Chelsea Predicted XI vs Newcastle: Lesley Ugochukwu returns in a 4-2-3-1

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Chelsea has qualified for the quarterfinal of the EFL Cup and face Newcastle at Stamford Bridge tonight. The Blues have generally been mediocre and unlucky in the league, but have been near impeccable in the EFL Cup, winning all three games so far in regulation time. This is one of Mauricio Pochettino's few chances to win a trophy this season so he would want to send out a strong lineup. Here's who we think start against Newcastle.

Djordje Petrovic, No. 28, Goalkeeper

Petrovic kept a clean sheet in only his second appearance as a Chelsea goalkeeper. He faced one shot on target and did well to save it comfortably. Petrovic opted to choose the safe passing options against Sheffield United, resulting in a 91% passing accuracy. Petrovic looks promising, and has a high chance of success especially if he doesn't complicate things in the passing aspect.

Malo Gusto, No. 27, Right back

Gusto has been out of active football for a long time and he should be expected to need some time to adjust to competitive football, but this is a perfect opportunity to integrate Gusto back into proceedings. The earlier Gusto is re-integrated the better, as Reece James is out for several weeks.

Axel Disasi, No. 2, Centerback

Disasi has been solid since he donned Chelsea blue, though he has had bad games too. He has been very good in the air and with his passing. It is also important to give Silva a rest if the Blues want him to be of any use at the weekend.

Benoit Badiashile, No. 5, Centerback

Badiashile had a superb game against Sheffield United, and helped the Blues to a first clean sheet in over 13 games. Badiashile's composure in possession and anticipation out of possession ensures that the west London side would have less problems in defending than when he doesn't play. His aerial prowess and ability to win in duels are invaluable to Pochettino's men.

Levi Colwill, No. 26, Left back

Marc Cucurella is injured and so is Ben Chilwell. Ian Maatsen is also a left back but Pochettino doesn't seem to be interested in the young Blue as a fullback, despite his stellar season as one last season in the Championship.

Lesley Ugochukwu, No. 16, Central midfielder

Ugochukwu has been excellent in the EFL Cup this season. He has played all three games this season in the cup, averaging three tackles completed per game, and hasn't been dribbled past yet. He is also very composed in possession and strong in the duels; all qualities that would be key against a midfield like Newcastle's.

Enzo Fernandez, No. 8, Central midfielder

Fernandez started the last game from the bench, and though he has always been excellent this season, he would be needed in this quarterfinal tie. His distribution would be needed to break through the press against Newcastle. The last time Chelsea played Newcastle, they played through the Blues press relatively easily, and it caused a lot of problems for Pochettino's Blues.

Mykhailo Mudryk, No. 10, Left winger

It is good that Mudryk has been getting consistent games this season. He was heavily involved against Sheffield United but poor decision-making and poor execution prevented him from being effective.

Cole Palmer, No. 20, Central attacking midfielder

Palmer scored a great goal in Chelsea's last game, and he would be needed again this time even though he needs a rest. The Blues would need someone who can create chances with limited time on the ball, and Palmer is their best chance.

Noni Madueke, No. 11, Right winger

Madueke would appreciate more game time and a cup game is the best chance to give it to him. Madueke has been OK, but he has not been decisive when he has played. His dribbling is very good, but he doesn't break lines often despite the amount of times he creates space. He also doesn't cross the ball often, which is counter-productive for someone who plays on a team that mostly creates through crossing.

Armando Broja, No. 19, Center forward

Broja is likely to get the nod in this game as Nicolas Jackson has gotten all but one start in the Premier League. Broja's physical profile should be very useful against Newcastle's physically dominant centerback pair.