Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz are set to return but Antonio Rudiger has been ruled out for Chelsea’s game against Fulham on Saturday.
Chelsea will be hoping to bolster their hopes of clinching a top four finish when they play hosts to Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening. And, Thomas Tuchel has a fresh injury concern to deal with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Antonio Rudiger has picked up a knock that has ruled him out of the game against Fulham, with the German international joining Mateo Kovacic on the sidelines. Tuchel provided an update on the duo during his pre-match press conference.
“Unfortunately he [Kovacic] is still injured. He trained with us but he’s still not fully confident. He felt something at the end of the training so he’s not available. All other players are available except for Toni Rudiger who got injured in the last minute of the Madrid game. I am quite positive for Toni [being available] for Wednesday.”
Rudiger’s absence means Kurt Zouma is set to be recalled to the starting lineup. Another shuffle in the back three should have Thiago Silva dropping out in order to get a breather ahead of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid next week.
Silva’s place at the base of the three-man central defensive unit should be taken up by Andreas Christensen, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta dropping into the back three. In the Chelsea goal, there is no looking past Edouard Mendy, who ought to retain his spot ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
With Azpilicueta starting as a centre-back, Reece James ought to be reinstated as the starting right wing-back, with Marcos Alonso likely to come in for Ben Chilwell on the left flank. The rotation policy should also mean N’Golo Kante will get a breather and in his stead, Billy Gilmour is in contention to feature, as suggested by Tuchel.
“It could be [Gilmour playing against Fulham], but it’s not decided yet. Billy is in the squad, he was very close to playing some minutes in the last games, and he is in good shape so he could play.”
Gilmour, though, is unlikely to start, with Mason Mount likely to reprise a deeper role in midfield for Chelsea, starting in the double pivot alongside Jorginho. Gilmour will, however, get a chance to impress from the bench, in all likelihood, with Tuchel not expected to risk Kante at all.
Mount’s vacated spot as one of the two attacking midfielder ought to be taken up by Timo Werner, which means Kai Havertz should lead the line for Chelsea against Fulham. The final spot in attack will likely go to Hakim Ziyech, with Christian Pulisic, who impressed once again versus Real Madrid, getting a rest.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma; James, Jorginho, Mount, Alonso; Ziyech, Werner; Havertz