Predicted Chelsea 3-4-2-1 line-up to face Aston Villa: Eight changes, £45m man starts first game of season

Chelsea are currently preparing for tonight’s Carabao Cup third round tie at home to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.

It’s a re-run of a recent Premier League fixture, which the Blues won 3-0. 

However, Villa were well on top for stages of the league fixture on 11 September, so may fancy their chances of causing a cup upset. 

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has already hinted there will be changes to his starting XI tonight from the team that beat Tottenham 3-0 on the weekend.

Here The Chelsea Chronicle guesses Tuchel’s starting line-up and this is one of the toughest predictions in a while: We are predicting there could be eight changes for the Carabao Cup tie:


First of all, Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has been ruled out again for Wednesday’s cup fixture through injury. Kepa Arrizabalaga stepped in without fuss against Spurs on Sunday, so expect him to retain his spot in-between the sticks.

Meanwhile, there could be some changes to the back-three. 

Ever-present Antonio Rudiger surely needs a rest so will come out of the side, plus Thiago Silva may drop to the bench with a league showdown against Manchester City just on the horizon. 

This could see young talent Trevoh Chalobah back in the XI and he’s earned more game time after an impressive start to the season. Also, versatile defender Reece James could return as a right-sided centre-back. 

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

That leaves Andreas Christensen as one of the three players to keep their spots in the team.

Unseen defender Malang Sarr is one possible option that Tuchel may look towards, but recent history suggests the manager likes one of Christensen or Silva at the heart of the back-three.


Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is surely due a night off, so Callum Hudson-Odoi could step in as the right wing-back against Villa.

Similarly, left wing-back Marcos Alonso needs a rest after starting all five Premier League games so far. This opens the door for £45million Englishman Ben Chilwell to make his first start of the season, something which would delight fans. 

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

In the centre of the park is where it gets tricky. 

Saul Niguez replacing Mateo Kovacic looks a fairly safe bet. However, Chelsea are still facing a quality opposition in Villa, so expect Tuchel to want some control of the midfield. 

With N’Golo Kante still returning to fitness by only playing minutes off the bench against Spurs, Jorginho could be the third and final player to stick in the XI.

Chelsea’s squad depth is so strong the manager can effectively name two quality starting line-ups, but retaining Jorginho seems critical. Ross Barkley may get some minutes from the bench.


Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku are the preferred front trio right now at Stamford Bridge. It won’t be a surprise, though, if they all drop down to the bench tonight. This gives Tuchel some firepower if he needs back-up against Villa. 

Tuchel has hinted Ruben Loftus-Cheek may get some action, so expect him to play in one of the two attacking positions behind a striker. Hakim Ziyech may be the other creator and he desperately needs a big performance. 

Finally, Timo Werner could be given the opportunity to show what he can do leading the line. It may be a rare occasion that Lukaku doesn’t start, so all eyes will be on Werner to see how he performs. 

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Predicted 3-4-2-1 line-up


James Christensen Chalobah

Hudson-Odoi Jorginho Saul Chilwell

Ziyech Loftus-Cheek


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Dom is a Chelsea supporter who has worked in online publishing for more than six years. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016, he now writes exclusively for The Chelsea Chronicle covering news, analysis and match coverage. He enjoys the dream position of writing about his boyhood club, which seems to be involved in more drama every single day than an episode of The Bill. Aside from his love for Chelsea, he supports and follows the England cricket team. He also fancies himself as the Sunday League version of Michael Essien.