Predicted Chelsea XI to face Wolves: Lampard makes Mendy & Mount decisions as Sterling handed start
Frank Lampard is looking to claim Chelsea’s first win in four matches when he takes charge for the first time against Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
The 44-year-old’s return to Chelsea was confirmed on Thursday after the club decided he was the best option to see them through until the end of the season while they find a permanent successor for Graham Potter.
Lampard has had two training sessions with the Chelsea team, who all looked in high spirits, ahead of their trip to Molineux this week as they bid to climb up the Premier League table in their remaining nine games.
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He will be hoping to get off to the best possible start and to build momentum and confidence for their Champions League quarter-final tie next week when they take on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg.
The Chelsea caretaker manager has already outlined his targets ahead of his first match back in charge, more than two years after he was dismissed in his first reign in west London.
On his aims, he told reporters: “I think to attempt to instil the highest level of confidence I can with the group. For them to exert and show a level of passion of playing for Chelsea and an urgency and energy in their game. Those are principles that I really want to talk to players about. In terms of targets we want to win as many games as we can.”
Saturday will see Lampard have to name his first Chelsea starting XI and he has several decisions to make as he weighs up the balance of continuity and bringing his own ideas to the table and implementing them.
So how could Chelsea line-up against Wolves?
Possible XI: Kepa, James, Fofana, Koulibaly, Chilwell, Fernandez, Kante, Mount, Felix, Havertz, Sterling
Edouard Mendy has been involved in training this week and despite his positive relationship with Lampard, Kepa Arrizabalaga is likely to keep his place in goal.
Lampard make look to switch to a back-four with Ben Chilwell and Reece James as the full-backs, while Wesley Fofana is almost a certainty to start. Benoit Badiashile will be eager to impress Lampard but with him ineligible for Real Madrid, Lampard may look to select a pairing who can start in Spain.
N’Golo Kante and Enzo Fernandez are set to continue in midfield and Mason Mount could earn a recall to the starting XI after after a period away from the team due to injury.
“I know what I get from Mason, so I just want to see him perform on the pitch,” Lampard said on Mount. “We have a good relationship so we’ll talk a lot, I think he’s a huge player for Chelsea and has been in his time here, so I look forward to talking to him more.”
Lampard has a whole host of attackers to choose from. After his ‘clean slate’ admission, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be hoping he’s done enough to make the matchday squad.
Raheem Sterling could return to the team, while Kai Havertz, Joao Felix, Christian Pulisic, Mykhailo Mudryk, Hakim Ziyech and Noni Madueke will all be eager to get the nod in Lampard’s first game back as Blues boss.
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