N’Golo Kante, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz are expected to return to the Chelsea starting XI
Frank Lampard is hoping that Chelsea can go one step further with their second-leg impact against Real Madrid this year, after the Blues went close to overcoming a two-goal deficit in 2022. The caretaker manager watched his side lose 2-0 at the Bernabeu less than a week after returning to the club, but believes there are reasons to be hopeful should his team step up a level.
Lampard said in his press conference: “I’ve studied both games from last year. I don’t always bother but there are parallels in terms of the personnel who were playing through the team. So I felt it was important for myself and the staff to look at that. We also have the quick reference of last week and how they set up and the threats they have and how we will deal with that.
“You talk about last week and we had opportunities to score but at the same time there were a lot of things we could have done better in the last game. And I feel it even more having watched the game again. There were things that we wanted to do from the outset that we did not do well enough throughout the game.”
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The Chelsea boss will be forced into at least two changes from the team that played in the first leg after the injury Kalidou Koulibaly picked up in the Spanish capital set him out for a ‘matter of weeks, not days‘, while Ben Chilwell is suspended having picked up a red card in the clash.
That could see the west London side make use of a back four as Thiago Silva returns having watched Chelsea’s defeat to Brighton as a civilian and Marc Cucurella enters the backline to replace Chilwell. Reece James and Wesley Fofana will retain their places and once again face the challenge of standing of against Vinicius Jr.
N’Golo Kante was also afforded a rest against the Seagulls and will join up with Enzo Fernandez, who was substituted early at the weekend, in a midfield three. Conor Gallagher’s good performance could see him in competition with Mateo Kovacic for the final spot in the centre of the pitch.
Chelsea have struggled to find their frontline in their previous two games which should see Kai Havertz start up front as he returns from a knee injury, while David Datro Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are ineligible for selection for the competition. He could be joined by Mykhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix following Raheem Sterling’s struggles.
Confirmed Chelsea XI: Kepa, James, Fofana, Silva, Cucurella; Kante, Fernandez, Gallagher; Mudryk, Havertz, Felix.
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