Chelsea welcome Real Madrid to Stamford Bridge for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday.
The Blues were recently on an impressive six-match winning run in all competitions before their shock 4-1 Premier League home defeat to Brentford on Saturday.
The result was a reality check for the west London giants, but manager Thomas Tuchel has insisted that there won’t be any ‘crazy‘ reaction after the surprise loss.
Hence, there may not be wholesale changes against Real Madrid, whom they beat in the Champions League semi-final last season en route to European glory.
Chelsea secured a 1-1 draw on the road to Madrid last term before a 2-0 triumph at home. Tuchel will be hoping for a similar showing against the Spanish giants.
Here is how Chelsea could line-up against Real Madrid:
Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy is expected to start in goal once more. The Senegal international has been the undisputed choice between the sticks for the Premier League and Champions League games while Kepa Arrizabalaga has featured in the FA and Carabao Cup.
Reece James starts
Defence: Tuchel is likely to revert to the regular 3-4-2-1 formation after a back four failed to work out against Brentford. Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger should be confirmed starters in central defence. Tuchel may prefer the vast experience of Cesar Azpilicueta over Andreas Christensen in the back three.
Reece James made his injury comeback off the bench against the Bees. The England star is now expected to start in the right wing-back position for Chelsea. Marcos Alonso had a tough outing from left-back at the weekend, but should keep his place over Malang Sarr as he is more reliable from the left wing-back role.
Midfield: Jorginho was an unused substitute against Brentford, having come off the disappointment of Italy missing out on the World Cup. He is likely to make his return to the line-up. Jorginho and N’Golo Kante were pivotal to Chelsea’s European glory last term with stand-out displays during the knock-out phase. They should be reunited in the centre of the park.
Christian Pulisic returns
Attack: Tuchel has numerous options to depend on, but it could be a straightforward decision for him with the best performers getting the nod. Mason Mount has been a key figure in the club’s attack, and has been almost ever-present when fit for selection.
Alongside him, Christian Pulisic should get a recall. The £40.5m-rated star was rested during Chelsea’s defeat to Brentford after his international exploits. He should make a comeback tomorrow, having previous scored in both legs of the round of 16 Champions League tie against Lille.
Up front, Kai Havertz seems likely to continue ahead of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner. The German has impressed with his link-up play and pace on the counter-attack. The 22-year-old has six goals for Chelsea since the restart after the winter break.
Expected Chelsea line-up (3-4-2-1) vs Real Madrid