Chelsea Predicted XI for Burnley: £34 man retains place, no start for 23-year-old talent
Thomas Tuchel has had plenty of time to tinker his Chelsea line-up before they host Burnley in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
This is in complete contrast to the period he was afforded before picking his very first Chelsea XI for the home draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Tuchel took the experienced route as he attempted to avoid any upsets before he had even begun. This involved many of Frank Lampard’s young guns giving way for their senior teammates.
Now with a whole four days with his new squad, Tuchel can begin to stamp his true style upon Chelsea.
Edouard Mendy of course stays in between the sticks. Having trialed a 3-4-3 formation at home to Wolves, Tuchel will want to keep consistency in his side’s shape.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva both remain in defence alongside the resurged £34m (Guardian) man Antonio Rudiger.
Perhaps Tuchel’s most eye-raising decision was to deploy Callum Hudson-Odoi at right-wing back. Despite never playing their previously, the academy star was excellent on Tuesday and a repeat versus Burnley would be warmly welcomed.
This means Reece James still won’t get a look in under Tuchel, as Ben Chilwell takes the opposite flank.
N’Golo Kante’s return to training was an early sign that he could be making his duct for the German coach. Tuchel teased the media after suggesting Kante’s ‘best position was a double six’ (via Chelsea YouTube channel) in a midfield two.
Mateo Kovacic should therefore be the man to partner the double Premier League winner. The Croat was quietly constructive midweek and deserves to stay put.
Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount were both left out by Tuchel against Wolves but did more than enough in their brief cameos to earn a recall.
Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz should feel slightly hard done by to be dropped but they just didn’t provide enough energy in the final third.
Olivier Giroud continues to lead the line with Burnley’s physical centre-halves in mind. Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham will be forced to watch on from the bench.
The 23-year-old England international has only started nine games in the league this campaign and is likely to be utilised mainly as a substitute by Tuchel.