Date: 22nd February 2021 at 6:52pm
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The Thomas Tuchel era at Stamford Bridge endured its first hiccup on Saturday as the Blues laboured to a 1-1 draw with Southampton at St. Mary’s. 

Mason Mount’s penalty drew the visitors even after on-loan Liverpool midfielder Takumi Minamino had put the hosts ahead early on.

Minamino’s became the first opposition player to score against Tuchel’s Chelsea, with an Antonio Rudiger own goal the only other one that the Blues have conceded since the German replaced Frank Lampard as manager in January.

Tuchel will face his biggest test as Chelsea manager on Tuesday night as the Blues travel to face Atletico Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League.

The German will undoubtedly face several selection headaches ahead of the game, with Marcos Alonso, who had impressed in recent weeks, struggling against Southampton and Callum Hudson-Odoi being controversially substituted off after being introduced at half-time against the Saints.

Tuchel has stated that he is not phased by the huge fees that the club paid for some players last summer before he arrived, stating that his job is not to assemble the club’s big money buys, but rather to build a winning team.

Below is our predicted Blues line up for the clash…

Goalkeeper:

Edouard Mendy

The Senegalese international was rested against Newcastle last week but started against Southampton and Tuchel has insisted that he remains the club’s number one.

Defenders:

Reece James

The Englishman has found his place in the first-team under pressure from Hudson-Odoi since Tuchel has changed to a system with wing-backs. James may be preferred to his teammate purely because of his defensive capabilities, with Tuchel more than aware of the threat posed by the Spanish side.

Cesar Azpilicueta

The club captain has become a regular starter under Tuchel, and will expect to start once again on the right side of a back three against Atletico.

Antonio Rudiger 

The German has also become a regular under his fellow countryman, and will likely start alongside Azpilicueta to combat the threat of former Chelsea man Alvaro Morata.

Kurt Zouma

The Frenchman has found himself out of favour under Tuchel, but will be likely to start in the absence of Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva.

Marcos Alonso

The Spaniard has started regularly ahead of Ben Chilwell since Tuchel arrived. Despite a poor performance against Southampton, Alonso is likely to retain the left wing-back position.

Midfielders:

Jorginho

The Italian midfielder fell out of favour under Lampard, but has found form again recently. He is likely to start after being rested for the majority against Southampton.

N’golo Kante

The French midfielder has been praised by Tuchel, who admits he has always been an admirer of him. He is likely to partner Jorginho in midfield to combat the threat of their opponents.

Kante is likely to start to combat Atletico’s attacking threat

Forwards:

Mason Mount

The English midfielder has been a standout performer for the Blues this season, and scored the equaliser at the weekend. He is likely to continue in the more advanced midfield position.

Timo Werner 

The German has struggled for form of late but still looks dangerous and always poses a threat with his pace.

Tammy Abraham

The English striker was substituted with what looked like an ankle injury against Saints but Tuchel has confirmed that he is fine and that is was purely a tactical substitution. Abraham will be keen to impress and may be preferred to Olivier Giroud, who may provide a solid option from the bench.

 
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