After an international break that felt like an eternity, the Blues are finally back in action after appearing in World Cup qualifiers over the past week. Our international blues were up to a lot, with great performances all round. Now, however, our attention turns back to the Premier League, and following our last outing, the boys will need to ensure the momentum continues. Unbeaten in our first three games, Chelsea sit 4th on seven points, with this weekend’s opponents on four points, losing their opening game against newly promoted Watford.
Our last outing didn’t go entirely as planned, with another questionable refereeing performance from Anthony Taylor costing us three points, but then again, grass is green. Reece James will miss the game against Villa following his straight red (yes, it still baffles me after two weeks) card for handball. But not all hope was lost, as we held on for the best part of 70 minutes with 10 men, showing huge signs of improvement defensively.
Now we must look forward towards a Villa side who have lost their main spark, and have struggled to look like the Villa of last season. However, it is still very early, so too much cannot be said about form. Saying that, Chelsea’s unbeaten start will be sure to provide a confidence boost to the Blues, as they look to achieve their 600th Premier League victory, second only to Manchester United.
Team news and updates:
Thomas Tuchel has provided injury updates on three of our players, firstly N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic, who the gaffer says will both miss the game this weekend.
‘N’Golo got injured in the Liverpool game and still suffers a little bit. We are trying with N’Golo for Tuesday. This looks pretty good.
‘For Christian unfortunately he came yesterday on crutches. He has an ankle injury [that will rule him out] for about 10 days.’Thomas Tuchel via Chelseafc.com
Kante is a huge miss for Chelsea as both Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic played a lot of minutes during the international break for their respected nations, meaning both players may be suffering with fatigue, with an increased chance of injury. This does, however, mean we may see new signing Saul Niquez make his Chelsea debut alongside one of the aforementioned players.
Tuchel also gave an update regarding Romelu Lukaku’s thigh injury.
‘Maybe he had some problems but he came back two days ago, he trained yesterday and today full, no problems at all.’Thomas Tuchel via Chelseafc.com
Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger
Azpilicueta, Saul, Jorginho, Alonso
Havertz, Lukaku, Mount
Given James’ suspension, it was difficult to decide on Azpi or Hudson-Odoi at RWB, but given CHO’s lack of game time so far this season, I think it is likely we see Azpi take the spot. I’ve gone for Alonso over Chilwell because I don’t think Marcos has done anything to warrant being dropped, as he’s had a solid start to the campaign. I’m curious to see how a Saul and J5 pivot would work, but given the Kante injury, I feel this is one of the few options we do have for the two CM spots. And finally, the usual front three because these three create magic together, as we have seen in recent weeks.
Players to watch:
Saul Niguez: There is one player that I believe will be at the forefront of everyone’s attention in Stamford Bridge this weekend, and that is new signing Saul. Chelsea fans will be eager to see how the Spaniard gets on in his potential first game for the Blues. Tuchel has said he has been training well, and by the loos of the training videos, he seems to have settled in already.
Danny Ings: Ings has been electric since his move from Southampton, and the Goal of the Month winner will be sure to provide problems for Chelsea’s back three. The England international has proved his worth over the past few years, and is rewarding Villa fans every time he steps on the pitch. Chelsea will have their hands full dealing with him.
Chelsea 3-1 Villa.
Havertz, Lukaku, Jorginho
Written by @mashgreaves