Chelsea’s best lineup when all injured players return

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JULY 30: Christopher Nkunku of Chelsea celebrates after scoring the team's second goal during the Premier League Summer Series match between Chelsea FC and Fulham FC at FedExField on July 30, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JULY 30: Christopher Nkunku of Chelsea celebrates after scoring the team's second goal during the Premier League Summer Series match between Chelsea FC and Fulham FC at FedExField on July 30, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Chelsea enthusiasts are greeted with a wave of optimism as a cadre of players, previously sidelined by injuries, nears a return or has already rejoined the squad. Emerging from the international break, a palpable sense of excitement permeates the fanbase. The Blues’ recent victories over Tottenham Hotspur and their commendable display against reigning champions Manchester City have set the stage for speculation on the optimal Chelsea XI, considering the availability of all key players. Herein lies our analysis of the most formidable starting lineup.

Chelsea stopper Robert Sanchez

Having weathered an initially shaky start, Robert Sanchez now exudes a newfound confidence and assertiveness between the goalposts. Crucial saves have kept CFC in the fray, and his consistent presence in all competitions suggests a firm grip on the goalkeeper position.

Marc Cucurella

Relegated to the fringes last season, Marc Cucurella has orchestrated a remarkable resurgence, making the left-back role his own in the absence of Ben Chilwell. While Chilwell’s impending return looms, Cucurella’s stellar performances cast doubt on an immediate reclaiming of the position as he hasn’t had enough game time and will take time to settle in.

Thiago Silva

At 39, Thiago Silva defies age stereotypes, standing as Chelsea’s defensive linchpin since his arrival. The Brazilian imparts invaluable experience, serving as a commanding presence and a mentor to his defensive counterparts. Silva has been a rock at the back with impeccable decision-making and leading the backline.

Levi Colwill

Endowed with versatility, Levi Colwill’s ability to slot into either left-center-back or left-back adds a tactical dimension. Though young and with areas to refine, his experience in the English system may earn him the nod alongside Thiago Silva.

Reece James

Unsurprisingly, CFC captain Reece James remains the undisputed choice at right-back when fit. Possessing a blend of strength, speed, precision crossing, and defensive acumen, James stands as a paragon of excellence in the position. James excels in both attack and defense and provides great balance.

Moises Caicedo

Securing Moises Caicedo’s services involved a substantial investment, and after an initial adjustment period, the Ecuadorian has evolved into a midfield enforcer. His adeptness at disrupting opposition plays and facilitating defensive-to-offensive transitions solidifies his place in the team.

Connor Gallagher

Experiencing a remarkable turnaround, Connor Gallagher has transformed from a potential summer departure to the engine propelling CFC’s midfield. His tireless running and tenacious pressing make him a linchpin, consistently winning possession in advanced areas. Gallagher has won possession in the attacking third more (20) times than any other player in Europe’s top seven leagues this season.

Enzo Fernandez

Despite not reaching peak form, Chelsea’s record signing, Enzo Fernandez, maintains the manager’s trust in the pivotal midfield role alongside Caicedo. Time and faith in his abilities afford Fernandez the opportunity to rediscover his rhythm as he was the best player on the team last season.

Raheem Sterling

Displaying glimpses of his formidable self from his Manchester City days, Raheem Sterling emerges as a reliable winger for the Blues. His impactful performance against City showcased his ability to torment defenders and solidified his role in the starting lineup. Sterling has stepped up as the season has progressed. The England international leads the league in touches in the opposition box with 111.

Cole Palmer

A standout signing during the summer transfer window, Cole Palmer has swiftly become the linchpin of CFC’s attacking prowess. Operating with a maturity well beyond his 21 years, Palmer, acquired for a mere £40 million, consistently directs the West Londoners’ offensive flow. His calm decision-making under pressure was exemplified by his composed stoppage-time penalty against Manchester City, showcasing his unwavering commitment to leading the team. Palmer has not only met but surpassed expectations, firmly establishing himself as the first name on the team sheet.

Next. These Chelsea stars used to run the dressing room with owner’s blessing. dark

Christopher Nkunku

Anticipation surrounds the imminent return of Christopher Nkunku from injury, adding an intriguing dimension to Chelsea’s attacking setup. With Nicolas Jackson’s sporadic goal-scoring, Nkunku’s proven track record in both scoring and playmaking positions him as a likely replacement, unless Pochettino opts for a tactical shift in the midfield trio.

If you’re excited about this lineup’s possibilities, FanDuel Sportsbook is upping the ante with a $150 bonus for picking the winner of ANY game! Sign up here, deposit at least $10 and then bet $5 or more on any team to win and you’ll get an extra $150 in bonus bets if you’re right. Sign up for FanDuel now before the offer expires!