What is Chelsea’s Best XI now that Frank Lampard has his six new players fit and available to play together?
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In the second half of their 0-0 draw with Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, Lampard was able to field summer signings Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech together for the first time.
Five of the six started, as Ziyech came on for Mason Mount, but it looks quite tough for Lampard to squeeze all of his attacking talents into the same team without being top heavy.
“We’ve got to find a balance. Obviously we want to create more chances and I want to help with that,” Pulisic said after the draw with Sevilla. “We got to find a way to do both… Fitness-wise I feel great. I’m getting back to where I was. I feel strong and I feel like I can play 90 minutes. I’m happy.”
Chelsea’s improved defensively display — previously they conceded three goals to Southampton and West Brom — saw them shutout a fine Sevilla side, and heading into their clash at Old Trafford with Manchester United on Saturday (watch live, 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard will have a severe selection headache.
Who is a definite starter for Chelsea?
At least he knows that Edouard Mendy is now his undisputed number one goalkeeper as he’s now conceded one goal in his first three games for the Blues.
“At the moment yes; he’s shown his quality. The way he’s played, he’s played very well, that’s two clean sheets for him already. As it stands he is [the number one] but that’s always up for grabs,” Lampard said.
Lampard went on to say how pleased he was with the clean sheet and it is clear that the defensive display should be the benchmark.
Let’s take a look at what is the best Chelsea best starting lineup, assuming everyone is fit and available to play:
JPW’s Chelsea starting lineup (4-2-3-1)
—– Mendy —–
—- James —- Silva —- Zouma —- Chilwell —-
—– Kante —– Kovacic —–
—- Ziyech —- Havertz —- Pulisic —-
—– Werner —–
Chelsea best starting lineup: Analysis and evaluation
Edouard Mendy as the goalkeeper is clear, and the two full backs will probably play in that position for Chelsea and England for the next 10 years. So, no issues there. At center back, Thiago Silva as a calming influence on the entire defense and he will start the majority of games and Kurt Zouma has emerged from the many contenders to partner him as a generally solid, commanding defender. Zouma still has his moments, though, and they do need a new center back to arrive in January or next summer.
In midfield, N’Golo Kante is a given and even though Jorginho has started alongside him recently, surely Mateo Kovacic will be back in the team soon after being named Chelsea’s player of the season in 2019-20? In front of him, Mason Mount has played well so he may stay in ahead of Ziyech, but Havertz, Pulisic and one other supporting Timo Werner is the way to go. Havertz and Werner interchange a lot, and Pulisic has been starting out on the right with Mount on the left early in the season.
Where should Pulisic start for Chelsea?
Going forward, Chelsea have to get Pulisic back on his favored left flank and that means Ziyech should start on the right, as he will battle with Callum Hudson-Odoi for that spot. Don’t forget that Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud can also add an extra option up top if Chelsea want to play a 4-4-2, 3-5-2 or even a 4-2-2-2 system.
Lampard has plenty of options but his priority should be keeping the back four and goalkeeper together and playing players such as Pulisic, Havertz and Ziyech in their favored positions. Playing Pulisic on the right wing isn’t making the most of his strengths and he looked a lot better when moved to the left against Southampton and Sevilla. At the moment, it seems like Lampard is doing his best to get all of his best talents on the pitch but instead he should focus on playing stars in their best positions.