Tuchel makes four changes, £24m player returns after two-game absence: Chelsea's predicted XI for Norwich

Oh, how football can change so dramatically in the space of a few months.

So much has happened since Chelsea smashed seven past Norwich City on a relatively warm October afternoon.

Thomas Tuchel’s Premier League title charge slipped away, owed to the numerous and repeated inductees to the treatment room.

On a brighter note, the Blues are now the reigning Club World Cup champions.

But back to the dark stuff: Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale last week.

Ben Chilwell started and scored against the Canaries; he only played another four games afterward before being ruled out for the season.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount also found the net that day; between them, they’ve only managed another six across all competitions.

However, the past is the past and Chelsea must now focus on the present: a trip to Carrow Road tomorrow evening.

Tuchel will also be paying attention to the on-field matters, despite the distractions from outside his office.

Primarily, the German needs to work out which personnel are best suited to facing Norwich on Thursday.

Here’s how we think the Blues will line up:

Defence

Chelsea kept their third league clean sheet in a row last weekend by beating Burnley 4-0 on the road.

As the old saying goes: why fix what ain’t broke?

Edouard Mendy remains in goal, with Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah once again providing the protection.

Midfield

Along with those three successive shutouts has come three successive victories, therefore to tinker too much from a winning formula would be unwise.

Jorginho gets a rest in central midfield, replaced by Mateo Kovacic who arrived off the bench at Burnley.

Kovacic came on for N’Golo Kante, but the awesome pair should be reunited from the first whistle this time.

Reece James’ terrific second-half display at Turf Moor rightly earned him plaudits from across the board, and from his manager.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

However, Tuchel confirmed in his press conference that the defender picked up an injury in training ahead of the match.

Therefore Cesar Azpilicueta, only just back from injury, might be thrown straight into the action.

Whilst Saul Niguez did a decent job on the opposite flank, a more traditional option is available once again.

Marcos Alonso missed the two previous fixtures through illness but returned to training ahead of the Norwich tie.

Expect the £24m (Sky) signing from Fiorentina to take over from his fellow Spaniard.

Attack

With Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic both breaking Burnley’s defence, it would feel unfair to drop them at this very moment.

Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Mount meanwhile did not ripple the net in Lancashire, meaning he may make way for Hakim Ziyech.

Predicted Chelsea XI vs Norwich: Mendy; Rudiger, Silva, Chalobah; Alonso, Kante, Kovacic, Azpilicueta; Pulisic, Havertz, Ziyech

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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.