N’Golo Kante is in contention to feature while Mason Mount and Kai Havertz should start when Chelsea take on FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Portuguese giants FC Porto in the first-leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie. Heading up into the game, manager Thomas Tuchel has been handed a triple injury boost.
N’Golo Kante, who picked up an injury while on international duty last month, and Christian Pulisic who was injured in the last game against West Bromwich Albion, are both fit and available for selection, along with Tammy Abraham, as confirmed by the manager in his pre-match press conference.
“They are fit enough to be in the squad and will be in the squad so this is good news. Christian went out right before the injury could happen. He said at half-time he felt if he continued it would be an injury coming so we had to take him off. Tammy is in the squad and NG [Kante] just did the last test and will be on the bench,” Tuchel said.
Edouard Mendy is locked in for the starting spot in goal ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga. Captain Cesar Azpilicueta should also hold on to his place in the three-man backline, but Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma are set to drop out after their torrid displays last time out, making way for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is an option for the right wing-back slot, but Reece James is likely to be preferred again to deal with the threat posed by Porto’s danger-man Otavio from the wing. On the left flank, Ben Chilwell could come in for Marcos Alonso as he provides more solidity defensively.
While Kante is fit, as confirmed by Tuchel, he is only in contention to feature off the bench. So, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho should once again form the central midfield partnership, with the latter needing to up his game big time after a stuttering performance at the weekend.
Mason Mount, who did not start against West Brom, is a certainty to feature from kick-off on Wednesday against Porto. Hakim Ziyech is also likely to get the nod after he was unfortunate to have been subbed off in the first period last time out.
With Abraham back in contention, he will vie with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud for the starting berth as the centre-forward. However, given that he is just returning from an injury, he is unlikely to be rushed back while Werner is also set to be benched after a lackadaisical display last time out.
Giroud has fond memories of the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, having scored a hat-trick against Sevilla in the Champions League group stages earlier this term. But someone like Havertz, with his movement and mobility, could offer more in the final third against the ageing Pepe.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Chilwell; Ziyech, Mount; Havertz