However, while the veteran’s fitness needed to be carefully managed through our demanding schedule, Zouma started 15 of our first 17 Premier League games, playing every minute of them, as well as our first four Champions League games before being rested in that competition once our progress was secured.
Ready and waiting
The combination of a change of head coach and switch to a back three, with Cesar Azpilicueta moving into the centre and Antonio Rudiger back in the fold, meant Zouma found himself out of the side after the turn of the year, making just two league appearances between early January and the start of April, filling in for the missing Thiago Silva.
He was an ever-present at the beginning of our FA Cup campaign, though, starting every match up to the semi-finals and earning the trust of Thomas Tuchel with his performances. That made him an important option for the German boss as he managed the demands of the Premier League and Champions League with rotation.