Christian Pulisic will be in contention to feature, but Mason Mount will miss out when Chelsea take on Malmo at the Eleda Stadion on Tuesday.
Chelsea could have the chance to book their place in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 when they lock horns with Malmo FF at the Eleda Stadion on Tuesday evening. And Thomas Tuchel has been handed a boost on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Christian Pulisic has trained in the build-up to the midweek European contest and is in contention to take on Malmo after being picked in the travelling squad. However, the same cannot be said of Mason Mount, who continues to be on the sidelines due to an illness. In addition, Mateo Kovacic (hamstring), Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Timo Werner (hamstring) remain unavailable due to their respective injuries.
During his pre-match press conference, Tuchel spoke about Pulisic’s progress on his return from injury while also providing an update on Mount, insisting that the English international has not tested positive for COVID-19.
The Chelsea boss said, “These four players are unfortunately still out. For Timo, Romelu and Kova it is no surprise. For Mason, he does not feel really better and to stop any speculation, it is not Covid. He is negative for that. He is just ill and does not feel good enough to take part in training or take part in the trip to Malmo.”
“The good news is Christian Pulisic is back and back in the squad for tomorrow. We are in a good place and I have the feeling that the group knows why we are in a good place. We know what it takes to have these kinds of results and know what effort we have to put in.”
Pulisic is in line to make his return against Malmo, but he is unlikely to start the game, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech expected to start behind the central striker. Speaking of, Kai Havertz will lead the line for Chelsea against Malmo.
As for the midfield unit, Kovacic’s absence leaves Tuchel with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez as the viable candidates to start in midfield. And Loftus-Cheek could get the nod to line up alongside Jorginho in the middle of the park.
As for the two wing-backs, there ideally need not be any tinkering, with Reece James and Ben Chilwell the most in-form players for Chelsea. However, James could get a rest here, with Cesar Azpilicueta starting as the right wing-back, while on the left flank, Chilwell ought to retain his spot.
Some major changes could be on the cards at the back, with Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah likely to partner Andreas Christensen in a young three-man central defensive unit, meaning Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger will get a rest. Finally, in goal, Edouard Mendy should pip Kepa Arrizabalaga to the spot between the sticks.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Sarr; Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Chilwell; Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi; Havertz