Norwich City are looking to end a run of five straight losses in all competitions as they face off against Chelsea at Carrow Road tonight.
The Canaries host Thomas Tuchel’s side as they attempt to pick up points against a traditional top-six team for the first time this season.
Dean Smith’s men lost 3-1 to fellow newly-promoted outfit Brentford last weekend in the Premier League as Ivan Toney scored a hat-trick for the Bees.
How many changes will Smith make to the team? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make four alterations to the side, with Ozan Kabak, Max Aarons, Pierre Lees-Melou and Lukas Rupp all coming in.
Starting off in defence, we are predicting that on-loan defender Kabak will be brought back into the XI for the first time since his strong showing against Charlton in the FA Cup in January. Albeit against lower league opposition, the Turkish international caught the eye as he won six of his seven individual duels and made five interceptions, two tackles and three clearances – as per SofaScore.
He may now have the chance to show that he can replicate that showing at Premier League level after Ben Gibson’s horror show last weekend. Ian Wright dubbed his display as “absolutely crazy” as he gave away two penalties against Brentford – committing a high foot on Pontus Jansson from a corner before going to the ground on Toney in the box shortly after.
Smith may now axe the liability after that dreadful display and hand Kabak, on loan from Schalke, a start next to captain Grant Hanley.
At right-back, Max Aarons could come back in for Sam Bryam. The England U21 international was named on the bench against Brentford, but has started 25 matches for the Canaries in the top-flight and Smith could start him in hope that he gets a reaction out of the £35m-valued full-back to being dropped.
In midfield, Billy Gilmour will need to be replaced as he is ineligible to face his parent club. Lees-Melou came off the bench in the middle of the park last weekend and completed an impressive five long passes in just eight minutes on the pitch, which could be enough to seal his place in the XI.
Finally, we are predicting that Kenny McLean will be axed in favour of Rupp. In 90 minutes against Brentford, McLean won zero ground duels as he failed to make a single block, tackle or interception, whilst also creating zero chances and failing to hit the target with either of his two shots – as per SofaScore.
This could lead to Rupp, who scored in their 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool, lining up in midfield alongside Mathias Normann and Lees-Melou.