Chelsea will be looking to get back on track when they face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday evening. Mauricio Pochettino’s preparations for the trip across London have been hampered by a new injury concern.
Reece James is the most prominent absentee, having suffered a hamstring injury against Liverpool last weekend. The Chelsea skipper will be out of commission for the foreseeable future.
Malo Gusto will make his debut for Chelsea against West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday.
Meanwhile, James has joined Marcus Bettinelli (knock), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Benoit Badiashile (hamstring), Wesley Fofana (knee), Armando Broja (knee), and Christopher Nkunku (knee) on the sidelines. And Pochettino discussed his injury during his pre-match press conference.
“It is a sad moment because he’s our captain and he was so excited to be our captain and he was full of energy. We are going to assess him day by day. For sure he wants to be again with the team as soon as possible and for sure he’s going to become stronger than he was, because with all the effort of the club we are going to help him to become stronger than before.”
“It’s a hamstring injury. It’s not about a few days, maybe a few weeks. The good thing is it’s not a big issue, but the most important thing now is to work really hard to try to anticipate problems and to be sure that when he starts to play again he is fully fit and stronger than he was before. That is the most important thing. That is why we are going to assess him day by day and try to make the plan every day.”
Malo Gusto will make his first start for Chelsea in James’s absence. The French whizkid will join Ben Chilwell in the wing-back pairing. Speaking of Chilwell, the Englishman will don the captain’s armband for the visitors against West Ham.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team will play in a 3-4-2-1 shape, with Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill, and Axel Disasi keeping their defensive positions. Following the departure of Kepa Arrizabalaga to Real Madrid, Robert Sanchez has emerged as the unquestioned first-choice goalkeeper.
In the midfield, Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo are both expected to make their Chelsea debuts. And Caicedo should make his debut for the West London club in the middle of the park, alongside Enzo Fernandez. Finally, Conor Gallagher, Raheem Sterling, and Nicolas Jackson should form the offensive unit. So Mykhailo Mudryk will have to make do with a cameo appearance.
Chelsea’s predicted starting XI is as follows:
Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gusto, Fernandez, Caicedo, Chilwell; Sterling, Gallagher; Jackson.