N’Golo Kante misses out with an injury, but Timo Werner is in line to start when Chelsea face off against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Chelsea will be aiming to pull away from the chasing pack in the race for the Premier League top-four when they lock horns with relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Leading up into the game, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has greeted some good news on the injury front as Thiago Silva, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho have all recovered from their fitness problems and are available for selection. However, N’Golo Kante is set to miss out for the Blues after picking up an injury while on international duty.
Speaking in his pre-match presser, Tuchel said: “‘Everyone was training today and we had a good, high-quality session. Apart from N’Golo Kante, he wasn’t with the squad and he did some individual work. With N’Golo, we will have to be patient. He is doing individual training and tomorrow’s game comes too soon for him and so he can’t be with the squad.”
Edouard Mendy, who did not join up with the Senegalese national team during the international break due to dental problems, should return in goal in place of Kepa Arrizabalaga, who started the Blues’ last game against Sheffield United in the FA Cup.
Despite Silva’s return to fitness, Tuchel is likely to put his trust in the three-man defensive unit of Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, which has performed very well over the past month. Reece James and Ben Chilwell should edge out Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso for the wing-back slots on Saturday.
With Kante ruled out, the fit-again Jorginho should walk right back into the Chelsea starting lineup against West Brom this weekend. The Italian international ought to be partnered by Mateo Kovacic, with youngster Billy Gilmour an option from the bench.
Moving into the attacking third, Tuchel confirmed that Timo Werner will be starting for Chelsea against West Brom. The summer signing is low on confidence following his blunder of a miss for Germany against North Macedonia, but the Blues boss backed him to come good.
“Timo will start tomorrow. Yesterday I sent him in from training because he wanted to do extra finishing with us. But I sent him in because it will happen, the goals will come. ‘Of course, he needs to do something and the best thing to do is to work hard. Work hard against the ball, make runs, don’t hesitate, be fearless, don’t overthink it,” he said.
Given that the German tactician has largely used Werner in the left-sided attacking midfield role, that is where the 24-year-old could start against West Brom with Mason Mount slotting in as the other attacking midfielder, which would mean Hakim Ziyech misses out.
Up front, Kai Havertz has looked bright on the few occasions that he has started as the No. 9 for Chelsea and could get another opportunity ahead of Olivier Giroud and Abraham.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Werner; Havertz