Premier League giants Chelsea will be looking to continue their unexpected run of clean sheets when they take on Ligue 1 outfit Rennes in the Champions League this Wednesday. The Blues are coming into this tie on the back of a convincing 3-0 win against Burnley on the weekend, where they managed to completely dominate the Clarets on the pitch. The defensive pairing was able to neutralise the threat that Burnley posed entirely, while the attack seemed like it was really starting to gel as well.
Although the Blues currently find themselves in 6th place on the table, they can take motivation from the fact that they’re still only four points off Liverpool at the top. In their last Champions League encounter, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side outclassed Krasnodar, as the match ended with a 4-0 scoreline. Although their attacking superiority was expected, the London club’s defending was the main point of attraction for fans. Having not conceded a single goal in four matches across all competitions now, Lampard will be eager to continue this good run of form.
Christian Pulisic was scheduled to start the game against Burnley, but he suffered an untimely calf injury during pre-match warm-up, and had to be replaced by Timo Werner on the flank. The American is unlikely to make it back in time for this fixture. Kepa Arrizabalaga is another name that is currently facing a spell on the sidelines, but it’s unlikely he would’ve started this fixture anyway. Billy Gilmour has recently returned to first-team training for Chelsea, but given the time that he was out, it would be a risk for Lampard to rush him back into the side at this early stage.
Predicted 4-3-3 Chelsea Lineup Vs Rennes
Over the last couple of weeks, Chelsea have looked more defensively solid than usual, and a lot of that is down to the work that has clearly been done on the training ground. The presence of Edouard Mendy in goal has come as a major boost of confidence to the entire back-line, and the Senegal international is likely to retain his place in the eleven. In front of him, expect German giant Antonio Rudiger to start this tie, with Kurt Zouma set to operate alongside him. Cesar Azpilicueta could replace Reece James on the right flank, with Ben Chilwell expected to continue over on the left.
The Blues’ midfield from the weekend clash against Burnley looked like it was a game-changer. By playing both Mason Mount and Kai Havertz in more advanced roles than usual, Lampard was able to take control of the core of the pitch. Although Havertz is unlikely to start this fixture, Mason Mount should keep his place. Mateo Kovacic could be brought into the side in the German’s stead, with N’Golo Kante continuing as the lone holding anchor.
Hakim Ziyech has been the talk of the town around Stamford Bridge for the last couple of fixtures, and his performance levels have been gradually getting better. Expect the Moroccan to retain his place on the Blues’ right-wing, with young Callum Hudson-Odoi expected to be given the nod over on the left side. Timo Werner started the game against Burnley on the left flank, with Tammy Abraham leading the line. However, the Englishman is expected to drop back down to the bench for this tie, with Werner likely to move into the number nine position.