Tuchel makes nine changes, £50m man replaces 27-year-old: Chelsea predicted XI vs Aston Villa
Thomas Tuchel will likely reshuffle his Chelsea pack almost entirely from mid-week to ensure a fresh set of faces take on Aston Villa.
The Blues boss made wholesale changes to his team for the Carabao Cup quarter-final game against Brentford.
He handed debuts to three academy players, as well as giving the likes of Saul Niguez, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Malang Sarr rare starts.
In the end, however, it was the first-team regulars who rescued the result and ensured Chelsea’s progression to the final four.
As most of these international stars came off the bench on Wednesday, we expect most of them to feature again away to Aston Villa.
Here is the Boxing Day predicted XI we believe Tuchel will put out:
Kepa Arrizabalaga was Chelsea’s man of the match at Brentford but is set to make way for Edouard Mendy once again.
Yet, this might be Mendy’s last domestic outing before he heads off to the Africa Cup of Nations, so Kepa won’t have to wait too long for another opportunity.
Trevoh Chalobah is the only centre-back who remains from the victory in the capital.
Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger return in place of Malang Sarr and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Xavier Simons was one of the teenage talents who Tuchel throw into the big time at the Brentford Community Stadium.
He will most likely make way for Reece James, who reclaims his traditional right wing-back slot.
Mateo Kovacic got much-needed minutes under the belt, following a lengthy period on the sidelines.
But we believe the 27-year-old will move aside for £50m (Sky Sports) matchwinner Jorginho and fit again N’Golo Kante.
Saul Niguez had a decent evening in London, yet a Premier League start is still too far out of reach.
Marcos Alonso keeps his place at left wing-back.
Harvey Vale and Jude Soonsup-bell led in the line admirably the other day, a real testament to the work being done at Cobham.
The young duo might make the bench on Sunday, as a reward for their efforts against Brentford.
Taking their spots in attack will possibly be Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, whilst Ross Barkley makes way for Hakim Ziyech, permitted he is fully recovered from injury.
Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi could be free from their covid constraints by then, but may just be too short of match fitness to play from the first whistle.
Chelsea predicted XI vs Aston Villa: Mendy; Rudiger, Silva, Chalobah; Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, James; Ziyech, Pulisic, Mount