Chelsea’s major headache to face Brentford laid bare with Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva out – Football.London

There was always going to come a time where Thomas Tuchel will have to deal with depleted ranks somewhere in his talented Chelsea squad and it has reared its head before the Blues take on Brentford on Saturday.

It’s not a full-blown crisis by any stretch but the Chelsea head coach will have somewhat depleted defensive ranks for the short trip up the A4 to the Brentford Community Stadium.

The visitors will be without Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva for the clash as the Premier League returns to action after the second international break of the 2021/22 season which is now, thankfully, over.

It has come at a cost for the Blues. Rudiger picked up a back problem while away with Germany as they secured a spot at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and has yet to train with his club since returning to England.

Silva meanwhile played 90 minutes for Brazil in their 4-1 win over Uruguay in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers and the match didn’t finish until 3:30am UK time on Friday morning.

Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference on Friday regarding Silva: “Thiago will be back in the afternoon tomorrow, hopefully safe from this match in Brazil. We had our talk and tactical training, he missed all that. He played 90 minutes and had 12 hours of travelling so that gives you the answer.

“Of course I’m not happy but I knew it before when he would come back, and we knew before when he would travel so nothing new. I got used to a lot of stuff in international breaks and this is how it is.

“Are we happy about it, all of the coaches about the amount of games our players play for their countries? No we are not. Does anybody ask us? No, of course not. Does it change anything? Also not.”

Silva’s absence was to be expected after his call-up, with fellow Brazilian’s in the Premier League such as Fred (Man Utd), Raphinha (Leeds), Allison Becker and Fabinho (Liverpool) all not expected to feature for their club’s this weekend.

Rudiger’s absence will be more of annoyance to Tuchel as it’s an injury picked up while away from Cobham on international duty, already the second break of a season that is only ten games old domestically.

With two key central defensive players out, Tuchel might be forced into a bit of a reshuffle and he will desperately be hoping Reece James is fit to start at right wing-back in the defensive five.

All signs point to a central three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah to face Brentford, with Chalobah playing in Rudiger’s spot on the left. Not his favoured position by any means but one he has played in when coming through the Blues academy setup.

If he’s fit to start then James is likely to take the right wing-back spot and Ben Chilwell over on the left hand side.

Is it first choice? No it isn’t, especially in the middle coming up against Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo, who have started the season incredibly well for Brentford.

Chelsea‘s success under Tuchel has been built on a solid defence and those occupying the central three spots this weekend have enough experience, even Chalobah who has impressed in the top flight this season, to keep Brentford out.

It just might be a case this weekend of bending somewhat but not breaking. At least Tuchel will be hoping that’s the case.

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