Mauricio Pochettino change of plan for visit of Manchester United

Mauricio Pochettino change of plan for visit of Manchester United

Chelsea’s draw with Burnley on Saturday left those inside Stamford Bridge with more questions than they started with.

Despite the Clarets being reduced to 10 men for the entirety of the second half, the Blues could not take advantage in SW6 and the points were shared with the side second bottom of the Premier League table. The display from the west Londoners saw Cole Palmer once again showcase just how significant he is to the squad.

Palmer netted his 14th and 15th goals of the season – in all competitions – against Burnley and afterwards, everyone was thinking the same thing. Just where would Chelsea be without Palmer? Would it genuinely be relegation form?

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“He scored twice and he is a good example for the rest,” Pochettino said of Palmer. “From day one, he took responsibility for penalties, for the game. When you see the team struggles to find solutions, they give the ball to him to solve.”

Palmer has been the Blues’ most important player this season and ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Thursday night, he is almost a certainty to start at Stamford Bridge. However, there are some players that may well be dropped from the side to take on United.

Benoit Badiashile played well on his return at the weekend but Trevoh Chalobah is expected to be fit, for the visit of the Red Devils. Prior to the draw with Burnley, the 24-year-old had played in six successive matches in all competitions.

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Judging by Pochettino’s comments pre-match, there is also a chance Raheem Sterling comes back into the side for Mykhailo Mudryk. The Blues head coach said: “We have a strong squad and with important games coming up, we can use the squad. Raheem is on the bench today and that’s a situation he has to accept but we know he is ready to help the team when he comes on, we really believe in him.”

Mudryk impressed against Burnley, but the Ukraine international has rarely started back-to-back Premier League matches this season. Sterling, though, needs a big performance if he is to cement a spot in the first-team once again.

Sterling produced a brilliant assist for Palmer on Saturday for Chelsea’s second goal of the game in what was a 22-minute cameo at Stamford Bridge. A fortnight after he was the subject of massive boos from the Chelsea crowd, Sterling entered the pitch to a really positive ovation in SW6.

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He was able to somewhat repay their faith with the assist. However, he missed a huge chance at 2-2 to give the hosts the lead once again, only able to guide a free header wide.

There could of course be more changes, or perhaps elsewhere on the pitch, but it seems that the majority of the team picks itself at this point given the injury situation. Pochettino will be hoping that Chelsea’s preparation, that will only last about three days in total, can be uninterrupted by injuries.

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