How Pochettino will start Lavia, Nkunku, Caicedo and Palmer against Sheffield United

How Pochettino will start Lavia, Nkunku, Caicedo and Palmer against Sheffield United

 After suffering their seventh league defeat of the season against Everton last weekend, Chelsea’s season is threatening to unravel completely.

How Pochettino will start Lavia, Nkunku, Caicedo and Palmer against Sheffield United

The Sport Info learnt that, Manager Mauricio Pochettino has already stated that he may need to sign more players in January, despite £1bn being spent on this squad over the last 18 months. It’s a damning verdict on an unfocused recruitment strategy that has led to a whole host of talented young players being signed but with no forethought as to how they can work as a team.

The Blues face a Sheffield United side this weekend who have just won their first match under new manager Chris Wilder. Even so, with the game being played at Stamford Bridge, the home fans are entitled to expect a win from this fixture.

Press the next page as we predict Chelsea’s starting eleven to face the Blades on Saturday afternoon.

GK – Djordje Petrovic

With Robert Sanchez still injured, it looks likely that the Serbian will deputise for Chelsea’s no.1 this weekend.

Petrovic didn’t have the best of debuts when he replaced Sanchez against Everton, flapping at a corner before Lewis Dobbin scored the Toffees’ second.

It would be very harsh to judge the summer signing on less than 10 minutes of game time though.

With Sheffield United not exactly prolific scorers, Petrovic will be hoping for a pretty quiet afternoon in between the sticks.

RB – Malo Gusto

Captain Reece James is expected to miss the next three months with a hamstring injury.

It’s a huge blow for the right-back, who had only just returned to fitness, but it will be hoped that this latest setback will, at least, lead to the problems he has been having being resolved once and for all.

Gusto has not been involved since the last international break due to what was believed to be an issue with a tendon.

However, the France international has been back in full training this week so he should be in contention to face the Blades.

CB – Axel Disasi

The 25-year-old performed better than his centre-back partner Benoit Badiashile at Goodison Park.

However, it wasn’t a perfect performance from Disasi. Despite handling Dominic Calvert-Lewin pretty well, he was (at least) partly at fault for losing the striker for the opener, although Badiashile was the one who ultimately failed to track him.

Against Sheffield United, Disasi is expected to come up against William Osula, who has started Wilder’s first two games up front.

If Disasi can’t deal with the 20-year-old Dane, who has made just a handful of appearances in the Premier League, it would be a major worry.

CB – Thiago Silva

There has been a lot of talk about the Brazilian’s relationship with Pochettino this week.

Questions have been asked about the decision not to give Silva the captaincy, with both James and Ben Chilwell sidelined. The likes of Conor Gallagher and Levi Colwill have been handed the responsibility instead recently.

However, it should be pointed out that Silva has played under four different managers since moving to Stamford Bridge, which suggests that it is him who doesn’t want the armband. Surely one of Lampard, Tuchel or Potter would have asked him at some point, so he must not want the responsibility, which is understandable if he wants to concentrate on his fitness at 39 years of age.

After being rested against Everton, Silva is expected to return to the starting lineup on Saturday.

LB – Levi Colwill

Marc Cucurella picked up an injury against the Toffees so the Spaniard is not expected to feature this weekend.

Colwill is the most likely replacement, with Chilwell not currently ready to return after a hamstring problem.

It must be said that Colwill’s form in recent weeks has taken a nosedive, and he will be keen to improve against the Blades.

The 20-year-old would prefer to play as a centre-half but Pochettino has no other options at left-back currently.

CM – Moises Caicedo

The Ecuadorian is not suited to the lone ‘6’ role and that was evident against Everton last week.

Caicedo was not able to break up play often enough, and he was bypassed a number of times as the Toffees managed to get at Chelsea’s back four.

With Romeo Lavia returning to full fitness, the Belgian should give Caicedo some competition for his place in upcoming fixtures.

The Belgian has been sidelined for three months, though, so he may only be fit enough for the bench on Saturday afternoon.

CM – Enzo Fernandez

It was another anonymous display from the Argentinian international at Goodison Park.

Pochettino tried to get more out of Fernandez by playing him as the most advanced of the midfield three but, barring one shot that he blasted straight at the keeper, there was little end product.

The 22-year-old will more than likely be moved back deeper when the Blues take on Sheffield United.

Getting him on the ball so he can influence the game more has to be the top priority or his talent will go to waste.

AM – Conor Gallagher

Played the closest to Caicedo versus Everton but you would hardly describe it as a double pivot.

Gallagher tried to get forward, and he did create a couple of decent chances, but he was found wanting for Everton’s opener.

His attempt to stop the attack by fouling Dwight McNeil in the build-up failed and the Everton winger’s pace meant that Gallagher was left for dead before the ball was slotted through to Calvert-Lewin.

With Christopher Nkunku only expected to be fit enough for the bench, Gallagher is set to play as the No.10 against the Blades.

RW – Cole Palmer

The winger was undoubtedly Chelsea’s most creative forward last weekend.

Palmer forced Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford to make two good saves, but he was wasteful in possession at times too, shooting way too often from outside the box.

It was a performance that you would expect from a 21-year-old player, showing promise but lacking experience.

Considering how blunt the rest of Chelsea’s attack is, though, Pochettino is having to rely too much on him to create a bit of magic in the final third of the pitch.

CF – Nicolas Jackson

Armando Broja put in a rather average display at Goodison Park.

To be fair to the Albanian international, he does need time to regain his match sharpness, having not started a game for 2 months, but he has to offer more of a threat.

Even though Jackson did miss two good chances when he came on, he was at least getting opportunities to score, unlike Broja.

For that reason, the Senegalese international could be recalled to face Sheffield United.

LW – Raheem Sterling

Mykhailo Mudryk is an infuriating player to watch. He clearly had the beating of Ashley Young but, despite looking dangerous, he couldn’t provide a good final delivery.

For someone who cost £88.5m, that is simply not good enough and, while some may argue he showed promising signs against Everton, there is no end product.

At least with Sterling, there is a much better chance that he will convert any chances he is given, even if his inconsistent performances are equally frustrating at times.

It is a toss-up between Mudryk and Sterling in terms of who will start on Saturday, but we will opt for the latter.

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