Chelsea will take on Southampton on Saturday at the St. Mary’s Stadium. This will be an important game for Thomas Tuchel‘s side as they are looking to cement themselves in a UEFA Champions League position. The German mastermind helped the London side regain their lost form and took them from the eighth position to the fourth position on the table. They have won four of their last five league games but they must continue their form if they want to stay in the top four. Currently, they are tied with West Ham on points and Liverpool is only two points behind. Everton is five points behind Chelsea but has a game in hand which could put the Blues under pressure once again.
Thus it is vital that Tuchel’s men win on Saturday. It will be an away game so they must be on their best form to defeat the Saints. However, now let’s have a look at the possible starting eleven for the London side as they look onward for their fifth consecutive league victory.
1) Goalkeeper – Eduardo Mendy
Kepa Arizzabalaga started for Chelsea in the last two matches, against Barnsley and Newcastle however, Tuchel had mentioned in a later interview that Eduardo Mendy is still his number one choice. The Senegalese goalkeeper from Stade Rennais has really improved the Blues’ defense this season. Kepa had a shocking season last season and thus Mendy was brought in to replace the Spaniard. In 26 appearances across all competitions, the keeper has kept 18 clean sheets. Thus he will probably start in the upcoming match.
2) Left Center-Back – Antonio Rudiger
The big German center-back has benefited a lot from Tuchel’s arrival. He was frozen out of the team when Lampard was managing and apparently there had been a falling between the player and the ex-manager. However, under the new German manager, the Center-back once again seems lively and is being selected regularly. He has started in all the league matches since the arrival of Tuchel and he is most likely to start yet again in the match against the Saints.
3) Right Center-Back – Cesar Azpilicueta
Tuchel has changed Chelsea’s formation from a traditional four at the back to a more aggressive five at the back. He needs three center-backs and two wing-backs who will help the attack throughout the games. Thus, Azpilicueta becomes his go-to choice for the right center-back position. The Chelsea captain is another player who has benefited from Tuchel’s arrival as he has been selected in all the League matches since his arrival and even scored a fantastic goal against Burnley. The Captain is sure to start again as the former Paris Saint-Germain manager has not been impressed by Kurt Zouma.
4) Central Center-Back – Andreas Christensen
Andreas Christensen will be finishing Chelsea’s back three as Thiago Silva has been confirmed to be out due to an injury. The Danish center-back was not a part of Lampard’s plans as he was not consistent enough and he was not even used by Tuchel in his first two Premier League matches. However, the 24-year-old has started in the last two games in the absence of Silva and that is likely to be replicated in the match against the Saints as well.
5) Left Wing-Back – Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso has thrived under Tuchel and he can be expected to see in the starting lineup in their upcoming match. The Spaniard has returned to his best form after the shift information. The new formation allows him to play in the position that he prefers and thus now he is playing with more freedom and passion. He has been preferred over their new signing, Ben Chilwell, as Chilwell is a more traditional full-back but Alonso plays the best in the wing-back position. Alonso also got a great goal against Burnley and will be eager to get more assists or goals.
6) Right Wing-Back – Callum Hudson-Odoi
Callum Hudson-Odoi has arguably been impacted the most by the arrival of Tuchel. The winger was turned into a wing-back by the German coach and the English player has made a great transition into the position. Tuchel immediately recognized the immense potential that Odoi possessed but due to the club already being filled with wingers, he tried the player in a wing-back position and he was instantly impressed. The 20-year-old is likely to start again ahead of Reece James, who has been having a tough time with the new boss.
7) Defensive Midfielder – Jorginho
Two goals in the last three matches mean that it is likely that the Italian will be chosen again for the match against Southampton. The midfielder was having problems with his game time under Lampard but under Tuchel, he has started every match apart from the FA Cup tie against Barnsley. He has a great partnership with Kovacic and he has been solid at the back while playing some beautiful balls to the forwards. Apart from that, he is also Chelsea’s go-to penalty taker and he has helped the team win against Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United.
8) Defensive Midfielder – Mateo Kovacic
A very underrated player at Chelsea, Kovacic, never really gets the spotlight that he deserves. He plays a big part in Chelsea’s defense and helps them out in the attack as well. He is not as prolific as N’golo Kante but Tuchel has recognized him as his main player. Thus it will not be surprising to see the former Real Madrid player starting alongside Jorginho yet again. There are a lot of talented players in Chelsea’s midfield and they must keep up their game or else they can be quickly replaced.
9) Attacking Midfielder – Mason Mount
Mason Mount is a product of the Blues’ youth academy and thus he is a Chelsea player in and out. The midfielder thrived under the Guidance of Lampard and has continued to perform after his departure. Mount will surely start in the upcoming match as although Kai Havertz is available, Tuchel might not want to rush him immediately into a game. Mount has become a regular due to his attack-minded nature and his long-range ability. The youngster boasts a great shot that can be used to break down stubborn defenses.
10) Attacking Midfielder – Timo Werner
Timo Werner is finally back for Chelsea, physically and mentally as well. He was having a horrible debut season until Tuchel took over. The forward finally got his name on the scoresheet again after 100 days and he seems overjoyed to have finally broken the drought. Werner is a great player who works hard even when he is not trying to get a goal. He has a great work rate and often looks to make assists rather than finishing himself. His goal and assist against Newcastle United will cement him a spot in the starting eleven for the next match as well.
11) Striker – Tammy Abraham
Abraham is yet another youth academy player who benefited a lot under the guidance of Lampard and struggled in the beginning after his departure. However, he was given a chance against Barnsley and he proved himself to Tuchel. Not only did he score the winning goal, he also made a crucial off-the-line clearance at the end. This granted him a start in the match against the Magpies but he took a knock in the early stages of the match and was replaced by Olivier Giroud. The manager has now claimed that Abraham is fit for the match against Southampton and he will probably be given the heads up as he was unlucky to be substituted so soon in his last match.
Image Credit- Chelsea FC Twitter