Ross Barkley, Mason Mount – the key changes Thomas Tuchel must make for Malmo vs Chelsea

Chelsea’s ruthless winning streak continued at Newcastle and Thomas Tuchel will be looking for the same again in the Champions League against Malmo.

The Blues have recorded six wins in a row since the disappointing defeat to Juventus and another three points could go a long way to sealing qualification if the Old Lady prevails over Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Despite injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Chelsea came away comfortable victors when they welcomed Malmo to Stamford Bridge as Andreas Christensen, Kai Havertz and two Jorginho penalties cemented a 4-0 win.

Tuchel has been no stranger to rotating his team and that is unlikely to be different on Tuesday evening. The ease with which his team defeated the Swedish side last time out, but just give some encouragement to provide some opportunities too.

Cesar Azpilicueta

The Blues captain returned from injury against Newcastle but had to watch the three-nil win from the bench.

With some additional rotation, the captain’s experience will be vital and he put in an impressive shift up and down the right flank in the reverse fixtures just under two weeks ago.

Whether Reece James gets a break following his goalscoring exploits or Azpilicueta heads into the centre of the pitch, it’s a change Tuchel will not regret making.

Trevoh Chalobah

The 22-year-old has grown from strength to strength this season and has filled in across Chelsea’s back three.

This is another prime opportunity to add to Chalobah’s experience and for him to take an important role in the team.

Christensen and Thiago Silva both played at the weekend so it would be unsurprising to see one or both drop out.

Despite their importance, the Chelsea boss should have no hesitation in giving Chalobah the responsibility to be the central figure in his defence if required.

The former Lorient loan star shone in the role vs Southampton in the Carabao Cup, and with his ability in midfield he can step up with the ball against a team who did not have much possession when they last faced Chelsea.

Saul Niguez

It would not be a shock to see Jorginho and N’Golo Kante given a break this midweek, although perhaps one may keep their place in the absence of Mateo Kovacic.

The Blues should by no means overlook their Swedish opponents but given their display at Stamford Bridge, this may be a fixture more suited to the Spaniard.

The 26-year-old struggled with the relentless pace of the Premier League and high tempo pressing of Aston Villa and Southampton, but Malmo did not bring the same intensity in midfield as Chelsea controlled their last outing.

Minutes are still crucial for the Atletico Madrid loanee and investment in playing time now could pay dividends later in the season.

Would Tuchel trust the midfielder alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who likely starts on Tuesday night? That remains to be seen.

Ross Barkley

Barkley has perhaps already featured more than anyone expected for the Blues, and with Chelsea’s less testing stretch of the season coming to an end, this provides a good opportunity for the former Everton star to impress.

Nobody expects him to be a key cog for the Blues this season, but additional match time will be beneficial in keeping the player determined, and provide the chance for potential suitors to see the class Barkley could provide for them come the turn of the year.

Hakim Ziyech received an opportunity to impress over the Magpies, but did not do enough to deter Tuchel from giving Barkley a chance of his own.

Mason Mount

Mount’s verdict on his absence seems to suggest that he will be available for the Champions League clash this evening.

The midfielder said following Chelsea’s win over Newcastle: “Woke up and didn’t feel 100% (non COVID related) but will hopefully be fully recovered over the next couple of days. Up the CHELS!”

The England international should be brought straight back into the squad, but should only start if truly recovered.

Callum Hudson-Odoi has perhaps convinced Tuchel of his merits on the wing, and may be due a rest after recent weeks.

However, if Mount is fatigued from illness, his availability for future games in an intense schedule should not be risked.

Only Malmo and Burnley remain before the international break, and after missing the weekend and not starting against Southampton, perhaps some minutes on the pitch would do him good.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here