Reece James decision, Mykhailo Mudryk left out – Predicted Chelsea line-up for Brighton clash

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Bobby Vincent predicts the line-up that head coach Mauricio Pochettino will select for Chelsea's penultimate match of the 2023/24 season, away to Brighton on Wednesday evening.

Chelsea head into their penultimate match of the Premier League season with Mauricio Pochettino facing numerous selection dilemmas.

Just a few days after yet another dramatic victory, this time against Nottingham Forest, the Blues have only Brighton and Bournemouth standing in the way of a place in Europe for next season. First up is a trip to the south coast to take on the Seagulls, who have had a mixed campaign under Roberto De Zerbi.

There are numerous scenarios that could affect Chelsea’s qualification for Europe, but Pochettino is focused on winning the last two matches to make it five victories on the trot to end the season. With so many players now fit and available – an unusual situation for Pochettino – what line-up will the head coach choose?

It is difficult to predict. Nevertheless, Bobby Vincent has attempted to forecast Pochettino’s choices, with two changes expected from the side that beat Forest.

GK: Djordje Petrovic

The Serbian is now Chelsea’s undisputed No.1 goalkeeper. Robert Sanchez remains sidelined with injury, but Petrovic seems to be Pochettino’s preferred shot-stopper regardless.

RB: Malo Gusto

Reece James made his long-awaited return on Saturday, but the club captain may not be ready to start at the Amex. Gusto could return to the side, providing Chelsea with a natural right-back.

CB: Trevoh Chalobah

Having played at right-back in recent matches, Chalobah might return to the centre of defence. The 24-year-old has been outstanding since rejoining the team in February.

CB: Thiago Silva

Silva is set to play his penultimate game for the club, with the Brazilian returning to his homeland to join Fluminense in the summer. The 39-year-old continues to be a model professional, remaining highly effective as he approaches his 40th birthday.

LB: Marc Cucurella

The Spaniard was less impactful against Forest than in previous games in his new role. However, teams focusing on limiting Cucurella’s service to disrupt Chelsea’s play is expected. Pochettino and Cucurella will need to devise strategies to counter this.

CM: Conor Gallagher

Gallagher had a quiet match at the City Ground, but he remains one of the first names on the team sheet. The England international has had a fantastic campaign at Stamford Bridge.

RW: Noni Madueke

Madueke was very quiet against Forest, leading to his substitution after an hour. However, before that, the winger was one of Chelsea’s best players, helping to build the current good form.

CAM: Cole Palmer

Chelsea’s Player of the Season displayed his brilliance at the weekend, despite not scoring. Palmer was central to everything good, and Forest struggled to handle him throughout the 90 minutes. He is certain to start against Brighton.

LW: Raheem Sterling

A possible change could see Sterling replacing Mykhailo Mudryk. Although Mudryk scored against Forest, he was largely anonymous for the rest of the game. Sterling, who has not started since March, might be brought back into the team following his goalscoring cameo at the City Ground.

ST: Nicolas Jackson

Jackson scored his 17th goal of the season in all competitions at the weekend – an impressive return given the circumstances. The 22-year-old is expected to continue leading the line for Chelsea.