Match Fixtures

Thomas Tuchel drops Chelsea team news hint ahead of Tottenham clash with new signing set to play

The Blues face their former manager at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

After four matches, eight goals for and none against, Chelsea well and truly got one over Tottenham last season.

The Blues won the two league matches by a 5-0 aggregate scoreline and had the pleasure of defeating their London rivals home and away again in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Three of the matches were also against Antonio Conte following his arrival in North London, but it’s still a very different Spurs side that will walk out at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The ex-Chelsea manager has had a transformative transfer window with six new signings and the promise of more to come.

Conte’s side have already been tipped to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the league title and Chelsea are largely viewed as being unprepared for their clash this weekend.

However, Tuchel’s team were boosted by overthrowing the Goodison Park curse for a season and have had a week to work with new signing Marc Cucurella, who could make his first start for the club on Sunday.

Speaking ahead of the game, Tuchel dropped his own hint at how the Blues might line-up, saying: “We could use one more central defender [in the transfer window]; if you look at the numbers and that we play with a back three. The profile of the guys in the three is a little bit different, I admit.

“We can play with Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta], who is more a full-back than a central defender. [Marc] Cucurella, it’s possible too [to play on the side of a back three].

Both of them cannot play as the middle central defender. So we could use one more central defender. Let’s see what happens.”

With Azpilicueta signing a new two-year deal at SW6 he will remain an option, but Tuchel’s description of the Chelsea captain as “more a full-back” was interesting considering Azpilicueta has spent nearly half of his Chelsea career in a back three.

It could also cancel out any existing chance of their being a shift to a back four against Spurs, as there was in last season’s matches with a floating Hakim Ziyech filling in as makeshift wing-back throughout certain periods of the game.

Chelsea are still pushing a move for Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana in the hope of adding a new and long-term upgrade for the back three, though understands Tuchel still wants to make a transition into a back four, but his current squad doesn’t allow it easily.

Against Spurs it would be a surprise to see the same backline that played in Merseyside. With a combined age of 100, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly and Azpilicueta looked good together but that was against a weak Everton attack.

With Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski to come, the need for a new face, be it the quicker legs of Trevoh Chalobah or even Cucurella at centre-back, there could be changes.

It is also most likely that that comes with the absence of Azpilicueta following such an impressive display from Koulibaly.

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