Chelsea predicted lineup vs Real Madrid as Frank Lampard forced into two changes
Chelsea face Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night looking to overturn a two-goal deficit after the European champions’ convincing win in the Spanish capital
Chelsea have it all to do as they welcome Real Madrid to Stamford Bridge with an uphill battle to overcome the two-goal deficit they suffered in the away leg.
The two clubs meet for the third consecutive campaign, with the winner of the tie lifting the Champions League on both occasions. In 2021, a 2-0 Chelsea win in London saw them through to the final, but the Galacticos got their revenge the following year with a Karim Benzema goal in extra-time.
Stopping the French forward will be even more difficult this time around with two forced changes in the Chelsea defence. Ben Chilwell is serving his suspension for a red card picked up in Madrid. Kalidou Koulibaly will join him on the sidelines after picking up an injury in the first leg.
Chelsea will be expected to go all guns blazing with their league season all but over as they sit in 11th, 10 points behind Brighton in seventh with just seven games to play. Real Madrid will be hoping to end the season with at least one piece of major silverware, and are currently 11 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Goalkeeper and defence
“Of course it is a disappointment for Koulibaly and for us, but it is an opportunity (for others) and we carry on without him. People talk a lot about our squad but we have not got lots of cover in certain times and the Champions League squad is different to the Premier League squad” said Lampard on his defensive options for Tuesday’s tie.
One player not registered for the European competition is Benoit Badiashile, so he will be unable to cover for the Senegalese centre back. Thiago Silva is expected to start after being rested against Brighton, but Trevoh Chalobah is also an option for the interim manager.
Marc Cucurella was substituted on for Koulibaly in last week’s tie, but the Spaniard will take to the pitch from kick-off this time with Chilwell watching on from the stands.
Lampard has been managing the fitness of N’Golo Kante, who returned from a four-month injury at the start of the month, but has only started two of the five games he has been available for – one of which being against Real last week. The Blues’ interim manager was quick to praise the Frenchman’s energy in his press conference at the weekend.
“When (Kante) is fit he is clearly one of the best midfield players in the world. I think you see in his performances in Madrid and against Liverpool last week that, having just come back from injury, he’s not slowing down. When he plays he always offers massive output and massive quality.” Lampard told the media.
With Kante expected to return to the fold after being rested against Brighton, we expect Lampard to name the same midfield he did at the Bernabeu with Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic completing the three.
Chelsea barely threatened their former shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois the last time the two sides met, with a front two of Joao Felix and Raheem Sterling creating little to no problems for the big Belgian.
Lampard defended both after the game, saying “Sterling and Felix’s game was tough, above all. (Felix) is a great talent. In the second leg we will have more of a sense of urgency, we will focus more on their goal, and I think we will see more of those two players. We have a big challenge ahead.”
With Lampard indicating both Sterling and Felix will feature in a more attacking Chelsea side, he may hand a first Champions League start to Mykhailo Mudryk in a 4-3-3 formation as the 3-5-2 clearly did not work out last time.
Chelsea predicted XI vs Real Madrid (4-3-3): Kepa; Cucurella, Silva, Fofana, James; Fernandez, Kante, Kovacic; Mudryk, Felix, Sterling.
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