Thomas Tuchel is expected to make a few important changes when Chelsea travel to north London to face Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.
Thomas Tuchel faces his biggest challenge yet when Chelsea take on Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday. The Blues put in a promising performance in their previous game against Burnley, but the German tactician may have to make some important selection choices heading into this match.
The likely absence of Kai Havertz, in particular, could disrupt Tuchel’s preparations. The Chelsea manager confirmed, during his pre-match press conference, that the former Bayer Leverkusen star is a doubt and will be checked heading into this game.
“We had two little issues. Kurt Zouma and Kai Havertz went off today with little issues. They are being checked now. Everybody else is available,” said the Chelsea manager.
It is unlikely that Tuchel will be keen on rushing Havertz back into the eleven, even if the playmaker returns to full fitness. It could be welcome news for Hakim Ziyech, as he hopes to partner Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner in the Chelsea attack.
The three will likely operate in a free-flowing formation, hoping to operate in a particularly narrow space, thus allowing the wing-backs to move forward and make overlapping runs out wide. That is where Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell could come into the picture.
Hudson-Odoi will be under the microscope once again following his impressive performance against Burnley in the largely unfamiliar right wing-back territory. His pace, trickery and offensive prowess could also see Chelsea employ a right-handed overload, with Chilwell operating in a relatively deeper role.
In midfield, N’Golo Kante was an unused substitute against Burnley. But, in light of the matches coming thick and fast, Tuchel could be tempted to bring him back into the picture. The Frenchman is likely to start ahead of Jorginho, thus forming the double pivot alongside Mateo Kovacic. There is another option in Mason Mount, should Chelsea require more creative firepower going forward.
After the initial tension, Tuchel raved about Mount’s work-ethic during the press conference, stating, “He cares a lot about Chelsea, he cares a lot about his teammates, he is leaving his heart on the pitch. If you train with Mason, he gives 100% every minute and this is the best level to grow. It’s the best situation to start and the best situation to become a top, top player.”
It won’t be surprising to see Mount being utilised as a late substitute, with Tottenham likely to defend in deep blocks. Speaking of defence, the potential absence of Zouma is unlikely to faze Tuchel, who appears to favour his compatriot Antonio Rudiger.
Indeed, the appointment of the former Borussia Dortmund coach could usher in quite the change of fortunes for the much-maligned German international, who is likely to form the three-man central defensive unit alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva, with Edouardo Mendy starting in goal.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; Hudson-Odoi, Kante, Kovacic, Chilwell; Ziyech, Pulisic; Werner