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Reece James And Cole Palmer To Start, Axel Disasi On The Bench: Chelsea’s Predicted XI To Take On United

chelseanews.com 2024/2/24

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino would have been delighted by the performance that his team put in at the weekend.

It was not only a massive improvement on the abject 4-1 loss to Newcastle, but they showed real fight and resilience after Conor Gallagher was given a red card.

Brighton are not an easy opponent to face at the best of times, but the Blues deservedly secured the three points. Pochettino’s men will be looking to carry that form into their game against Manchester United.

Press the next page as we predict Chelsea’s starting lineup for the midweek fixture.

GK – Robert Sanchez

The Spaniard put in a solid performance against his former club. The keeper wasn’t really called into action that often and he couldn’t do much with either of Brighton’s goals.

Again, Sanchez wasn’t perfect when kicking out from the back, with two errors that didn’t prove to be costly.

You do feel that, in the long term, Chelsea will be looking for an upgrade on the 26-year-old but it’s unlikely to be a priority for the January transfer window.

Wednesday’s opponents United have been pretty poor on their own patch. 3 defeats and just 8 goals scored in 7 league matches, so Sanchez may be hoping for a clean sheet.

RB – Reece James

Axel Disasi did a decent enough job defensively against the Seagulls, but he didn’t offer a lot in the final third of the pitch.

With Malo Gusto sidelined with injury, Pochettino didn’t have much choice when it came to selecting a right-back at the weekend, with captain Reece James also suspended.

However, the England international will be back in contention for the trip to Old Trafford, having served his one-match ban for his sending-off against Newcastle.

It will be an intriguing battle between him and the lively Alejandro Garnacho on Wednesday night.

CB – Thiago Silva

The Brazilian put in a much-improved performance on Sunday, making one particularly noteworthy tackle on Kaoru Mitoma in the second half.

When Silva has a solid structure around him, the 39-year-old can still be a very effective centre-back. The main issue so far this season, though, has been the lack of consistency in performances from both him and his teammates.

Considering Rasmus Hojlund has still not scored in the Premier League this season, you would back Silva to keep United’s no.9 quiet.

As we have already mentioned, United are not exactly prolific at home, so Chelsea will be looking for a shutout at the back.

CB – Benoit Badiashile

After a disastrous return to the starting eleven against Newcastle, it was surprising to see Pochettino keep faith with the 22-year-old.

However, the manager’s decision to select Badiashile against Brighton proved to be justified as the centre-half hardly put a foot wrong.

There was one important intervention from the Frenchman early on, which denied Evan Ferguson a chance to score, that typified his performance.

Badiashile actually made a telling contribution in the final third as well, creating Enzo Fernandez’s opening goal. He will be looking to carry on from where he left off on Sunday versus United.

LB – Levi Colwill

The 20-year-old was delighted to score his first goal for Chelsea, but his overall display was also pretty decent against the team he played for on loan last season.

Colwill may feel he could have done a bit better for Facundo Buonanotte’s goal, as the Argentinian midfielder cut inside him, but that is a minor criticism.

The defender will be going up one-on-one against Marcus Rashford or Antony at Old Trafford. Neither player has been in form so you would back the Chelsea defender to come out on top.

Colwill will have to be mindful of overlaps from United’s fullbacks, though, and he will need assistance from Mykhailo Mudryk to ensure that he isn’t outnumbered.

CM – Moises Caicedo

It was a mixed bag from the Ecuadorian international, who was facing his former club for the second time in the space of a couple of months.

Caicedo acquitted himself well in terms of making tackles and interceptions, while also making some pinpoint forward passes.

However, he did pick up a booking, and there was a danger in the second half that Chelsea could have gone down to nine men, with the midfielder still flying into tackles.

As it was, Caicedo stayed on the pitch and he will be looking to dominate the midfield at Old Trafford. The centre of the pitch is United’s main weakness, and Chelsea will be aiming to get a monopoly on possession.

CM – Enzo Fernandez

The Argentine showed what he is all about with an excellent all-round performance at the weekend. He took both his goals well and was confident in possession.

Fernandez has received criticism in recent weeks, much of that has been justified but, if he replicates his form from the Brighton game in upcoming fixtures, he will quickly silence any critics.

As mentioned above, United have been very poor in midfield this season, so you would back Fernandez and Caicedo (who cost Chelsea over £200m) to run rings around their opponents.

With Casemiro injured, it looks like the Red Devils will go with Scott McTominay and the inexperienced Kobbie Mainoo, so the Blues should have the upper hand in the middle of the park.

AM – Cole Palmer

Conor Gallagher left his team in the lurch with two lazy challenges, which saw him sent off for two bookable offences against the Seagulls.

It means that, for the first time this season, the 23-year-old will not be in the starting lineup for a league match when Chelsea face United on Wednesday evening.

In Palmer, though, the Blues have a ready-made replacement to come into the team. Considering his performances this season, he should be able to make the required impact.

He would have been disappointed to be benched on Sunday, but it looks almost certain that the former Manchester City player will be recalled for the trip to Old Trafford.

RW – Raheem Sterling

The winger does still have those games where nothing seems to come off for him, and he didn’t look at the races against Brighton.

Sterling ran down too many blind alleys and many promising attacks ended up coming to nothing as he failed to make the most of possession.

Even so, the 28-year-old remains a big threat, and he will certainly cause Luke Shaw a lot of problems if he starts down the right flank at Old Trafford.

Despite flattering to deceive somewhat at the weekend, Sterling’s excellent recent form means you wouldn’t bet against him getting on the scoresheet.

CF – Nicolas Jackson

The forward didn’t score but he did provide the assist for Levi Colwill. In terms of his link-up play, it was much better than in previous matches.

Jackson wasn’t much of a threat in front of goal himself, though, and he will be looking to improve that aspect of his game against United.

The Red Devils have conceded 10 goals in 7 league games at Old Trafford, so Chelsea’s forward line should get some joy if they play their cards right.

Jackson’s pace, along with Sterling and Mudryk, should cause the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof a lot of problems.

LW – Mykhailo Mudryk

Pochettino recalled the Ukrainian international to the starting eleven for the first time since the 2-2 draw against Arsenal and he looked decent.

Mydryk’s pace forced James Milner into giving away a penalty, and he grew into the match before being replaced with 10 minutes to go.

To remain a regular starter, the 22-year-old will have to offer more consistency, but the raw materials are there.

Depending on who starts at right-back against United, Mudryk will be presented with different tests. If it’s Dalot, he should have the beating of the Portuguese international in the final third but he will have to track back. If it’s Wan-Bissaka, it will be a war of attrition.

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