Chelsea team news: Will Christopher Nkunku make Blues debut vs Sheffield United?


Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed that French forward Christopher Nkunku is available to play against Sheffield United on Saturday as the Blues look to bounce back from a 2-0 loss away from home to Everton. Nkunku moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer for £52million from RB Leipzig but suffered a knee injury during pre-season that has kept him out of action for the last four months. His return will be a big boost for the west Londoners, who have been plagued by injuries in recent weeks. But will the Frenchman start? Here, Express Sport provides our predicted XI for Saturday's game.

Goalkeeper - Petrovic 

Djordje Petrovic is expected to be given his first start between the sticks in Robert Sanchez's absence. The Spaniard was forced off against Everton last week with a knee injury and is set to be on the sidelines for the entire festive period.

Petrovic made his debut for the west Londoners during the match after coming on for Sanchez. He joined Chelsea in the summer from New England Revolution for £14million and is a relatively unknown quantity. 

Defenders - Gusto, Disasi, Badiashile, Colwill

Reece James also picked up an injury during the Toffees game and will once again spend a lengthy spell out of action. Malo Gusto is nailed on to replace him at right-back for the second time this season.

In terms of centre-backs, only Wesley Fofana is ruled out of the game meaning Pochettino will have a difficult job on his hands picking his central pairing. Levi Colwill is needed at left-back with Marc Cucurella and Ben Chilwell both out injured so the Argentine will have to pick between Thiago Silva, Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile. Pochettino will likely opt to go with the latter two as Silva has been shaky as of late.

Midfielders - Gallagher, Caicedo, Fernandez

Pochettino will probably stick with his usual midfield trio of Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo despite being outplayed in the centre of the park at Goodison Park last weekend. The Blues boss admitted that Fernandez and Caicedo's partnership 'needs some work' and the only way to do that is by playing them together.

Attackers - Palmer, Jackson, Sterling

Nkunku is available for the game but it is unlikely he will be rushed into the starting XI after such a long layoff. Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling should line up on the left and right wings with Nicolas Jackson down the middle.

Exactly where Nkunku will play is unclear but Pochettino could deploy him at centre-forward if he brings him on. After all, that has been the obvious area of weakness for Chelsea this season. 

Express Sport predicted XI: Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Badiashile, Colwill; Gallagher, Caicedo, Fernandez; Palmer, Jackson, Sterling

Injuries: Sanchez, Cucurella, James, Lavia, Fofana, Chilwell, Chukwuemeka, Chalobah and Ugochukwu

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