Chelsea might be struggling in the Premier League under Graham Potter, but the ex-Brighton & Hove Albion boss has turned it around in the Champions League with three successive wins overcoming the shambles against Dinamo Zagreb and Red Bull Salzburg. They suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat in Zagreb and the stage is set for revenge on Wednesday night despite making it to the Round of 16 already as group winners.
Potter, however, should rest a few of his first-term stars in the wake of the growing injury concerns. The Croatians, on the other hand, have an outside chance to make it to the Europa League as the third-placed side, but they must grab a victory at Stamford Bridge to keep the hopes alive. It’s a dead rubber fixture for the Blues, yet a commanding win would help them regroup themselves following the weekend’s disastrous 4-1 defeat against the Seagulls.
Predicted 3-5-2 Chelsea Lineup To Face Dinamo Zagreb
In-form Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced to leave the pitch on Saturday afternoon with a foot injury. He snatched the ‘number 1’ status from Edouard Mendy in recent games and the Senegalese should grab his chances now if the Spaniard stays sidelined for an extended spell.
Both Wesley Fofana and Reece James are out for weeks with knee injuries. Kalidou Koulibaly has a possibility to make it to the squad, but the gaffer should not risk him in this tie with César Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah and Marc Cucurella being in contention for a three-man backline. Thiago Silva should be rested ahead of locking horns with Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle United.
Christian Pulisic is featuring as a right wingback in the absence of James. The USMNT international should operate from the right, whereas Ben Chilwell is expected to grab a start down the left-hand side. Mateo Kovacic has featured extensively across competitions, and therefore, deserves the time off with tricky tests ahead. N’Golo Kante is unavailable due to a thigh injury and the manager should opt for Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the centre of the pitch along with Conor Gallagher. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the summer signing Denis Zakaria grabs some minutes having been exiled by the English boss.
Veteran Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the rising Chelsea star Armando Broja should be deployed high up the pitch as centre-forwards. Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling should be there as substitutes for this European encounter.