Chelsea will face Manchester City in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, hoping that the third time is the charm.
City knocked the Blues out of the Carabao Cup in November, and they lost 1-0 to Pep Guardiola’s side in the Premier League on Thursday. Chelsea put in an impressive performance in the latest defeat, but it wasn’t enough, as it has been all season.
With an ever-growing injury list to contend with, here’s the lineup Graham Potter could go with to keep Chelsea’s silverware dream alive.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, goalkeeper With Edouard Mendy still out, Kepa will have the opportunity to make amends for his poor decision that resulted in City’s winner on Thursday.
Cesar Azpilicueta – RB It would be great to see young Dion Rankine get some playing time here, but veteran Azpilicueta will almost certainly get the nod.
Trevoh Chalobah – CB Due to his recent absence from the team, Chalobah will fill in and allow Thiago Silva to rest.
Wesley Fofana is injured, and Benoit Badiashile will not be rushed into action, so expect Koulibaly to get another start.
LB: Marc Cucurella – Lewis Hall has demonstrated his ability to play for Chelsea, but the teenager, who isn’t technically a left-back, may have to settle for a bench spot behind Cucurella.
Jorginho, CM Jorginho, who was unexpectedly left out of the lineup on Thursday, will have a difficult time matching Mateo Kovacic’s performance level from the previous game.
Denis Zakaria, CM Zakaria has quietly been Chelsea’s best midfielder over the last few games, marking the season’s biggest turnaround. That purchase option isn’t looking so stupid anymore.
CM: Carney Chukwuemeka – Chukwuemeka had what appeared to be a breakout performance against City, nearly scoring a goal. The 19-year-old is prepared to take on more responsibilities.
Hakim Ziyech, AM Losing Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, and Mason Mount to injury within a 24-hour period isn’t ideal for Potter, whose attacking options are extremely limited.
ST: Kai Havertz – Havertz impressed in his free-roaming role last time out and will most likely play some sort of AM/ST hybrid role this time around.
ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Played on and off in the same game (which he has won).