James and Pulisic starting: How Chelsea are likely to line up against Aston Villa

Chelsea return to action against Aston Villa on Sunday and boss Frank Lampard faces some tough choices over his starting line-up.

Lampard will be without the suspended Jorginho, so faces a choice in midfield.

Much will depend on the fitness of N’Golo Kante, who did not take part in training when the squad initially returned but has since trained – and featured in recent friendlies. It seems likely he will play.

Billy Gilmour’s exciting performances put him in the frame before matches were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The youngster could be involved but Mason Mount is a favourite of Lampard, who has also tended to favour Mateo Kovacic more than Ross Barkley.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is fit again after his Achilles injury but has had limited game time.



With Kepa Arrizabalaga, restored to the side earlier in the campaign, looking certain to be in goal, Lampard has a decision to make when it comes to the defence.

Reece James at right-back seems likely, with Cesar Azpilicueta again being asked to operate at left-back.

It isn’t the Spaniard’s natural position of course, but Lampard doesn’t seem to fully trust either Marcos Alonso or Emerson Palmieri.

There’s an important choice to be made alongside Antonio Rudiger at centre-back.

Fikayo Tomori has slipped down the pecking order somewhat. Kurt Zouma is a possible choice but it seems more likely that Andreas Christensen will get the nod.



There are doubts over Willian’s future, with the Brazilian approaching the end of his contract.

He seems certain to start at Villa Park, though, and Pulisic might also get the nod as the other wide-man in support of striker Abraham.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is another option but has had off-field issues to contend with, while Pedro appears to be on his way out of the club. So it could be a good opportunity for Pulisic.

Predicted line-up: Kepa; James, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Kante, Kovacic; Willian, Mount, Pulisic; Abraham.




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