Lukaku, tactics swap – 3 changes Tuchel could make to Chelsea’s starting XI vs Man City

The return of Thiago Silva and Marcos Alonso

Chelsea achieved a result with a versatile set up against Tottenham, with the Blues setting up with a back four of Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Malang Sarr, that could transition into five defenders if required given the experience of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The Blues came away victorious with the rarely-used Sarr even receiving plaudits, but given the success Tuchel’s favoured formation has brought, it’s difficult to see him not reverting to it against the toughest of opponents. Will Sarr keep his place?

N’Golo Kante in, Mateo Kovacic out

Kovacic has probably been Chelsea’s best midfielder this season. Quite the accolade when he holds competition against players that finished third and fifth in the Ballon D’or.

The Croatian played 45 minutes against Chesterfield to ensure he could take to the pitch against Spurs where he played for 77 minutes before being replaced by Kante.

The Frenchman made his return from a positive Covid-19 test and was not in contention to start alongside Silva, after completing just one training session ahead of the class. He was trusted to help manage the end of the game, however, in what is a good sign for the weekend.

The midfield combination of Kante and Jorginho has seen victory over Manchester City three times under Tuchel, and the German coach cannot use a midfield three again.

Kovacic can provide a useful tool to break through the press as the Citizens tire over the course of 90 minutes

Kai Havertz starts

Far from a guarantee but an interesting proposition that could frustrate Guardiola and provide an explanation for why Kai Havertz was left on the bench completely for the Carabao Cup, and Lukaku played the full 90 minutes.

It’s impossible to forget Havertz’s primary success against the Premier League leaders but his ability to press a backline that is comfortable in possession may be even more crucial.

For sure, his threat in front of goal is less than what his Belgian teammate can provide, but Chelsea were unable to retain the ball well enough to bear any fruit from Lukaku’s qualities in September.

Havertz could play instead of Werner but the former RB Leipzig man was involved in Chelsea’s trio of wins last season too, fulfilling both a role leading the line and off the front.

His pace could prove crucial against a high line as Havertz drops deep.

Potential Chelsea XI: Kepa; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Havertz, Werner.


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