Trevoh Chalobah is set to replace Reece James while Saul Niguez is set to make his debut when Chelsea take on Aston Villa on Saturday.
Chelsea will be looking to extend their unbeaten start to the 2021/22 season when they play hosts to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening. And Thomas Tuchel has a few roster issues hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Reece James is unavailable after being sent off against Liverpool for a handball inside the box, as he had stopped a certain goal from being scored. Apart from the English international, the Chelsea boss is missing Christian Pulisic, who is out with an ankle injury, while N’Golo Kante is a doubt due to a lack of match fitness.
In addition, there has been a lot of confusion surrounding FIFA’s decision to hand a five-day ban to Premier League’s Brazilian players after they were not allowed to join their national team during the international break. There are suggestions that these players will now be allowed to play, meaning Thiago Silva could be available.
However, with the UEFA Champions League group stage fixture against Zenit St. Petersburg coming on Tuesday, it is likely that Silva will be preserved. So, Trevoh Chalobah ought to come into the starting lineup as part of the three-man central defensive unit that will protect Edouard Mendy, with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger being his partners.
In James’s absence, Azpilicueta will move up into the right wing-back slot. On the opposite flank, we could Ben Chilwell make his first start of the season after getting up to speed during the break, when he was not with the England squad. As for the midfield pairing, the major talking point has been the possible debut of Saul Niguez.
During his pre-match press conference, Tuchel did speak on the topic, saying, “Saul is with us now for two weeks, he has played on the highest levels and the picture is very clear. Chelsea has followed him for years, they have expertise in the scouting and reports for years about him. I know the player also very well.”
“He has a quick adaptation here because of Marcos Alonso and Kepa. It’s very easy and smooth in welcoming him into the group so he is in the squad. We have to see with Jorginho if it makes sense that we put him into another 90 minutes because he can never say no when Italy play. Even if they’re 5-0 up he still wants every ball and runs so he’s quite tired. It is absolutely possible that Saul plays for us because the quality, expertise and experience are there.”
Jorginho, though, should start alongside Mateo Kovacic in the double pivot, with Saul likely to make his debut off the bench before his full debut on Tuesday. Finally, in attack, there is no looking past Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku, who is set to make his second home debut for Chelsea, with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi being backup options on the bench.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz; Lukaku