Chelsea have made eight changes to their starting XI from the team that faced Sheffield United in the FA Cup last time out as Thomas Tuchel’s side prepare to take on West Brom this afternoon.
Out-of-form striker Timo Werner will be hoping to put his Germany horror miss behind him and is named from the start against Sam Allardyce’s relegation battling Baggies. Marcos Alonso is also recalled to the team with Ben Chilwell missing out from the off.
There is no spot in the starting XI for Mason Mount, the England international had a busy time with his country and it seems that Tuchel has decided to save his midfielder for the Champions League clash with Porto mid-week.
Edouard Mendy returns in goal with Kepa Arrizabalaga back on the bench. In defence Tuchel has named the fit again Thiago Silva in a back three alongside Kurt Zouma and captain Cesar Azpilicueta, with Marcos Alonso and Reece James the wing-backs.
Midfield pair Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic start with N’Golo Kante still absent through injury. Ahead of the central midfield duo Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech are in support of Werner.
Chelsea starting XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Zouma, James, Alsono, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pulisic, Ziyech, Werner
Tuchel has named a strong substitutes bench with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Ben Chilwell, Billy Gilmour, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Oliver Giroud giving the German plenty of options.
“Everybody was in training today, we had a fantastic training session, high quality, good atmosphere,” Tuchel said ahead of the game. “Except for N’Golo Kante, who did individual work. But everyone else was out on the pitch and is in contention for tomorrow, which is good news
“It’s very likely [Porto] is too soon [for Kante]. He is doing individual training and from then on you can do the maths. Tomorrow he will miss the game and can’t be in the squad. Then we arrive on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the game, so that leaves us with only three days.
“He has a little muscle injury, as was communicated from the national team. So my realistic approach is to think after Porto and to think about the second game against Porto.”
Tuchel was also slightly frustrated with the lack of preparation time for his squad following the international break, with an early kick-off not the most welcome.
“Even a couple of days [with the players] would have been nice! We only had them for one day which is a pain,” Tuchel added.
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“We get used to it but it is a bit strange at times. I want to be honest that we also enjoy the breaks sometimes like this for the coaching staff and the players who stay here. There weren’t many, only four guys here throughout the two weeks. It was also enjoyable to take a breath to relax and breathe, to refocus after that.
“At the same time, it was also strange. Players go and play in different time zones. [Olivier] Giroud and Kurt Zouma played in a game with five hours time difference. So they have four hours of flights and arrive back in the middle of the night in London. This is clearly not the best preparation for this game. Still, 12.30pm is a special time to play, one that I need to get used to with my routine. It means we go to the hotel today in the evening.
“Yes, we don’t break our heads too much about it. It is clear when you sign for a club like Chelsea that we have to adapt to situations like this. That you need to find solutions. We had very good training sessions today and we will have the team today this evening to enjoy a dinner. It is absolutely necessary that we need to refocus for the game ahead.”