Tuchel makes four changes, £30m player dropped and Werner starts: Chelsea predicted XI vs Crystal Palace
Chelsea’s participation in big games continues this weekend in the FA Cup semi-finals against Crystal Palace.
The Blues face off against Premier League rivals Palace on Sunday in a semi-final showdown at Wembley Stadium.
For Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, he’ll be selecting a team from a group of players that put so much into the eventual defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday night in the Champions League quarter-finals.
It’s a boost to hear that Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi are the only players definitely unavailable tomorrow. Romelu Lukaku’s back in training, and his availability will depend on how he responds.
The Chelsea Chronicle has predicted the starting line-up that Tuchel will select against Palace, which includes four switches from the Madrid tie earlier in the week.
Three changes in GK and defence
First of all, Kepa Arrizabalaga replaces Edouard Mendy in goal as the first alteration.
Chelsea are now only competing for silverware this season in the form of the FA Cup, so there may be a temptation to stick with number one shot-stopper Mendy. Kepa’s been very consistent when called upon this season, though.
Up next, club captain Cesar Azpilicueta comes into the side as the right-sided centre-back in a back three. He replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the team, which results in Reece James moving back into his preferred wing-back role.
The third change has Andreas Christensen come in for veteran Thiago Silva. This may be a risky prediction, but Tuchel’s rested him in the past after some intense matches.
Usual suspect Antonio Rudiger retains his spot in the new-look defence.
It’s a wing-back pairing of James and Marcos Alonso, who will really look to pin Crystal Palace back with their attacking influence.
Mateo Kovacic, who was brilliant in the week, continues in the centre of the park.
The fourth and final change comes next to him in the centre of midfield, with Jorginho replacing N’Golo Kante. The £30million midfielder definitely looks like he could do with some rest based off recent performances, so perhaps he’s used as an option from the bench.
There’s definitely options in the squad for Tuchel to rotate if he likes, especially if Lukaku’s available.
However, Chelsea could set up with the same trio of players that are looking in form and Palace won’t be looking forward to facing.
Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are the forwards that will be interchangeable at times.
In particular, Werner’s scored three goals in his last two matches to find a rare mini patch of goalscoring form for the Blues.
Azpiliceuta Christensen Rudiger
James Jorginho Kovacic Alonso
Mount Havertz Werner
IN: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Jorginho
OUT: Mendy, Silva, Loftus-Cheek, Kante