Premier League • England

Predicted Chelsea team for trip to Southampton: Tuchel fretting over fitness of two stars

Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku with Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Following a loss in midweek, and a couple of injury doubts, the predicted Chelsea team to face Southampton could force Thomas Tuchel against rotation.

Chelsea have been on a tough run of form in their past couple of games. Indeed, they lost the first leg of their Champions League quarter final to Real Madrid, 3-1.

Prior to that, the Blues were stunned by a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brentford. They had won the last six in all competitions before that, though.

Of course, Chelsea will be keen on getting back to winning ways, and the game against Southampton presents a chance to do that. However, the second leg of the Champions League tie in just a few days will be at the back of Tuchel’s mind.

Naturally, Tuchel will want to field his best side against Real Madrid, and rest some for this fixture. However, rotation may be a struggle for some players, given a few injury concerns for this weekend’s fixture.

Tuchel mentioned in his pre-match press conference that there were “doubts with” Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech. Furthermore, Callum Hudson-Odoi is still unavailable.

Last time out – Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid

Edouard Mendy, Chelsea, April 2022.

Edouard Mendy – who made a mistake for the goal that sealed Karim Benzema’s hat-trick – started in net. The three centre-backs were Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger.

Reece James played as the right wing-back, with Cesar Azpilicueta on the other side. The midfield duo between them was N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.

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Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic operated in the wide attacking areas.

Kai Havertz – the scorer of Chelsea’s only goal – was utilised through the middle.

Predicted Chelsea team against Southampton

Tuchel could play a flat back four, as he did against Brentford, to make space for more players up the field. While rotation will be key, Chelsea are hindered by injuries, and will want to bounce back from the last Premier League loss.

Mendy could play in net again, despite his mistake in the week. In defence, 37-year-old Silva may be sidelined, with Rudiger and Christensen potentially making up the central partnership.

Azpilicueta could play at right back, with Marcos Alonso on the left – James, having just returned from injury, will likely not be risked with a big game coming up.

The midfield could feature Ruben Loftus-Cheek, alongside Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic. Kante may be rested to prepare for the Real game.

With attacking options scarce, and Ziyech and Lukaku possibly unavailable, Tuchel may have to stick with Mount and Havertz, rather than resting them, with Timo Werner making up the attack.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kovacic; Mount, Havertz, Werner

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