Chelsea host Brighton in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday night looking to end a three-game winless streak in which they have failed to score a single goal.
The Blues went down with a whimper to Aston Villa in their most recent outing but return to a competition that has provided half of their wins so far this season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side edged past Wimbledon in the second round but now must beat a Seagulls side they haven’t enjoyed a victory against since September 2020, suffering defeats in their last two meetings after three draws in a row.
With plenty of squad issues to consider, here’s the side Pochettino could deploy with the aim of ending Chelsea’s poor run.
GK: Djordje Petrovic – The former New England Revolution stopper is expected to come in for Robert Sanchez for his maiden Chelsea appearance.
RB: Axel Disasi – With Malo Gusto suspended and Reece James injured, Axel Disasi may be shunted out to the right of defence. Not that such things really matter in the real world, but the Frenchman has a sprint speed rating of 56 in the newly-released EA Sports FC 24.
CB: Alfie Gilchrist – Wesley Fofana, Trevoh Chalobah and likely Benoit Badiashile are all unavailable, meaning 19-year-old academy defender Gilchrist could be drafted in.
CB: Levi Colwill – Recently drew praise from Pochettino for settling into Chelsea’s starting XI so quickly.
LB: Ian Maatsen – Ben Chilwell doesn’t seem to have garnered Poch’s trust just yet but this Carabao Cup tie might have seen Dutchman Maatsen given an opportunity regardless.
CM: Lesley Ugochukwu – Has performed better than £115m man Moises Caicedo of late and should get a second start in this competition.
RW: Raheem Sterling – Must start showing leadership in the attacking third with a decent showing in front of goal here.
AM: Cole Palmer – In line for his first Blues start, having made sub appearances against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Should bring more goal threat than Enzo Fernandez, who has strangely been deployed in the ten role this term.
LW: Mykhailo Mudryk – Has offered encouraging performances in his last two outings, though it’s solid contributions that Chelsea need right now.
ST: Nicolas Jackson – Will sit out Monday’s trip to Fulham with a suspension but is ok to feature in the Carabao Cup. Might get booked for dissent if his track record is anything to go by.
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