Tuchel makes five changes, 22-year-old starts for first time in weeks: Chelsea predicted XI vs Brentford

Chelsea jump back into Premier League action this weekend with an intriguing tie at home to fellow London inhabitant Brentford.

Thomas Tuchel’s men greeted the international break in style, defeating Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, having won the five previous fixtures as well.

Their league form – five victories on the spin – has cut the deficit between themselves and Manchester City to just 11 points.

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

This might seem unobtainable to some, however, the fact the Blues still have a game in hand on Pep Guardiola’s men means hope remains over a title challenge.

But beating the Bees is certainly not a given, with both the previous meetings between the capital city clubs a close-run affair.

Saturday’s showdown at Stamford Bridge should be another enthralling battle, as the two Thomas’s stand on the touchline together.

Here’s how we think Tuchel’s Chelsea will line up against Frank’s Brentford.   

Defence

Fresh from qualifying for the World Cup with Senegal, Edouard Mendy retains his place in goal from the Middlesbrough conquest.

Tuchel opted for a four-man rear-guard that day, but will probably revert back to a three this time.

Out go full-backs Malang Sarr and Cesar Azpilicueta, in come centre-backs Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen.

Antonio Rudiger is the only defender to keep his place.

Midfield

In the assumption wing-backs shall return, we have given the nod on the left to Marcos Alonso.

On the right, Reece James could reclaim the right-hand side after missing the last four games through injury.

The 22-year-old was spotted in training again this week, having suffered a muscular problem ahead of the pause in domestic play.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Expect Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante to partner up in midfield, with their respective national adventures ending on Tuesday.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek drops down to the bench again.

Attack

Hakim Ziyech should be more alive than most, due to no longer being part of the Moroccan set-up.

He remains in attack, as does Mason Mount, who only played just over an hour of England’s two friendlies.

Despite Romelu Lukaku staying put at Cobham, Kai Havertz takes the main striker spot once more, off the back of his fine scoring form.

Chelsea predicted XI vs Brentford: Mendy; Rudiger, Silva, Christensen; Alonso, Kovacic, Kante, James; Ziyech, Havertz, Mount

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.