Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will welcome Antonio Rudiger back into the starting XI against Lille, while midfielder Jorginho also should return to the side.
Chelsea will lock horns with French outfit LOSC Lille at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, as they look to confirm their place in the knockout stages of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League. And the Blues have been handed a huge injury boost ahead of the game as defender Antonio Rudiger is fully fit and ready for action.
Rudiger has played just 45 minutes of first-team football this season, but having recovered from his groin injury, the German is ready to return according to manager Frank Lampard. Speaking about the defender in his pre-match presser, the Chelsea boss said, “He’s been training really well. He’s got a lot of his fitness work done, his injury has healed.”
Frank Lampard reports that Toni Rudiger is in the squad for tomorrow. Fikayo Tomori is out with a small hip strain and Olivier Giroud is out injured too.#CHELOSC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 9, 2019
“We have managed to create some things behind the scenes here in training that look like matchplay, and some pure running as well. He has come through all that. You can only speak as you look at him, and he looks fit and ready to go, and I know he’s hungry.”
Rudiger’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for Chelsea as fellow centre-back Fikayo Tomori has been ruled out of the Lille game with a hip problem, Lampard confirmed. “He’s got a tiny strain around his hip area, and it’s been bothering him for a little bit, so he’s taken out of it for a few days,” the manager said.
Rudiger should start at the heart of the Chelsea defence on Tuesday, replacing Andreas Christensen, who struggled in the last game against Everton. The rest of the backline protecting Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal should remain intact though, with Kurt Zouma starting as the other centre-back, while Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta continue as the full-backs.
One change is expected in the midfield department as Lampard is likely to recall Jorginho to the starting XI, having rested the Italian in the last two outings. With both N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic pretty much certain to keep their places in the middle of the park, Mason Mount would be the one to pave the way for Jorginho’s return on Tuesday.
Olivier Giroud will be unavailable for Chelsea, having missed training on the eve of the game. Even if he was fit, the Frenchman wouldn’t have made the starting lineup, with Tammy Abraham the undisputed first-choice striker for the Blues. Flanking the Englishman once again should be Willian and Christian Pulisic, with Callum Hudson-Odoi on the bench.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Kepa; James, Rudiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Abraham, Pulisic