Hakim Ziyech starts, Saul Niguez decision – Predicted Chelsea team to play Southampton



Thomas Tuchel hinted after Saturday’s 7-0 tonking of Norwich City that the Carabao Cup clash with Southampton in midweek would give him the chance to give some players some much-needed minutes.

Chelsea have rebounded from their successive defeats to Manchester City and Juventus by winning four straight games in all competitions, scoring 15 goals and conceding just two.

Thomas Tuchel has responded emphatically to being asked questions for the first time over his tactics in the losses to City and Juve, propelling Chelsea to the top of the Premier League in the process.

Now, the Carabao Cup takes centre stage and it is another chance for Chelsea – and Tuchel’s – to meet their insatiable appetite for trophies.

Southampton are the visitors to SW6 for the second time in a month this week. The 3-1 meeting in the Premier League on October 2 saw Chelsea pull away after Saints had drawn level but subsequently James Ward-Prowse’s sending off proved crucial.

The Blues are expected to make changes for the game in midweek to give some players rest and others more minutes after what has been a hectic start to the 2021/22 season already.

For Tuchel, he will have players champing at the bit for a start this week. Hakim Ziyech, Saul Niguez, Ross Barkley and Marcos Alonso to name but a few.

The head coach of course has a delicate balancing act in getting his selection right to match the result he wants to achieve, which would be progress into round five of the competition but whatever team he puts out, he will feel confident of progression.

One change that is likely to be made is in goal with Kepa Arrizabalaga replacing Edouard Mendy. Kepa started the round three victory over Aston Villa so is likely to get the nod in between the sticks again.

In defence, Tuchel could recall Malang Sarr, who also started the Villa game, with Thiago Silva set for a rest. Trevoh Chalobah is likely to continue as well, leaving a choice between Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger to fill the other centre half role.

Alonso could see some minutes in midweek with Ben Chilwell rested, on the opposite flank it could be Reece James selected once again unless Tuchel decides to give Cesar Azpilicueta, rested at the weekend, a run out.

In midfield, Loftus-Cheek should get the nod to start having been benched for the Norwich game but climbing off it to assist Mason Mount’s third goal. N’Golo Kante is in line for a recall as well after missing the Canaries win with muscle fatigue.

Kai Havertz is likely to start up front for Chelsea, with Ziyech also handed a chance to impress. Tuchel then has to decide between Callum Hudson-Odoi or Mason Mount to play up there with Havertz as Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku will both miss the game through injury.

Predicted Chelsea team: Kepa; James, Chalobah, Christensen, Sarr, Alonso; Kante, Loftus-Cheek; Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz.





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