Mason Mount is a doubt, while Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are in contention to start when Chelsea face Al Hilal in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals.
Chelsea will look to make it through to the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup 2022 when they face off against AFC Champions League winners Al Hilal at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Chelsea head into the game without their manager, Thomas Tuchel, who has stayed back in the UK after contracting coronavirus. First-team coach Zsolt Low addressed the media on the eve of the game and provided an update on the fitness of Mason Mount, hinting that he was a doubt for the semi-finals.
“Mason is getting better and better every day,” said Low in his presser. “We are running with the time, but we will see how he moves today, how he feels today, and then we will take a last decision tomorrow.” He also confirmed that Reece James was ruled out despite the England international making progress in his rehab.
Apart from James, Chelsea will also be without fellow full-back Ben Chilwell, who is a long-term absentee, whereas Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also missing. Edouard Mendy will not be available for selection following his involvement at the AFCON, but could be in contention for the finals.
Chelsea are expected to field a strong lineup, albeit with some non-regulars getting a start. Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was one of the stars in their recent FA Cup win over Plymouth Argyle, is a certain starter in goal for the Blues. The European champions could revert to their three-at-the-back system on Wednesday, having played with a traditional four-man defensive line in the last few games.
Trevoh Chalobah, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger ought to get the nod against Al Hilal, with Thiago Silva likely to be protected. Captain Cesar Azpilicueta is pretty much a shoo-in at right wing-back unless Chelsea decide to go with Callum Hudson-Odoi. Marcos Alonso, who was on target in the cup tie at the weekend, should feature on the left.
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are also likely to be held back by the Premier League giants, which should pave the way for Saul Niguez to get a rare start in midfield. He should have Mateo Kovacic as his partner in the centre of the park.
With Mount a doubt, it could open up a spot in the side for misfiring forward Timo Werner to start after his bright cameo against Plymouth. He will partner Hakim Ziyech in the wide attacking midfield slots while Kai Havertz replaces Romelu Lukaku as the lone striker upfront.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Kepa, Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Saul, Alonso, Ziyech, Havertz, Werner.