Fresh from winning the UEFA Super Cup against La-Liga outfits Villarreal, Chelsea will kick-off their new Premier League campaign by hosting Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues had a remarkable second-half of the last season that saw them secured top-four spot in the Premier League, before winning the coveted Champions League trophy by beating Manchester City in the final.
Now, it’ll be all about returning to the top of English football for Thomas Tuchel, whose side head into the season opener rejuvenated and confident.
The European champions played four pre-season friendlies over the summer – beating Peterborough United Bournemouth and Arsenal but drawing with Tottenham Hotspur.
Ahead of London derby against Palace, who win four out of five of their pre-season matches under Patrick Vieira, who has replaced Roy Hodgson, Thomas Tuchel will without two first-team players.
Hakim Ziyech will definitely miss Chelsea’s opening game of the season, having suffered a shoulder injury during Super Cup game with Villarreal.
The most technically gifted winger, who has been in excellent form since start of the summer is expected to return back to action towards the end of this month.
N’Golo Kanté also doubt for Chelsea’s opening game after the Frenchman replaced in the 75 minute against Villarreal on Wednesday night.
According to the Blues boss, Thomas Tuchel, the 30-year-old battle with some injury problem and is likely to miss the selection against Crystal Palace.
‘We have some issues with N’Golo Kante, we need to sort it out, said Tuchel.
‘For tomorrow we have to be careful. The decisions are not made yet who starts. Who do we push over the line? The recommendation is for some to do 60-70 minutes, whom do we push to do another 90?
‘We want to be in the best shape possible and we will have in mind that this is not the same that we are in six weeks, but for tomorrow we want to reach the 100 per cent possible to be able to beat Crystal Palace.’
Mason Mount, Jorginho, Cesar Azipilicueta and Andreas Christensen all came off the bench against Villarreal on Wednesday night, so they all will be part of Thomas Tuchel’s squad to face the south Londoner.
The Blues announced the big-money signing of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan on Thursday, but the centre-forward is likely to miss the opening game due to Covid-19 rule but expected to feature next week when Chelsea take on their local rivals Arsenal at Emirates stadium.
Moving on to predicted starting lineup, Thomas Tuchel is likely to make some changes to the side that started last routine, with Mason Mount, Jorginho, Reece James and Marcos Alonso likely to get start against The Eagles.
Despite Kepa came off the bench to helped Chelsea win the penalty shoot-out against Villarreal in the Super Cup at Windsor Park in Belfast in mid-week, Edouard Mendy will be in goal for Tuchel’s men this afternoon.
Trevoh Chalobah, who produced eye-catching performances in Chelsea’s three-man backline in the Super Cup, expected to retain his place alongside Antonio Rudiger while Andreas Christensen should come in for Kurt Zouma at the back.
Marcos Alonso, is likely to retain his place at left wing-back after impressed in the Super Cup while Cesar Azpilicueta getting a start at right wing-back.
As for midfield options, N’Golo Kanté doubt for the clash, means Jorginho will pivot alongside Mateo Kovacic in middle of park while Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be options for Thomas Tuchel in case want to make substitute in the second half of the game.
Mason Mount is expected to lead Chelsea no. 10 role, and with Ziyech injury Christian Pulisic could get the nod in attack. Kai Havertz, a versatile operator, will be tasked with linking the play between midfield and attack and is should lead Chelsea’s attack at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Predicted Lineups
Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso; Jorginho Mateo Kovacic; Mason Mount; Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic.
Where is the match being played? at Stamford Bridge
When is kick off? Saturday 14 August, at 3:00PM
Referee: Jon Moss