Chelsea host Brentford on Saturday off the back of some improved performances under Mauricio Pochettino. The Blues are boosted by the return of several stars from injury and the Argentine now has a couple of big calls to make for the arrival of Thomas Frank’s side. Pochettino adopted a new system against Arsenal last time out but could revert to type against Brentford. Express Sport has predicted Chelsea’s starting XI against the Bees.
Goalkeeper: Robert Sanchez
Since arriving from Brighton in the summer, Robert Sanchez has started every single Premier League game and barring injury he is unlikely to be replaced. Pochettino will, however, be hoping that Sanchez’s error for Declan Rice’s goal last week will not be lingering on the Spanish stopper’s mind.
Defence: Malo Gusto, Axel Disasi, Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill
Axel Disasi had started every league game before a minor injury kept him out of the 2-2 draw with Arsenal, but providing he has proved his fitness Pochettino may want the added aerial prowess against a physical Brentford team.
Three recognised centre-backs in Disasi, Thiago Silva and Levi Colwill could be preferred while Malo Gusto may keep his place at right-back, after Pochettino confirmed that Reece James is not ready to start.
“No he’s still not ready to start,” said Pochettino of the Chelsea captain. “He was training well and is really close, but tomorrow he’ll be on the bench.”
Midfield: Conor Gallagher, Moises Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez
Chelsea’s midfield has found its footing in recent weeks, with Conor Gallagher, Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez creating a strong partnership together and it would be a surprise to see one of them drop out.
Gallagher advanced and joined Cole Palmer as part of a box midfield of four against Arsenal, but Pochettino will likely revert to a familiar 4-3-3 shape with Fernandez and Gallagher both given the licence to go forward.
Attack: Cole Palmer, Raheem Sterling, Mykhaylo Mudryk
Pochettino opted against starting Nicolas Jackson against Arsenal in favour of an extra midfielder, but the focal point of Chelsea’s attack against Brentford is likely to be more traditional and Jackson will be given serious consideration.
But after Palmer, Raheem Sterling and Mykhaylo Mudryk all performed well last time out they could get another chance, despite the two wide players at risk of missing out.
Sterling’s ability to play across all three positions could see him given the nod through the middle ahead of Jackson, flanked by Palmer and Mudryk, with the Senegalese forward given the chance to run against tired legs off the bench in the second half.