Chelsea host Southampton today and will look to continue from where they stopped prior to the international break.
The Blues handed Crystal Palace a 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last time out, but the Saints are a different side after securing back-to-back Premier League victories and clean sheets over Burnley and West Bromwich Albion.
Those wins came following a poor start to 2020-21 that saw them lose against Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea will have to be on top of their game if they are to pick up all three points at the expense of Southampton.
Frank Lampard’s side are also looking to secure their third league win of the season having drawn against West Brom and lost to Liverpool after their victory on the opening weekend over Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Senegalese goalkeeper picked up a knock while on international duty, while the Brazilian centre-back is not ready to play today due to the travelling he has done over the last two weeks.
While missing the duo is a blow on their defence, Chelsea’s attack have been handed a massive boost with the returns of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.
While the American is now fully fit to start, Lampard has ruled out the Morocco international from the starting line-up, saying he’s not fit to start but could come off the bench.
Southampton also have their own injury woes with Moussa Djenepo unavailable due to a hamstring injury, while Stuart Armstrong continues to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 before the International break.
It remains to be seen whether summer signing Mohammed Salisu will be featuring, but boss Ralph Hasenhuttl isn’t short of options in the middle of the park and will fancy his side’s chances of securing a win despite not being favourites.
With Mendy out, Kepa Arrizabalaga could get the nod ahead of Willy Caballero, and the Spaniard will be keen to impress after an unimpressive start to the season.
Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen could be paired in the middle of the defense, with Antonio Rudiger and Fikayo Tomori seemingly out of favour.
Ben Chilwell sustained a knock while on international duty but is expected to return to action, with Reece James likely to get the nod at right-back.
Ngolo Kante and Jorginho will likely retain their starting berths in midfield, with Pulisic likely to start ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi alongside Kai Havertz and Timo Werner while Tammy Abraham leads the attack.
Predicted Chelsea XI:
Chilwell, Zouma, Christensen, James
Havertz, Pulisic, Werner
Alex McCarthy should retain his place in goal for Southampton, with the quartet of Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek, Ryan Bertrand and Kyle Walker-Peters likely to retain their places following the victory over West Brom before the break.
Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse are expected to continue as the midfield duo, and Theo Walcott could be thrown straight into action alongside Nathan Redmond on the flanks.
Danny Ings and Che Adams should both continue to lead the line having established an understanding between themselves.
Predicted Southampton XI:
Walker-Peters, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Bertrand
Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond