Preview: Chelsea’s potential lineup for the upcoming Liverpool face-off in a hunt for yet another silverware
Much talk around Chelsea’s potential lineup, after the full squad training
As match day is steering closer and closer, fans are growing impatient to see which players make the cut in Tuchel’s XI to overthrow the Anfield Giants. There have been numerous news circulating around Chelsea’s potential lineup, however, the fans will have to wait until the match day for official news.
Chelsea’s potential lineup to face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final
A challenging season, marked by the impact of concerning lack of quality in the final-third and repeated injuries, Chelsea comfortably manage to reach the EFL Cup final against Liverpool.
Chelsea’s successful start to the 2021-2022
The 2021-2022 season started off with the Blues seeing back-to-back victories in their Premier League campaign. From their unbelievable clearances, impenetrable defense and impressive early dominance in the League, to the heartbreaking losses and stagnant draws, it really has been a ride filled with emotional highs and lows for the Chelsea fans.
The Blues were enjoying a successful start to their season before being hit with an unfortunate injury crises; with 7 active covid cases within the squad, all at the same time. This unforeseeable setback caused them to fall 16 points behind the leaders Manchester City, making them lose their shot at the title.
Why the Carabao Cup win is important for Chelsea:
All things considered, Chelsea seem far from acquiring their Premier League title dreams as competition is undeniably fierce among the top 5. A small mistake and Chelsea could struggle to even preserve their position in the top 4 as the goal difference between the contenders is shrinking with every passing game.
Thomas Tuchel could very well use the impending fear as a motivation and an obvious incentive to bank yet another silverware to offset the disappointment of failing to secure the PL title.
The Blues Boss has already added two significant showpieces; UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to his trophy haul.
One more win could prove Tuchel plans on steering Chelaea towards future triumphs.
Chelsea enjoys having a complete, physically fit squad and the sense of freedom that it entails
Thomas Tuchel luckily has his full team to experiment with, in the approaching square-off. With only Ben Chilwell out for the season.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are expected to leave out Firmino and Jota due to injury concerns, as they march on for the final.
How Chelsea may line up for their fierce clash with Liverpool:
Kepa; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz
So far, it’s a pure guessing game as Chelsea have so much depth in the squad, especially now that all the players are physically fit to start. However, Tuchel will have a hard time making difficult tradeoffs and resolving choice conflict.
Despite the rather successful Kante-Kovačić linkup, which also contributed to Chelsea’s victory against Lille, there is doubt over Kovačić making the cut after his recent injury crisis.
Havertz has quickly gained a reputation as Chelsea’s go-to man for the big occasion. It is likely he’ll start against Liverpool too, since Romelu Lukaku is currently facing a drop-off in form.
Thomas Tuchel used the exact same front 3 in Chelsea’s last encounter with Liverpool which concluded with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Kepa Arizzabalaga has started every Carabao Cup game this season and could likely feature in the final as well
Kepa Arrizabalaga has started every Carabao Cup game this term. He’s also massively improved his goalkeeping instincts. It appears he’ll get the nod for this game too. Kepa has steadily rebuilt his Chelsea standing and his penalty shootout heroics are a testament to that.
Tuchel, on whether Kepa will start in the final:
“This is very easy to say: Kepa absolutely deserves to play and I also cannot get sentimental about it”.
Chelsea v Liverpool will be a midfield battle as both the sides have incredible depth in the respective department
While both the sides are a force to be reckoned with, it all comes down to the midfield battle. Chelsea will benefit largely from a Kante-Kova linkup as the presence of both Kante and Kovačić in the midfield will promise more defensive security. Alternatively, with Jorginho in the midfield, the Liverpool players will have more freedom of space. However, Chelsea will need Havertz to show up if they want to gain an upper hand in the game.
16:30 PM GMT
Predicted XI: Chelsea’s possible lineup against Brentford
Chelsea are back in Premier League action today, following the two-week international break. The Blues are readying to host Brentford – who are among the seven teams scrapping to stay in the League – at Stamford Bridge. Here, we will take a look at Chelsea’s possible lineup against Brentford.
Chelsea are staring down the barrel of tough fixtures this month. With Champions League quarter-final fixture against Real Madrid coming up just 3 days following today’s clash, Thomas Tuchel is presented with a tough test of picking the team for Brentford.
Tuchel will undoubtedly consider Wednesday’s meeting with Real Madrid while navigating the selection headache, suggesting that the key players will likely be rested. Despite that, Tuchel has great cause for optimism as the season draws to its close considering the amount of good options available in the sqaud.
Thomas Tuchel is no stranger to a selection curveball in big games considering Chelsea’s injury and COVID-19 disruptions this season, which inevitably caused them to fall behind in the title race but luckily, the only fitness concern he currently has to contend with is Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s long-term injuries.
Besides the two guaranteed absentees, Christian Pulisic will also miss today’s game as confirmed by Thomas Tuchel in his pre-match conference. Tuchel admitted Pulisic didn’t train with the squad after returning from international duty with the USMNT.
“For Christian, we have to decide. He didn’t train today. We gave him a recovery session,” Tuchel said.
“He was here but very tired with the jet lag and time difference. So we have to figure out of it makes sense to play him tomorrow and for how many minutes.”
Reece James will be in contention to play today’s fixture after returning to fitness following another hamstring injury. James was involved in full training ahead of today’s fixture, however, his selection is still uncertain as it’s likely Tuchel wouldn’t want to rush him back to action too soon and could instead preserve him for next week’s Real Madrid clash.
Thiago Silva is also expected to feature in today’s clash despite traveling with Brazil. Thomas Tuchel was confident about his availability. The blues boss said;
“Thiago is a bit different to Christian, I have to say. Thiago did not play the third match with Brazil, came back one day earlier and had not the same jet lag as Christian.
“Thiago was here yesterday and trained today, feels very good so he is available tomorrow”.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Christensen/Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James/Kovačić, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Havertz, Werner.
The official team news will be posted an hour before the kick-off time.
Updates from Cobham: Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James return to training ahead of Brentford clash
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have been on and off from training due to injury challenges but were spotted at Cobham yesterday to prepare for Brentford
According to Chelsea’s official website, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James were seen training alongside other teammates, readying themselves for a potential feature in the upcoming Brentford fixture.
Injury crisis is a leading concern in physical sports. When it comes to football, injuries can greatly impact team performance as it can leave even key players sidelined for days, consequently damaging the team’s chances of success.
Just like any other team, Chelsea also fell victim to injury troubles, due to which, they endured an alarming slump – Plaguing the entire squad and adding misery to the club’s title hopes this season. Thomas Tuchel has been dealing with continuous injury and COVID-19 disruptions since the start of December.
That is when Reece James was condemned to an unfortunate injury that saw him withdrawn from the squad for quite a while. Since Tuchel’s system is largely dependent on the strategic use of his wing-backs, having to compromise on James and Chilwell’s crucial skills saw Chelsea drop from first to third in the Premier League.
The defender recently returned to first-team after recovering from a long spell of hamstring injury, however, he was reinjured following the Burnley clash during the starting week of March and has been absent from training since.
Upon examination, it was declared that James had sustained yet another hamstring injury, but fortunately, it wasn’t a repeat to the same leg and wasn’t as bad either. But, the player was advised to rest for 2 weeks initially, which was later extended to three.
Reece James was also called to represent England internationally during the break, however, Chelsea’s medical team didn’t see him fit and advised against his selection.
Callum Hudson-Odoi on the other hand, has been out of training, on and off, due to an Achilles injury. CHO hasn’t played since the win at Luton Town on 2nd March.
However, both Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have now returned to fitness and will be in contention to start against Brentford this Saturday.
Additionally, Hakim Ziyech, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Malang Sarr, Romelu Lukaku and Ruben Loftus Cheek were also snapped training for the upcoming fixtures.
'Very, very good guys!' 👏 pic.twitter.com/8lDiza3613
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 30, 2022
Jorginho, who was representing Italy in the World Cup qualifiers, was also among those training at Cobham as he was sent back early after Italy’s defeat.
Chelsea have key fixtures coming up in the month of April including Premier League, Champions League as well as FA Cup games. It’s going to be a tough challenge for the club to navigate considering the fixture congestion, hence, having all players fit to start will be a boost for Thomas Tuchel.
Team news ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League encounter with Lille on Wednesday
Thomas Tuchel provided team news in today’s press-conference ahead of Chelsea’s upcoming Champions League fixture
Thomas Tuchel revealed some team news in today’s live press-conference ahead of Chelsea’s next Champions League encounter. Kai Havertz also talked to the media.
Chelsea are set to prepare for a trip to Northern France tomorrow, where they will face Lille in Champions League round of 16, second leg. The blues have a 2-goal aggregate advantage over Lille from the first leg, and will look to claw their way to the Champions League summit, in the obvious hopes of retaining their European crown.
Kai Havertz, who has been in glittering form for Chelsea recently, was one of the players to register himself on the scoresheet through a header, early on into the first leg clash against Lille. Following him, was Christian Pulisic, who also recorded a beautiful finish for Chelsea, assisted by N’Golo Kante, finally sealing the game.
The Blues now look forward to booking their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by producing yet another top performance to finish the job against their counterparts.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are expected to start as confirmed by Thomas Tuchel in today’s press conference.
Azpilicueta was called off against Norwich after the defender complained of stomach issues. He sat out the Newcastle United game as well, but is reportedly fit now to feature in the upcoming match.
Marcos Alonso, who was out on account of covid-19, was also seen back on the bench for Chelsea against Newcastle United on Sunday. Him, along with Azpilicueta, will be featuring a start in the Champions League fixture on Wednesday as well.
Reece James and Callum Hudson Odoi, however, are huge doubts. Reece James was recently reinjured, owing to a hamstring injury, while Hudson Odoi had been battling a reported Achilles injury. Hence, their availability remains uncertain as of now.
“I think Marcos is ready to start, Azpi is ready to start. We will try to have Reece and Callum later in training but will be a very tight race. We will take this decision after the training session. They were not involved. Let’s see if it is worth the risk, it will be very tight with these two.” – Chelsea Boss, Thomas Tuchel in today’s press-conference
Follow the details of the press-conference by clicking here
Acknowledging Lille’s recent recapturing of form in domestic matches, Thomas Tuchel said;
“To be honest, I think they played well at Stamford Bridge. They were very physical, attacked high up the pitch. It was impressive. They had a good pressing game, were very brave, and had the mentality they had nothing to lose”,
“They will play an attacking 4-4-2 that is aggressive, fluid and direct. We’ll have to be ready for that. But we are also confident in ourselves. It’s half time right now. No match is decided by a 2-0 scoreline. The second half is tomorrow and we’ll have to produce another top performance. I think Lille played on Friday so they’ve had a good amount of time to recover. That is why we have to be ready physically and mentally for a tough game”.
Lille have a little advantage of 2 day’s rest over the Blues, as they have had congested Premier League fixtures. However, Tuchel’s side are known to thrive on chaos. They are no strangers to pressure and have navigated through even tougher challenges; especially the one currently prevailing them. Despite their off-pitch woes, their attention and focus ramain on winning matches as shown in their recent unbeaten run.