Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel could be missing as many as four key players when the Blues look to return to winning ways at Southampton this weekend. Tuchel will hope his side’s fortunes can change on the road after back-to-back humblings at Stamford Bridge over the past week.
Chelsea suffered a shock 4-1 thrashing at the hands of west London rivals Brentford last time out in the Premier League. And on Wednesday, Karim Benzema netted a hat-trick as Real Madrid ran away 3-1 winners, all but putting their quarter-final tie to bed.
Chelsea will be desperate to bounce back, but Tuchel has confirmed fitness concerns over Hakim Ziyech and Romelu Lukaku on top of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell’s unavailability. He told reporters: “Callum Hudson-Odoi is still out and we have doubts with Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech.”
Express Sport looks at how Tuchel could set his team up for Saturday’s trip to Southampton.
Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy
Edouard Mendy suffered a night to forget against Real in midweek, producing a calamitous mistake for Benzema’s third at the start of the second half. But he should keep his place as Tuchel’s go-to goalkeeper over Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Defence: Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Rudiger
Fans raised questions over the decision to play Cesar Azpilicueta at left-wing-back against Real, with Marcos Alonso, Malang Sarr and Saul Niguez on the bench. But he should return to the back three this time around, with Tuchel steering clear on the back four used against Brentford.
Thiago Silva should keep his place in the heart of the defence, with Antonio Rudiger looking to recover from a below-par showing in midweek alongside him.
Midfield: James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso
Reece James should keep his spot at right-wing-back, with Marcos Alonso returning to the side on the left. Jorginho staying on whilst N’Golo Kante was hooked at half-time against Real could indicate Tuchel was happier with his performance. So the Frenchman could lose his place to Mateo Kovacic.
Attack: Mount, Pulisic, Havertz
With Lukaku, Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech potentially absent, Tuchel’s front three almost selects itself and will likely be unchanged from Wednesday’s Champions League defeat. Kai Havertz cropped up with another goal before half-time, but both Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic will hope to record more influential displays this time around.
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