Tuchel makes six changes as £33m star returns and Lukaku is dropped: Chelsea predicted XI for Leeds

Chelsea are currently preparing for a vital Premier League fixture at home to Leeds United on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues welcome Leeds to Stamford Bridge tomorrow in a league match, which is the perfect opportunity to respond to some mixed results lately.

Thomas Tuchel’s side were beaten last weekend in the league against West Ham. Also, they conceded a stoppage time strike in midweek during the 3-3 draw out in Russia against Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League group stages.

The Chelsea Chronicle has predicted the starting line-up that will take to the field against Leeds, with six changes to the XI from Wednesday night’s draw against Zenit.

For context, the predicted side excludes the six first-team players that were unavailable in the Champions League this week. Tuchel’s regular Friday press conference will hopefully provide some positive fitness updates, though, to make a few more senior faces available to play.


Trevoh Chalobah, Ben Chilwell, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all missed the Zenit fixture.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea need defensive rock back

It’s going to be interesting to see if Chelsea’s backline can get back to looking like itself this weekend after a few dodgy games where they’ve been vulnerable.

First of all, Edouard Mendy replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal seems a no-brainer and the first of six predicted changes.

In addition, it would be no surprise if both Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva are restored to the XI after dropping down to the bench against Zenit.

That would leave Andreas Christensen as a survivor in the XI and he could move across to the right of the back-three system.

Make-shift midfield

Hopefully, Chelsea receive good news on either Jorginho or Ruben Loftus-Cheek to pass them fit for tomorrow. If not, Tuchel will have to be creative once again in his midfield.

Marcos Alonso’s return at left wing-back in place of Saul Niguez appears probable and is the fourth of six changes.

Elsewhere, Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta moves up the pitch to right wing-back.

Reece James may continue in the centre of the park if Chelsea’s midfield continues to be decimated. Meanwhile, Mason Mount could provide some much-needed legs against Leeds by dropping from attack into the central midfield position next to James.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

In-form attack

Chelsea all of a sudden have some forward players in their squad that look in good form.

Timo Werner, who scored two goals and assisted against Zenit, surely has to retain his position.

However, the final two changes of the predicted team come in the final third.

£33million playmaker Hakim Ziyech is in a great vein of form right now, so perhaps Tuchel will look to bring his freshness in. Also, centre-forward Kai Havertz didn’t start against Zenit and will be ready to be back in the XI.

This would mean Romelu Lukaku stepping out of the side. The Belgian striker scored in midweek to continue his injury comeback, but leaving Havertz out in this kind of form will be tough for Tuchel.

Predicted line-up


Christensen Silva Rudiger

Azpi James Mount Alonso

Ziyech Havertz Werner

In: Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz

Out: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Malang Sarr, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ross Barkley, Saul Niguez, Romelu Lukaku

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.