Chelsea predicted XI vs Newcastle: Three remain from EFL cup win, two injured stars return
Chelsea head north this weekend to face Newcastle United in the Premier League.
A clash of the cash-ladened owners, a victory for either side would be priceless.
For Thomas Tuchel, a win will keep them ahead of their close rivals in the race for top-flight authority.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Newcastle need some salvation to lift them from the jaws of relegation.
Certainly a mismatch on paper, but stranger things have happened in football.
Tuchel will be well aware that his group’s fate might change in an instant, hence why we expect a very strong Chelsea team sheet at St James’ Park.
Here’s our predicted XI for Saturday’s matchup with the Magpies:
The Blues fielded arguably the most inexperienced back-line available to them in the Carabao Cup against Southampton mid-week.
Anticipate the youthful talents to make way for the experienced campaigners.
Andreas Christensen replaces Reece James, having sat out the spot-kick win on Wednesday after undergoing surgery on his tooth.
Hopefully the Dane won’t need dentures anytime soon…
Another absentee that should return is Cesar Azpilicueta.
The skipper watched on from that stands whilst Chelsea defeated Southampton, recovering from a shoulder problem sustained in training.
Assume Azpilicueta will reclaim the right-wing back slot, with Ben Chilwell doing the same to Marcos Alonso on the opposite flank.
Jorginho is reinstalled in place of Saul Niguez, but Mateo Kovacic keeps his central midfield slot.
Thanks to Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku’s absences, Kai Havertz is surely going to remain as the leading centre-forward.
He scored against Malmo and Southampton through the middle, so why change it now?
Callum Hudson-Odoi joins Havertz in attack over Ross Barkley, promoted from his wing-back slot versus the Saints.
Mason Mount makes up the forward trio, meaning Hakim Ziyech drops to the bench.
Predicted XI: Mendy; Rudiger, Silva, Christensen; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi