The Chelsea lineup that should start against West Ham on Saturday

    Chelsea face a potentially defining match in their season on Saturday afternoon as they travel across London to face top four rivals West Ham.

    The two sides are locked together on 55 points, separated only by goal difference with the Blues in fourth and the Hammers in fifth.

    A victory for either side would be hugely significant in the attritional battle for Champions League qualification – especially now that it really matters again following the failed Super League project.

    Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel will be looking for a statement victory in this London derby, while also bearing in mind a Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid in midweek.

    While the German tactician’s team selections are becoming increasingly difficult to predict, we at 90min are going to have a crack at it anyway…

    Thiago Silva
    Thiago Silva is fit to play | Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

    Edouard Mendy (GK) – Although Kepa Arrizabalaga has started Chelsea’s last two games Mendy is still no.1, and Tuchel has already confirmed the impressive stopper will return here.

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    Cesar Azpilicueta (CB) – Having had a rest against Brighton the skipper will return, and is undoubtedly Chelsea’s best option as an overlapping right centre-back in a back three

    Thiago Silva (CB) – Thiago has just started to show his age of late, missing the midweek draw with Brighton with acute fatigue. He’ll return here, though, but don’t expect him to start against Real Madrid.

    Kurt Zouma (CB) – Zouma looked shaky against Brighton last time out, but Tuchel will likely want to hold Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger in reserve for the Champions League semi-final.

    Callum Hudson-Odoi
    Callum Hudson-Odoi should start at right wing-back | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Callum Hudson-Odoi (RWB) – Hudson-Odoi’s impressive versatility has gone somewhat under the radar this season. He was excellent as a wing-back against Crystal Palace and should be given another chance there as cover for Reece James.

    N’Golo Kanté (CM) – Central midfield is one area where Tuchel lacks a bit of depth – especially with Mateo Kovacic injured – so unless he springs a huge surprise by including Billy Gilmour, expect the ubiquitous Frenchman to start.

    Jorginho (CM) – In recent weeks Jorginho has shown he has added bite to his ball-playing ability, relishing the defensive challenge as well as acting as the deep-lying playmaker. Handed the captain’s armband against Brighton.

    Ben Chilwell (LWB) – Marcos Alonso was given the nod in midweek, but Tuchel has realised that Chilwell is his man for the big occasion. It’s set to be a huge few days for the England man.

    timo werner
    Misfiring Timo Werner still gets the nod up top | Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

    Hakim Ziyech (RF) – While he struggled to create against Brighton, Ziyech has shown he can provide clutch moments in recent weeks with crucial goals in the cup competitions against Atlético Madrid and Man City.

    Timo Werner (CF) – Again, Tuchel will be weighing up who he wants to rest here and who he wants to face Los Blancos. Kai Havertz struggled on Wednesday though, and with Craig Dawson injured, Werner’s pace could be key against a less settled Hammers backline.

    Mason Mount (LF) – Mount is the one player in the Chelsea squad who seems pretty much undroppable at the moment. With two huge games coming up in the space of a few days, it’s difficult to envision Tuchel taking his star man out of the firing line now.

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