Callum Hudson-Odoi misses out with an injury, but N’Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger should return to the lineup when Chelsea face Newcastle United.

Chelsea will be aiming to make it five wins in a row in the Premier League when they lock horns with an in-form Newcastle United side at Stamford Bridge on Sunday noon.

Chelsea could be without as many as seven players for the game, with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ben Chilwell and Reece James all definitively ruled out while Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Marcos Alonso are major doubts. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also battling a niggle.

Speaking after the game against Norwich City on Thursday night, manager Thomas Tuchel provided a team news update. “Well, [Cesar] Azpi went out at half-time [in the Norwich win], feeling a bit sick and is still not at 100 per cent today,” Tuchel told Chelsea TV. “Christian [Pulisic] did not make the travel because of the same issue also, feeling sick. So let’s hope it’s not too bad. 

“Callum [Hudson-Odoi] is out still with pain in his Achilles, [and for] Reece [James], it will be very, very tight schedule to make it to Sunday. Maybe Wednesday [against Lille] is more realistic for him. Marcos Alonso, we need to see. We left him out of the squad after he had Covid to have a good physical session yesterday. Let’s see how he manage to digest it.

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

“Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] had some back pain. I’m not so sure yet, we still have another day for examinations. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll look a bit better.”

Given the lack of options in the wing-back slots, Tuchel could be forced into switching to a four-man defensive unit on Sunday against Newcastle. Andreas Christensen, who has been asked to play at right-back on occasions this term, could feature out wide again while Malang Sarr would be expected to occupy the opposite flank.

Thiago Silva will keep hold of his spot at the heart of the Chelsea defence, where he will be jointed by the returning Antonio Rudiger, who was rested on Thursday. There is no looking past the ever-reliable Edouard Mendy between the sticks for the Blues.

Jorginho ought to hold on to his spot at the base of the three-man midfield unit for Chelsea. Mateo Kovacic, who has been impressive of late, should also retain his place in the lineup. N’Golo Kante, who was an unused substitute against Norwich City, should return to the setup to battle the energetic Newcastle United midfield.

Hakim Ziyech is another player who should feature from kickoff after being not involved against the Canaries. He will have Mason Mount, who was in fine form earlier in the week, for company in the attacking midfield slots. Kai Havertz has established himself as the undisputed starter in the centre-forward slot, with Romelu Lukaku again likely to be on the bench.

Chelsea Predicted XI: Mendy, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Sarr, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Ziyech, Mount, Havertz.

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