Chelsea team news: Expected 3-4-2-1 vs Real Madrid as Kante starts and Werner dropped | Football | Sport
Chelsea will be hoping to snatch at least one crucial away goal against Real Madrid in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first-leg clash. The Blues are in with a good chance of adding a second continental triumph to their honours list this season, but Thomas Tuchel’s side will need to overcome the challenge posed by Los Blancos in order to earn their place in next month’s final.
Express Sport takes a look at the Chelsea side that could be tasked with downing the 13-time Champions League winners at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Goalkeeper – Mendy
Tuchel has changed things up in between the sticks in recent outings, with Kepa Arrizabalaga receiving another Premier League opportunity and keeping a clean sheet in the goalless draw with Brighton earlier this month.
However, it seems likely that Edouard Mendy will be given the starting berth against Real for Chelsea’s most important game of the season so far.
The Blues boss suggested before the crucial win over West Ham United on Saturday that the Senegalese stopper would retain the position for the foreseeable future.
“He [Kepa] had two clean sheets in two difficult matches for us, so it’s a very good feeling that we can absolutely rely on two goalkeepers and they can produce clean sheets,” said Tuchel.
“They earn our trust but the situation in general has not changed.”
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Defence – Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger
Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta has been a mainstay in Chelsea’s back three since Tuchel arrived at the club in January, and should feature from the first whistle in the Spanish capital.
He could be partnered by Thiago Silva, who managed to come through the other side of the West Ham victory unscathed after making his return from injury.
Antonio Rudiger has also established himself as a regular under the former Paris Saint-Germain boss and is likely to make up one-third of the Blues defence.
Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen could drop out of the side despite playing every minute of Chelsea’s last two Premier League matches.
Midfield – James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell
Academy graduate Reece James has managed to work his way back into Tuchel’s plans as of late and has every chance of starting out wide against Real.
The opposite flank will be occupied by Ben Chilwell, who will be hoping for a repeat of his goalscoring heroics in the quarter-final first-leg win over Porto.
The central midfield pairing of Jorginho and Kovacic has proved fruitful since the turn of the year, but the latter has been ruled out of Tuesday’s crunch clash with a thigh injury.
This should see N’Golo Kante come into the side alongside the Italy international in order to shore up Chelsea’s defensive capabilities.
Attack – Mount, Pulisic, Havertz
Mason Mount will be expected to take his chance to perform on the biggest stage with both hands and play a starring role in dictating his side’s attacking game.
The England star could be helped by Christian Pulisic on the other side of the pitch, with the United States international impressing on a regular basis this season.
Kai Havertz, who was rested against West Ham, has been deployed in a central role by Tuchel on more than a few occasions and could be tasked with leading the line once again on Tuesday evening.
Timo Werner has failed to live up to expectations since joining in the summer from RB Leipzig, and it remains to be seen whether he will be trusted to deliver against one of the most formidable sides in football.
Expected Chelsea XI to play Real Madrid – Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic, Havertz.
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