N’Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy are fit and available while Hakim Ziyech could start when Chelsea face Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final.
Chelsea will be aiming to be crowned the kings of Europe when they face off against fellow English club Manchester City in the finals of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League at Estadio Do Dragao on Saturday night.
Heading into the game, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has been handed a double injury boost as key midfielder N’Golo Kante is fit and available after missing the last game against Aston Villa while goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has also recovered from the rib injury he sustained during the defeat to the Villans on the final day of the Premier League season.
Providing an update on the team news in his pre-match press conference, Tuchel said, “The team news is the best news ever, we have a full squad. We have no injuries and I hope it stays like that until after we finish today’s training session,” indirectly confirming that both Kante and Mendy are back in contention for the big game against Manchester City.
With Mendy back fit, the Senegalese international becomes the automatic pick between the sticks for Chelsea on Saturday night. The summer signing from Rennes will be shielded by a three-man defensive unit comprising of Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who will return to the backline after having featured as a wing-back in the past few games.
Azpilicueta moving into the centre-back role means Reece James should slot in as the right wing-back for Chelsea from where he will look to provide a constant attacking outlet. The same goes for Ben Chilwell, who is a guaranteed starter on the left side ahead of Marcos Alonso and the out-of-favour Emerson Palmieri.
Kante’s return is a huge boost for Chelsea ahead of this blockbuster clash and the diminutive Frenchman ought to be a certainty to feature in the centre of the park against Manchester City. He is likely to be partnered by the ever-present figure of Jorginho, meaning Mateo Kovacic will have to settle for a place on the bench on Saturday night.
Moving into the final third of the pitch, Mason Mount, who has been a revelation this season, is guaranteed to start as one of the two attacking midfielders for Chelsea. The likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi will all contest for the remaining two slots in attack.
But Ziyech could get the nod as the second attacking midfielder considering that he has scored important goals in Chelsea’s recent two victories over Manchester City, while Werner has been favoured in the No. 9 role of late by Tuchel. The rest of the aforementioned names, along with Olivier Giroud, will be options from the bench.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Ziyech, Mount; Werner