Mauricio Pochettino has plenty of decisions to make ahead of his first away Premier League game in charge of Chelsea against West Ham.
Now they head across the capital for their first away trip and it’s a London derby against West Ham, who lost their star player Declan Rice to Arsenal this summer. They have replaced him with James Ward-Prowse from Southampton, with the midfielder eyeing a debut goal against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
“That’s the dream,” Ward-Prowse told Sky Sports on scoring a free-kick this weekend, “it’s something I’ve been thinking about all for the whole week really.”
Pochettino’s side will be focused on themselves and want to claim their first three points of the new campaign. He knows his team are up against a tough outfit that David Moyes has created. Pochettino will also be without Marcus Bettinelli, Benoit Badiashile, Trevoh Chalobah, Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Armando Broja and Armando Broja through injury.
“It’s going to be tough,” the Chelsea head coach said pre-match. “We know how they are going to play. They are beginning to change the shape but it’s always going to be tough. All of the Premier League games will be difficult.
“They are a very good team doing a great job. Last season, they lifted a trophy, so they are very confident. For sure, it’s going to be tough.”
Kepa Arrizabalaga left the club earlier this week to join Real Madrid on loan for the 2023/24 season, which will see new arrival Robert Sanchez continue in goal and become the club’s number one.
Reece James has been ruled out for several weeks with a hamstring injury, which may offer Malo Gusto, another summer arrival, the chance to come into the starting XI for his first league start.
Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia arrived at Chelsea this week for a combined £173 million, including add-ons, and both could feature in the capital, but a final decision over their readiness will be made by Pochettino.
“It would be easy to say they would be involved but the most important thing is to avoid risks and not to rush with them. If they are ready tomorrow, they will be involved but if not, we will wait a few days more to be involved in the squad.”
Pochettino also confirmed Noni Madueke is in contention to feature against the Hammers. He said: “He is going to be involved against West Ham and maybe with the possibility to play.”
Predicted Chelsea XI to face West Ham: Sanchez, Disasi, Silva, Colwill, Gusto, Enzo, Caicedo, Chilwell, Mudryk, Sterling, Jackson