Thomas Tuchel takes his Chelsea side away to Aston Villa on Boxing Day, hoping to arrest a slide that has seen the Blues win just one of their past four Premier League games.
Chelsea may have suffered a torrid recent run that has seen them surrender top spot in the league, and finish second in their Champions League group, but the defeat to West Ham is their only loss since the end of September, despite their problems.
Ben Chilwell’s injury began a trend, and soon Tuchel was limited to a threadbare squad, with seven players testing positive for coronavirus.
That meant three academy players, Xavier Simons, Jude Soonsup-Bell, and Harvey Vale, all made their Blues debut in the Carabao Cup win over Brentford in midweek.
However, Tuchel has been handed some positive news with many of his stars now back in training. The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Andreas Christensen are all back, as Chelsea return to somewhat full strength.
But, how will Tuchel set up?
Kepa Arrizabalaga impressed once again in between the sticks against Brentford, but Edouard Mendy is expected to return.
Trevoh Chalobah played in the middle of the back three in the week, but will shift over to the right, with Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger playing alongside him.
Reece James came off the bench to provide the cross which was spooned home by Pontus Jansson, and will be handed a start after a short rest in midweek. Marcos Alonso will be on the other flank.
N’Golo Kante played 90 minutes against Wolves, before a 15 minute cameo won Chelsea the tie against Brentford, but with his fitness so important, he may start on the bench against Villa. Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho will pair up in the double pivot.
Mason Mount will start off the right, while Callum Hudson-Odoi could be handed a start, although he’s had minimal training. Romelu Lukaku may well be waiting in the wings, as Christian Pulisic leads the line.