N’Golo Kante will likely be replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, while Timo Werner and Marcos Alonso could start when Chelsea take on Manchester United.

Chelsea will be aiming to tighten their grip on the top spot of the Premier League table when they lock horns with arch-rivals Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Leading up to the game, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been dealt a couple of fresh injury blows as Ben Chilwell is ruled out with an ACL injury while N’Golo Kante is a major doubt due to a knee issue. In addition, Mateo Kovacic also remains sidelined for the Blues as they prepare for the visit of Manchester United.

Speaking in his pre-match presser about the injuries, Tuchel said: “Ben is out. He has a partial injury of his ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] and the decision is to treat it conservatively. Kova is still out for the game on Sunday. N’Golo twisted his knee a little bit [against Juventus]. He feels quite better since the game but it seems like he will be out for some days or one week maybe.”

However, it is not all bad news for the west Londoners as Kai Havertz has recovered from a thigh problem and is available for selection. Romelu Lukaku is also in contention to play some part against his former club.

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

Chelsea are unlikely to make a host of changes to the side that breezed past Juventus in midweek, with Edouard Mendy being the undisputed starter in goal. Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger are expected to hold on to their place in the three-man backline against Manchester United. But there could be one change, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta coming into the team in place of Trevoh Chalobah.

Chilwell’s injury comes as a major blow for Chelsea, but in Marcos Alonso, they have a reliable alternative ready to step in at left wing-back. Reece James, who is perhaps the Blues’ most in-form player currently, is a shoo-in on the opposite flank.

With Kante a major doubt and Kovacic also unavailable, Tuchel will likely call upon Ruben Loftus-Cheek to partner Jorginho in the middle of the park against United. On-loan midfielder Saul Niguez is also an option for the Chelsea boss, but Loftus-Cheek’s recent impressive showings warrant a start.

Mason Mount was not part of the starting XI against Juventus in midweek but should make his way back into the side. Hakim Ziyech will be the one to drop out for the Englishman. Callum Hudson-Odoi has nailed down a place in the attacking contingent for Chelsea and should feature on Sunday.

Even though Lukaku is back, Tuchel insisted that the Belgian will not start against his former club. “We only have three changes so the possibility that he starts is not very high because we cannot be sure what happens in between matches,” the manager said. With Havertz also recovering from an injury, he too might not be risked from the start, meaning Timo Werner could get the nod as the No. 9.

Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, James, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Alonso, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Werner.

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