Tuchel calls up five academy stars, drops £30m man: Chelsea predicted XI vs Brentford

Thomas Tuchel has been forced to call in reinforcements from within the Chelsea ranks ahead of their Carabao Cup quarter-final battle against Brentford.

Due to a number of positive covid cases and a handful of injury concerns, the boss cast his eye over the academy camp and handpicked a few lucky winners to join first-team training.

At least eight junior stars were pictured practising their skills alongside Tuchel and several of the players who did not feature away to Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.

This is a grand opportunity for those promising talents to impress the Chelsea manager and possibly earn a call up to tomorrow’s squad to face Brentford.

We even suspect a few of them to make the starting team sheet.

Here is our predicted XI for Wednesday’s cup outing:

Defence

There is undoubtedly going to be a whole host of changes from front to back, beginning with the rear guard.

Kepa Arrizabalaga resumes his customary cup role and might be required to pull off some penalty heroics once again.

Malang Sarr steps into the left side of defence, meaning Antonio Rudiger remains from the draw with Wolves but plays centrally instead.

To his right, Xavier Mbuyamba, a defender who has been hotly tipped to fully break into Tuchel’s side in the future.

Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Mbuyamba replaces Cesar Azpilicueta, whilst Sarr takes Thiago Silva’s place.

Midfield

This area of the pitch is where the coach can really start tinkering.

He swaps his whole midfield to give the youngsters a proper runaround.

Marcos Alonso makes way for 17-year-old Lewis Hall at left-wing back, whilst Dion Rankine deputises for fellow Cobham graduate Reece James on the right.

Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Tuchel opts for three men in the middle, due to his limited options in attack.

Jorginho returns, having missed the trip to Molineux, as does Ross Barkley, who didn’t feature at all despite making the Midlands journey.

Next to the experienced pair is the relatively inexperienced figure of Harvey Vale, who has already made the Chelsea bench this season.

N’Golo Kante earns a rest, after playing 45 minutes more than he was advised to on Sunday.

The £30m (BBC) man and Mateo Kovacic are saved for the Boxing Day meeting with Aston Villa.  

Attack

Hakim Ziyech might have been totally unaware who Bryan Fiabema was before today, but they better get acquainted soon, as we think they could partner up in attack.

Ziyech had to be removed against Wolves due to a minor issue, yet Tuchel didn’t believe it was too serious.

Fiabema has been in decent form this term, scoring eight goals in 15 appearances for the Under-23s.

Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic drop to the bench.

Chelsea predicted XI vs Brentford: Kepa; Sarr, Rudiger, Mbuyamba; Hall, Barkley, Jorginho, Vale, Rankine; Ziyech, Fiabema

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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.