N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva should return to the lineup while Christian Pulisic ought to feature again when Chelsea face FC Porto in the Champions League.
Chelsea will be aiming to book safe passage through to the semi-finals of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League when they lock horns with Portuguese giants FC Porto at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Tuesday night.
Coming into the game on the back of a 2-0 advantage from the quarter-final first leg, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel will also have the entire squad at his disposal for selection. Indeed, Andreas Christensen, who missed the weekend game against Crystal Palace due to a niggle, has travelled to Seville while Thiago Silva is available as well after missing the league game due to suspension.
With Silva well-rested after having not played at all last week, the Brazilian is in line to start against Porto, replacing Kurt Zouma at the heart of Chelsea’s three-man defensive unit. Partnering him at the back should be club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger, with Edouard Mendy lining up in the Blues’ goal.
Callum Hudson-Odoi enjoyed a positive outing against Crystal Palace at the weekend, but could make way for Reece James at right wing-back on Tuesday night whereas Ben Chilwell is set to be retained on the opposite wing.
The major decision for Tuchel, heading into Tuesday’s game, will be whether to start midfielder N’Golo Kante or not. The Frenchman returned from international duty with an injury and has been eased back into action, making substitute appearances in the last two matches. Tuchel, in his pre-match presser, stressed that it was crucial not to rush the midfielder back.
“Normally it is hard to imagine a game like this without NG, but at the same time we need to be absolutely careful about him and that we don’t take risks with his health and with his injury situation. The question tomorrow is whether we want him to start or whether we want him to finish the game because there is also the possibility that it will go to 120 minutes,” he said.
Given the importance of the game, Kante could be thrust into the lineup, with Jorginho making way for the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner. Mateo Kovacic should partner him in the middle of the park against Porto.
Given how well the attacking unit performed in the last game, Tuchel will be tempted to not change anything in the final third, which could mean that the trio of Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz, all of whom excelled against Crystal Palace, should feature again from kick-off.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz