Cheek, Cucurella; Mount, Havertz, Mudryk.


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