Chelsea’s opening fixture of the 2022/23 campaign sends them north to face Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.

Thomas Tuchel isn’t a manager that often pulls his punches in the press and blasted a lack of “commitment physically and mentally” after his side were dispatched 4-0 in a preseason friendly against Arsenal.

Despite admitting he had an increased role in recruitment earlier in the summer, Tuchel made an “urgent appeal” for more “quality players” a fortnight before his side’s trip to Merseyside.

Here’s the XI Tuchel may cobble together from Chelsea’s apparently threadbare squad.

Edouard Mendy (GK) – With his international teammate Kalidou Koulibaly installed in front of him, Mendy may be able to quell the skittish distribution that had begun to seep into his game.

Cesar Azpilicueta (CB) – In stark contrast to the backwards logic most footballers adopt when they want a move, Chelsea’s skipper (for now) hasn’t downed tools during pre-season as he continues to lead the team out with the armband intact.

Thiago Silva (CB) – Now into his second decade as a professional footballer, Silva made his senior debut while Concorde was still commercially available.

Kalidou Koulibaly (CB) – Chelsea‘s summer recruit from Napoli will become the first player to wear number 26 not called John Terry since Laurent Charvet in 1998.

Reece James (RWB) – Chelsea’s goal-getting (and making) wingback has been beaten by Everton (three times) more often than Manchester City and Manchester United (both twice).

N’Golo Kante (CM) – Across his first four seasons of Premier League football, Kante missed 14 games via injury. Fitness concerns sidelined him for 16 matches last season alone.

Jorginho (CM) – The club’s vice-captain saw his game time dwindle as the season wore on but lingering fitness doubts over Mateo Kovacic may earn him an opening day selection.

Ben Chilwell (LWB) – After a gruelling rehabilitation from a ruptured cruciate ligament, Chilwell could be in line for his first Premier League start since November.

Mason Mount (RW) – The 23-year-old became the first Chelsea player since Eden Hazard in 2018/19 to hit double digits for Premier League goals (11) and assists (ten) last season.

Kai Havertz (ST) – The de-facto centre-forward in Romelu Lukaku‘s absence was roughed up by Everton’s physical rearguard on his last trip to Goodison Park, leading him to reveal his preference is to “sneak around” centre-backs.

Raheem Sterling (LW) – In the best possible way, Tuchel leant upon one word to sum up the experience of playing against Sterling: “Horrible!” There are now 50 million reasons why he won’t have to endure that again in the near future.



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