Chelsea travels to St. Mary’s Stadium for a midweek match against Southampton. Both sides have had similar starts to the season thus far, and the warning signs are apparent for each. There is no margin for error for the Blues after their recent blunder at Leeds United and a close call against Leicester City. They’ll be hoping to kick their rotten streak of consecutive matches with red cards, which would go a long way in ensuring that they’re in a good position to win at all times.
Luckily for Thomas Tuchel, his side has enjoyed a lot of success against Saints over the last few seasons. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton conceded six to the reigning Club World Cup Champions at its home ground last season. Saints will be relieved to know that Timo Werner has returned to his former club, RB Leipzig. While the German forward won’t be around to terrorize Southampton’s defense this time around, Chelsea still has plenty of firepower up top.
Here is who The Pride of London sees making Tuchel’s starting XI at St. Mary’s:
Edouard Mendy (No. 16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
The fixtures are coming thick and fast, which is why supporters should expect some rotation in the starting XI relatively soon. However, the Blues’ No. 1 goalkeeper doesn’t need to be rotated often. Edouard Mendy will need to play as much as he can in the Premier League, as he is Chelsea’s best shot-stopper. He can rest in side competitions, such as the Carabao Cup.
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Cesar Azpilicueta (No. 28) Right back, Spain
There are rumors circling on social media that Reece James was not seen at training recently, which raises some concerns about his status for the trip to St. Mary’s. All of that being said, Cesar Azpilicueta should start this game anyway so that James is ready to handle anything West Ham will throw at Chelsea this weekend. The skipper was superb during his 45 minutes versus the Foxes. He’s earned a start, and this is the perfect time for him to get it.
Trevoh Chalobah (No. 14) Centerback, England
Trevoh Chalobah is seemingly out of Tuchel’s doghouse after a brilliant outing at the weekend. He’s staying put in SW6 this season—despite the club’s purchase of Wesley Fofana from the Foxes—which is music to supporters’ ears. There are still plenty of minutes to go around this season, so there’s no need for Chalobah to worry about his playing time. Hopefully he’s able to continue his development and establish himself as an important piece in the club’s rebuild.
Kalidou Koulibaly (No. 26) Centerback, Senegal
If Kalidou Koulibaly is available for selection, he starts. It’s as simple as that. The Senegalese centerback missed the weekend’s match-up with Leicester following his red card against Leeds United, but he’s back and well rested. Koulibaly has gotten his feet wet in the Premier League. It’s now time for the No. 26 to put the mistake behind him and establish himself as one of the best central defenders in the English top flight.
Marc Cucurella (No. 32) Left back, Spain
Marc Cucurella has been a breath of fresh air, hasn’t he? The Spaniard is a much different player than any other left [wing]back Chelsea has had over the last few years. Technically, he’s an absolute joy to watch. Cucurella’s full talent was on display against the Foxes when he linked up with Raheem Sterling on numerous occasions to create some of the Blues’ biggest chances.