Date:23rd April 2021 at 7:27pm
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Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side travel to West Ham United on Saturday evening in what is looking to be a pivotal contest in the race to qualify for the Champions League. 

The Blues only just have their noses in front of the Hammers thanks to a superior goal difference, but with both sides on 53 points it is looking to be a real who blinks first race to the top-four.

Tuchel’s side suffered a limp 0-0 draw at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday night as the West Londoners suffered both on and off the pitch as fans blocked their team bus from entering the stadium to express their anger at the club’s initial intention to join the European Super League.

Brighton were also incredibly unlucky to have not secured the three points as they created a lot more chances and even hit the post through a curling Danny Welbeck effort which sailed past the recalled Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal.

It is likely Tuchel will chop and change his team once more ahead of a Champions League semi-final first-leg against Real Madrid just three days later.

Here is Shoot’s predicted Chelsea line-up to face the Hammers…

GK: Edouard Mendy

The Senegalese shot stopper was benched for record signing Kepa on Tuesday as Tuchel continues to build the Spaniard’s fragile confidence.

However, trust is still unwaveringly behind Mendy who has been an imperious presence in the Blues net since his arrival from Rennes in the Summer.

DF: Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger

Christensen and Zouma will likely be rotated

Azpilicueta had started every league game under Tuchel, but the Blues captain was not in the back three against the Seasiders on Tuesday night as the German deployed Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Rudiger in the Blues defence.

With the pressure mounting we feel Tuchel will move to the experienced players so we expect to see Azpilicueta and Silva swapped in for Zouma and Christensen.

Like Azpilicueta, Rudiger has also been a constant in the Blues defence since Tuchel’s arrival so he will likely keep his place.

MF: Reece James, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell

It was a very different central midfield for Chelsea, as Mason Mount was moved into a deeper central position alongside Jorginho against Brighton.

With the Blues barely creating any chances against Graham Potter’s side, expect to see Mount moved back to his previous position of supporting Havertz as the loan striker.

Reece James will likely keep his place, while Ben Chilwell will be brought back to the fold after being rotated for Marcos Alonso on Tuesday.

As West Ham have proven to be very devastating on the counter-attack thanks to the pace of Jesse Lingard and Jarrod Bowen, Kante and Kovacic’s speed, mobility and their ability to snuff out counter attacks will most likely be preferred to Jorginho’s smart and tidy passing.

FW: Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic

Pulisic has three goals in his last three Premier League games.

Havertz as a false nine is an experiment Tuchel is continuing to persist with, while Pulisic has also been one of Chelsea’s in form players with three goals in his last three games.

Meanwhile, Mount has rightly been one of Tuchel’s go to players and he will likely be moved into the front three following a deeper outing in the week.

This means the likes of Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi could have to wait for an opportunity from the bench.

 
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