Four changes Thomas Tuchel could make as Chelsea begin Champions League title defence

Thomas Tuchel begins defence of Champions League title but will need to rotate his team.

<p>Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea celebrates with the Champions League Trophy  (Photo by Susan Vera - Pool/Getty Images)</p>

Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea celebrates with the Champions League Trophy (Photo by Susan Vera - Pool/Getty Images)

The real business begins for European Champions Chelsea and their German manager Thomas Tuchel, with Zenit St Petersburg visiting Stamford Bridge for the first game of this season’s UEFA Champions League.

The Blues have won three and drawn one of their first four games in the Premier League, and will hope to begin the defence of the Champions League title they won in Porto in similar style.

They have kept 22 clean sheets in 35 games since Thomas Tuchel took over midway through last season.

The addition of ruthless striker Romelu Lukaku this summer has already addressed the one weakness the team had last season, with the Belgium international already scoring three goals in his first three games for the club.

Chelsea are entering a fascinating period of the season with games against Zenit (Champions League), Tottenham( Premier League), Aston Villa (League Cup) and Manchester City( Premier League ) all coming up in the next two weeks.

Thomas Tuchel is likely to ring the changes for the game against Zenit on Tuesday, but which players are primed to come in and do a job straight away?

Reece James

Reece James of Chelsea celebrates after scoring the second goal during the Premier League (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The England right back was shown a red card at Anfield before the international break and missed the 3-0 victory against Aston Villa over the weekend.

He has been in scintillating form for club and country in the last year, playing 25 league games and starting the Champions League final in Porto last season.

This season, he started as the club’s first choice right-back ahead of captain César Azpilicueta before being sent off against Liverpool.

Not playing over the weekend should leave him as one of the fresh members of the team ready to start on Tuesday evening.

Saul Niguez

Saul Niguez of Chelsea takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

Saul had a baptism of fire on his Premier League debut and had to be hooked at half-time against Aston Villa.

In the 45 minutes he was on the pitch, he lost the ball seven times, made three errors and had a passing accuracy of 75%.

The deadline day signing admitted it wasn’t the idle debut but he is likely to get the nod to start again on Tuesday given N’Golo Kante is still struggling with fitness and both Kovacic and Jorginho need some help.

Ben Chilwell

Ben Chilwell of Chelsea celebrates victory after the UEFA Champions League Final . (Photo by Manu Fernandez - Pool/Getty Images)

Marcos Alonso’s strong start to the season means Ben Chilwell has had to settle for a place on the bench so far.

However, the England left-back is one of the expected changes on Tuesday, and that should kick start a rotation pattern we are likely to see at the left side of the Chelsea team, especially with games coming thick and fast.

Last season, Chilwell played 27 league games as Chelsea finished fourth but is yet to play this season.

Mason Mount

Mason Mount of Chelsea in action during the Premier League (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Mason Mount has been one of the key players for Chelsea since returning from his loan spell at Derby County in 2019.

His strong form for Chelsea has transmitted into the England national team where he is a mainstay now. Against Villa over the weekend, he was rested and watched the entire game from the bench.

He should be fresh and raring to go again against Zenit in the Champions League.