Chelsea welcome capital rivals West Ham United to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
A humble seven points from Chelsea’s opening five matches is the club’s worst start to a top flight season since 2015. That year, as defending champions, Jose Mourinho led the Blues into a downward spiral before parting company with the club.
Thomas Tuchel is a long way from that catastrophic eventuality but can’t let his side continue to be “too easy to beat” for too much longer.
Here’s the XI Tuchel may deploy to begin rectifying their underwhelming start.
Chelsea predicted lineup vs West Ham (3-4-3)
1. Chelsea XI
GK: Edouard Mendy – Since the start of last season, Mendy has made an unrivalled six mistakes leading to opposition shots in the Premier League (per FBref).
CB: Wesley Fofana – The most expensive acquisition of Chelsea’s vicarious summer spending spree could be afforded his debut this weekend.
CB: Thiago Silva – With his 38th birthday rapidly approaching, Silva is the oldest Premier League player to feature so far this season.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly – The son of “a real French lumberjack” with a legendary work ethic Koulibaly Junior revels in.
RWB: Cesar Azpilicueta – According to his former manager Mourinho: “A team with 11 Azpilicuetas could probably win the Champions League.”
CM: Mateo Kovacic – There hasn’t been a great deal to celebrate at Chelsea in the last month but Kovacic certainly knows how to do it if and when the time comes; when revelling in Croatia’s run to the World Cup final in Zagreb, Kovacic grabbed the microphone purposefully before whispering: “We’re drunk as little pussycats…”
CM: Jorginho – The Italy international has followed in the footsteps of his Brazilian mother, who was an amateur footballer until the age of 45.
LWB: Marc Cucurella – Hauling his body in the way of Mohamed Elyounoussi’s goal-bound effort in midweek, Cucurella kept the score down with one of his division-high 17 blocks this season.
RW: Hakim Ziyech – The youngest of nine siblings was afforded his first start of the season on Tuesday.
ST: Raheem Sterling – The former Manchester City man has been involved in 15 goals (scoring eight and assisting seven) in 16 Premier League appearances against West Ham.
LW: Mason Mount – At the tender age of four, Mount began training with Chelsea once a week. Two decades on, he is a fixture in the first team.