Chelsea has picked up four points from its last available six, enough to remain top of the table. The Blues had a performance to forget against Watford at Vicarage Road, but were saved by Hakim Ziyech’s 72′ strike to give them the 2-1 victory. Thomas Tuchel was so furious that he didn’t celebrate the winner. Chelsea now plays a West Ham United team that, while currently in shaky form, has very disciplined and technically gifted players, as well as a top class manager in David Moyes. Many fans have hot takes on who should start every game and who should never start a game again for Chelsea, but who does Tuchel think should start?
Edouard Mendy (No. 16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
Edouard Mendy has not kept a clean sheet in his last two games, a rare occurrence for him. His performance level did not drop though. It is a bit difficult to save a ball from a player that has been allowed to run 30 yards unmarked toward him. Mendy will be crucial in this game though (isn’t he always?), as West Ham has many tall players that it uses to its advantage on set pieces. Mendy being a literal giant will help the Blues.
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Andreas Christensen (No. 4) Right centerback, Denmark
Andreas Christensen’s future is still uncertain. Tuchel seems particularly irritated at the Denmark international, so much so that he spoke about it publicly. It is believed that Chelsea agreed terms with Christensen twice, despite the latter changing terms after already agreeing once. Christensen is now demanding different terms again, putting the club in a situation it doesn’t want to be in at this time of the season. Christensen was initially sidelined by Tuchel due to the contract situation, but he quickly realized that would not be ideal as this meant little rotation with a 37-year-old starting every three days in high intensity Premier League games.
Thiago Silva (No. 6) Centerback, Brazil
Tuchel had decided to rest Thiago Silva against Watford, but circumstances meant he had to feature for 45 minutes anyway. This indicates that the Blues may not be able to do without the aged Brazilian for now. Tuchel hoped Christensen would have the composure required to help Chelsea play out from the back—he didn’t. Though the Dane hasn’t played in a while, so maybe he was just a little bit rusty. However, it’s difficult to see Tuchel risking Silva starting on the bench, as halftime may be too late if he has to bring him on again. He was initially rested for this game too.
Antonio Rudiger (No. 2) Left centerback, Germany
Antonio Rudiger did not cover himself in glory on the goal Chelsea conceded against Watford, but who did? Rudiger was easily the Blues’ best defender on the night. He made 12 clearances, five interceptions and two tackles. His long ball distribution too was very good, completing 12 out of 16 attempted long balls. He also won seven out of eight duels. In a game that Chelsea was required to make a lot of defensive actions, Rudiger ensured the Blues made enough.