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Graham Potter has alternative Chelsea XI that holds key to beating Real Madrid

Graham Potter has alternative Chelsea XI that holds key to beating Real Madrid

After the international break, Chelsea will enter the final phase of their season.

Despite being 11 points behind the top four in the Premier League table, they have ambitions to move up but face tough fixtures, including nine in a busy April.

However, the two most important games for them in the current schedule are the two matches against Real Madrid as Chelsea compete for a spot in the Champions League semi-final.

They have faced Real Madrid twice before in the competition, winning the first tie but losing dramatically in the previous season.

Knockout competition brings pressure, but even as underdogs, Chelsea are under pressure to salvage something from a disappointing season.

Graham Potter will aim to prove his coaching abilities against the best, especially after his in-game management was questioned against Everton.

Chelsea played well in both matches against Borussia Dortmund and managed to come from behind to win the tie and move on to the quarter-finals.

However, their upcoming match against Carlo Ancelotti’s team will likely be one of the toughest challenges for Graham Potter as Chelsea’s head coach.

In the second leg of the last-16 tie against Dortmund, Potter picked a team that was very close to his first-choice lineup, but he made his selection with the German team in mind rather than Real Madrid.

In the previous match, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Enzo Fernandez, Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell, Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz, and Joao Felix all played and helped Chelsea secure a 2-0 victory.

However, Thiago Silva might miss the first leg against Real Madrid due to injury, while N’Golo Kante will aim to prove his fitness in time for the game.

Graham Potter has many players, such as Mason Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who could return from their international break and contend for a place in the squad ahead of the game against the reigning Champions League winners.

With nine games scheduled in April and three games within a week before facing Real Madrid, Potter will need to use his squad effectively. Even though it may not be the ideal situation, he could comfortably choose a strong second XI to play in matches if necessary.

If fit, Edouard Mendy would start in goal, while Marcus Bettinelli remains a strong back-up option. Recent Blues success has come via a back three which could comprise of Azpilicueta, Chalobah and Benoit Badiashile, although the latter is not available for Champions League selection and has proved his quality to do some of the heavy lifting in the Premier League. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Lewis Hall still have plenty to offer if required in wing-back positions.

The centre of the pitch can be home to Denis Zakaria and Conor Gallagher to provide a disruptive influence, while Mount can be a conduit between the midfield and forward line. Potter still has a mass of options in the forward positions with Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic all competing for a place in the second strongest XI.

Based on their recent performances, Mykhailo Mudryk and Christian Pulisic may be the favorites to earn a spot in the starting XI, with Pulisic having an edge after impressing in Chelsea’s most recent game.

In terms of the striker position, David Datro Fofana could be chosen over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who seems likely to depart the club soon.

While the number of available options shows the depth of Chelsea’s squad, it also gives Potter the ability to manage the fitness of his key players and ensure the best possible lineup is put out for the match against Real Madrid on April 12th.

Graham Potter has alternative Chelsea XI that holds key to beating Real Madrid

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