Timo Werner and Saul Niguez start – The team Thomas Tuchel should pick to take on Aston Villa

Chelsea host Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday night as the Blues look to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

The Blues haven’t quite been at full tilt yet this season, easing past Crystal Palace and Arsenal and having tough times against Liverpool, Villa, Zenit St Petersburg and Spurs but have emerged from all of those matches without tasting defeat.

A managerial debut in the Carabao Cup now awaits for Thomas Tuchel, who has insisted he and his team will be taking the competition very seriously as they battle on a number of fronts this season.

The head coach did admit at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday that there will be some rotation to his squad as he aims to get some fringe players some meaningful minutes and rest those who have played the bulk of the season so far.

Tuchel said: “It’s a matter of the amount of games, the load that we’ve had for the players.

“Yes we will have some changes, because we take the opportunity to give important minutes in important competition to guys who are missing minutes at the moment.”

With that in mind, we asked three of our Chelsea writers to pick the lineups they would send out if they were in Tuchel’s shoes on Wednesday and here is what they came up with:

Sam Inkersole

We all knew there would be changes to Tuchel’s team as, with all due respect, it is the Carabao Cup and no-one really pays much attention to it until the latter stages of the competition.

Tuchel has a very deep squad at his disposal and if he made 11 changes to the team that beat Spurs on Sunday then it would still look formidable on paper.

With Edouard Mendy in a race against time to be fit for Man City, I would stick with Kepa in goal.

The defence is likely to see major changes. Ben Chilwell should get his first start of the season, while Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr could all be involved as well.

The midfield area as well looks set to be very different. Saul Niguez should start and Ruben Loftus-Cheek should do as well, with Ross Barkley also in contention but likely to be on the bench.

Timo Werner will get the chance to lead the line upfront and Tuchel has plenty of options up there as well. Callum Hudson-Odoi should start and Hakim Ziyech too, having been dropped for the Spurs game in favour of Kai Havertz.

It’s highly unlikely that we will see any youngsters start the game, some may make the squad depending on how Tuchel wants to put his matchday 18 together, but it’ll be a team full of senior players for sure.

Sam’s XI: Kepa; James, Chalobah, Sarr, Christensen, Chilwell; Saul, Loftus-Cheek; Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, Werner.

Scott Trotter

It would be great to see some Chelsea youngsters get an opportunity in the Carabao Cup but with the depth Thomas Tuchel has at his disposal, and the squad members already struggling for playing time, it seems unlikely.

Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah seem like obvious choices to come in to rotate the defence, while Ben Chilwell will be desperate for an opportunity. Not starting here would be a real dent to the confidence.

Malang Sarr might seem a rogue option but would provide Antonio Rudiger with a chance of rest, and give the young defender a chance to impress to earn a January transfer.

Saul Niguez needs to put his demons to rest against the Villa side he made his debut against, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be desperate for pitch time.

The academy product will be able to push through the lines and provide a focal point to produce some interchanges with Timo Werner, when the German isn’t released early. More importantly, however, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho need to be managed while Mateo Kovacic is due a break.

If Callum Hudson-Odoi is training as well as Tuchel has suggested earlier in the season, he deserves a chance in his favoured role, and with Christian Pulisic injured, Hakim Ziyech seems the easy replacement to ensure Mason Mount and Kai Havertz are fresh for the Manchester City and Juventus double-header.

Werner has the potential to cause City’s high line problems, but needs a big display to earn a place alongside Romelu Lukaku for the weekend.

Then the likes of Ross Barkley can be utilised off the bench.

Scott’s XI: Kepa; James, Chalobah, Christensen, Sarr, Chilwell; Saul, Loftus-Cheek; Ziyech, Werner, Hudson-Odoi

Timo Werner looks set to start for Chelsea against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup

Jake Stokes

First and foremost I would like to see a front three of Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner, who each deserve a place in Tuchel’s starting 11 in their own right.

Ziyech surprised a few people with his short-lived electric start to the season but he hasn’t been able to reignite his past endeavours, so a midweek clash against Aston Villa would be the ideal catalyst to reviving his campaign.

Similarly to Ziyech, I’d like to see Werner against Dean Smith’s side – he has shown his fruitful form for Germany, so it’d be nice to see him transfer that to Stamford Bridge.

Hudson-Odoi has a great case for demanding a feature in Tuchel’s front three following Mason Mount’s and Kai Havertz’s leggy pair of displays versus Spurs, so the latter duo could both do with a rest and allow the Blues’ number 20 to take centre stage.

Rolling down into midfield, Tuchel spoke profusely about the inclusion and involvement of Loftus-Cheek and I think this tie is perfect for him as he begins to pledge his involvement under the Blues boss.

A start for Saul alongside Loftus-Cheek would be the perfect way for the Spaniard to bounce back and stamp his authority at Chelsea following an unfortunate debut.

With City at the weekend in mind, I’d like to see Malang Sarr, Trevoh Chalobah and Ben Chilwell drafted into the back-five.

Despite setting up in Tuchel’s synonymous shape, I’d be intrigued to experiment a back-four in the latter stages of the tie just to add another arrow to Chelsea’s bow

Jake’sChelsea XI: Kepa; James, Chalobah, Christensen, Sarr, Chilwell; Saul, Loftus-Cheek; Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi; Werner



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