Wednesdays’ pre-season friendly against Spurs in The Mind Series represents Thomas Tuchel final chance to fine tune his Chelsea squad ahead of the Super Cup clash with Villarreal and the Premier League opener against Crystal Palace later this month.
For some players, it is another opportunity to get some minutes under their belt ahead of the competitive games getting underway. For others, it is a final chance for them to state their case for inclusion in Tuchel’s 25-man squad for the Premier League.
Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Mason Mount, Emerson and Jorginho all returned to pre-season training on Monday as Tuchel now has a full complement to choose from. Those six are highly unlikely to feature against Spurs, with the Villarreal clash likely their first – and only – run out ahead of the new Premier League season.
Chelsea have set a precedent this summer in giving their players at least a week of training before being put into games. Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic, Kurt Zouma and N’Golo Kante were afforded that before they all got 45 minutes against Arsenal on Sunday.
Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta have only been back in training for six days so, if going by the rules Chelsea have implemented this season, they’re set to sit out Wednesday’s game as well.
So, how could Tuchel send his side out against Spurs on Wednesday? It’s likely to be pretty similar to what we saw at the Emirates on Sunday when the Blues enjoyed a 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
Predicted Chelsea team: Mendy; Sterling, Rudiger, Sarr, Zouma, Hudson-Odoi; Kante, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek; Havertz, Werner.
Dujon Sterling could be a player to get some meaningful minutes under his belt after a very impressive 45 minute showing against Arsenal. He played a third centre back in north London but is equally comfortable at wing-back and Tuchel will want to perhaps get another look at him there.
With Chalobah having played 85 minutes against the Gunners, another centre back on the fringes in Malang Sarr could be given an extended run-out to force his way into the Blues’ impressive collection of centre backs ahead of the new season.
Kante came off the bench against Arsenal and Tuchel will want to give him at least another 45 minutes in the bank while also being a bit cautious considering his troublesome hamstrings and having played a lot of football over the past two years.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek should get another chance to state his case to Tuchel with conflicting reports surrounding his future at the club.
Werner and Havertz both got 45 minutes on their pre-season bows on Sunday and they, like Kante, should get some more minutes in the tank against Spurs to continue their build-up to the new campaign.
It’s a toss up in goal between Edouard Mendy and Kepa but with the season on the horizon, expect number one Mendy to be handed the start at Stamford Bridge as he will begin the campaign between the sticks for Tuchel.