Thomas Tuchel laments Chelsea's lack of rhythm in loss to Juventus
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Chelsea need to get back to winning ways after successive 1-0 defeats to Manchester City and Juventus in the Premier League and Champions League. They welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge today (3pm) looking to keep pace at the top of the table. Express Sport looks at the line-up Thomas Tuchel could name in west London with three players unavailable due to injuries and Covid.
Goalkeeper – Mendy
Edouard Mendy has only conceded three goals in eight matches across all competitions and never more than once in a single match.
The Senegalese shot-stopper trails City’s Ederson in the battle for the Golden Glove by two shut-outs, albeit having missed one league game, and having missed out to the Brazilian last term will be eager to avoid conceding against Southampton.
Kepa Arrizabalaga had stepped in for Chelsea against Tottenham and Aston Villa and Tuchel said upon Mendy’s return from a hip injury: “We are here to push Kepa to the absolute limit. He is fantastic and we are happy to have him.
“But Mendy is in the moment number one and number one is ready to play. It is easy, not hard at all. There are no hard feelings in there.”
Defence – Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger
Tuchel confirmed before the defeat to Juventus that Reece James would need “a minimum of one more week”, adding: “Reece’s injury is still very painful and it will come down to pain management in the end.”
Gareth Southgate has since said of James and team-mate Mason Mount: “Our understanding is that Mason and Reece have a good chance for the weekend.”
But Tuchel may not take a risk with James, meaning Cesar Azpilicueta remains at right wing-back rather than in central defence.
Thiago Silva will not play a second 90 minutes within a week after facing Juve but Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger will keep their places.
Trevoh Chalobah should make a first start since facing Aston Villa in place of Azpilicueta.
Midfield – Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso
As mentioned, Azpilicueta should start out on the right-hand side with James potentially coming on off the bench.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic should form the same central midfield partnership that played against Juve with N’Golo Kante absent with COVID-19.
Saul Niguez and Ross Barkley are among those who will hope to get minutes off the bench in the middle of the park.
Marcos Alonso should has established himself as the first choice left-sided player with Ben Chilwell having yet to play a single minute in the league.
That could change here but still the Spaniard is expected to start against the Saints.
Attack – Mount, Werner, Lukaku
Though James may not feature, Chelsea have missed Mason Mount badly in their past two games and the England international could return to the starting eleven here as a result, benching Hakim Ziyech.
Timo Werner scored twice and grabbed an assist at home to Southampton last season in a game that marked his first league goals for the club.
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The German was reportedly unhappy at being snubbed in favour of Barkley in Turin but he could start here with the visitors likely to give him space in which he can run into to stretch their back-line.
Romelu Lukaku will lead the line and the four-goal Belgian will hope for better fortunes than his past three goalless games.
Christian Pulisic has not been called up for the United States for the upcoming international break and therefore should play no part here due to an ankle problem.
Expected Chelsea XI to face Southampton (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Werner, Lukaku.
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