Chelsea News

Chelsea vs Aston Villa predicted XI: 3-4-2-1, rotation in EFL cup

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 11: Saul Niguez of Chelsea FC and Jacob Ramsey of Aston Villa battle for the ball during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on September 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Chelsea will play Aston Villa for the second time in a matter of weeks in the EFL Cup third round. Manager Thomas Tuchel reiterated in his pre-match press conference that the team is taking the competition seriously; the Blues are in it to win it. He also promised minutes on the pitch for some of the players who have struggled for game time. Could this mean a start for Ruben Loftus-Cheek? A return to the XI for Ben Chilwell? A significantly altered attack?

We speculate what Chelsea’s starting XI versus Aston Villa could look like:

Kepa Arrizabalaga (No. 1) Goalkeeper, Spain

An injury to Chelsea’s No. 1, Edouard Mendy, is cause for some early concern for Tuchel. The Senegal international is in a race against time to be fit for Manchester City this weekend, which, in turn, could impact Tuchel’s choice for the Carabao Cup tie. Does he start Kepa Arrizabalaga against Villa and hope for Mendy to be fit for the weekend or does he go further down the pecking order and pick Marcus Bettinelli? This would prevent the risk of Arrizabalaga also being unavailable for the Manchester City game, either due to any injury. Ideally, the Spaniard should be between the sticks for the cup tie midweek.

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Trevoh Chalobah (No. 14) Right centerback, England

Trevoh Chalobah’s rapid ascent from the loan army to the Chelsea first team was the story of preseason. The youngster impressed Tuchel in friendlies, earned his first competitive start in the UEFA Super Cup, made his Premier League debut and scored a wonderful goal all within the space of a few weeks. Chalobah has started thrice for the Blues so far this season and hardly put a foot wrong. Expect him to be handed his fourth start under the German manager as he looks to continue his fine run of form in the early season.

Andreas Christensen (No. 4) Centerback, Denmark

Tuchel has rotated between Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva in the center of defense so far while managing the latter’s minutes carefully. Silva, who soon turns 37, played the entire 90 minutes on the weekend against Tottenham, and it is reasonable to expect him to miss out against Villa completely. Christensen played the full match too, but was absent from the team a week earlier when the Blues played Villa in the league.

Antonio Rudiger (No. 2) Left centerback, Germany

Left centerback is the only position out of the XI where Chelsea is without an able replacement. On paper, Malang Sarr could provide an alternative for Rudiger when he is fatigued or injured, but the Frenchman is yet to play a competitive game for the club. Sarr might yet see minutes against Villa, but one would expect Tuchel to play Rudiger from the start, given that the German is taking the competition seriously.

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