Romelu Lukaku is back at Chelsea, but fans will have to wait to see him take the pitch.
Romelu Lukaku has instantly become one of the headline signings of the summer transfer window, but Chelsea fans will have to wait to see him back in action in the blue shirt.
The Belgian returned to Stamford Bridge from Serie A champions Inter, but the move was not done in time for him to be in a position to feature in the Blues’ season opener against Crystal Palace at the Bridge on Saturday.
The European champions are looking to challenge domestically this season, and Thomas Tuchel will be looking to name a strong line-up and get the season off to a positive start.
Despite Kepa Arrizabalaga’s shootout heroics in Wednesday’s Super Cup win, Edouard Mendy should start in goal ahead of Tuchel’s back three that became so successful last season.
Cesar Azpilicueta will likely take one of the three positions alongside Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, with Thiago Silva still working up to speed after being granted an extended break due to his Copa America exploits with Brazil.
Reece James should come in at right wing-back with Ben Chilwell on the left. Despite both of those players going to the Euros with England, they should be ready to play given the overall lack of minutes they played in Gareth Southgate’s side.
Ngolo Kante wore the captain’s armband from the start in the Super Cup and should start in midfield alongside Jorginho who, unlike Silva, did play some part in that win in Belfast.
With Lukaku not in position to play, Timo Werner will get an early chance to silence his doubters after a disappointing debut Premier League season saw him score just six goals.
Kai Havertz has impressed in pre-season and should start with Mason Mount as the inside forwards, with Hakim Ziyech set to miss the beginning of the season after picking up a shoulder injury against Villarreal on Wednesday.
How Chelsea will line up against Palace