The West Brom match still hangs over Chelsea because they have not played another Premier League match since then. The Chelsea players still have a point to prove, as Champions League football is much different from league football. That West Brom performance should only be seen once in six seasons. Chelsea fans have already seen it more than twice this season and the only way to show that it’s not habit is to put out a strong reaction against Crystal Palace, and here’s who we think Thomas Tuchel trusts to do just that:
Edouard Mendy (No. 16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
Mendy was Chelsea’s best player on the night against FC Porto in the Champions League quarterfinals. He made five saves to keep Porto out and keep Chelsea in the game until Chelsea could seal the win with a Ben Chilwell goal. Mendy is up to seven clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League this season making him the Chelsea goalkeeper with the most clean sheets for Chelsea in the Champions League ever, and the Champions League campaign is not done yet. He now has 21 clean sheets in 35 appearances for Chelsea. His performances speak for themselves and it’s perhaps the only position there’s a doubt about in the starting line-up.
Cesar Azpilicueta (No. 28) Right centerback, Spain
Azpilicueta was Chelsea’s best defender against Porto, blocking three shots and making eight defensive actions overall on the night. He always seemed to be in the right place whenever Porto attacked the west London side. Chelsea needed the resilience they didn’t have against West Brom to come away with a flattering result like a 2-0 win. Many still don’t want Azpilicueta in the side, that’s of course those who take their opinions too seriously. The captain has played the most minutes under Tuchel, and deservedly too. Chelsea is not yet ready to do without Azpilicueta in the backline, and no, James is not ready to take over as right centerback either.
Andreas Christensen (No. 4) Centerback, Denmark
Christensen was solid against Porto, which was a much better showing from the West Brom performance. He showed why he should be starting over Silva, which is not something we thought we’d be saying at the beginning of the season, but time does that to you. Christensen deserves a lot of credit with how he’s conducted himself and performed this season. He was out of the line-up for a quite a while, being fourth choice, and he took his opportunity under Tuchel and has made himself near undroppable, which for a centerback is hard to do.
Antonio Rudiger (No. 2) Left centerback, Germany
Rudiger again showed why Tuchel wasn’t wrong in trusting him from the get go. Whatever Rudiger’s performances were before Tuchel arrived, no one can deny that he has been solid under the new manager, and that is made more impressive considering that the defense has been the bright spot in Tuchel’s reign so far.