Following their 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Sheffield United on Saturday, Chelsea return to Premier League action on Tuesday with a fixture against relegated Norwich at Stamford Bridge.
The gap between the Blues and Manchester United has shrunk at an alarming rate, so much so that the Red Devils will leapfrog their top four rivals into third with victory against Southampton on Monday night.
Frank Lampard’s side remain in control of their destiny with three games to go, though with a fixture against Premier League champions Liverpool coming up, Tuesday’s match against the Canaries is an absolute must-win for the Blues.
That being said, here’s the starting lineup Lampard should use against Norwich.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – With only Willy Caballero as competition, Kepa should start here. The young Spaniard has struggled throughout his Chelsea career and he may well be replaced in the near future, but for now he retains his place.
Reece James (RB) – The 20-year-old has proved himself as one of the stronger fixtures in Chelsea’s fragile defence. In his first full season as a first-team regular, James has impressed and shown he has a future at the club, and Lampard would be wise to continue his development here.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – During Chelsea’s 3-0 loss at the hands of Sheffield United at the weekend, Lampard switched things up at half time and replaced Andreas Christensen with Rudiger. He should follow that up by pushing the Germany international into the starting lineup for the Norwich game.
Andreas Christensen (CB) – Although Kurt Zouma has enjoyed a run in the first team recently, the Frenchman struggled against the Blades and Lampard should switch things up and start Christensen alongside Rudiger.
Cesar Azpilicueta (LB) – One of Chelsea’s more consistent performers in recent seasons, captain Azpilicueta has featured in all but two of Chelsea’s Premier League games this season. He’ll play again here.
Ross Barkley (CM) – Although Barkley has had his struggles in a Chelsea shirt, the midfielder’s effectiveness going forward is pivotal to the Blues’ game plan and the 26-year-old deserves to start once again.
Jorginho (CM) – Arguably one of Chelsea’s best players this season, Jorginho is a shoo-in to start in the middle of the park. The Blues are at their best with the Italy international in the side and Lampard would be foolish to drop him, even if there is speculation over his future.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) – Mason Mount’s emergence as a first-team player has been one of Chelsea’s stories of the season, but the youngster has struggled to make an impact following the Premier League’s resumption in June. Having failed to register a single goal or assist in the seven games since football’s return, it’s time to give Loftus-Cheek another shot in the starting XI.
Willian (RW) – Despite the uncertainty regarding his future plans, Willian is still proving just how important he is to Chelsea. The Brazilian is still one of the Blues’ better forwards and, alongside Christian Pulisic, has been one of the most effective players at the club since they returned to action in June. Four goals and two assists in six Premier League games should guarantee his place in the lineup.
Tammy Abraham (ST) – Abraham may have only registered one goal in his last ten Premier League appearances, but the young forward has only been given the chance to start twice in the league since it returned from the coronavirus suspension. Following his excellent form earlier on in the season, Abraham deserves another chance in the starting lineup against Norwich.
Christian Pulisic (LW) – Despite a slow start to life at Stamford Bridge, Pulisic has grown throughout his debut season in England and has become one of Chelsea’s brightest prospects. The 21-year-old has returned in fantastic form and will be instrumental in Chelsea’s Champions League qualification hopes.