The continued rotation of Chelsea’s big squad sees Antonio Rudiger (£4.7m), Mason Mount (£7.1m) and Kai Havertz (£8.2m) amongst the substitutes for their hosting of West Bromwich Albion.
For those managers desperate to invest in the league’s strongest defence, the return of Thiago Silva (£5.6m) only worsens the headache. He and Kurt Zouma (£5.3m) step in for Rudiger and Andreas Christensen (£4.7m), with Marcos Alonso (£5.7m) starting ahead of Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) at left wing-back.
Alonso has been a popular transfer this week amongst the online Fantasy Premier League community, with many seeing the incredibly attacking defender as the ideal one-week punt ahead of a Gameweek 31 Wildcard. He wasn’t on international duty, so owners will be hoping for a repeat of his 14-point haul from beating Burnley 2-0 in Gameweek 21.
Former defender Thomas Tuchel’s arrived as head coach in January and quickly made Chelsea’s back line impenetrable, conceding only twice in 14 matches (all competitions) as they seek their eighth consecutive clean sheet.
However, these successful shut-outs are achieved with rotating personnel, with only Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.9m) seemingly assured of a starting spot. Rudiger, Zouma, Christensen and Thiago Silva share the remaining two spots, as Edouard Mendy (£5.2m) starts again in goal.
As detailed in Thursday’s feature, Mount (225), Havertz (212) and Chilwell (180) played in the majority of their country’s 270 minutes during the international break. Therefore, Tuchel has given them a breather, showcasing their squad depth by bringing in Christian Pulisic (£8.2m) and Mateo Kovacic (£5.3m).
Timo Werner (£9.2m) starts up front, his barren streak worsened by a terrible miss for Germany against North Macedonia. With one league goal from 1,350 minutes – the equivalent of 15 matches – his confidence seems shattered but the expected goals (xG) number of 6.34 in that spell suggests that he’s still getting in the right positions.
Reece James (£5.0m) starts at right wing-back, with Hakim Ziyech (£7.9m) keeping his starting spot.
As for West Brom, they were unchanged for four consecutive matches but Sam Allardyce has been forced into one change as loanee Conor Gallagher (£5.5m) cannot play against his parent club. He has been replaced by Semi Ajayi (£4.8m), suggesting a switch from 4-1-4-1 to a 5-4-1 formation.
Stuck in the relegation zone, the Baggies haven’t scored in their last three matches but have kept three clean sheets in the last five matches, ideal for Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) owners. They picked up 1-1 draws at Liverpool and Man City, so will feel a Stamford Bridge result is achievable.
Branislav Ivanovic (£4.4m) is on the bench against the club he made 377 appearances for.
GAMEWEEK 30 LINE-UPS
Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Zouma; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Ziyech, Pulisic, Werner
West Bromwich Albion XI (5-4-1): Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea, Bartley, Townsend; Phillips, Yokuslu, Maitland-Niles, Pereira; Diagne
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