Chelsea is in a very good place at the moment. The reserve of this fixture was a shock for both sides as Chelsea trailed at the break by three goals. Tuchel has stepped in and deployed a system that has maximized the strengths of the collective players and mitigated their weaknesses. West Brom is in poor form and Chelsea should not struggle against them again. Here’s who we think Tuchel selects to keep Chelsea’s good form going:
Edouard Mendy (No. 16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
Mendy has been outstanding this season. He has continued the magnificent form he showed under Frank Lampard. He has kept 14 clean sheets in 28 games, and has the joint lowest goals conceded per game this season (0.7). Mendy might be unavailable later this month due to the African Cup of Nations and he’d be sorely missed. Tuchel has trusted Mendy with the gloves and he has repaid that trust. Mendy has played his role in Chelsea’s recent excellent defensive record. Commanding his backline, snuffing out attacks from crosses and making crucial saves when called upon to make sure Chelsea don’t have more than one thing to worry about in matches
Cesar Azpilicueta (No. 28) Right centerback, Spain
Azpilicueta would be well rested for this match. His inclusion in the reverse fixture kick-started Chelsea’s comeback of sorts. He organized the backline and took control of the defensive chaos that was the Chelsea defense at the Hawthorns. His role in the backline is a unique one and he’s the only one who has the defensive awareness and attacking intelligence to fulfil both parts of the role in this system. He’s indispensable to the team at the moment.
Andreas Christensen (No. 4) Centerback, Denmark
This one might raise eyebrows, and understandably so. Does Tuchel return Thiago Silva to the lineup now that he’s fit? Does he stick with Christensen because he deserves to start? Tuchel has shown that he would reward those who play well and Christensen has played so well that he’s yet to concede a goal so far under Tuchel, and he has faced Liverpool, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid. Silva will return to the lineup eventually, but for now the Dane deserves to start. What this means is that his every move would be watched from now on and there’d be closer scrutiny on his performances. His next misdeed will have people calling for him to be dropped.
Antonio Rudiger (No. 2) Left centerback, Germany
Rudiger has improved impressively this season. That improvement was more pronounced when Tuchel came in and trusted Rudiger to help stabilize Chelsea’s results and he hasn’t looked back since. The narrative that Rudiger is only starting because he’s German is complete nonsense really. He has been superb under Tuchel and has helped get Chelsea through some difficult fixtures with clean sheets. He has scored one of the two goals Chelsea has conceded under Tuchel, but he’s also been a big part of why the Blues have kept 12 clean sheets in 14 games.