Chelsea played well utilising the 3-4-3 against Wolves at the weekend, and with manager Frank Lampard having revealed that N’Golo Kante and Emerson won’t be fit to face Valencia, it seems very likely that the Blues boss will keep the system in place.
Although it didn’t work as intended when it came to shoring up the backline at Molineux, it did provide greater flexibility in attack, and allowed Marcos Alonso to play in his favoured left wing-back role. So how will they line up tonight?
Antonio Rudiger aggravated a groin problem in the 5-2 win on Saturday so Kurt Zouma will likely come into the starting eleven. As mentioned, Emerson is still out so Alonso will keep his place on the left-hand side.
On the right, Reece James needs more game time for the Under 23s so Cesar Azpicueta will continue to captain the side. It remains to be seen if he will still be picked once James is ready for action.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have firmly established themselves as first choice under Lampard, and the absence of Kante means they pretty much are nailed on starters in the middle of the pitch.
Ross Barkley will likely have to settle for a place on the bench if Chelsea continue with the 3-4-3 formation that consists of two central midfield players.
This is where we could see some changes this evening. Lampard may see it as an opportunity to give either Olivier Giroud or Michy Batshuayi game time, but with Tammy Abraham in such red-hot form, it would be foolhardy to leave him out. He has to play.
The Blues have a lot of options in terms of who plays either side of the striker. Mason Mount has really excelled further forward and it would be difficult to bench him.
Lampard did praise Willian’s performance at Molineux, but with Christian Pulisic and Pedro available, the manager may see it as a good opportunity to rotate. Callum Hudson-Odoi is not currently fit enough to make the squad but it does show you the strength in depth the Blues have in wide positions when everyone is fit.
For Valencia, though, I think Pedro will be given the nod, The Spaniard played a lot of minutes before his hamstring injury so he would be the favourite to come in if Willian makes way.
Chelsea’s Predicted XI To Face Valencia:
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Tomori, Christensen, Zouma, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Pedro, Abraham, Mount