Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic should return, while Reece James will miss out when Chelsea and LOSC Lille face off on Wednesday.
Chelsea will aim to seal a safe passage through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when they lock horns with LOSC Lille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy on Wednesday night. Thomas Tuchel has been handed a major boost on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are fit and available after overcoming their minor injuries ahead of the trip to take on Lille. Meanwhile, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi have missed the trip to Lille despite resuming training this week. The duo has been omitted from the travelling squad, with Ben Chilwell, Saul Niguez, and Ross Barkley the other absentees.
During his pre-match press conference, Tuchel had suggested that James and Hudson-Odoi were in a race against time to be available to take on Lille. But he also had good news surrounding the returns of Azpilicueta and Alonso.
The Chelsea boss said, “Marcos is ready to start and Azpi is also ready to start. With Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi, we will try to have them join in training later but this will be a very tight race [which they have subsequently lost].”
“As you know they were not involved [on Sunday] and we will take the decision on those two after training, it will be a very late call. First we need to weigh up the risk. Let’s see after training if it is worth the risk or whether it is even possible first, as it will be a very, very tight race for them.”
The fit-again duo of Azpilicueta and Alonso should return to the starting lineup, with Tuchel likely to revert to the 3-4-3 formation after utilising a 4-3-3 this past weekend against Newcastle United. Azpilicueta and Alonso will thus be the two wing-backs, flanking N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park. Jorginho will get a much-needed breather after his recent excursions.
As for the offensive unit, Kai Havertz will continue to spearhead the Chelsea attack, with Romelu Lukaku missing out again. Christian Pulisic should return to the lineup, with Timo Werner making way for him. Hakim Ziyech should pip Mason Mount to the right-wing berth due to his impressive displays in the Champions League this season.
Edouard Mendy is an automatic pick between the sticks for Chelsea, with Kepa Arrizabalaga his deputy on the bench. With Thiago Silva fit and available, the Brazilian international should form the central defensive partnership alongside Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic