CHELSEA host Manchester City on Sunday having won just one of their last six games in all competitions.
The Blues began December in the title conversation, but their poor form has seen them slip to sixth – beneath the likes of Aston Villa.
Frank Lampard wants to launch a good run for ChelseaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
How Chelsea could line up against Man City
Frank Lampard’s side could get back on track, however, with a morale-boosting win over Man City at Stamford Bridge.
This fixture last season saw the Blues help Liverpool clinch the title, with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Pep Guardiola’s stars.
Currently level on points with underachieving City, Chelsea could desperately do with a win this time around to halt their side.
Edouard Mendy will start between the sticks, despite a few shaky signs of late.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta will again deputise at right-back with Lampard, 42, confirming a hamstring issue suffered by first-choice Reece James.
He said: “Reece James is out. Reece has got a small hamstring problem.”
Ben Chilwell should be fine to take his place at left-back meanwhile – while the rested Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva will resume their places at the heart of the Blues’ back four after nights off against Villa on Monday.
Lampard has a clean bill of health in central midfield, giving him some selection conundrums.
An alternative way Lampard could set up
Cesar Azpilicueta will again step in for the injured Reece JamesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
N’Golo Kante is likeliest to start, with Jorginho dropping out, and could be flanked by Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount.
This leaves £70million summer buy Kai Havertz in reserve, as well as underused academy starlet Billy Gilmour.
Lampard possesses a multitude of options for his front three, and has seen his embarrassment of riches further strengthened by the return to fitness of Hakim Ziyech.
On the Moroccan he said: “He’s fit to train. He’s trained for the last two or three days. I will make the decision as to whether he is ready to start.”
Perhaps Callum Hudson-Odoi deserves the nod on the right wing, however, having been a rare bright spark in Chelsea’s last two games.
Tammy Abraham will likely get the nod over Olivier Giroud, while Christian Pulisic should start over the misfiring Timo Werner on the left.
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Hakim Ziyech has returned to Blues trainingCredit: Getty Images – Getty