Mateo Kovacic will replace N’Golo Kante, while Romelu Lukaku is a doubt for the game between Chelsea and Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday.
Chelsea will aim to get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon. And Thomas Tuchel has a couple of injury concerns to deal with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Romelu Lukaku (Achilles) and Hakim Ziyech (knock) are major doubts to face Southampton. The duo could join Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles) and Ben Chilwell (knee) on the sidelines on Saturday. And during his pre-match press conference, Tuchel provided an update on Lukaku, Ziyech, and Hudson-Odoi.
The Chelsea boss said, “Callum Hudson-Odoi is still out and we have a little doubt over Romelu and Hakim Ziyech. They were not in training yesterday and we need to see if they are able to join in today’s session. We need a test and confirmation following training, to see if they are available for tomorrow. Romelu has achilles pain, it’s nothing serious but it is just quite painful for him.”
“With Callum, it doesn’t look too good and it is not a matter of days at the moment, it’s more a matter of weeks. It’s a shame for Callum because it’s a setback for him. He started in the Club World Cup final and had an assist in that game. He was crucial on the left-hand side for us in that game and during that part of the season where he was playing and contributing regularly.”
“It was probably the part of the season where he was playing his most regular football and was doing very well for us, sometimes as a left wing-back but mainly as a more attacking winger on the left. He was growing into his role and suddenly it stopped his season. It is not his fault, of course, but it is certainly a setback for him and for us to have him missing for a while now.”
With Lukaku and Ziyech being major doubts to face Southampton, Kai Havertz should spearhead the Chelsea attack on Saturday. And Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic will vie for one of the spots behind the German international. That is because Mason Mount is certain to be one of the two wide attackers. And Werner could pip Pulisic to the third offensive slot.
A few changes could be on the cards in midfield and defence too, with Mateo Kovacic poised to replace N’Golo Kante, while Marcos Alonso will likely return to the left wing-back berth. Kovacic will pair up with Jorginho in the middle of the park, with Kante dropping down to the bench.
Reece James should retain his spot in the right wing-back berth, meaning Cesar Azpilicueta could drop to the back three. The Chelsea captain will line up alongside Trevoh Chalobah and Antonio Rudiger in the central defensive unit, with Thiago Silva set to get rested against Southampton. Finally, there is no looking past Edouard Mendy between the sticks.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Havertz