Ben Chilwell in, Mason Mount starts – the line up Tuchel should pick for Chelsea vs Southampton



Chelsea return to action against Southampton on Saturday, as they look to break their run of consecutive defeats.

Thomas Tuchel has never lost three games in a row as Blues boss and will hope to put the Saints to the sword to help overcome any lingering sadness from the losses to Manchester City and Juventus.

The German coach is able to welcome back Mason Mount to his ranks, but is still without N’Golo Kante, Reece James and Christian Pulisic for the clash. With the Blues struggles to link play to Romelu Lukaku in the last week, he will have a big decision to make on Mount’s return.

Chelsea have struggled in recent times against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men and have not beaten the visitors to Stamford Bridge since October 2019.

Our reporters take a look at how Tuchel might put that right.

Sam Inkersole

Thomas Tuchel needs to find what he has consistently called “solutions” after Chelsea suffered back-to-back defeats for just the second time of his reign in the past two games.

Losses to Man City and Juventus have stalled Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the campaign, although they were not playing too well in any case, results were still being grounded out.

Tuchel likes to have a tweak with his side and I think there could be some more for the visit of Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

The more obvious one is that the head coach needs to bite the bullet and bring in Ben Chilwell for his first Premier League start of the new campaign ahead of Marcos Alonso. The Spaniard has earned a recall to his national squad for the international games next week but his Chelsea form has tailed off after a good first three matches of the campaign.

Chilwell had 45 minutes under his belt against Juventus and 90 versus Aston Villa in the League Cup so now feels like a good time to bring him back into the league side.

The rest of the defence is likely to remain unchanged from the Juventus defeat, with Reece James still ruled out through injury.
In midfield, there are plenty of calls for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to start against Saints. However, with a result needed, I would imagine Tuchel will stick with what he knows. With N’Golo Kante still out having tested positive from Covid-19, the pivot of Jorginho and Mate Kovacic should remain in place.

Hakim Ziyech’s disappointing outing in Turin could see him back on the substitutes bench and with Mason Mount fit to return, a decision needs to be made.

For me, Mount is on the bench as he gets back into the swing of things before heading off to join up with England during the international break. I’d like to see Callum Hudson-Odoi get a run out in what is arguably his best position on the left of the front three.

Kai Havertz should get the nod on the opposite flank but he needs a big performance after struggling against Juventus. Romelu Lukaku will obviously lead the line and look to end his goalscoring drought of four games without hitting the back of the net.

Sam’s XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Chilwell; Jorginho, Kovacic; Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Lukaku.

Scott Trotter

It’s time for Chelsea to get back to winning ways and, for me, that means it should be an easy decision for Mason Mount to return to the starting line up. He’s been declared fit by Thomas Tuchel, and he’s good enough to warrant a start and provide a much-need connection to Romelu Lukaku.

Elsewhere, Edouard Mendy starts in goal and the defence of Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger won’t look out of place, but perhaps Cesar Azpilicueta can be handed a rest ahead of another international break where he will join up with Spain. That gives the ideal opportunity for Callum Hudson-Odoi to show what he’s made of and to bring the attacking threat missing due to Reece James’ injury.

Marcos Alonso’s half time substitution against Juventus suggests it’s probably time for Ben Chilwell to return and he made an impact with the ball in Turin.

Many will call for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to start but with a great deal of change elsewhere, it shouldn’t do any harm to continue with Jorginho and Kovacic, while Lukaku obviously starts up top.

The final forward position is the most difficult to pick, with Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz showing little form, Timo Werner being left on the bench against Juve and Christian Pulisic’s injury.

With the Saints set to press, maybe a well-rested Werner can offer an option long to beat Southampton’s approach, and the others may have to wait longer to find their form.

Scott’s XI: Mendy, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Lukaku, Werner.

Scott Clayton

The back four including Edouard Mendy and the centre backs pick themselves for me. With Reece James’ injury and Chelsea likely to be the more attacking side against Southampton, it could give an option to start Callum Hudson-Odoi in the role but after poor performances from most of our attacking players the last few weeks I want to see Hudson-Odoi given a role further up the pitch from the get go. I’ve gone with Cesar Azpilicueta at wing back as a result.

I feel Jorginho and Kovacic have been used a little to often the last few weeks and I’m not a huge fan of them playing together. The quality Loftus-Cheek has and the attacking we will likely be doing means I’d like to see him start. If Mount is fit like Tuchel says then he has to come back into the side.

Scott’s XI: Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku.

Daniel Childs

Even if the two defeats came against Manchester City and Juventus, the setbacks have certainly given everyone at Stamford Bridge a bit of a reality check. However, the game against Southampton on Saturday provides Tuchel’s Blues the perfect platform to bounce back and begin a run of favourable fixtures.

One thing we have desperately lacked in the previous two games is energy, and that will absolutely be provided by the returning Mason Mount. His importance to this team did not need the previous two games to prove it, but it just further clarified how Mount’s presence makes the Blues tick. As a Portsmouth fan, Mount has also got two goals against Southampton in his four Chelsea appearances against them. Sadly, both have been at St. Mary’s but tomorrow is the chance to break that.

We really are going to see how much of a meritocracy there is under Tuchel given the involvement of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Both came off the bench against Juventus and impressed, to add the creativity and direct running Chelsea have missed, I would like to see Tuchel be bold and put both in the starting lineup.

Making sure Romelu Lukaku is not isolated again is a big issue to solve so both wing-backs need to be dynamic and press high to pin the Saints back. Ben Chilwell should finally get his overdue first Premier League start of the campaign as Marcos Alonso’s form has dipped.

Daniel’s XI: Mendy, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount, Lukaku, Werner





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