Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva are set to return but N’Golo Kante will miss out when Chelsea take on Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday
Chelsea will be hoping to make two wins out of two at the onset of their UEFA Champions League campaign when they face Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in a Group H tie on Wednesday night. And Thomas Tuchel has a couple of fresh roster issues to deal with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Reece James suffered a twisted ankle this past weekend against Manchester City and will play no part for Chelsea at Juventus. In addition, N’Golo Kante is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 and is sidelined till after the international break at the earliest.
The other two absentees for Chelsea are Mason Mount (knock) and Christian Pulisic (ankle) and during his pre-match press conference, Tuchel provided an update on each of the four players who are missing the trip to Turin to take on Juventus.
The Chelsea boss said, “Christian, Reece and Mason are out. N’Golo unfortunately tested positive and he needs to quarantine and follow the government protocols. He was not in training today.”
Elaborating on James’s injury, Tuchel added, “It’s still very painful. It will come down to pain management in the end and how much he can accept. Right now we are looking at a minimum of one more week.”
In the absence of James, Cesar Azpilicueta is likely to move into the right wing-back berth, leaving a spot open in the three-man central defensive unit. And the Chelsea captain’s vacant slot will likely go to Thiago Silva, who will play the sweeper role in the back three, with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger being the other two centre-backs.
As for the left wing-back spot, Marcos Alonso has usurped Ben Chilwell at the onset of the season and the Spaniard ought to keep hold of his spot. Meanwhile, the absence of Kante means Tuchel will likely revert to his usual 3-4-3 formation, with Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho pairing up in the middle of the park.
Finally, in attack, the added slot ought to be taken up by Kai Havertz, with Hakim Ziyech probably missing out. The Moroccan playmaker will be an option off the bench, with Timo Werner expected to start on the left side of the Chelsea attack, which will be spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku. On the opposite end of the pitch, Edouard Mendy ought to start ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga again.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Havertz, Lukaku, Werner