Thomas Tuchel has certainly caused a shock with his lineup with the visit of Man City. The Blues are at home to face Man City in a mouth-watering clash between two title rivals.
There was a lot of discussions ahead of this game on what lineup Thomas Tuchel would opt for against Pep Guardiola City side. Man City had a few injury worries leading up to the match with Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko, İlkay Gündoğan and Rodrigo all having doubts going into the match
The main discussion on Chelsea fans minds leading up to the match is who starts in Mason Mounts absence.
Tuchel confirmed in his pre-match press conference Christian Pulisic is also still yet to recover from the injury he picked up on international duty but did give us some good news that Edouard Mendy was fit enough to be in the squad.
Kai Havertz misses out which to some might be a disappointment but I’m in favour of this. I like the fact Timo Werner is starting in a two-man lineup. The link-up Werner and Romelu Lukaku have had the last few games has given me confidence. Werner can now run in behind and give the side options and worry Man City and the high line and give Romelu Lukaku something to play off.
Tuchel has flipped his formation a little and gone from a 3-4-3 we are all used to playing to more of a 3-5-2 he’s tried against Tottenham. The three in the midfield of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho should be able to try and control the game with Man City playing a 4-3-3 type formation. I expect Kante and Kovacic will get a licence to join the two men up front and the width of Marcos Alonso and Reece James will hopefully push Man City full-backs to defence than attack.
Azpilicueta has been given the nod at right centre-back and Reece James right wing-back. The big shock to me is the experienced Thiago Silva dropping to the bench. I’d have expected one of Azpilicueta or James to miss out and out of the team and Christensen and Thiago Silva keeping that good form together up.
The return to the lineup for Edouard Mendy after missing two games due to injury is a welcome sight. The confidence he gives fans and his backline will be all to see today I’m sure. The ability to come and claim crosses might not be much of a need this game due to how Pep likes to play football and the lack of height in the Man City side.
Kepa Arrizabalaga did really well keeping a clean sheet against Tottenham and showed great quality in the air and had a fantastic game against Aston Villa being the penalty shootout hero again but the confidence gets a chance in goal. Kepa played well enough to make me and other fans a little less worried about January when we could miss Mendy to the African cup of nations.
Azpilicueta has been given the nod at right centre-back and Reece James right wing-back. The big shock to me is the experienced Thiago Silva dropping to the bench. I’d have expected one of Azpilicueta or James to miss out and out of the team and Christensen and Thiago Silva keeping that good form together up. Tuchel spoke to the media to say Thiago Silva would have played if he didn’t pick up a minor knock in training yesterday.
Rodrigo, Laporte passed fit to start and Stones makes the bench but Zinchenko and Gündoğan miss out. I’m happier Gündoğan is missing as his ability to get space in the box and arrive late in the box is a huge problem when we have faced them.
The two managers have previously had eight encounters in the past. The first five matches coming in Germany where Tuchel was the manager of Mainz for the first two matches and at the helm for Dortmund for the other three. Tuchel didn’t get a win in any with two draws but one of them they lost in penalties his best result. Since Tuchel joined Chelsea, he’s had the upper hand on results winning all three times in the space of five months. A win today will tie the wins up at four.
The only other grumble personally is the omission again of Ben Chilwell who has yet to start in the league this season. He did play a full 90 minutes midweek which is a positive but the one on one battle the left wing-back will have today, I’m worried Marcos Alonso might get caught out and with Man City attacking threat I fear one mistake will be punished.
Antonio Rudiger is now the only player in the Chelsea side to play all minutes in the Premier League so far after Edouard Mendy missed the last league match to Tottenham. I think it’s safe to say currently he’s one of the first men on the teamsheet.
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Lukaku’s physical battle with Laporte and Dias will be a big battle on the pitch. For Chelsea, they hope will be the Belgian’s mere presence can occupy the defender enough to create space for Werner to exploit.
Although it is far too early in the season to make any drastic conclusions from tonight’s result, neither Thomas Tuchel nor Pep Guardiola will want to lose ground. Chelsea should have confidence going into the game to get the three points after three consecutive wins over Man City already this calendar year.
I’m always fearful of Kevin De Bruyne who has 4 goals against Chelsea. The fact he’s not started the season off well worries me more than gives me confidence as it means he’s now due a fine display. This is the last of the really tricky fixtures for Chelsea in the league and if we can make the three-point gap between us and Man City to six points it would be great for the confidence and belief. On the same note, Man City could close the gap and go level with us with a loss. When it comes to matches like this it’s very tough to call cause it’s stars facing stars and one moment of brilliance can flip it. I think the first goal will be crucial but the fact it’s at home I’m confident the fans can be the big factor in making this a good day at the office. The form of Chelsea under Tuchel, on such occasions, has been brilliant but matches aren’t won on past results.
Chelsea Team: (3-5-2): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Kante, Kovacic, Jorginho, Alonso; Werner, Lukaku
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