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Chelsea predicted XI vs Southampton: Tuchel drops 26-year-old as £30m ace comes back

Chelsea will aim to make it six successive victories under Thomas Tuchel as they take on Southampton in the Premier League this Saturday.

It has been an almost unblemished record so far for the Blues coach, who can extend his winning streak against the struggling Saints this weekend.

After such a strong start to the season, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team have lost their last half dozen league fixtures with an aggregate score of 24-4.

Perhaps there is no better time for Tuchel to rotate his squad again, with one eye on their Champions League tie versus Atletico Madrid next Tuesday.

Edouard Mendy should return after Kepa Arrizabalaga’s irregular run out at home to Newcastle United on Thursday.

Expect one altercation to the back three. Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger remain but Andreas Christensen makes way for Kurt Zouma.

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Tuchel has made it quite clear he wants to give everybody a chance, something the French defender hasn’t been afforded for a while.

Reece James and Ben Chilwell also come back into the fold, giving the regular wing-backs Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso a break with the Madrid tie in mind.

Chilwell has struggled since Tuchel took over, having been one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers for a majority of the campaign.

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N’Golo Kante is another who hasn’t been able to settle under the new management.

The £30m (BBC Sport) engine is yet to start for his German boss. This would be a great time to get some minutes under his belt before the Atletico clash.

Diego Simeone’s side offers a far greater threat than any opponents Chelsea have faced during Tuchel’s short reign. Therefore, Kante’s defensive qualities may be called upon.

His inclusion at Southampton means Mateo Kovacic gets a rest. The 26-year-old has been outstanding in the past month alongside Jorginho in midfield and cannot be risked with the European contest looming.

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Jorginho however does remain, as does Mason Mount in one of the two no.10 roles.

Timo Werner will certainly want to build upon his newly discovered scoring form, but his efforts and energy are perhaps best served for Atletico’s tight defence.

This gives a chance for Hakim Ziyech to prove himself following his underwhelming display at Barnsley recently.

Olivier Giroud stays up top in place of the injured Tammy Abraham.

Chelsea predicted XI vs Southampton: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount, Giroud, Ziyech


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