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Kepa to start – How Chelsea could line up against Plymouth

Premier League teams return from their winter break this weekend but before top-flight duties recommence there is another round of FA Cup fixtures to negotiate.

At the beginning of January, Chelsea eliminated Chesterfield with ease in the third round of the Cup, winning 5-1 at Stamford Bridge with Timo Werner, Romelu Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech, Andreas Christensen and Callum Hudson-Odoi all getting on the scoresheet.

The Blues have been given a similarly favourable draw in the next round as they face League One outfit Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

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With the Club World Cup coming up just a few days after this fixture, it is likely that Thomas Tuchel will rotate his squad to give some fringe players a chance.

Edouard Mendy remains unavailable as he has progressed to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.

Reece James is still not fit after suffering a serious hamstring injury, but his recuperation has been quicker than predicted so he might make the trip for the Club World Cup. Ben Chilwell is also missing with a knee injury, though Andreas Christensen should be available after recovering from Covid.

Kepa Arrizabalaga will start in goal behind a likely back three of Christensen, Lewis Hall and Trevoh Chalobah.

Youngster Hall started the last FA Cup game against Chesterfield.

With a lack of options at right wing-back, Callum Hudson-Odoi may be asked to play there, with Marcos Alonso on the left and Cesar Azpilicueta rested.

Saul Niguez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek may be given an opportunity in central midfield.

Both Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku could be doing with a confidence boost so Tuchel may opt to start those two, with Kai Havertz making up the front three.

Predicted Chelsea XI v Plymouth

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