Chelsea take on The Gunners at the Emirates on Sunday as the pre-season campaign gets a little more serious.
Chelsea’s pre-season campaign steps up a gear this weekend with the start of The Mind Series which will see them take on Arsenal and Spurs in a triangular tournament.
They will be the last two friendlies of the summer for Tuchel, who has watched his side beat Peterborough 6-1 in a behind-closed-doors clash at Cobham three weeks ago and win 2-1 against Bournemouth this past midweek.
German trio Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Antonio Rudiger are all expected to feature at The Emirates this weekend, where a capacity crowd is also anticipated for a double header that will also see Arsenal and Chelsea’s women’s teams face off.
Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Kurt Zouma, who is being heavily linked with a move away from the club, are also available for the game, as are Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy and Tiemoue Bakayoko.
That is likely to mean that some of the fringe players and youngsters who have been featuring so far in pre-season will drop out of the squad for the game against Mikel Arteta’s side
Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta both returned to Cobham on Friday after the summer exertions but are unlikely to figure on Sunday, while Jorginho, Emerson, Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell and Reece James should be back early next week.
So, with Tuchel now having a few more options to choose from for the friendly this weekend, here is the predicted team we think he could put out. Usual disclaimer here that predicting a pre-season side is pretty much impossible but we’ve had a go anyway
Mendy; Sterling, Baker, Sarr, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Loftus-Cheek; Ziyech, Pulisic, Havertz.
Those who only returned to training at the back end of last week are likely to only get 45 minutes to ease them back into action ahead of the new campaign.
That means the likes of Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater, Davide Zappacosta and Armando Broja should still get some minutes under their belt at the Emirates.
Broja in particular has had a strong summer, netting three goals in three outings. For the likes of Loftus-Cheek, Drinkwater and a few others, it could be their last chance to stake a claim for a spot in the Premier League squad.