Chelsea predicted XI vs Malmo: 22-year-old makes first CL start of the season, as £24m man returns

Chelsea are back in Champions League action tomorrow evening when they face Swedish side Malmo at the electric Eleda Stadion.

The Blues will be buoyed by their 3-0 Premier League triumph over Newcastle United last weekend, as they aim to make it seven straight wins on Tuesday.

Coincidently, their last defeat was in Europe at the hands of Juventus.

Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Malmo might be looking to repeat this feat, although all the early signs are pointing towards a Chelsea victory.

This is likely even despite the barrage of changes we expect Thomas Tuchel to make for the continental encounter.

Just days after his team travelled north, they will be on the road again, giving virtually no recovery time for those who featured against Newcastle.

Here’s our predicted Blues XI for the Malmo match-up:

Defence

Edouard Mendy was generally a spectator whilst Chelsea put three past the Toon army, so he should be fresher than most for the European encounter.

His defence may look a little different, however.

Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen are rested, allowing the young guns Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr to step up.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Sarr, 22, hasn’t played a single Champions League minute this season, but did feature for Porto in the competition last year.

Antonio Rudiger does remain, to add a little more experience to the youthful rear-guard.

Midfield

Marcos Alonso replaces Ben Chilwell at left wing-back, the £24m (Sky Sports) signing from Fiorentina now second choice in that position.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

On the opposite flank, Cesar Azpilicueta comes in for Reece James, who converted two brilliant goals against Newcastle.

N’Golo Kante partners Ruben Loftus-Cheek in central midfield for only the third time this campaign.

Attack

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech both started the game away to Newcastle, yet were substituted in the second half, perhaps with one eye on the Malmo tie.

Anticipate the pair to be used from the first whistle once again, providing service to Kai Havertz, who continues to fill in for Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner up up front.

Chelsea predicted XI vs Malmo: Mendy; Sarr, Chalobah, Rudiger; Alonso, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Azpilicueta; Hudson-Odoi, 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.