N’Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta are back in contention for Chelsea, but Mateo Kovacic is ruled for their Premier League away game against Newcastle United.

Chelsea will be aiming to strengthen their grip at the summit of the Premier League table when they face off against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon. And, leading up to the game, manager Thomas Tuchel has been greeted by positive news on the injury front.

N’Golo Kante, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen have recovered from minor injury problems and are available for selection. However, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku remain sidelined while the game comes too soon for Christian Pulisic. In addition, Mateo Kovacic has picked up an injury recently and has been ruled out as well.

Newcastle United vs Chelsea Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

“I miss Mateo a lot, he has been a key factor till now and it’s really sad to see him get injured in the very last second of the training on Thursday. But actually in midfield, and hopefully it stays like this, we have still Jorginho, N’Golo, Ruben who comes back after only two or three days out, and we have Saul, so there’s still a lot of quality we can use to compensate,” Tuchel said to the media.

Chelsea will make wholesale changes to the side that started against Southampton in the midweek Carabao Cup fixture. Starting from goal, Edouard Mendy is set to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga, despite the Spaniard putting up a fine display. The three-man defence will be formed by captain Azpilicueta, alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger.

Reece James, who started as a centre-half in the cup tie, will return to his natural habitat at right wing-back while Ben Chilwell is set to return to the starting XI against Newcastle United, at the expense of Marcos Alonso.

With Kante back in action, he should feature from kickoff at St. James’ Park. The Frenchman ought to have Jorginho as his partner in midfield. Tuchel indicated that Loftus-Cheek could get some minutes against the Magpies, praising his recent run of form. “I’m super happy with Ruben. Obviously, he deserves to play, and he did some pretty strong minutes and matches for us. I love that he took the chance and what he brought to the team,” he said.

Mason Mount put in a starring display in his last Premier League appearance against Norwich City. He would be hoping to carry on from where he left off, slotting in as one of the two attacking midfielders against Newcastle. Callum Hudson-Odoi should partner him in the final third, with Kai Havertz starting as the No. 9 in the absence of Werner and Lukaku.

Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz

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