Date: 29th September 2021 at 2:00pm
Written by:

Chelsea’s near-perfect start to the new season came to an end on Saturday afternoon, as reigning Premier League champions Manchester City handed Thomas Tuchel’s side their first defeat of the campaign, and knocked them off of their perch in doing so. 

Tuchel’s side had topped the table going into the game, but Gabriel Jesus’ deflected goal, the first Chelsea have conceded from open play in the league, gave City all three points and knocked Chelsea down to third.

The hosts were criticised for their defensive approach to the match, with the Blues failing to manage a single shot on target for the first time under Tuchel.

Now, they must regroup as they face what will undoubtedly be the hardest game of their Champions League group, a trip to face Juventus in Turin.

Tuchel will have a number of difficult decisions to make ahead of kick off, with his selection against City failing to have the desired effect.

Below, we predict the XI that Tuchel will select for the challenge of Juventus;

Goalkeeper

Tuchel has alternated between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy in recent weeks and both ‘keepers have impressed when called upon. The Senegal international, however, will likely be selected and will have to be on top form to keep Juventus’ star-studded attack at bay.

Defence

Thiago Silva looks set to return to the Blues’ starting XI having started the City game on the bench. The veteran centre-back made a noticeable different to Chelsea’s back line when he was introduced against Pep Guardiola’s side and his experience and leadership skills could be invaluable during what will be a huge game in Turin.

Thiago Silva will be entrusted by Tuchel to lead Chelsea’s defence

Next to him, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen will both start and hope to continue to impress. The pair have been sensational for the Blues so far this season, and both look to have revived their careers at the club since Tuchel’s arrival. The German’s passion has made him a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge and he won’t be far from the action on Wednesday. Young defender Trevoh Chalobah has impressed whenever needed this season, but will likely be named on the bench as Tuchel will favour experience in what promises to be a tight match.

Midfield

Midfield could arguably be the area in which this huge match is one or lost, and Tuchel’s decisions here could therefore be his most significant. His decision to select three central midfielders against City didn’t pay off and he may therefore revert to a double pivot instead.

N’Golo Kante looks almost certain to start after reiterating his importance during the second half of the victory over Tottenham Hotspur a fortnight ago. The Frenchman was imperious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and his abilities, both defensive and offensive, could give Chelsea an edge in Italy.

Tuchel will be hoping that Kante can make the difference against Juventus

Alongside him, Mateo Kovacic could be preferred to Jorginho after the Italian’s sub-par performance on Saturday. The Croatian international has been in superb form this season and his abilities on the ball could be useful. The duo have started together just twice this season, but are arguably the most effective pairing that Tuchel has.

Mason Mount will miss the trip to Turin, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has impressed against both Aston Villa and City in the past week, may once again be used from the bench.

On the right, Cesar Azpilicueta will continue at right-back after being moved there when Reece James went off injured at the weekend. The club captain continues to be a hugely important figure at the club and will be commanding the best from his teammates.

On the opposite side, Marcos Alonso looks to have cemented his place as the club’s first choice left wing-back and will therefore continue to start. Ben Chilwell failed to impress during his only start of the season against Villa in the Carabao Cup, and will have to wait for another opportunity.

Forwards

Tuchel may have to revert to a front three for the trip to face Juventus, with Mount out injured and the set up against City having failed to work.

Romelu Lukaku will lead the line having impressed since returning to the club. The Belgian scored against Juventus last season while playing for Inter Milan, where he scored a total of 24 goals in Serie A. The former Manchester United man was isolated for much of the game against City, and will be hoping for better support and service on Wednesday evening.

Lukaku was left frustrated during Chelsea’s defeat to the Citizens on Saturday

Next to him, Timo Werner could be handed a second consecutive start. The German was given the nod against Manchester City as Tuchel looked to utilise his pace to counter attack, however it didn’t have the desired effect as the Blues struggled to venture into their opponent’s half. Werner and Lukaku, however, looked to link up extremely well during the former’s cameo against Spurs and Tuchel will be hoping that the pair can do so once again.

Kai Havertz could also be in line for a start in behind the attacking pair. The German will be used in an attempt to bridge the gap between midfield and attack that was painfully obvious on Saturday, and stunted any attacking intent. The former Bayer Leverkusen man scored the goal that gifted the club their second Champions League triumph in May, and will be hoping to add another important goal to his tally.

With Juventus having made a shaky start to the new season and both Alvaro Morata and Paolo Dybala both missing for the Italian side, Chelsea will be confident of securing a result and will know that avoiding defeat will stand them in a strong position to qualify from their group.

 
Brought to you by Shoot!