After suffering back-to-back defeats to Manchester City within a week, Chelsea will be hoping to begin moving in a positive direction, starting with a trip to Fulham on Thursday. Graham Potter’s outfit are currently behind their London rivals in the Premier League table, with Marco Silva’s side up in seventh place and the Blues languishing in tenth. Potter will be hoping he does not hear his predecessor Thomas Tuchel’s name sung by the club’s own fans again, and is able to get a positive result against Fulham on Thursday and may make several changes in that attempt. Here, Express Sport looks at five players that could drop out from the team that suffered a 4-0 loss to Manchester City.
Conor Gallagher came into the team as Potter opted for a more defensive 4-3-3 shape against Manchester City, instead of the 4-2-3-1 system that had been used after the World Cup break. Gallagher played alongside Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, but the trio did not have the desired effect and struggled to compete against Rodri, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva.
Dennis Zakaria has been one of the bright spots for Chelsea despite their recent form as the forgotten man in the first half of the season has slotted into the midfield since the Premier League’s restart. The Juventus loanee will likely come back into the team regardless of which system Potter uses, most likely for Gallagher.
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Trevoh Chalobah lined up at right-back against Manchester City as Cesar Azpilicueta was given a rest, as the 33-year-old Spaniard has been asked to deputise in Reece James’ absence due to injury. However, full-back is not Chalobah’s natural position and there is a chance that he could return to centre-back but Potter has shown that he has a preferred back four.
Azpilicueta, Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly and Thiago Silva have played the majority of games since the World Cup ended, and he could once again opt for that defensive system against a Fulham side that is without the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Hakim Ziyech showed his ability as he starred at the World Cup with Morocco, who reached the semi-finals. His Chelsea career has not gone to plan, however, and there has been talk of him leaving the club. The winger came into the team as a result of injuries to Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic, the latter is facing months on the sidelines, but made way for youngster Omari Hutchinson on the hour mark on Sunday and the youngster could be given his chance from the start.
There is also a chance that new loan signing Joao Felix could take his place in the team, as Potter confirmed that there is a chance the Portugal forward may play on Thursday. He confirmed that the 23-year-old trained with the rest of the squad on Wednesday and the club are waiting for confirmation from the Premier League over whether he can be registered to face Fulham.
Bashir Humphreys was one of several starlets that Potter opted to give gametime to in the cup against Manchester City, while Silva was able to get some rest amid a busy schedule. The 19-year-old also has more competition in the first team, as the Blues recently bought centre-back Benoit Badiashile from Monaco for £33m.
Whether the new French defender comes into the team for his first start, alongside Koulibaly or in place of the Senegalese star, remains to be seen but despite Humphreys’ continued progression at the club, he is unlikely to get a second start within a week.