Chelsea is now in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League and everyone at the club is beaming with excitement. The Blues must now turn their attention to Sheffield United in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, who they’ve already beaten twice this season. Thomas Tuchel seems to have settled on his preferred eleven and of course there are players who haven’t featured half as much as they or the fans would have liked. The FA Cup is still one of the more realistic trophies Chelsea can win this season, so here’s who we think Tuchel picks to get Chelsea into the FA Cup semifinals:
Kepa Arrizabalaga (No. 1) Goalkeeper, Spain
Arrizabalaga has made two appearances under Tuchel and has played excellently in those games, keeping two clean sheets. He was particularly impressive in the last FA Cup match where he made two stand out saves to ensure Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Barnsley. Tammy Abraham did make a clearance off the line in that game that also played a big part in securing the clean sheet and victory. Notwithstanding Arrizabalaga was on top of his game, as Barnsley proved much more difficult to handle than the Blues had anticipated.
Reece James (No. 24) Right back, England
James has featured a lot less than his right back colleague, Cesar Azpilicueta since Tuchel arrived. Tuchel will want to give Azpilicueta a rest in this game as it is clear that he sees the skipper as an essential part of this team. James is better in a back four anyway, so this fixture offers an opportunity for the Englishman to express himself. In Tuchel’s 3-4-3, James is very much fighting Callum Hudson-Odoi for the right wing back spot. He would do well to use this game to give Tuchel is selection headache.
Kurt Zouma (No. 15) Centerback, France
Zouma has played well in all his games under Tuchel so far. The only match many might argue this point is the Southampton game away from home and many will point to the goal that was conceded. He featured in Chelsea’s last FA Cup match and was arguably the best player on the day. His matches against Everton and Atletico Madrid were superb as well. He has been one of the main losers in the change of manager situation, but he has been a consummate professional and has kept his head down and worked hard.
Antonio Rudiger (No. 2) Centerback, Germany
With Thiago Silva being saved until the break ends and Andreas Christensen having been sick midweek, only Rudiger remains if the plan is a 4-2-3-1. Rudiger has been one of Tuchel’s most trusted on field lieutenants and that is likely to continue with him taking a larger leadership role in Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho’s absence.
Ben Chilwell (No. 21) Left back, England
Chilwell is another one who has suffered simply because of the change in formation and manager. Chilwell too seems to be better in a back four playing as a fullback. Alonso has been better in every department as a wing back than the Englishman. Chilwell put in some notable performances against Manchester United and Liverpool, and it’s understandable. He’d be at Chelsea for a long time and his brilliant start to the season will not be forgotten. This is a rare opportunity for him to make a good case to start over Marcos Alonso in the left wing back role, though he has to do that from the position of a left back.