Chelsea will only have a few days at Cobham to get ready for their next game, which is against Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday, the Blues will play their last game before a 10-day break when they host Hull City.
Following a disappointing showing and loss at Middlesbrough on Tuesday, Mauricio Pochettino will be desperate for his team to get back on track. Hackney scored the only goal of the game, giving Boro a lead going into the second leg of the semi-final in less than two weeks.
Even though Chelsea had won three games in a row before this game, their fans have put more pressure on Pochettino because of this loss, and Saturday afternoon will now be more important. The Argentine boss might want to change some things about the team that lost at the Riverside Stadium earlier this week.
As long as Robert Sanchez is still hurt in the knee, Djordje Petrovic will stay in goal. Since Sanchez came in for the Serbian custodian, he has quietly done a great job.
But things could and should change in front of Petrovic. The 20-year-old Alfie Gilchrist could be brought back into the team. He made his first start for the Blues in the FA Cup third round win over Preston North End last weekend.
Gilchrist is usually a centre back, but he played well on the right side of a back four against Preston. It’s possible that Pochettino wants to bring back a player from the school and move Malo Gusto to the left side of the pitch.
This would let Levi Colwill move into the middle and join Thiago Silva. For most of the season, Colwill has played left back, but in recent games, the England player has been caught off guard several times.
Colwill is one of England’s best young centre backs and should be moved to the middle of the defence right away. Gilchrist might deserve to start in this game, so it could be the best chance to do so. As of late, Axel Disasi has also played a lot of football, so the France international might need a break.
On Saturday, Conor Gallagher might not play in the middle of the pitch. The England player started the season very well, but his play has gotten worse over the last few weeks, which could be a sign that he is tired.
Before being taken off in the second half against Middlesbrough, Enzo Fernandez looked good, and Moises Caicedo was probably Chelsea’s best player at the Riverside. Both of them could play together in the middle of the pitch to make the Blues’ formation more offensive, with four forwards ahead of them.
Since Raheem Sterling didn’t play well against Boro, the 29-year-old could start the game against Fulham from the bench. Mykhailo Mudryk could fill in for him. The Ukrainian midfielder would play on the left, Noni Madueke would play on the right, and Cole Palmer would play in the 10th spot.
Armando Broja came off the bench at the Riverside on Tuesday, but he should be back in the starting lineup soon. Chelsea only has one eligible orthodox centre forward, and it looked like the Blues missed that earlier in the week.
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Before the match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One at Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea flag was raised. (Image by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto sourced from Getty Images)
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