Expected Chelsea XI vs Atletico Madrid as Thomas Tuchel faces bold calls

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has some big decisions to make for his first Champions League XI with the London side.

The Blues face a trip to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid for the first league of their European round-of-16 clash.

Diego Simeone’s side pose a serious threat to the German’s unbeaten run since taking over from Frank Lampard last month.

While Chelsea have been boosted by both an Atletico defeat to Levante on Saturday and injury returns at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel still has some big decisions to make.

The first one is whether to include Callum Hudson-Odoi, who he hauled off in the 1-1 draw against Southampton – 30 minutes after coming on from the bench.

Thomas Tuchel is facing some big decisions for his starting XI against Atletico Madrid
(Image: 2021 Chelsea FC)

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While the pair held clean-the-air talks following the south-coast trip, the Englishman’s challenge of remaining in the squad has been made more difficult by the returns of Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic to the squad.

The £72m midfielder is back from a knock while the American is in contention following a rest against Southampton.

It could see Tuchel put his former Borussia Dortmund star into the attacking midfield duo alongside Mason Mount.

Callum Hudson-Odoi role in the 1-1 draw against Southampton sparked questions, being hauled off 30 mins after being subbed on
(Image: 2021 Chelsea FC)

But he may be forced out by the returns to the squad of Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz
(Image: DS)

With Reece James putting in a shift on the right wing, this could see a starting place become out of reach for Hudson-Odoi.

The line would be led by Timo Werner, with Tammy Abraham still nursing an ankle sprain and the German providing pace while could threaten Atletico’s defence.

With Marcos Alonso on the left wing, the midfield pairing would remain as N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.