Two-time European champions Chelsea visit Austria to take on RB Salzburg in an intriguing encounter on match day 5 of the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Come Tuesday night, the result could set the precedent for who is favourite to progress through to the knockout rounds amongst Europe’s elite.
Group E is still wide open as Chelsea hold on to top spot by a solitary point, followed by their midweek opponents, who have 6 points after 4 games.
Chelsea Team News
Graham Potter has quite a few decisions to make ahead of a few busy weeks before the World Cup commences.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has done a good job of wrestling his place back in goal from Edouard Mendy and should start on Tuesday evening as well.
The Blues are currently battling to keep up their numbers in defence with absentees including the likes of Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, and Reece James sidelined due to injuries.
That being the case, the back three of Trevor Chalobah, veteran Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella are expected to be asked to go again after the weekend, with the only other option being Cesar Azpilicueta.
The latter could also be a part of a midfield four, playing on the right as a wing-back in Chelsea’s predominantly 3-4-3 formation, while Ben Chilwell occupies a similar position on the left.
The defence screening role should be played by the pair of Jorginho and Kovacic, who got rested from the start against Manchester United while the former scored from the spot.
In the forward department, Potter must shuffle his cards right as Mason Mount is one yellow card away from missing out on what could be a potentially crucial final game against Dinamo Zagreb.
The duo of Armando Broja and Pulisic who came on as substitutes at Old Trafford could make their starts in the front line along with Raheem Sterling, with Aubameyang amongst the substitutes.
Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Conor Gallagher were the unused options from the bench against the draw at United, perhaps indicating that the trio aren’t up to speed in their pursuit of making the starting eleven.
That said, they could be useful options off the bench as Chelsea look to seal a knockout berth.
Starting line-up prediction for Chelsea: Kepa, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Marc Cucurella, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell, Pulisic, Sterling, and Broja.
Red Bull Salzburg Team News
For the home side, picking their strongest possible line-up would be key as they look to hold on to their position in the group.
Despite RB Salzburg sitting atop the Austrian Bundesliga, Tuesday’s opposition are leaps and bounds ahead in terms of the quality they face in their domestic league.
With that in mind, manager Matthias Jaissle should start Peter Köhn in goal protected by a four-man defence of Dedic, Solet, Pavlovic and Wöber, the latter making the eleven in the probable absence of Captain Andreas Ulmer, who is doubtful to start.
The midfield three of Seiwald, Gourna-Douath and Kjærgaard that started in the weekend stalemate with SK Sturm Graz should be in the middle of the park, with Capaldo missing after featuring against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The exciting young duo of Benjamin Sesko and Roko Simic should come into the forward line for the Salzburg side after being rested on Saturday.
Swiss national Noah Okafor should make up a pacy-attacking trident to get at the depleted Chelsea defence.
Starting line-up prediction for RB Salzburg: Köhn, Dedic, Solet, Pavlovic, Wöler, Seiwald, Gourna-Douath, Kjærgaard, Sesko, Okafor, and Simic.