CHELSEA resume their Champions League defence on Tuesday night as they welcome French side Lille to Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Tuchel’s men have the League Cup final to prepare for on Sunday, but won’t be taking the Ligue 1 champions lightly.
The German boss can be excused for feeling discombobulated at the moment, with his side having had to play across different competitions and time zones in recent weeks.
But, after recovering from a bout of Covid, Tuchel will be raring to go as the Blues hunt for more silverware.
The 48-year-old has some big decisions to make as his team juggle different competitions… and with certain stars such as Romelu Lukaku out of form.
The Belgian touched the ball just SEVENtimes against Crystal Palace at the weekend, setting a new record for the fewest touches by one player in a Premier League game since Opta records began.
Marcos Alonso provided an assist from the bench at Selhurst Park and could slot back in for Malang Sarr – provided that Tuchel uses a back four, as he has favoured recently.
First-choice full-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell remain injured.
Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger will likely start at centre-back, although Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah are pushing for more minutes.
Cesar Azpilicueta missed Saturday’s 1-0 win with a knock in training, but Tuchel later said: “Azpilicueta looks much better than Callum [Hudson-Odoi]. Callum did not train but Azpi did and had no reaction. If it stays like this he is available for tomorrow.”
Should the Spaniard miss out, Andreas Christensen could deputise at right-back once again
Jorginho is most likely to start at the base of midfield, with N’Golo Kante likely to be rested for Sunday’s final.
Mateo Kovacic could start alongside the Italian, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his return to first-team action at the weekend and will hope to play.
Mason Mount is suffering from a ligament injury, although Tuchel hopes that he might be able to feature, saying: “Mason did a good individual session yesterday and I think he will try to come back to the team session today. He has not trained with the team yet.”Hakim Ziyech has been in decent goalscoring form and it’s probable that he will keep his spot on the right flank, while Timo Werner could come in for a rare start on the left.
Christian Pulisic may be dropped after his under-par display at the weekend, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is suffering from a knock.