Two games a week continues to be Chelsea’s modus operandi this season as they face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup in midweek at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues’ hectic start to the season is not slowing down and they will face Dean Smith’s side for the second time in ten days, firstly in the Premier League which ended in a 3-0 victory for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
The Blues haven’t quite been at full tilt yet this season, easing past Crystal Palace and Arsenal and having tough times against Liverpool, Villa, Zenit St Petersburg and Spurs but have emerged from all of those matches without tasting defeat.
A managerial debut in the Carabao Cup now awaits for Thomas Tuchel, who has insisted he and his team will be taking the competition very seriously as they battle on a number of fronts this season.
The head coach did admit at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday that there will be some rotation to his squad as he aims to get some fringe players some meaningful minutes and rest those who have played the bulk of the season so far.
Tuchel said: “It’s a matter of the amount of games, the load that we’ve had for the players.
“Yes we will have some changes, because we take the opportunity to give important minutes in important competition to guys who are missing minutes at the moment.”
Ben Chilwell should make his first start of the season in midweek having lost his left wing-back spot to Marcos Alonso through the opening six weeks of the campaign. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to be handed a first competitive start and for Timo Werner, a first start since the opening day victory over Crystal Palace looks likely.
Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr could come into the backline but one of Tuchel’s first-choice centre-backs is likely to play as well owing to his formation choice and needing to give rests to Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger ahead of hosting Man City on Saturday. Andreas Christensen is likely to start in midweek, therefore.
Reece James should return at right wing-back with Chilwell operating on the left in front of Kepa in goal.
In midfield, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho should get the night off, as should N’Golo Kante despite only coming back from injury for the second half against Spurs on Sunday, especially with City in mind.
Saul Niguez will face Aston Villa once again and will be hoping it goes a lot better than his first appearance against them for his Blues debut, where he was unceremoniously hooked by Tuchel at half-time. Loftus-Cheek is his most likely partner.
Werner should get the chance to lead the line for Chelsea with Romelu Lukaku rested and is likely to be supported by Callum Hudson-Odoi in his preferred advanced position, as well as Hakim Ziyech with Christian Pulisic ruled out through injury.
Predicted Chelsea team vs Aston Villa: Kepa; James, Chalobah, Sarr, Christensen, Chilwell; Saul, Loftus-Cheek; Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, Werner.