Kai Havertz is back fit and contention to feature, while Thiago Silva should start as Chelsea gear up to take on Rennes in the UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea will be looking to take a step closer towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League when they lock horns against Ligue 1 side Rennes at the Roazhon Park on Tuesday evening.
And manager Frank Lampard has been treated with positive news heading into the game as blockbuster summer signing Kai Havertz is fit and ready to return to action after having been sidelined for the last few games due to a positive coronavirus test.
Speaking to the club’s website on the eve of the game, the manager said, “I hope he is available. He’s been in for a few days now doing some individual work and he’s looked pretty good.”
Lampard then confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Havertz, along with defender Thiago Silva, will be travelling to France for the game. “Kai and Thiago both travel and they are fit for selection,” he claimed.
— Thiago Silva (@tsilva3) November 23, 2020
Silva, after being rested for the weekend clash against Newcastle United, should walk right back into the starting XI, replacing Antonio Rudiger. Kurt Zouma ought to be his partner at the heart of the Chelsea defence against Rennes.
There could be changes in the full-back slots, though, with Reece James and Ben Chilwell set to make way for Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieri. This backline will provide cover to Edouard Mendy, who returns to his former club mere months after making the move to Chelsea in the summer.
With a crunch game in the Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur lined up at the weekend, Lampard might also look to protect star midfielder N’Golo Kante, who was heavily involved during the international break with France. This could pave the way for Jorginho to return to the starting lineup on Tuesday.
While Havertz is in contention for selection, it is unlikely that he will be thrust right back in by the manager. So, the remaining two slots in the centre of the park are likely to be occupied by Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount once again.
Lampard also confirmed that Chelsea would once again be without Christian Pulisic, as he is still working towards regaining full fitness. “Christian stays back and doesn’t travel but the good news he has had good progression in the last week. The reason he is staying back is to get some physical work in to hopefully have him ready for selection for this weekend and onwards,” he said.
With Pulisic unavailable and the form that the front three of Hakim Ziyech, Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner have been in, Lampard ought to stick with the same attacking trident against Rennes, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Olivier Giroud starting on the bench.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount; Ziyech, Abraham, Werner