Chelsea team news: predicted 4-3-3 line up vs Wolves – Kepa decision, Kante fitness race

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Frank Lampard is faced with several key selection decisions ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (4pm).

Chelsea head into the final day of the Premier League season knowing a point against Wolves will be enough to secure a top-four finish and Champions League qualification. However, the Blues could still miss out if they lose against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side and Leicester beat Manchester United at the King Power Stadium.

Frank Lampard will therefore look to name the strongest starting XI possible, despite the FA Cup final against Arsenal looming next weekend.

That means Christian Pulisic is almost certain to be recalled after a goal and an assist in a dazzling cameo at Anfield in midweek.

The eye-catching performance from off the bench was not enough to prevent Chelsea slipping to a 5-3 defeat against Liverpool, but it certainly gave the Premier League champions a scare.

And the 21-year-old should come back into the Blues side, potentially at the expense of Marcos Alonso if Lampard reverts back to a 4-3-3.

Chelsea have lined up with a three-man defence in their past three matches but may return to a more orthodox rearguard in order to shackle the dangerous Adama Traore.

Versatile Cesar Azpilicueta could switch over to left-back if Lampard puts his most accomplished defender on Traore, although the Spaniard’s pace is sure to pose difficulties for his compatriot.

Reece James would therefore retain his starting berth, slotting in at right-back while Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger are likely to get the nod once more in central defence despite the latter enduring a torrid time on Wednesday evening.

One of Lampard’s biggest selection concerns involves his goalkeeper, with Kepa Arrizabalaga heavily criticised for his display against Liverpool.

Willy Caballero is the only other option for Lampard and it would be a brave move to bring the 38-year-old in for such a crunch clash, regardless of a lack of confidence in Kepa.

Meanwhile, the Chelsea boss is sweating on the fitness of N’Golo Kante as the Frenchman looks to recover from a hamstring injury suffered at the start of July.

Lampard has revealed there is a possibility the World Cup winner will feature after Kante stepped up his participation in training on Friday.

However, the 29-year-old may not be risked from the off with the FA Cup final in mind so Jorginho could be handed another start at the base of midfield.

Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount are most likely to complete the central trio with Billy Gilmour sidelined after knee surgery.

However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is another option for Lampard while Ross Barkley should be available if the England midfielder shakes off any lasting effects of an illness which kept him out against Liverpool.

Willian looked jaded in defeat to the Reds but has been one of Chelsea’s best performers since lockdown so should start on the final day ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Finally, Olivier Giroud has five goals in his last five starts and is expected to get the nod over Tammy Abraham.

Chelsea predicted line-up vs Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League

(4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; James, Rudiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount; Willian, Pulisic, Giroud

SUBS: Caballero, Christensen, Tomori, Alonso, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Pedro Abraham

Chelsea team news expected line up Wolves

 

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