Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is likely to name a strong side for this evening’s FA Cup game against Preston North End, with the Blues in desperate need of winning momentum. They are currently without 10 first-team players but should have more than enough to beat their Championship opponents and maintain their hopes of winning domestic silverware this season.
Express Sport takes a look at how Chelsea could line up at Stamford Bridge later today…
Goalkeeper – Petrovic
Djordje Petrovic has enjoyed an impressive start to life between the sticks at Chelsea after getting his big break following Robert Sanchez’s injury. The Serbian stopper is making a case for himself to move ahead of his Spanish team-mate in the pecking order and will be hoping for another clean sheet against Preston this evening.
Marcus Bettinelli will likely be named on the bench, with Sanchez not yet fit enough to be included in a matchday squad despite being close to returning.
Defence – Gusto, Disasi, Gilchrist, Colwill
Chelsea youngster Alfie Gilchrist could be handed his first Blues start alongside Axel Disasi after impressing in a number of cameos off the bench. Today’s game will represent a golden chance for him to feature from the first whistle, with Gilchrist able to emerge as a ready-made replacement for Thiago Silva when the 39-year-old eventually leaves the club.
Malo Gusto will be hoping to start on the right-hand side, while Levi Colwill is set to keep his place on the left with Marc Cucurella and Ben Chilwell still out injured.
Midfield – Caicedo, Gallagher, Palmer
It would not be a surprise to see Pochettino go with Moises Caicedo and Conor Gallagher in a bid to ensure that Chelsea win the midfield battle this evening. The Blues duo will see plenty of the ball if everything goes to plan but will also need to stay solid when out of possession to stop Preston from breaking into the final third.
Cole Palmer, meanwhile, could play further forward with Christopher Nkunku not starting after picking up a minor knock earlier this week.
Attack – Mudryk, Sterling, Broja
Raheem Sterling has found his minutes limited at Chelsea over the last few weeks but will be hoping to earn back his place with an influential showing against Preston. He will be partnered on the flanks by Mykhaylo Mudryk, who will also have a golden chance to show what he is truly capable of this evening.
Chelsea’s lack of available strikers will see Armando Broja feature at the top of the pitch, with Nicolas Jackson having jetted off to represent Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Possible Chelsea XI vs Preston (4-2-3-1) – Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Gilchrist, Colwill; Caicedo, Gallagher; Mudryk, Palmer, Sterling; Broja.