Tuchel makes two changes as £24m player gets a recall to start: Chelsea predicted XI vs Palace

So much has changed since Chelsea and Crystal Palace clashed on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

That 3-0 victory for the Blues at Stamford Bridge signalled the start of a terrific run that only really ended in December.

By Christmas, Thomas Tuchel’s men were top of the pile and pretty much the punter’s choice to topple over Manchester City’s dominance.  

However, in the space of a few months, they went from title favourites to podium hopefuls.

Recently being crowned the Club World Cup champions has offered a welcome distraction from the league disappointment, yet focus must instantly return to the domestic matter at hand.

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

A trip to Selhurst Park will not be a straightforward one for Chelsea, therefore we expect a strong lineup to walk out on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s our predicted XI for the weekend’s showdown in the capital:

Defence

Supporters shouldn’t place their bets on seeing many changes to the team that defeated Palmeiras almost seven days ago.

Edouard Mendy retains his place in goal, whilst Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen make up the back three once more.

Midfield

Again, we anticipate only a minor tweak to Tuchel’s midfield.

Having sat out the Club World Cup finale, Marcos Alonso might well reclaim the left wing-back slot.

The £24m (BBC) man from Fiorentina lost his position to Callum Hudson-Odoi, one we think he may reclaim.  

He will be eager to double his tally against Palace, having converted a delightful freekick in the reverse fixture.

Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Cesar Azpilicueta stays put at right wing-back, with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic partnering up in midfield for the second game running.

Attack

Both of Chelsea’s goalscorers against Palmeiras earn another shot to add to their tally.

Romelu Lukaku opened proceedings with his tenth of the campaign before Kai Havertz sealed the victory from the penalty spot in the 117th minute.

They could be joined by Hakim Ziyech, who had enjoyed a rich vein of form before sitting out the showpiece event in Abu Dhabi.

Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Mason Mount will make way for whichever forward Tuchel picks after he suffered an ankle injury against the Brazilians.

Chelsea predicted XI vs Palace: Mendy; Rudiger, Silva, Christensen; Alonso, Kante, Kovacic, Azpilicueta; Ziyech, Lukaku, Havertz

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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.