Thomas Tuchel & co. are trip to Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday as they take on Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 in the Uefa Champions League.
The Blues have already made huge improvements during the short tenure of Lampard’s successor Thomas Tuchel, who has led his new team to five consecutive wins across all competitions.
The Stamford Bridge outfit have claimed 14 out of a possible 16 points in their opening, Premier League, fixtures under the German coach, conceding just two goal in the process and rising to fourth in the table.
Mouthwatering encounter with La Liga leaders tonight is going to be by far his biggest test for the German and unfortunately the Blues boss is still missing some key players including Thiago Silva, who limping off during the victory over Spurs last two weeks ago.
With Thiago Silva unlikely to feature against Atletico Madrid tonight, Andres Christensen is expected to replacing Kurt Zouma at the hearts of Chelsea defence. The Dane is hoping to renew his defensive partnership alongside Cesar Azipilicueta and Antonio Rudiger.
And while this may be a cup game, Edouardo Mendy is likely to get the nod ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga in between the sticks as Chelsea look to retain a clean sheet against a dangerous Atletico front-line lead by the former Liverpool and Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who scored 16 goals across all competitions so far this season.
Moving upon to midfield park, N’Golo Kante is expected to name as defensive midfielder with the Frenchman’s dynamism and work-ethic have been useful. And Mateo Kovacic is on the other hand, is a shoo-in as he renews his partnership with Kante in the double-pivot.
As for the right wing-back slot, Atletico does like to overload the left-hand side with which means there will be added defensive pressure in this position. That is where Thomas Tuchel may want to consider giving Reece James the nod ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi while Marcos Alonso hopes to continue on the opposite flank.
There were positive news elsewhere for Chelsea, as far as injuries are concerned, with Tuchel confirming the availability of former Bundesliga duo Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz.
These two, however, may have to wait for their opportunities as Tuchel looks to continue with Timo Werner and Mason Mount in the advanced role, just behind the main striker in Tammy Abraham. Both Pulisic and Havertz are viable alternatives, along with another new signing in Hakim Ziyech.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Werner, Abraham