Chelsea’s two-window transfer ban certainly makes things interesting for the start of Frank Lampard’s era at the club.
The former club-legend midfielder arrived this summer from Derby County, taking charge instead of the outgoing Maurizio Sarri who returned to his beloved Serie A, replacing Max Allegri at Juventus.
Lampard will have to rely on what talent is already at Stamford Bridge until next summer at least.
So, what is Lampard’s strongest eleven from the players available to him? The Blues lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid this summer so it really does feel like the dawn of a new era at the club.
Kepa Arrizabalaga will maintain his place as the first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Willy Caballero. The young Spaniard certainly has a bright future ahead of him in the game.
Cesar Azpilicueta has been one of the most consistent defenders in the league since his arrival from Olympique Marseille seven years ago. ‘Azpi’ will keep his place at right-back.
Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen should be the central defensive partnership with Kurt Zouma – having returned from his loan at Everton – and David Luiz the backup options.
On the left of the back four, the Italian Emerson will probably get the nod ahead of Marcos Alonso.
In the centre of the park, if Lampard sticks with a midfield trio it will be much the same as last season with Jorginho at the base and N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic ahead of him.
Lampard also has others to choose from in the middle such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ethan Ampadu, Mason Mount and Ross Barkley.
The day Chelsea fans have been dreading for some years finally arrived – Eden Hazard is gone. The Belgian wizard left for Real Madrid this summer.
Now, Blues fans will be looking to their new winger Christian Pulisic to provide the magic from wide on the left. Pulisic signed from Borussia Dortmund back in January, ahead of their transfer ban. The USA international only moved to Stamford Bridge this summer.
Callum Hudson-Odoi can look forward to plenty of gametime wide on the right but Lampard might start with the experienced Willian for the first few weeks of the season.
At centre-forward, Olivier Giroud will be second-choice behind Tammy Abraham who has returned from his loan spell at Aston Villa. Abraham was hugely impressive in the Championship last season for Villa and will be eager to show he can make the step up to Premier League football under Lampard.
Chelsea’s strongest lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Emerson; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Willian, Abraham, Pulisic
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