Thomas Tuchel has welcomed the competition for places in Chelsea, as his team go in search of a fifth consecutive home win against Newcastle United on Monday.
The Blues kept their undefeated start under their new manager, which also includes a draw against the Wolves, with a 1-0 win at Barnsley in the FA Cup knockout midweek.
Tuchel has plenty of options on the field, particularly in midfield, where Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Billy Gilmour are effectively competing for two spots in midfield.
It is a positive selection headache for the former Paris Saint-Germain manager, however, as Chelsea continue to compete in three different competitions.
“If we have to make tough decisions, everything is fine because we have a full squad available,” he said. “If I have a difficult decision to make, it is my job to handle it.
“It’s my job to trust the boy from the bank too. Is it possible to achieve our goal with 12, 13, 14 players? No, it is simply not possible.
“Having those guys is a great gift to me for both positions. Having a fourth guy like Billy Gilmour is absolutely necessary at this kind of level that we and the fans expect of us.”
Chelsea have won their last seven league games at home against Newcastle, scoring 18 goals and conceding just three.
United have found some form with two wins in their last three league games to ease the pressure on Steve Bruce, but are facing not having forward Callum Wilson for up to two months.
Bruce admits that taking the place of the 10-goal forward will be a huge task for players like Dwight Gayle, Joelinton and Andy Carroll.
“Losing the striker is a bitter pill to swallow,” he said. “It’s for anyone to step forward. There is an opportunity there.
“We expected it to be a grade one, but unfortunately it’s worse than that. We don’t think it needs an operation, but it takes time.”
“We all know what Dwight is capable of, so we hope he holds up well. The same goes for Joelinton and Carroll.”
KEY PLAYERS. MAIN PLAYERS
Chelsea – Olivier Giroud
Timo Werner is still struggling with a dead leg, so Giroud may have a chance to impress Monday.
The forward has scored eight Premier League goals against Newcastle, only against Aston Villa (nine) he has more, although he has failed to score against them in his last seven such matches.
Newcastle United – Miguel Almirón
Another of those who will have to contribute goals now that Wilson is ruled out is Almirón.
The Paraguayan international has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games, which is as many as he did in his previous 32 in the competition, but his four goals this season have come at St James’ Park.
KEY FACTS OF OPTA
– Chelsea have lost only one of their 25 Premier League home games to Newcastle United (18 wins and 6 draws), a 2-0 loss in May 2012.
– The Blues are looking to win eight straight home games against an opponent for the first time since winning nine in a row against West Brom between 1984 and 2013.
– Newcastle have won two Premier League away games in London this season, beating West Ham and Crystal Palace. The Magpies have not won three in a season in the capital since the 2013-14 campaign, beating Tottenham, West Ham and Crystal Palace.
– Chelsea have won their last three Premier League games, which are as many as in their previous 11 (W3 D3 L5). The Blues have conceded just one goal in their four league games with Tuchel.
– Tuchel had never before directed a top flight match on a Monday. The German’s last game in any competition on this day of the week was in August 2016, leading Borussia Dortmund to a 3-0 DFB-Pokal first-round victory against SV Eintracht Trier 05.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.