Graham Potter has rare Chelsea chance vs Leicester City but Denis Zakaria decision remains


It's not often Graham Potter has been able to or would even consider choosing the same Chelsea line-up for back-to- back matches since he's taken charge. In fact, since Potter was appointed as Blues head coach back in September, he is yet to name an unchanged team. When Chelsea go to Leicester City on Saturday afternoon, though, that could all change.

Chelsea were tremendous in their 2-0 win (2-1 on aggregate) against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night. From the first whistle, the players set the tone with superb pressing off-the- ball and much quicker play while in possession. Saturday afternoon is a completely different occasion and match but if Potter can get his side to repeat any of what was done in the week, then the Blues stand a really good chance at the King Power Stadium.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is a no-brainer in goal at the moment with Edouard Mendy still recovering from his finger injury. Three- at-the-back seems to be the go-to for Potter right now. Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana were the defenders selected on Tuesday and you would say that two out of three of them are nailed to start again at the weekend, but with Benoit Badiashile available for selection again, the Frenchman is giving Potter a bit of a headache.

Badiashile has been virtually faultless in the six games he has played since signing for Chelsea at the beginning of the year. For a 21-year-old, the former Monaco defender has shown maturity beyond his years and looks to be a real gem for the Blues.

Being left-footed, he naturally slots in on the left-side of the back-three, but that was where Cucurella played on Tuesday and it was undoubtedly the Spaniard's best game in a Chelsea shirt. The 24-year-old has been under the spotlight in recent matches and received mass criticism for his performances but Tuesday was almost – and hopefully – the start of a redemption path at Stamford Bridge for Cucurella.

His link-up play with Ben Chilwell particularly was impressive. Potter advised Cucurella to bring the ball out from defence and almost join the midfield when in possession against Dortmund. Saturday's trip to Leicester is a whole different game and it will be interesting to see, if he is selected, if Potter uses Cucurella in the same vein, or perhaps in a more reserved role.

The wing-backs choose themselves at this point. Chilwell was exceptional again against Dortmund. We are starting to see something close to the best of the England international which is really great to see given his injury problems over the past couple of seasons. Reece James wasn't at his scintillating best on Tuesday but he still more than played his part defensively.

There is absolutely no doubting James' ability and he remains Chelsea's most significant attacking outlet at this moment. The midfield duo is an interesting one. Mateo Kovacic and Enzo Fernandez were the pair picked on Tuesday and they both did well. Neither of them really shone too much but it wasn't that sort of game that required them to.

Kovacic has struggled with fitness issues this season and has often been used when he hasn't been fully fit, so it's definitely one to keep an eye on for Potter. Denis Zakaria is back fit and ready now, so Potter could be tempted to throw the Swiss international in at the King Power. N'Golo Kante is getting closer to a return with each training session – and took part yet again on Thursday at Cobham – but even if he does make the squad, the France midfielder surely won't be risked from the start after so long on the sidelines.

The front three should remain the same. Kai Havertz was brilliant against Dortmund. It was arguably the German's best performance of the season and he was helped by the role of his teammates Raheem Sterling and Joao Felix. Sterling was used as almost a No.9 at Stamford Bridge which pinned the Dortmund defenders back and allowed more space and freedom for the likes of Havertz and Felix.

Both of them, in particular Havertz, were really impressive and Potter will be hoping for more of the same from his front three on Saturday. Christian Pulisic returned from injury against Dortmund as he came on as a substitute in the second-half, so he could be involved at some point.

We haven't seen too much of Mykhaylo Mudryk recently but the Ukrainian remains an option and the same goes for the returning Mason Mount, Noni Madueke, David Datro Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

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