Chelsea are on the verge of beginning their Premier League campaign away at Brighton. Dubois will take you through his preferred XI for that game.

It must be said that notable absentees for the fixture include Mateo Kovacic (suspension), Thiago Silva (Lack of training), Ziyech (injury) and Ben Chilwell (Injury).

Goalkeeper

Chelsea are expected to complete the signing of Rennes Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy very soon after it emerged that an agreement may have been reached. Despite this, Mendy will not be registered in time to face Brighton. Though Caballero has been sufficient when covering for Kepa’s poor form, I do think the Spaniard should start. Perhaps more so to see how he reacts to the incoming competition.

Defence

With Ben Chilwell out and Emerson seemingly set to move elsewhere, one would look to Marcos Alonso to slot into the starting lineup. However, I would personally like to see Azpilicueta start on the left hand side in order to allow Reece James to start at Right Back. We have seen Azpilicueta do a job at Left Back before and his leadership as well as defensive prowess should come in handy for Chelsea’s opener. Reece was excellent in the pre-season friendly against Brighton and this could be the season where we see him shine hence for me, he has to start.

The CB pairing will be one to keep an eye out for with Thiago Silva unavailable. Kurt Zouma has returned to training which puts him in contention and he would be my first choice at CB. Although on paper Christensen-Zouma seems like a partnership that would work, the reality is that it never has and exposes the lack of understanding between the two. Rudiger would be the realistic partner to Zouma considering Frank’s choice to start them towards the end of last season but I would go for Fikayo Tomori. The young Englishman has found chances hard to come by in Frank’s side but a partnership with Zouma has all the recipes for success.

Midfield

The starting midfield will depend on the system Frank Lampard opts for and with Kovacic out, I do suspect Lampard will use a 4-3-3 with a lone DM and two 8’s. However, Chelsea haven’t looked the most convincing using this and that’s why I would opt for a 4-2-3-1 until Kovacic returns with N’golo Kante and Jorginho in a pivot.

Further afield, I would start Havertz as the 10 to make his Premier League debut and Pulisic on the left with Hudson-Odoi on the right. The exciting trio will be eager to impress with the added competition of Ziyech and there’s no doubt we will be in for a treat.

Forward

Tammy Abraham and Giroud performed admirably last season with the Englishman scoring an impressive 18 goals in all competitions whilst Giroud was instrumental in Chelsea securing qualification for the Champions League. However, new signing Timo Werner gets the nod for me having already scored in pre-season and also on international duty. The pace and explosiveness he provides could well be the gamechanger.

My Preferred XI

Kepa, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, James, Kante, Jorginho, Pulisic, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Werner

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