Mason Mount will miss out again while Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku will start when Chelsea face off against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
Chelsea will be aiming to bag all three points and close the gap to second-placed Liverpool in the Premier League table when they travel to Selhurst Park to face London rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Heading into the game, manager Thomas Tuchel will be without Mason Mount, who suffered ankle ligament damage against Palmeiras in the FIFA Club World Cup final. Reece James is also unavailable, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back to full fitness and is in contention to feature.
“We will push for the League Cup final,” Tuchel said of Mount in his presser. “He has injured ligaments in the very first minutes of the [Club World Cup] final, unfortunately.” Regarding James, Tuchel said: “He’s still in individual training, progressing a lot and doing almost everything you can do in individual training and we’re waiting for him. The plan is that he rejoins the group next week.”
Tuchel also revealed that captain Cesar Azpilicueta might miss the game due to a knock he picked up in training, whereas Timo Werner is also a major doubt due to an illness.
With Chelsea having won the FIFA Club World Cup last week, Tuchel might look to field a similar lineup without making many alterations. It means that Edouard Mendy should get the nod between the sticks despite Kepa Arrizabalaga’s fine form during Mendy’s participation in the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.
Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger are expected to form the three-man defensive system for the Blues against Crystal Palace. However, there could be a possibility of Trevoh Chalobah – who had scored in the reverse fixture back in August last year – starting if the manager opts to rest Silva for the upcoming Champions League clash against Lille.
With Azpilicueta a doubt, Callum Hudson-Odoi, who started at left wing-back against Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final, should move to the opposite flank. Marcos Alonso should come into the lineup on the left side against the Eagles on Saturday afternoon. The midfield pairing of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic is expected to remain intact, with Jorginho once again on the bench.
Moving into the final third, Hakim Ziyech is showing signs of form of late and should continue as one of the two attacking midfielders. With Mount unavailable, Kai Havertz, who scored the match-winning goal against Palmeiras last week, should hold on to his place in the lineup. Romelu Lukaku, who scored twice in two games in the Club World Cup, will spearhead the attack again.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Hudson-Odoi, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso, Ziyech, Havertz, Lukaku.