Chelsea are set to lock horns with an upbeat Everton side in under an hour and there's been a lot to discuss ahead of the match.
Thomas Tuchel has named his starting XI for the clash, with five changes to the team that outclassed Liverpool in the previous Premier League game. A win here could strengthen Chelsea's chances of a top-four finish as Everton are right behind them in the table.
Chelsea are unbeaten since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard, having collected vital victories against Tottenham, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid along the way.
Without further ado, we bring you the latest news on the Blues for March 8th, 2021.
Tuchel tinkers with Chelsea's playing XI against Everton
Tuchel has almost changed half his side for the game against the Toffees, with alterations in every section of the field beside the goalkeeper position.
At the back, Kurt Zouma replaces Antonio Rudiger. In the 'double pivot' position, Mateo Kovacic comes in for N'Golo Kante, who started each of Chelsea's last three matches.
Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech will make way for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz behind the striker. The latter has been out of the playing XI for a considerable amount of time and this could be his chance to shine.
Reece James respects Tuchel's decisions on selection
Reece James has been switched to a wing-back role since Tuchel arrived at Chelsea, owing to a shift in formation, which utilises three centre-halves. At times, Callum Hudson-Odoi has been chosen in the wing-back role.
James, however, remains a key part of Tuchel's plans. Reflecting on the victory against Liverpool and reduced game time, the 21-year-old, who featured regularly under Frank Lampard, said:
"We were all on it against Liverpool and that showed. The game last season was tough and we lost 5-3. But this season shows you how far we’ve progressed. He (Tuchel) is very funny and very passionate."
"He (Tuchel) wants to win and that shows when he is on the sidelines, kicking and heading every ball. When you’re in a top team, you can’t always play. You have to keep working hard. He’s the manager, I have to respect his decisions," said the Chelsea academy graduate.
Lescott feels Tammy Abraham does not have long-term future at Chelsea
Amid the drastic improvements made by the team under Tuchel, one player who has suffered is Tammy Abraham.
The youngster, who still remains Chelsea's top scorer this season with 12 goals, was left out of the matchday squad against Manchester United for tactical reasons. Talks of his future and the diminishing possibility of penning a new contract intensified after the same.
Since then, the player reportedly picked up an injury. Joleon Lescott believes Chelsea may repeat the mistake they committed with Romelu Lukaku years ago.
“I think he [Abraham] has made it known that he’s not convinced he wants to sign a new contract. Obviously, players want to play, and Tammy has been on loan and done the hard yards in a lower league. He’s performed, he hasn’t played badly, and for whatever reason, he hasn’t been given the opportunity under Tuchel," said Lescott.
When asked about the Chelsea striker's future, he further explained:
“Do I see him being there long term? I don’t, to be honest, I see him having to go away, and we’ve seen that in the past. I’m sure Chelsea would love to have [Romelu] Lukaku right now and even Kevin de Bruyne. It’d be slightly naive of Chelsea to think, ‘We don’t need Tammy Abraham.’"