BY PAUL LAGAN
Frank Lampard is set to unleash his most potent attacking players tomorrow as Chelsea host Southampton at the Bridge – the first Premier League since the break for international matches.
Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic will lead the line, provided all return fit from their countries’ encounters this week.
But goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s thigh injury is a worry for Lampard and the head coach will make a late decision on which player – the Senegal stopper or the demoted Kepa Arrizabalaga – starts between the sticks.
Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma will resume their centre-back partnership with Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta operating in the left-back slot. Ben Chilwell may make a late push for the berth but had to pull out of England duty this week with an ankle injury. Lampard is loathe to take a risk on the ex-Leicester City defender.
Erin Cuthbert was the star for the Blues as they beat title rivals Manchester City Women on Sunday to go third in the WSL, two points behind Arsenal and Everton.
The Scotland international said: “We were fantastic. We’ve got so much talent in our squad, but hard work first and foremost is a foundation for us to then go and play.
“When the ball went out to Lucy Bronze, I felt like I was able to go and press because I had the energy to do that because all the other girls had set the foundations.
“We’ve got a star-studded team but first and foremost we are a team and we are together. We want to work for each other, we had a look at each other in the changing rooms before the game and we all wanted to win for each other.’
“I started on the bench the previous Wednesday and I was cheering on the girls and when I started the game today I could hear the girls cheering for me.
“Everyone wants the best for each other, we are the ones pushing each other to reach new heights and if we keep pushing each other then the sky will be the limit for us.”
Chelsea’s match at Aston Villa Women on Sunday has been postponed due to two Villa players testing positive for Covid-19.
This means their next match is not until Tuesday, November 3 when the Blues take on Spurs at Kingsmeadow in a Continental Tyres League Cup group match. Kick-off is 7pm.
Chelsea’s final group match is away to Championship side London City Lionesses on Wednesday November 18 with a 7.30pm kick-off.
The format of the competition has been adjusted slightly, with the tournament increased from four groups to six. Four teams will compete in five of the groups and three in the other. The six teams finishing top of their group will progress to the quarter-final stage alongside the two best runners-up.
Andy Myers’s development squad face Derby County at Cobham training centre tomorrow at noon.
The match will be streamed live on the club’s app and website.
Kelechi Chibueze has left Chelsea after 10 years in the academy. The U18 goalkeeper last appeared for Ed Brand’s team during the 4-1 win over West Ham at Cobham in September.
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