'I feel': Former Blues player thinks Tuchel will start £22m Chelsea star at Wembley and leave out 27-year-old

Ex-Blues player Terry Phelan is predicting Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will get the nod to start this weekend’s FA Cup final against Liverpool ahead of teammate Kepa Arrizabalaga.

First of all, Thomas Tuchel’s side need to take care of business tonight in the Premier League. They travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United in an important league match that will impact both the top-four and relegation race.

Afterwards, Chelsea can look forward to another trip to Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

The Blues were beaten by upcoming opponents Liverpool on penalties in this season’s League Cup final, so it’s a chance to seek some revenge.

Phelan thinks Tuchel will choose first-choice goalkeeper Mendy to start in-between the sticks at Wembley.

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The £22million shot-stopper has played in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals of this year’s FA Cup campaign, despite the fact 27-year-old back-up keeper Kepa usually gets cup appearances.

“You also have to look at the back four and football is a team game. So you can’t be pointing fingers at Mendy. Has he made terrible mistakes? I know Chelsea have this thing – who will be the goalkeeper in cup games and in penalties – and I just wish it would be settled. I feel Mendy will play. Yes, they do have a few skirmishes in the goalkeeper department. But if you look back at those 17 goals [conceded since April], you would be truly asking whether it was entirely him to was it bad defending,” Phelan said.

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Kepa infamously came on as a last-minute substitute in the League Cup final against Liverpool as a specialist penalty goalkeeper in the shootout. However, he failed to save a spot-kick and missed the decisive penalty himself.

It may be a surprise for him to be drafted back into the starting line-up this Saturday.

Mendy’s conceded a lot goals lately with a shaky defence ahead of him, so he shouldn’t be immune to criticism.

However, he’s still the club’s outstanding option in goal, so starting him in the FA Cup final may be a no-brainer for Tuchel.

Incidentally, Mendy could reportedly be in line for a pay rise.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.