Thomas Tuchel could bring back Mateo Kovacic, while new signing Wesley Fofana could be handed his Chelsea debut against West Ham United.
Chelsea will hope to return to form when they play hosts to West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. After conducting tremendous business in the transfer window, Thomas Tuchel will be happy with the look of his squad, which now has depth in most areas, particularly central midfield and defence.
The two-deadline day signings may not feature at the weekend, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang expected to be sidelined for a few weeks with a fractured jaw. However, there could be a place in the lineup for another summer signing, Wesley Fofana, who will slot on the right side of the central defensive unit.
Regarding others on the sidelines, N’Golo Kante is the only absentee along with the two deadline-day signings. Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are back in training, with Tuchel confirming the same during his pre-match press conference.
“They are back in training and both available,” Tuchel said of James and Kovacic, before continuing, “N’Golo is out, but everybody else has been training.”
The move could allow James to play in his preferred position at right wing-back, while Marc Cucurella is expected to start on the left flank. Tuchel will go back to having three central defenders as his back-four system did not work against Southampton.
Kovacic could come back in midfield and partner Jorginho. Conor Gallager, who is back from a suspension, will have to take his place among the substitutes. Even Loftus-Cheek will have to contend with a bench role. With Aubameyang not in contention now, Tuchel will likely start with the same front three he has relied on so far this season.
Mason Mount is expected to slot in on the right side of the Chelsea attack in support of Kai Havertz, who will lead the line for the Blues against West Ham United. Raheem Sterling will aim to keep his goalscoring form starting from the left side of the offensive unit.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Fofana, Silva, Koulibaly; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Cucurella; Mount, Havertz, Sterling