Chelsea predicted XI vs Malmo: 21-year-old returns, £45m man dropped, CM combo changed
Chelsea are in action again just days after narrowly defeating Brentford in the Premier League, with a Champions League visit from Malmo up next.
Thomas Tuchel’s men must eradicate the memories of their previous European excursions on Wednesday.
The 1-0 defeat away to Juventus earlier this month has added an unexpected pressure on the midweek tie against Malmo.
Fail to overcome the Swedish side and their grip on the group will loosen even further.
Saturday’s slight victory over Brentford may not have filled fans with much confidence.
Other than reiterating Edouard Mendy’s quality, the London derby shone a spotlight on some of Chelsea’s deficiencies.
Which is why Tuchel will most likely reshuffle his pack quite considerably for the Malmo clash.
Here is our predicted XI:
How could Mendy be left out following an almost perfect performance versus Brentford?
Although the goalkeeper remains in place, expect his back-three to be reshuffled.
Out go Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr, in come Reece James and Thiago Silva.
James, 21, came off the bench on the weekend, whilst Silva missed the game due to Brazilian international commitments.
Andreas Christensen fills up the final slot in the defensive trio.
Cesar Azpilicueta keeps hold of the right wing-back slot, but £45m (BBC) signing Ben Chilwell drops out in favour of Marcos Alonso.
Chilwell should feel hard done if he is replaced, especially considering his current scoring form for club and country.
In between the marauding defenders, Tuchel will likely rejig the two midfielders again.
He actually started with three against Brentford – N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic – yet expect a familiar double-pivot feel to the Malmo contest.
Kovacic should be joined by Jorginho, who sat out the last fixture entirely.
Romelu Lukaku really needs a goal for Chelsea, so he maintains his position in the front line.
His relationship with Timo Werner certainly showed signs of improvement, however, something is still missing there.
Expect Werner to make way for fellow German Kai Havertz, whereas the extra central midfielder becomes an additional attacker in the shape of Mason Mount.
Chelsea predicted XI vs Malmo: Mendy; James; Silva; Christensen; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic; Alonso; Havertz, Lukaku, Mount