Date: 27th December 2022 at 11:51am
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Chelsea face Bournemouth in their first Premier League game since the World Cup on Tuesday, with The Blues in desperate need of a win.

The pressure is starting to grow on new Blues boss Graham Potter, as his side were winless in their final five league games before the tournament in Qatar.

They also lost their final three games on the bounce and, after the top flight matches that took place on Monday, Chelsea currently sit ninth in the Premier League table.

Potter will be hoping he can turn his side’s fortunes around, although he won’t be helped by the growing number of injuries that his side have suffered.

Here, we predict the XI that Potter will choose for the visit of The Cherries.


In goal, both of Potter’s two senior goalkeepers are struggling for fitness. Edouard Mendy has only just returned to training following his exploits at the World Cup with Senegal, which means Kepa Arrizabalaga will likely regain his starting spot despite himself struggling with a calf injury. The Spaniard was Potter’s first choice throughout October, before an injury halted his run of games.


Potter could opt for a back four rather than a back three, with Reece James set to return and most likely play at right-back. The Englishman was in sensational form at the start of the season before sustaining a knee injury in October. Kalidou Koulibaly could start at centre-back, most likely partnered by Englishman Trevoh Chalobah, who has been impressive whenever called upon so far this term.

Chalobah’s game time has increased this season

On the left, Marc Cucurella will almost certainly start, with Ben Chilwell still sidelined by a thigh issue. The ex-Brighton and Hove Albion man has struggled since moving to Stamford Bridge, but he will be hoping to put together a run of decent performances after a month-long break.


In midfield, Chelsea will once again be without N’Golo Kante, who is unlikely to be fit until February. The Frenchman’s injury problems appear to be getting more frequent and, with his contract set to expire next summer, it remains to be seen whether or not he will stay with the club beyond the end of the current campaign.

In his absence, Jorginho is set to start. The midfielder will be fresh having not been involved in the World Cup after Italy failed to qualify, and Potter will be relying on his experience and leadership during their first match back.

Alongside him, Conor Gallagher could be handed a start with Mateo Kovacic having only just returned from Qatar after Croatia reached the third-place play-off. The young midfielder has endured a mixed start to his senior career with The Blues, but he could play a crucial role in the coming weeks with the injuries mounting.

Mount was part of the England squad at the World Cup

In the advanced midfield role, Mason Mount will most likely be deployed despite reaching the World Cup quarter-finals with England. The ex-Derby County loanee has been criticised for his performances so far this term, but he remains a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge.


Up front, Mount’s England teammate Raheem Sterling will likely be given the nod. The winger didn’t feature as regularly as he would have expected at the World Cup, and will therefore be fresh for the visit of The Cherries. Sterling hasn’t scored in any of his last seven games in the league, but he boasts an incredible record against Bournemouth, scoring 11 times in 12 games against The Cherries.

Through the middle, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is most likely to start. The ex-Arsenal man didn’t feature in Qatar, and he will be hopeful of building on his tally of three goals in 12 matches since joining the club.

Aubameyang is in line to start against Bournemouth

On the other side, Kai Havertz could be used with both Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic likely to be on the bench. The German was part of Hansi Flick’s squad that were knocked out of the World Cup at the group stage, and has struggled ever since arriving in London.

Predicted XI: Arrizabalaga; James, Koulibaly, Chalobah, Cucurella; Jorginho, Mount, Gallagher; Sterling, Aubameyang, Havertz 

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