Date: 8th September 2022 at 2:04pm
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Chelsea make the short trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday to face Fulham in an intriguing west London derby. 

The Blues could have a new manager in the dugout by kick off on Saturday afternoon, with Fabrizio Romano claiming that Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter could be announced as the club’s new manager as early as Thursday evening.

The Englishman could take charge of his first Chelsea match this weekend, and if so the former Swansea City boss will have plenty to think about.

Prior to the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea had won just three of their seven games so far this season, losing to Leeds United, Southampton and Dinamo Zagreb in the process.

A number of key players have also been underperforming, so Potter will have some big decisions to make if he does take charge for the match.

Here, we take a look at the possible XI that he could select.


Edouard Mendy has started the season in arguably the worst form he has been in since joining Chelsea, and the Senegal international may therefore be dropped. Kepa Arrizabalaga started the shock 1-0 defeat in the Croatian capital on Tuesday, but has been used sparingly over the last two seasons. The Spaniard could be in line for a return to Premier League action this weekend, though.


Potter will have some big decisions to make at the back, with The Blues having kept just one clean sheet across all competitions so far this season. Wesley Fofana impressed on his debut against West Ham United last weekend and is likely to keep his place having also started the Champions League game in midweek. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta is set to return to the bench having started last time out.

Fofana could make a third consecutive start for Chelsea

In the centre, Thiago Silva is expected to return to the side having been left at home for the trip to Zagreb. The Brazilian has been one of the Premier League’s best defenders since arriving in England and, despite preparing to celebrate his 38th birthday at the end of this month, the ex-Paris Saint-Germain man looks likely to be a regular for Chelsea this term.

Kalidou Koulibaly didn’t cover himself in glory against Dinamo, but is likely to be given the nod to complete Chelsea’s back three ahead of Trevoh Chalobah. The Senegalese defender, an international teammate of Mendy, scored on his Stamford Bridge debut against Tottenham Hotspur but was sent off the following week against Leeds and, for the majority of Chelsea fans, the jury is still out.


On the right, Reece James will likely start at wing-back once again. The England international was used as part of a back three on more than one occasion last month, but the arrival of Fofana seems to have removed the need for him to do so.

In the middle of the pitch, Mateo Kovacic looks certain to start with N’Golo Kante out injured. The Croatian has been one of Chelsea’s more impressive players so far this season, despite missing games through injuries of his own, and will likely be a crucial part of Potter’s plans.

Jorginho has been criticised for his performances this season

Jorginho’s experience may also be called upon, with Potter keen to start off with a win against Fulham. The Italian has been criticised for many of his performances in the early weeks of the season, but he may be valuable to Chelsea on Saturday as they look to control the game.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher are likely to be among the substitutes, along with new signing Denis Zakaria.

Marc Cucurella could make a return to the side having started the game against Zagreb on the bench. The Spaniard faces stiff competition from Ben Chilwell, who scored and assisted in the win over West Ham last weekend despite only playing 18 minutes. The Englishman started in midweek, but Potter knows Cucurella well from their time together at Brighton and the ex-Getafe man is therefore likely to start.


Mason Mount could be deployed as part of a front three, likely playing on the right. The Cobham academy graduate has been out of form of late, failing to score or assist in any of Chelsea’s seven games this term, but will be hoping to change that against The Cottagers.

Aubameyang endured a frustrating debut for Chelsea

Through the middle, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to make his home debut for the club, having signed from Barcelona on deadline day. The ex-Arsenal man played just under an hour on Tuesday, but was largely ineffective aside from a tap in that was ruled out for offside.

On the left, Raheem Sterling is set for another start. The former Manchester City man has started every single one of Chelsea’s games so far this season, scoring three goals and providing an assist.

Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are likely to be named as substitutes.

Predicted XI: Kepa; Fofana, Silva, Koulibaly; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Cucurella; Mount, Aubameyang, Sterling

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