Frank Lampard’s big decision in goal, two stars return from injury? How Chelsea should line up to face Crystal Palace
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has a big decision to make on Saturday when Crystal Palace travel to Stamford Bridge.
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and the first of our three live Premier League commentaries is an intriguing London derby.
Not many would’ve expected the Eagles to have more points than the Blues after three games this season, and questions linger over Lampard’s side following a convincing defeat against Liverpool and a very unconvincing draw at West Brom.
But in truth, Lampard might have expected a slow start from his newly assembled side, given their lack of pre-season and various injuries.
With Timo Werner and Kai Havertz taking time to warm to the Premier League, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell have only just become available.
Meanwhile, Hakim Ziyech is yet to feature due to injury and the same applies to last season’s star man Christian Pulisic.
The Blues are getting closer to full-strength, with Ziyech and Pulisic returning to fitness, plus Chelsea have signed a goalkeeper.
That’s Lampard’s big decision on Saturday: Edouard Mendy or Kepa Arrizabalaga?
Despite failing to keep out any of Tottenham’s penalties in the Carabao Cup defeat on Tuesday, Mendy was impressive during normal time.
Signed from Rennes for around £22million, it’s likely the original intention was for Mendy to push Kepa and provide competition.
This is the first big move for the Senegal international, who is 28, and Chelsea could have broken the bank for someone like Jan Oblak or Marc-Andre ter Stegen if they were looking for a new No. 1.
But given the continuation of Kepa’s shocking form this season, Lampard will be tempted to finally give up on the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and give Mendy a chance to become the club’s new first-choice, starting on Saturday.
Chelsea team news
Pulisic is finally fit enough to make Chelsea’s squad for the first time this season for the Eagles clash, having shaken off a niggling hamstring injury.
Lampard said the USA forward is not fit enough to start, but the Chelsea boss is excited to see his new number 10 back in action.
“Pulisic is in the squad for tomorrow; he won’t start the match because of the injury he’s had, and it’s been a difficult injury,” said Lampard.
“I am keen to get him back in there, so it’s great to have him back in there for himself and for the boost he’ll give the team. He’s an important player for us.
“Hakim Ziyech is getting closer, but he’s not quite fit enough to be on the bench.”
How Chelsea should line up against Crystal Palace
You can listen to live and exclusive commentary of Chelsea v Crystal Palace, Saturday at 12:30pm, on talkSPORT