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Predicted Chelsea XI to face Everton: Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling set to make debuts

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Predicted Chelsea XI to face Everton: Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling set to make debuts

Thomas Tuchel has several decisions to make ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.

The Blues’ pre-season preparations saw Tuchel’s side undergo a tour of the United States, where they beat Club America before losing to Charlotte FC on penalties.

The final match of the tour saw the Blues fall to an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Premier League rivals Arsenal.

Chelsea lost 4-0 to Arsenal in pre-season. (Alamy)
Chelsea lost 4-0 to Arsenal in pre-season. (Alamy)
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Chelsea finalised their pre-season preparations preparations with a 3-1 victory over Udinese in Italy.

New signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly are set for their competitive debuts after arriving from Manchester City and Napoli this summer.

Marc Cucurella is available for selection, having joined the Blues on Friday and being registered before the deadline but it remains unclear as to whether he will start.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Koulibaly, James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount, Havertz, Sterling

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Edouard Mendy will no doubt start in goal, with Kepa Arrizabalaga heavily linked with a loan move to Napoli this summer.

The Senegal international has been Tuchel’s number one since his arrival at Stamford Bridge and this is unlikely to change ahead of the new season.

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Ahead of him will likely be his international teammate and new signing Koulibaly, who will most likely operate on the left of a back three.

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Taking Antonio Rudiger’s spot in the Blues side, Koulibaly will be hoping for a strong start to his Chelsea career at Goodison Park.

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta will likely start on the right of a back three, having signed a two-year contract extension this week, while 37-year-old Thiago Silva could once again start the season in the centre of the defence.

Reece James will no doubt start at right wing-back, with Chelsea yet to bring in competition for the England international.

Thomas Tuchel and Reece James embracing each other during Chelsea training. (Chelsea FC)
Thomas Tuchel and Reece James embracing each other during Chelsea training. (Chelsea FC)
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There is debate to be had regarding the opposite flank, with Marcos Alonso edging closer to a move to Barcelona if reports are to be believed.

Ben Chilwell would have been the favourite to start the match, with Alonso looking like he will depart.

However, Tuchel opened up on the wing-back, who is returning from injury and could decide to take a more cautious approach.

“We have to take care about him, it’s our responsibility. We can’t throw him in and see what is coming,” the head coach admitted before the game regarding Chilwell.

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“He is impatient, we will never expect him to be fully patient. He knows, we speak a lot about it. Everything needs its time. He will get the time and still we will try to put him on the pitch as soon as possible. He is and was a huge asset for us with his speed and repetition of intensity.”

Marc Cucurella joins Chelsea. (Chelsea FC)
Marc Cucurella joins Chelsea. (Chelsea FC)

Therefore, this opens the door for new signing Cucurella to make his Chelsea debut, however with just one training session since his arrival, a start could be unlikely.

It would be no surprise to see the former Brighton man feature from the bench if Chilwell is unable to complete the 90, with Emerson Palmieri also an option.

N’Golo Kante missed Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States, so Tuchel could opt for Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in midfield.

Raheem Sterling against Udinese. (Alamy)
Raheem Sterling against Udinese. (Alamy)

In attack, Tuchel preferred a trio of Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz and it would be a surprise to see anyone else start ahead of the three.

With five substitutes available for the first time since the introduction of the new rule, there could be plenty of changes throughout the match for the Blues.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Chelsea, Everton, Premier League, Thomas Tuchel, Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling

Nick Emms
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