Tuchel makes 10 changes and hands out four debuts: Chelsea predicted XI vs Chesterfield
Thomas Tuchel is expected to name an almost entirely changed Chelsea team for the FA Cup third-round tie against National League leaders Chesterfield.
The Champions League holders host the current table-toppers in England’s fifth tier at Stamford Bridge tomorrow evening.
For the majority of the Chesterfield squad, it will be the biggest game of their careers.
But this will also be a significant occasion for many members of the Blues clan.
Having faced Tottenham Hotspur mid-week, Tuchel is more than likely to call-upon several junior stars to fill in for his recovering senior sergeants.
Here is the Chelsea line-up we think will face the Spireites on Saturday:
With Edouard Mendy now involved in the Africa Cup of Nations, any excuse to rest Kepa Arrizabalaga will be taken.
Meaning Marcus Bettinelli should make his Chelsea debut, nearly six months after being signed from Fulham as a free agent.
Bettinelli’s back-line is surely going to be equally as fresh.
Malang Sarr keeps his place from the 2-0 Carabao Cup triumph over Tottenham, the only player to remain stationed in the side.
Xavier Mbuyamba also earns a maiden start for Tuchel’s team, having been a regular trainer with the core group since the German’s introduction as manager.
Although it might feel like his first start, Lewis Baker does actually own one appearance for the Blues.
That was way back in 2014 and it lasted three minutes, so this really will feel like a new beginning.
Baker has been playing in midfield for the Under-23s, but is a centre-half by trade.
At 26, he would be the senior member of the back three.
Tuchel can sprinkle his midfield with a combination of youth and experience.
Lewis Hall, 17, comes in at left wing-back to make his debut for Chelsea.
On the opposite flank, fellow teenager Xavier Simons, who started the Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Brentford.
Centrally, Tuchel could call upon well-capped duo Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Barkley’s best chances to impress the coach – or to put himself on the market – will probably come in this competition.
It is a pretty safe bet to say this may well be the youngest forward line the Blues have put out in the modern era.
Jude Soonsup-Bell and Harvey Vale led the line admirably against Brentford and warrant another stab at the big time.
Bryan Fiabema meanwhile deserves to be handed a senior Chelsea debut for his goalscoring efforts in the development set-up this season.
Eight goals in 15 appearances is nothing to be sniffed out.
Chelsea predicted XI vs Chesterfield: Bettinelli; Sarr, Mbuyamba, Baker; Hall, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Simons; Vale, Fiabema, Soonsup-Bell