Following the dramatic events at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night where the Blues fought back from 4-1 to claim a valuable point in the Champions League. Both Ajax and Chelsea sit on seven points with Valencia also joining them on seven points. The match would have given some of the Chelsea player’s heavy legs, but Frank Lampard is already preparing for the next fixture as his side face Crystal Palace in the lunch-time kick-off this Saturday.
Palace have had a solid start to the season and remain 9th in the League table, and having a full week’s rest, they pose a real threat to Lampard’s team. The Chelsea boss will be contemplating his next XI for this weekend and has some strong decisions to make. Mason Mount is likely to be side-lined after coming off in midweek through injury. Also, Chelsea’s penalty king Jorginho will not be featuring after picking up his fifth booking of the season. Most say it was a tactical decision as he will certainly return when Chelsea play reigning Champions Manchester City after the international break.
Moreover, with Mount out and Ruben Loftus-Cheek still in the final stages of his recovery, Lampard will likely start Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic in the same line-up. Both have started together recently when Chelsea were knocked out by Manchester United in the Carabao Cup last Wednesday. The pair weren’t at their best with Hudson-Odoi still looking to gain match fitness, and Pulisic looked leggy after his hat trick at Burnley in the previous match.
However, with Mount injured, Chelsea will lack that press that the young England international brings to the side. But, having the likes of Pulisic or Willian in the number ten role would be very effective. Both have good experience of playing there, with the addition of Hudson-Odoi on either flank with his direct pace and skill on the wing. The 19-year-old’s ability was evident when Lampard introduced the winger in the second-half against Ajax and caused them a lot of problems with his direct running and willingness to take players on.
Come Saturday Chelsea can move above Leicester City into third place with a win against Crystal Palace. The result will be sweetened if Lampard does decide to use his most creative players and using Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic from the start on Saturday.