Romelu Lukaku is fit to start but Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva will miss out when Chelsea take on Brentford on Saturday.

Chelsea will be aiming to remain perched atop the Premier League table when they lock horns with Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday evening. And Thomas Tuchel has had a fair bit of bad news to greet ahead of his side’s latest fixture.

The international break has ended with a couple of scalps for Chelsea, with Antonio Rudiger out with a back injury while Thiago Silva is returning late from Brazil duty and will not be available to take on Brentford. In addition, Christian Pulisic is still out with an ankle injury while Hakim Ziyech is unavailable due to an illness.

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Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Tuchel said, “He [Silva] will be back in the afternoon, hopefully safe from this match in Brazil. We had our talk today about Brentford, we had our tactical training and he missed all that. He played 90 minutes, he has 12 hours of travelling so that maybe gives the answer about his availability.”

“Of course I’m not happy but I knew it before so there’s nothing new. Toni Rudiger is injured. He came back injured from his national team so is also not available. Christian Pulisic is still injured and not available. We have some doubts with Hakim Ziyech. He missed the last two training sessions with a headache and it seems that he’s not with the squad tomorrow.”

The absence of Silva and Rudiger means the three central defenders pretty much pick themselves, with Trevoh Chalobah, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta set to start. In goal, there is no looking past Edouard Mendy.

Meanwhile, there is a bit of good news as well for Tuchel and Chelsea fans, with N’Golo Kante back available after recovering from COVID-19. Reece James and Romelu Lukaku have also overcome their minor fitness issues, and should be a part of the starting lineup, like Kante.

Kante will likely have Jorginho for company in the middle of the park, with James lining up as the right wing-back. On the opposite flank, Ben Chilwell ought to get the nod ahead of Marcos Alonso once again. Lukaku will lead the line for Chelsea against Brentford, with Timo Werner playing off of him while Mason Mount will provide the creative impetus in the final third.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Chalobah; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Lukaku, Werner

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