Chelsea will look to improve on their sub-par start to the season when they face West Ham at Stamford Bridge this Saturday. The Blues have been one of the Premier League’s most active teams during the transfer window and enjoyed a busy deadline bringing Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Juventus midfielder Denis Zakaria to take their summer spending to £251million according to Transfermarkt.
Here Express Sport predicts how Thomas Tuchel will arrange his lineup against the club’s London rivals with starts predicted for at least one of their new men.
Goalkeeper: Eduoard Mendy
Despite being somewhat off form in recent weeks the Senegal international is likely to once again start between the sticks. Tuchel is likely to stick with his first choice as Mendy looks to play through the sticky patch he is currently experiencing.
However, with Kepa Arrizabalagawaiting in the wings, it may not be long until the 30-year-old is taken out of the first team spotlight if he does not improve.
Defenders: Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly
Silva and Koulibaly look to be nailed starters for Chelsea at the moment with the two defenders starting to form a good understanding. The Brazilian has been the pick of the bunch and remains the club’s best centre-half despite approaching his 38th birthday.
It is on the right-hand side of the back three where Tuchel will have more questions having started full-back Reece James there regularly this season and Fofana could be pitched in for his first Chelsea start. The Frenchman should be fully fit for the match having started the season for Leicester before being left out of the side as he looked to push through a move to Stamford Bridge.
Wing backs: Reece James, Marc Cucurella
The confirmation of Fofana should allow Reece James to return to his right wing-back slot having started the season at centre-back, particularly after alternative option Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a hamstring injury. The England international was missing from the defeat against Southampton with illness but is expected to be fit for Saturday’s clash.
Cucurella should once again line up on the opposite side having enjoyed a solid start to his Chelsea career. Ben Chilwell is still struggling for fitness following an ACL injury last season and is once again expected to start on the bench.
Central Midfield: Jorginho, Denis Zakaria
As the only fully fit holding midfielder at the club ahead o deadline day, Jorginho is likely to once again start at Stamford Bridge. The Italian has not set the heather alight this season but his durability should see him keep his place.
With N’golo Kante injured and Matteo Kovacic just returning, Zakaria could be in line for his first start in a blue jersey after his deadline day arrival. The Swiss international has joined on loan until the end of the season and will add height and physicality to the midfield.
Forwards: Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, Armando Broja
The English duo are both certainties to start. The Sterling has been the only player of the attacking trio to score at all this season while Mount will be expected to recover his form.
It is the central striker position that Tuchel will have the most questions over with many Chelsea supporters hoping Aubameyang will make his debut. However, a broken jaw inflicted by an intruder who burgled his Spanish home is likely to rule him out for the next three weeks meaning the Gabon captain may be forced to wait for his first appearance in blue.
Broja may be the best bet to keep the 33-year-old’s position warm in the meantime. The Albanian looked to be a huge improvement on Kai Havertz when he replaced the struggling German at St Mary’s as Tuchel looks to have a stronger figurehead at the centre of his attack.
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