Tuchel makes three big changes and drops Chelsea's £33m man to the bench: Chelsea predicted XI vs Madrid

Chelsea’s squad are currently gearing towards a huge Champions League showdown with Real Madrid tomorrow night.

The Blues host Spanish giants Madrid on Wednesday evening in the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final.

Thomas Tuchel’s side go into the European contest off the back of a shock 4-1 Premier League defeat at the weekend against Brentford, so there must be a few nerves going into another match at Stamford Bridge.

However, Chelsea did beat Madrid over two legs last season when they came up against Madrid in the Champions League semis.

The Chelsea Chronicle is predicting there will be three changes to the starting XI on Wednesday from the side that started at home to Brentford.

GK and defence

Of course, club number one Edouard Mendy is the obvious pick once again in-between the sticks.

It could be the same three players starting in front of him again in the shape of Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger. There is one major difference, though.

The aforementioned trio all started as part of a back four against Brentford but surely Tuchel will revert to his trusted 3-4-2-1 system to try get the better of Madrid.

It means club captain Azpilicueta, who’s recently had one year added to his contract at the Bridge, starts as one of three centre-backs rather than at full-back.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Midfield

First of all, Marcos Alonso retains his spot in the line up. He does move from a traditional left-back role into his preferred left wing-back position, though.

The first of three changes sees Reece James recalled to the team, and he’s not completely rusty from his injury after coming off the bench on Saturday. His return at right wing-back would be a significant boost against Madrid.

Elsewhere, Chelsea’s midfield is completed with the central pivot of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.

Kovacic is the second fresh face promoted to the starting team to face his ex-club.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, along with Hakim Ziyech, are the two Chelsea players that drop out to make room in the starting XI.

£33million winger Ziyech is one of several that couldn’t moan too much if they were dropped after their weekend contribution. He’s having a good spell overall with his recent form, but the energy of Mason Mount could be favoured against Madrid.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Attack

Mount starts yet again for Chelsea, even if the change of system allows him to move roles to a higher one up the pitch.

The final swap could see Christian Pulisic replace Timo Werner on the left wing.

Pulisic, who didn’t play against Brentford after returning late from international duty, will hopefully be available against Madrid. The 23-year-old got a goal and assist during the matches with Madrid last season, so surely has to be in contention for a recall.

Finally, Kai Havertz continues as the central forward. He couldn’t find a clinical touch against Brentford despite creating chances, but teammate Romelu Lukaku is playing second fiddle to him right now.

Predicted line-up

Mendy
Azpilicueta Silva Rudiger
James Kante Kovacic Alonso
Mount Havertz Pulisic

IN: James, Kovacic, Pulisic

OUT: Loftus-Cheek, Ziyech, Werner

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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.