Chelsea will be hopeful of extending their unbeaten run under Thomas Tuchel to 15 matches today when they take on West Bromwich Albion.
The Blues have yet to taste defeat or even concede a goal at Stamford Bridge since the German coach replaced Frank Lampard at the end of January. They will be confident of extending both those records this afternoon.
West Brom sit 19th in the Premier League table and have won just twice since the start of December under Sam Allardyce. Although it is worth pointing out the Baggies have lost two of their previous six matches in the top flight.
Tuchel is likely to make changes to his Chelsea side. Some will be enforced – N’Golo Kante will miss the game with a hamstring injury – while others are likely to be influenced by the amount of football played by those who were called up for international duty.
Yet no matter who is included in the Blues starting XI, it should possess the quality needed to overcome West Brom. And here is how we think Tuchel will set his side up this afternoon.
In goal will be Edouard Mendy. The Senegal international didn’t feature for his country during the international break as he needed to undergo dental surgery. He has, however, been training at Cobham throughout this week and is fit to start.
Cesar Azpilicueta has started and completed every Premier League game under Tuchel and given he wasn’t selected by Spain, is a guaranteed starter. Thiago Silva has had a full week of training after recovering from injury and a game against the Baggies is ideal for him to gain match fitness.
Who plays on the left of the back three is harder to predict. But given he played just 90 minutes, Kurt Zouma may be given the nod.
Reece James is expected to start at right wing-back and on the opposite flank is likely to be the fresh Marcos Alonso.
A knee injury kept Jorginho from joining up with the Italy squad for their World Cup qualifiers but he has been training at Cobham in the past few days and should partner Mateo Kovacic in midfield.
Tuchel has already confirmed that Timo Werner will be included in the attack and the German is likely to feature alongside Christian Pulisic. Who leads the attack is harder to call.
Kai Havertz featured regularly for Germany and could be rested while Olivier Giroud had long trips to Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the international break. So this may be the ideal game for Tammy Abraham to return from injury.
The England international has been nursing an ankle problem for several weeks but has managed to come through training at Cobham in the build-up to today’s game and will be fresh if selected.
Predicted Chelsea side vs West Brom: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Pulisic, Abraham, Werner