Thomas Tuchel’s next Chelsea team selection may his most important to date, with a testing tie against Atletico Madrid looming over the horizon.

Their dress rehearsal for this Champions League knockout clash did not go exactly to plan.

A 1-1 draw with Southampton was not the worst outcome for Chelsea, especially as it stretched their unbeaten run under Tuchel to seven matches.

Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium on February 20, 2021 in Southampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Neil Hall – Pool/Getty Images)

But the manner of their performance certainly displeased the coach and he will demand a massive reaction from his side on Tuesday.

Despite their generally lacklustre display versus Southampton, there won’t be overriding changes to the Blues starting line-up when they play Atletico.

Tuchel will stick to his word by maintaining Edouard Mendy in goal.

Perhaps the most significant inclusion is that of Thiago Silva’s presence back in defence.

Chelsea’s £110,000 per-week (Spotrac) Brazilian has been out since he suffered a thigh problem at Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month.

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 04: Thiago Silva of Chelsea leaves the pitch with an injury during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on February 04, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Although Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma have done a decent job in his absence, Tuchel will need his most experienced player who’s had plenty of previous European action at this level.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger remain alongside Silva as part of the back three.

There are no alterations from the midfield that started at Southampton.

Reece James and Marcos Alonso stay at wing-back, whilst N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic continue to partner one another centrally.

FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-CHELSEA
Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel (L) gestures with Chelsea’s Spanish defender Marcos Alonso at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Timo Werner and Mason Mount also to keep their place just behind the main striker.

Mount’s influence was clear again last weekend and tomorrow’s game provides an excellent opportunity to prove his quality on football’s grandest European stage.

FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-CHELSEA
Chelsea’s English midfielder Mason Mount celebrates after scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by Michael Steele / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Although Werner was very quiet at Saint Mary’s, his ability to run beyond defences could be an important weapon as Chelsea try to conquer Atletico’s compact rear-guard.

Olivier Giroud in for Tammy Abraham is the only other major modification.

Abraham was dragged off at half-time by Tuchel. Chelsea’s coach explained that the 23-year-old had been unable to ‘put his stamp on this game’ (BT Sport).

Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Tammy Abraham of Chelsea is challenged by Mohammed Salisu of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium on February 20, 2021 in Southampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Giroud still has plenty to offer and could be vital to countering Madrid’s corporal approach.  

Chelsea predicted XI vs Atletico Madrid: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Giroud, Werner

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