Thomas Tuchel’s four key selection decisions ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Brentford


While the international break can often be the bane of a club manager, especially when there have been two in the first three months of the season, it hasn’t been all bad for Chelsea.

Romelu Lukaku is, according to his national manager Roberto Martinez, suffering from “overload” and muscle fatigue while Antonio Rudiger is reported to have suffered a slight back issue while away with Germany, so Thomas Tuchel will be sweating on the fitness of two of his key players ahead of the visit to Brentford this weekend.

That’s the slight “bad” from the break but there has also been some positives.

Ben Chilwell started and scored for England against Andorra, while Mason Mount got more minutes under his belt on his return from injury as well.

Timo Werner and Kai Havertz both found the net for Germany as they secured their place at Qatar 2022 while Andreas Christensen continued his strong form with Denmark as they also booked a World Cup spot.

Away from the international scene, Chelsea were boosted by two players returning to full training at Cobham this week. N’Golo Kante and Reece James were both back among the group who remained at the Blues training ground ahead of a possible return this weekend.

Kante has served his 10-day isolation period having tested positive for Covid-19, while James is back from an ankle injury he picked up during the defeat to Manchester City which ruled him out for two games prior to the international break.

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Those two returning to training, plus the slight doubts over Lukaku and Rudiger, mean that Tuchel will have a couple of selection headaches for the short trip along the A4 to the Brentford Community Stadium.

The European players will be returning to Cobham imminently but Thiago Silva is almost certain to miss out on Saturday, as Brazil play their final qualifier of this current break against Uruguay at 1.30am UK time on Friday morning.

With Silva’s absence expected and Tuchel hoping that Rudiger’s injury won’t keep him out, decisions need to be made in the backline. Trevoh Chalobah could therefore start his second straight Premier League game, fresh off scoring against Southampton last time out.

Should Rudiger not make it, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cesar Azpilicueta play as a third centre-back alongside Christensen and, perhaps, Chalobah. That then leaves a vacancy at right wing-back.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, who played in his best position on the left of the front three against Southampton before the break, could come back in at right wing-back should Tuchel deem that James isn’t fit enough to return straight away.

In midfield, Kante should be able to start in west London but Tuchel will again be wary, considering the French World Cup winner has suffered with injury issues in the past few months that have seen him miss short spells.

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The trio of Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho worked very well against Tottenham in the second half but that is the only time we have seen it in action this season.

Tuchel prefers his two midfield six pivots, so there isn’t usually room for all three to get in the same starting line-up, meaning a tactical switch could be in the offing if the Blues head coach wants to get all three in.

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Then up front as well, with Lukaku a doubt for the game, Timo Werner could well play through the middle as he will aim to continue his streak of three goals in his last two games for club and country.

Mason Mount should get the nod and if Lukaku is ruled out then Havertz would likely get the start over Hakim Ziyech, with Christian Pulisic still injured and Hudson-Odoi perhaps being shifted back into a defensive role.

Should Lukaku make it then it’s a toss-up between Havertz and Werner as to who starts alongside him and Mount in the front three.

Source by Football London

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