Chelsea welcome Morecambe to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup Third Round as Frank Lampard looks to rejuvenate the Blues’ plummeting form.
Derek Adams, the Shrimps manager, will be looking to cast a spell on his side in hope of summoning the magic of the FA Cup; a giant killing is on the cards, so Chelsea must be armed with the knockout blow.
Lampard announced that Reece James, Andreas Christensen and N’Golo Kante are all out of contention for the Blues. This paves an opportunity for the ‘fringe’ players to work themselves into the manager's plans amidst faltering form.
Tino Anjorin, Valentino Livramento, Lewis Bate, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Henry Lawrence have all been training with the Blues first team after flourishing in the development squad.
Henry Lawrence, Jude Soonsup-Bell, Lewis Bate, Marcel Lewis, Tino Anjorin and Tino Livramento at Chelsea training...— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) January 9, 2021
The next generation 💎 pic.twitter.com/v8S5PuuUWA
Marcel Lewis, another incredibly promising Blues youngster, has also been pictured training with the first team ahead of the clash with Morecambe.
With an abundance of electrifying talent in contention, here is Chelsea VAVEL’s predicted starting eleven.
The Blues could choose to change from the 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1.
Lampard did so against Barnsley in the EFL Cup Third Round to free up Kai Havertz in his preferred number ten role; the German excelled scoring a hat-trick.
More recently, Havertz came on off the bench and provided a delightful assist against Manchester City in the Blues’ 3-1 defeat as he appears to gradually adapt to English football.
Should Lampard choose to utilise the 4-2-3-1, this game could prove to be a catalyst for Havertz’s confidence.
This formation would be ideal when hosting Jorginho and Billy Gilmour in the heart of midfield. Bate could later feature in this role should Lampard not change his shape in the latter stages.
Kepa Arrizabalaga will likely start against Morecambe having made just four appearances for the Blues this season.
However, with the January transfer window open, should Kepa not start, a move could be on the cards.
The Spaniard last featured for Chelsea in the Champions League against Krasnodar. The Blues drew 1-1 but had already qualified from Group E.
Chelsea have had a full week’s rest ahead of the upcoming clash with Morecambe which could suggest Ben Chilwell will start.
However, the English left-back has completed three successive 90 minutes for the Blues and due to his injury-ridden history, Lampard may be inclined to play Emerson thus saving Chilwell for Fulham.
Antonio Ruidger and Thiago Silva
Fikayo Tomori has been mysteriously unfavoured by Lampard and with growing links to a permanent move away in January, the Englishman will unlikely feature.
With Christensen injured, Lampard may bring in the experienced Thiago Silva to play alongside Antonio Rudiger. The Brazilian’s integrity and experience will be vital for game that could prove to be turning point in Chelsea’s season.
Experience and even more experience. As exciting and as good as Livramento has been this season from right-back for the Under-23s, Lampard will understand the importance of a walking way with a confident win.
Regardless to say, having trained with the first team, Livramento will likely make his debut off the bench.
Jorginho and Billy Gilmour
With a predicted 4-2-3-1, Jorginho and Gilmour could be drafted into the side.
Gilmour featured off the bench against Manchester City and impressed as he continues to work up to full fitness.
Jorginho has been second fiddle under Lampard, but with Kante out injured this could be a good opportunity for the Italian to give his manager a headache.
Christian Pulisic has recently returned to full fitness having started all of Chelsea’s last five Premier League games but he is yet to have hit the ground running. A start against Morecambe could facilitate a fresh start to the season.
Not playing a natural pair of wingers has been a common frustration amongst Blues fans this season. By playing Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi on either flank would solve this problem.
Pulisic was often the driving force for the Blues in the 3-1 defeat to City and therefore deserves a place in the starting eleven.
Havertz scored a hat-trick against Barnsley in the EFL Cup from the traditional number ten position, so a start in this role against Morecambe would be perfect.
Should Havertz not start, this could be a good opportunity for Anjorin to fill in.
Hudson-Odoi is likely a guaranteed starter for Lampard against Morecambe.
Chelsea’s all-time top goal-scorer brought the 20-year-old on off the bench against Manchester City in search of a reaction. Lampard got the reaction he wanted and more.
Hudson-Odoi epitomised what Lampard demands from his players in a period where lacklustre effort became the norm.
Deciding who leads the line will be a tough decision for Lampard. Timo Werner led the line in the Blues’ 3-1 to Manchester City but failed to produce.
Neither Tammy Abraham nor Olivier Giroud featured off the bench in the last fixture, but should Havertz start, Abraham will likely lead the line.
The pair flourished when partnered together against Barnsley earlier in the season. A relationship that could be reignited should they both start.
Soonsup-Bell turns 17 on the day of the clash. A debut off the bench is a seemingly perfect birthday present.