Carter in, Charles out: Predicting Chelsea’s 2023/2024 starting XI

Chelsea Women (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Chelsea Women (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images) /
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 20: Millie Bright of Chelsea and #6 of England walks into the field with ball kid during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on August 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images) /

Center-back: Millie Bright (England)

With Magdalena Eriksson moving into a new chapter in her career, the England World Cup captain, Millie Bright takes the leadership reins. The Blues’ No. 4 sustained an injury in the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinal against Lyon months ago. That did not hamper her ability to compete on the world’s highest stage.

Bright was brilliant in England’s back-three system, controlling the middle with class. The club views her as a key piece, and rightfully so. Having signed a new three-year deal last summer, the 2022 European champion is prepared to add even more silverware to her name after missing out on some this summer.

Center-back: Jess Carter (England)

There is still a debate on which formation the west London outfit should use this upcoming campaign, but no matter what it is, England defender Jess Carter has earned her place. Kadeisha Buchanan would make up a three-back in a 3-4-3 if Hayes choses that route. The Blues’ No. 7 played a critical role in the Lionesses’ run to the World Cup final this summer.

The 25-year-old finished top-three in recoveries and pass completed among her English teammates on the world stage. Following a break-out campaign in 2021, Hayes chose to place Buchanan into the starting lineup from the off. It would be a mistake to do something like that again given the confidence Carter has to be holding within herself at the moment.

Right-back: Eve Perisset (France)

At the beginning of last season, the French international struggled as she attempted to transition to the English top-flight. The defender would go on to finish the season with three assists in her final five league contests. With Buchanan out due to injury toward the conclusion of the campaign, Perisset had to be considered the best new addition to the team last season.

Her distribution and ability to get involvement in the attack just added to the CFCW threat as it made a run toward two trophies at the end of the campaign. The full back started in three out the four matches in which she contributed in down under, playing distributor in the final goal during France’s thrashing of Panama to conclude Group F play.

Left-back: Ashley Lawrence (Canada)

Hayes usually likes to play it slow when it comes to her new signings, but there is no need to what it comes to Canadian Ashley Lawrence. After weeks of rumors, the west Londoners finally confirmed Lawrence on June 30 as the newest addition to the backline. In Canada’s short World Cup this summer, the former PSG defender was arguably her nation’s most effective player.

After six and a half years in Paris, one of the world’s most progressive wing backs chose to move north. She is the exact type of player Hayes seeks in the transfer market. Versatile, creative, and dynamic in attack. The Blues may place Niamh Charles at left back, moving Lawrence to the right side to rotate given the amount of competitions that are going to be taking place.