Predicted Chelsea line-ups Thomas Tuchel should select vs West Ham with defensive dilemma
Chelsea have little time to rest and recover from the defeat to Arsenal with a clash against West Ham on Sunday.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have lost three back to back losses at Stamford Bridge with defeats to Brentford, Real Madrid and Arsenal, conceding eleven goals in the process, their worst home run in 29 years.
With a five-point gap between themselves and London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal, the warning sirens aren’t on red alert yet, but they must end the blip.
This will be Chelsea’s 56th competitive match of the season with seven league games remaining and a FA Cup final against Liverpool still to play.
The reverse fixture in the season saw the Hammers get a 3-2 win with some very careless defending and goalkeeping from the Blues.
Thomas Tuchel confirmed both Mateo Kovacic and Antonio Rudiger will both miss the match this weekend due to injuries with Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi also out.
football.london’s Chelsea reporters take a look at the side they would name to turn this bad form around…
The Romelu Lukaku experiment didn’t work. There’s no doubt about that. The Belgian really struggled to get involved in the week against Arsenal. For me, Tuchel now needs to go back to the trusted front three of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount. They’re the trio that secured three wins on the bounce going into Wednesday’s defeat.
Chelsea also tried to hand Thiago Silva a rest in the week. That also didn’t work. Tuchel was forced to call upon the 37-year-old defender at half-time at Stamford Bridge, so he needs to come back in against a dangerous West Ham attack. It was a surprise that Malang Sarr started in front of Trevoh Chalobah on Wednesday, so the latter could come in for the former in this game, considering the Frenchman’s poor performance against Arsenal.
Bobby’s XI: Mendy; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Azpilicueta; James, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Werner, Havertz
West Ham have a fair number of injuries to their backline — Issa Diop picked up a knock against Burnley, Angelo Ogbonna suffered an ACL in November, and Kurt Zouma is potentially out, too, so I decided it’d be best for Tuchel to overload the Chelsea attack in a bid to cause some disruption. Last time out, the Hammers mirrored the Blues’ back-three, and with the number of injuries to centre-backs, they could do so again.
Winning the midfield battle will be integral if Chelsea wishes to secure three points. Everyone knows about the threat that Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek offer, so having a combination of height, elusiveness and tenacity in midfield was key. James is world-class at both right wing-back and right centre-half, but Azpilicueta is better suited to the latter.
Chalobah deserves a long-awaited start. He’s been excellent for Chelsea this season, having had to shoulder the expectation that Jules Kounde would’ve brought had he joined in the summer.
Honourable mention for Pulisic, who is in contention, but it’s near-impossible to overlook Werner amid his rich vein of form.
Jakes’s XI: Mendy; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Azpilicueta; James, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Havertz, Werner
Method to the madness before you read my side. I have it as a 4-3-3 but can easily go into a 3-4-3 that we are used to. Playing Saul over Alonso means we can play three in midfield to get extra legs in with tired bodies but can easily revert into a back three with Azpilicueta tucking in and Saul going left wing-back.
I had a toss-up between Kante and Loftus-Cheek, and Kante lost due to his form lately and thinking he needs a break. West Ham will likely also like t put the ball in the box, so Chalobah and Loftus-Cheek help in that case over Christensen and Kante.
I expect Tuchel will mix it up and give Ziyech or Pulisic a start to freshen it up with the front three, although Havertz is coming in for Lukaku, so he may feel that’s enough change.
Scott’s XI: Mendy; James, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Mount; Havertz, Werner