Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel’s team selection for this evening’s Premier League clash with West Ham United at the London Stadium has sparked a reaction from Blues supporters on social media.
The Blues, who have seen their preparations for this evening’s meeting with David Moyes’ side dominated by the fallout of the European Super League’s dramatic collapse, will be looking to get back to winning ways after playing out a goalless draw with Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.
The stalemate with the Seagulls means that the Blues have won just one of their last three Premier League matches, meaning there will be a sense of pressure on their shoulders to get back on track this teatime in a game of such importance.
Although Chelsea were left frustrated by Brighton, the draw did see them leapfrog West Ham in the table, moving above them on goal difference. With that in mind, a win this evening could go an awfully long way in bolstering Chelsea’s ambitions of securing a top-four finish come the end of the campaign.
With the end of the season now not a million miles away, Chelsea are in a strong position on the injury front, with Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic the only confirmed absentee ahead of kick-off, meaning Tuchel had plenty of options available to him.
Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic have all been named in this teatime’s starting line-up, as Tuchel looks to lead his side to a second successive away win in the league.
As well as Silva and Pulisic making the starting XI, N’Golo Kante and Timo Werner have also been handed starting berths.
Chelsea starting line-up: Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Werner. Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, James, Zouma, Alonso, Hudson-Odoi, Gilmour, Havertz, Ziyech, Abraham.
Following Tuesday’s stalemate with Brighton, Tuchel has opted to make a total of six changes to his side, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Ben Chilwell, Mendy, Silva, Kante and Werner coming in and Kepa Arrizabalaga, Reece James, Kurt Zouma, Marcos Alonso, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech making way.
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Most of the reaction to Tuchel’s selection choice for this huge top-four showdown has centred around his decision to put Azpilicueta at right wing-back and rest James. The Spaniard has been superb in a back-three in recent months but now has the chance to prove his worth in a more advanced role.
Some Blues fans believe Tuchel has made the decision to rest James to keep him fresh for the clash with Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Below, football.london has taken a closer look at what some Chelsea fans have had to say on social media in response to Tuchel’s decision.
As you can see from the selection of tweets above, several Chelsea fans have expressed their surprise at Tuchel’s decision to play the Spaniard in that role.
However, Azpilicueta did play at right-back in the goalless draw against Leeds United at Elland Road last month.
You can follow all of this evening’s events from the London Stadium by keeping tabs on our live match blog.