Chelsea are set to face Brentford this weekend in what is their first return to Premier League action following the international break.
The Blues actually headed into the international fortnight in fine fettle having dismissed Southampton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to leave them top of the pile in the Premier League.
Thomas Tuchel then will have been hoping that his players returned to west London in full fitness as Chelsea attempt to negotiate what is set to be a tough challenge up against Thomas Frank’s men.
Taking various injuries and form into account, football.london takes a guess at the strongest team that the German could be set to name when the Blues travel to the Brentford Community Stadium.
After overcoming a couple of niggly injury worries at the start of the campaign, Senegalese stopper Edouard Mendy is back firmly between the sticks for the Blues.
The 29-year-old has so far made nine appearances for the Blues throughout the campaign and has chalked up four clean sheets.
It is in defence where Tuchel has a number of issues to contend with after the international break.
Reece James is still recovering from an injury he picked up against Manchester City and whilst an update is expected to be given on his condition, it appears unlikely that he will be risked against Brentford.
This leaves a somewhat troubling issue at right wing-back, where Cesar Azpilicueta would usually be called upon. However, regular centre-backs Antonio Rudiger (back) and Thiago Silva (international duty) are doubts so the Spaniard could be required to remain central alongside the likes of Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah.
Of course, this leaves Chelsea without a natural right-sided defender so Callum Hudson-Odoi may potentially be shoehorned in should Tuchel not elect to alter his system.
Another tricky decision faces Tuchel at left-back. Ben Chilwell started against Southampton and managed to find the back of the net – whilst he also scored for England during the international break. However, Marcos Alonso could potentially get the nod having been first-choice throughout the majority of the campaign.
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Tuchel is blessed for options in the centre of the park at the current time. N’Golo Kante had been out of action but appears to have returned to training following the international break. It remains to be seen if he will be risked.
Should Chelsea elect to reintroduce the Frenchman, he could assemble a formidable midfield three alongside Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
The pair have performed excellently for the Blues so far this season and despite Jorginho sitting out against the Saints, he could well be recalled to the starting line-up this weekend.
There are also a few decisions for the Chelsea boss regarding his attack. The main loss is of course going to be Romelu Lukaku after he complained of muscle fatigue when away with Belgium. He returned to Chelsea mid-way through the international break but it remains to be seen if he will be fit enough to play Brentford.
Should he be absent, Timo Werner is the natural replacement having netted against Southampton last time out.
Mason Mount could also be handed a more advanced role against the Bees, with the likes of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech struggling for form, whilst Christian Pulisic remains restricted to the sidelines.
Best Chelsea XI after the international break: Mendy; Alonso, Chalobah, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Hudson-Odoi; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Mount, Werner.
Source by Football London