Predicted Chelsea line-up for their important Champions League tie against French side Rennes, in their third game of the group stage.
Chelsea have started well in this season’s Champions League solid displays against Sevilla and Krasnodar. Although there have been many question marks on their defenders and their overall defensive shape and organisation in the Premier League, the Blues have been solid in the European front by keeping two clean sheets in their first two games.
The signings of Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy have boosted the blues backline massively as Chelsea have just conceded a single goal with Mendy in goal and have kept five clean sheets out of their last six games. The fixture against a depleted Rennes side provides Frank Lampard with a fantastic opportunity to extend his clean sheet run as well as look to give some of the fringe players a run in the team.
Lampard has stressed his desire to play a defensive midfielder with two attacking midfielders who can also play as a no. 8. However, against the Ligue 1 outfit, the west Londoners might deploy a 4-2-3-1 as Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic don’t have the same defensive capabilities and work rate of an N’Golo Kante.
Eduoard Mendy is expected to be in goal after a strong start to his Chelsea career. With Kepa Arrizabalaga‘s dismal form and an ageing Willy Cabellaro, it is unlikely that the boss will be willing to change his first choice goalkeeper for this game.
The back four is expected to change as the fixture congestion will require the Blues to rotate their troops around. Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieri will be the full backs who will get the nod for this game as the first choice pair of Reece James and Ben Chilwell will be given a much-needed break. Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger will be the centre-back pairing.
Zouma has had a strong start to the season and looks set to maintain his regular first team spot with Rudiger looking certain to replace Thiago Silva, who may rest for potentially bigger games ahead.
With Kante’s recent injury problems and his glaring importance for the midfield and defence, he looks set to be rested and in a midfield double pivot will be the combination of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho. Both central midfielders are excellent distributors of the ball and great with ball movement but struggle defensively against opponents who possess great power and strength.
Chelsea will need quick ball movement and hence for this game the midfield can do without Kante’s presence. In the central attacking position Mason Mount is expected to get the nod ahead of Kai Havertz. Mount continues to have his manager’s confidence and despite the competition in the squad, he is going to get regular minutes throughout the season.
Going forward has never been a doubt or a concern for Chelsea this year as they are blessed with attacking players. Although with the minor injury to Christian Pulisic and the large amount of games played by Timo Werner, Lampard has his options cut out and it is widely expected that Callum Hudson-Odoi will make his second European start in a row.
Hakim Ziyech will also keep his place, hoping to continue his rich vein of form. The striker selection is set to be a headache for Lampard as he has three excellent options at the club. However, it is expected that Tammy Abraham will get the nod as the manager will look to continue his development and give him game time whenever the opportunity arises.
The game against Rennes should not pose a threat to the Blues, who will look to continue their development and gain momentum each game as they look to build a team that can compete for the top honours in the future. The French side meanwhile look set to be without Eduardo Camavinga, Daniele Rugani and M’ Baye Niang and face a big task at Stamford Bridge to keep the attacking flair of Chelsea at bay.