Mateo Kovacic has been ruled out with an injury but Kepa Arrizabalaga is in line to start when Chelsea face Manchester in the FA Cup semi-final.
Chelsea will be hoping to take a step closer to lifting the first trophy of the Thomas Tuchel era when they lock horns with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.
Heading into the game, manager Tuchel has not been treated with any fresh injury concerns. However, Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen, who missed the midweek clash against FC Porto, have not recovered enough in time and will not feature against the Cityzens, the German confirmed. “Mateo Kovacic is unfortunately still out, but feeling already better. Andreas Christensen is also out and cannot be in the squad,” he said.
With Christensen not fit, Thiago Silva should once again start at the heart of Chelsea’s three-man defensive unit. He should have Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger as his partners once again on Saturday evening. There will, however, be a change between the sticks though, with Kepa Arrizabalaga set to replace Edouard Mendy as has been the case for the cup games.
Reece James and Ben Chilwell started as the wing-backs for Chelsea against Porto in midweek and are likely to feature here again, ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso, as they offer a bit more defensively than the latter pair.
Moving into midfield, Tuchel confirmed that N’Golo Kante was fit enough to start two games in the space of four days having recently returned from an injury, which is a huge boost for Chelsea. “We have the green light for N’Golo to play. We had three days between which makes a huge difference for him,” the Blues boss said.
With Kovacic unavailable, Kante will once again be partnered by Italian midfielder Jorginho, who was Chelsea’s standout player against Porto last time out. Youngster Billy Gilmour will be an option from the bench.
Mason Mount is Chelsea’s most in-form player and is irreplaceable at the moment. Alongside him, Christian Pulisic should also hold on to his spot after showing signs of recovering his best form in recent games. Kai Havertz has been preferred over the likes of Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud in the centre-forward slot and that is likely to be the case once again on Saturday.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz