Chelsea against Leicester City might just produce our most difficult predicted XI to date!
Thomas Tuchel’s team qualified for the Champions League without even kicking a ball due to Newcastle United’s Monday night victory over Arsenal.
The Blues were living pretty dangerously heading into the final stretch of the season, thanks to a combination of poor results and others below them gaining ground.
But thanks to Mikel Arteta’s men, Chelsea now cannot slip below fourth place.
Tottenham Hotspur may overtake them on the last day of the campaign, but that will only be a side note once the European competitions kick off next year.
It’s not often we owe the Gunners, so we are all the more grateful!
Their loss means the pressure is off for tomorrow’s encounter with Leicester at Stamford Bridge.
Hence why we believe Tuchel will make wholesale changes to his side, making our calculations even harder!
Here’s our predicted XI for Thursday’s fixture versus the Foxes:
After going the distance with Liverpool in the FA Cup final, it feels only fair that most of the players get a rest.
Edouard Mendy finally gives his gloves over to Kepa Arrizabalaga, whose last appearance in any competition was on the 2nd of March.
Ahead of him, Malang Sarr steps in for Antonio Rudiger, the man who has played more minutes than anybody for Chelsea in 2021/22.
Trevoh Chalobah is one of only three to keep their place from the cup final, but moves into the middle of defense rather than the right.
Thiago Silva hobbled out of Wembley, having battled through a portion of the 120 minutes with an injury.
Cesar Azpilicueta is a pretty handy understudy to come in, hoping to make up for his penalty miss in the shoot-out.
Marcos Alonso scored the first spot-kick for the Blues, yet is afforded a rare rest, replaced by the almost forgotten figure of Kenedy.
The Brazilian was recalled from his loan spell in January as a response to the wing-back crisis at the club.
However, he has since only accumulated just over an hour of football and will possibly be sold in summer.
On the opposite flank, Reece James is one of the others to stay put from the Liverpool loss.
Centrally, Saul Niguez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek partner up, with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic unlikely to be firing on all cylinders.
Christian Pulisic was running on empty by the time he left the field on Saturday, meaning his tired legs will surely be swapped for Hakim Ziyech.
Despite another underwhelming display, Romelu Lukaku gets a chance to continue his good Premier League form of three goals in two matches.
Supporting Ziyech and Lukaku could be the nearly unrecognizable Ross Barkley.
Barkley has only started one league game since Tuchel took over last January.
Will this be the last time fans see the £ 15m (BBC) signing from Everton pull on a Chelsea shirt?
Chelsea predicted XI vs Leicester: Kepa; Sarr, Chalobah, Azpilicueta; Kennedy, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, James; Ziyech, Lukaku, Barkley
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