Several Chelsea players are under threat of dropping out of Thomas Tuchel’s starting line-up plans when Real Madrid visit Stamford Bridge in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg. Brentford mauled Chelsea 4-1 on their own turf in the west London derby this weekend, with too many of the hosts’ stars failing to show up.
In the first half, the Blues struggled to make 70 per cent possession and five shots on target count. But Antonio Rudiger broke the deadlock with a moment of magic just three minutes into the second half, firing in a 30-yeard howitzer to seemingly set up another win.
But no one would’ve predicted what was to follow, as a Vitaly Janelt brace and Christian Eriksen’s first goal for Brentford put the visitors 3-1 ahead just 12 minutes later, shocking Tuchel’s side. Youane Wissa added a fourth in the closing minutes, piling the misery on the worst possible preparation for Wednesday’s mammoth clash.
With far too many below-par performances on show against Brentford, Tuchel could ring the changes next time out. Express Sport pinpoints four Chelsea stars who will likely lose their place in the German’s team when Real Madrid come to town.
Chelsea will likely revert back to a three-at-the-back against Real, which could jeopardise captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s place. Reece James returned from injury off the bench against Brentford and should start from the off against the La Liga leaders.
Considering the pace at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal in attack, Tuchel may opt for Andreas Christensen or Malang Sarr in the back three.
Even if he enjoyed the game of his career against Brentford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s place against Real would’ve been in doubt as Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic watched on from the bench. He was by no means bad against Thomas Frank’s side and lasted the entire 90 minutes, but Tuchel will lean on his stalwarts.
If Tuchel reverts back to his preferred 3-4-3 system, there won’t be room for three central midfielders. Mount completed none of his eight attempted crosses and four aerial duels against Brentford and could the sacrificed for a more defensive-minded player along with Loftus-Cheek.
Timo Werner was given a chance to stake a claim for a starting berth on Saturday, but he failed to take it. After failing with both of his dribble attempts and winning none of his five ground duels, it’s safe to say Tuchel won’t trust him to make an impact against Los Blancos.
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