Date:9th September 2021 at 6:58pm
Written by:

The Premier League returns this weekend after making way for the latest round of World Cup qualifiers, with a host of interesting matches taking place. 

Cristiano Ronaldo could make his second debut for Manchester United against Newcastle on Saturday, while Leicester City also host reigning champions Manchester City, and Liverpool travel to face Leeds United at Elland Road.

The Reds are one of seven sides aiming to maintain their unbeaten starts to the new Premier League season, with Merseyside rivals Everton, United, Brentford and West Ham also so far unbeaten.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will also be hoping to avoid a first defeat of the season as they face Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.

Thomas Tuchel’s side have so far beaten both Crystal Palace and Arsenal, and earned a hard fought draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

Below is how we predict the Blues might line up to host the Villains on Saturday.

Goalkeeper

Senegal international Edouard Mendy has played all three league games for the Blues so far, and will expect to continue to do so against Villa ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The ‘keeper is yet to concede from open play so far this term in the league, and will be hoping to add another clean sheet to his tally as he challenges for the golden glove award.

Defenders

Rudiger has been demonstrating his best form since joining Chelsea of late.

With Tuchel’s back three system proving a masterstroke during his time so far as Blues boss, the German will almost certainly continue with his method. Antonio Rudiger has looked a new player since his fellow countryman took charge and will expect to keep his place on the left of the back line.

Youngster Trevoh Chalobah impressed in pre-season and in the first two games of the season, but has since reverted to the bench and Cesar Azpilicueta may well be given the nod ahead of him once again on the right side of defence.

At the heart of the back three, Andreas Christensen is likely to start as Thiago Silva is banned for five days after Premier League clubs refused to let players join international camps.

Midfielders

Wing-back Reece James is suspended for the visit of Villa after his controversial red card against Liverpool at Anfield two weeks prior, meaning that Callum Hudson-Odoi could be handed a rare start. Tuchel has admitted that he sees the youngster’s best position being as part of a back-five, so the Englishman could therefore get the nod.

In the middle, N’Golo Kante will expect to make his second league start of the season after reportedly overcoming an ankle injury sustained at Anfield.

Mateo Kovacic will hope to be given the nod ahead of teammate Jorginho, whose penalty miss cost Italy victory over Switzerland on Sunday, however, all three now have Saul Niguez to compete with. The Spaniard made a deadline day move to the Blues and is expected to make his debut but possibly from the bench.

On the left, we expect Marcos Alonso to continue to keep Ben Chilwell waiting on the sidelines after a decent start to the season.

Forwards

Lukaku and Havertz will both be hopeful of starting against Villa.

Fan favourite and consistent performer Mason Mount is arguably the first name on Tuchel’s team sheet and will occupy the position on the left of the Blues’ front three.

Opposite him, Cristian Pulisic may be given the opportunity to add to his opening day goal against Palace, having sat out the games against both Arsenal and Liverpool. Kai Havertz, whose brilliant looping header opened the scoring against Liverpool, may have to settle for a place on the bench alongside compatriot Timo Werner and Morocco international Hakim Ziyech.

Through the centre, record signing Romelu Lukaku is expected to shake off a thigh injury sustained on Belgium duty and will likely start for the third game running since arriving from Inter Milan. The Belgian striker will fancy his chances against an Aston Villa defence that conceded three times to Watford on their last away trip.

 
Brought to you by Shoot!