Bengaluru, Aug 8: Chelsea embraced home one of their beloved sons in Frank Lampard as he was announced as their new manager replacing Sarri.
The former Derby manager is now just a couple of days away from making his Premier League debut after a packed month of studying on the job about his squad.
Chelsea face Manchester United at Old Trafford on August 11 in what guarantees to be a major test for Lampard and his backroom staff.
However, Lampard’s dream management job has come with a heavy package where he is incapable of signing any players during his first year in the job with Chelsea forbidden by FIFA from buying anyone. The former English midfielder, however, gave every member of his squad the chance to make a claim for a place in his plans and surely the boss and his coaching staff have now got an idea how to manage the squad.
Here’s a look at the probable XI likely to feature the most in the first team in 2019/20:
Most expensive goalkeeper of the World Kepa Arrizabafranlaga will arguably be the number one in the side in the coming season as well. The 24-year-old immediately lived up to the hype last season at Stamford Bridge. He is the undisputed No. 1 and Willy Caballero is his deputy.
Lampard has two or three combinations in the central defence. But most likely he will go with the combination of Zouma and Christensen. Rudiger is expected to be the first choice however with the former Roma man still gaining full fitness after last season's injury Zouma is expected to establish in the central half.
David Luiz, on the other hand, was earlier tipped to partner him however with him joining Arsenal, Lampard can opt for Christensen who is similar to Luiz in many ways. The Blues also have another option with youngster Fikayo Tomori but he is expected to be an emergency backup only.
In the two fullback role, Azpilicueta is expected to hold the mantle while Palmeri could get the nod ahead of Marcos Alonso because he provides more balance between attack and defence. Reece James will deputise for Azpilicueta while Davide Zappacosta is expected to leave the club.
Chelsea have used both a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2 diamond in pre-season and the midfield combination relies upon how the gaffer sets up his team. The two defensive midfielders are set to be a combination between N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic. If he chooses a double pivot in the side Jorginho will most likely partner Kante in the two-man pivot.
Kante may not start Chelsea’s first game of the season as he only returned from injury in their last preseason game but he will be an essential member of the side when he’s available. Kovacic with his versatility will likely to play an alternative role in both the roles. They also have Tiémoué Bakayoko in contention but the French man is expected to leave the club.
For the attacking midfield role, the Blues manager has to pick between three English midfielders. One of them is Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but with the 23-year-old yet to return from injury it means the final midfield spot will go to either Ross Barkley or Mason Mount. Barkley is likely to get the nod ahead of the youngster at the moment while the youngster is expected to play a big role coming from the bench.
Chelsea are expected to have three attackers in the front with two of them playing an inside forward role. Pulisic will arguably be the first choice from the left-hand side while Pedro is expected to start out from right wide at the start of the season at least as Willian only recently returned for preseason training after being away with Brazil for the Copa America for most of the summer. In addition, the highly-rated Callum Hudson-Odoi will also be in the mix once he returns from injury.
As the striking option, Lampard could rely upon the actual No. 9 shirt- Abraham who has featured heavily in pre-season so far.
Giroud, Batshuayi and Abraham all have two goals apiece in pre-season. But Abraham has played 301 minutes, more than the other two, and is likely to start at Old Trafford.