Chelsea host Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon at Stamford Bridge as the 2022/23 season nears its conclusion.
The word ‘long-awaited’ may only apply to Chelsea fans who have been wanting this season to end for quite some time. However, a much-needed three points away at Bournemouth last weekend means there may be some uncommon hope heading into Saturday’s showdown at Stamford Bridge.
Interim head coach Frank Lampard picked up his first win since rejoining the club at the Vitality Stadium, and he will be anxious to build some momentum this weekend. Forest, on the other hand, is battling for their lives at the bottom of the Premier League standings, so they will be a different type of test than what we witnessed last week on the south coast.
Will Lampard field a lineup similar to the one that defeated Bournemouth? Will he be enticed by other members of Chelsea’s massive squad? football. London Bobby Vincent and Tom Coley talk about it below…
Mr. Bobby Vincent
Kepa Arrizabalaga will continue to play in goal. There doesn’t appear to be any debate about that.
Lampard may be tempted to use a back-four again after how well it worked against Bournemouth. Trevoh Chalobah played well at right back. He attacked well, which he may not have done enough of when playing in that unconventional role, therefore I can see him keeping his spot on the side.
Wesley Fofana missed the game against Bournemouth due to a slight hamstring issue, and Lampard may be inclined to leave him out again to prevent exacerbating the condition more. Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile both played well last weekend and might be the center-back pairing.
Lewis Hall could replace Ben Chilwell, who is injured. Marc Cucurella is also out, therefore the 18-year-old has a wonderful opportunity to establish his worth to Lampard in the remaining games.
Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez, and N’Golo Kante might line up in the center of the pitch, similar to what we saw against the Cherries. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic have a case, but they might start on the bench.
With Raheem Sterling creating a moment of magic to set up Joao Felix late on at the Vitality Stadium, Mykhailo Mudryk might be dropped. After back-to-back outstanding performances against Arsenal and Bournemouth, Noni Madueke, in my opinion, should start on the opposite side. Kai Havertz could get the nod in the center.
Bobby’s starting XI is as follows: Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Badiashile, Hall; Kante, Fernandez, Gallagher; Madueke, Sterling, Havertz.
Mr. Tom Coley
Now that Chelsea is safe, there is even less reason than before not to start thinking about the future. Lampard’s starting XI for the game against Bournemouth was noticeably younger than the one that lost to Arsenal.
A comparable side should suffice here. Nottingham Forest will be proactive and play as if they have a real chance to win the game; it will be a terrific test for those Blues players who rarely have so little to fight for during the final four games of the season.
Hall’s decision to stay at Cobham rather than travel with his England Under-20 teammates is a huge one, but there’s no reason not to give him some serious playing time in the final three weeks of the season. He has already proven himself to be capable.
Badiashile must maintain his position in the backline; where has he been for the past month or so? Silva, despite his incredible talent, may take a break here and allow Fofana and Badiashile to build a partnership, fitness permitting. Chalobah remains on the right side of the defense.
It’s the same in the middle. With Kante, Gallagher, and Fernandez, Chelsea had more energy and legs in the heart of the field than they had previously. That trio begins again to develop some understanding and chemistry.
It remains unchanged in the attack. As with Hall and Badiashile, this is an opportunity for Mauricio Pochettino to get Madueke and Mudryk healthy and firing ahead of the new season. The advantages may not be apparent right now, but they will be in the future.
Tom’s starting XI is as follows: Kepa; Chalobah, Fofana, Badiashile, Hall; Kante, Fernandez, Gallagher; Madueke, Mudryk, Havertz.