Don Hutchison has predicted that Chelsea duo Mateo Kovacic and Romelu Lukaku are in line to start next weekend’s Premier League showdown against Manchester City after each playing 45 minutes yesterday in the FA Cup.

Chelsea cruised past non-league opposition Chesterfield on Saturday with a 5-1 victory in the third round tie at Stamford Bridge.

Blues manager Thomas Tuchel decided to name a strong starting line-up, albeit there were a few senior individuals rested.

Belgian striker Lukaku, who scored one goal with a left-footed finish, played the opening 45 minutes before coming off at half time. Likewise, talented central midfielder Kovacic was given just the first half to dominate proceedings on the ball.

ESPN pundit Hutchison explained Tuchel’s decision to withdraw the pair at the interval against Chesterfield highlights their importance moving forward. For instance, he expects both Kovacic and Lukaku to start next Saturday’s huge league match at the Etihad Stadium against Man City.

First of all, the Blues must now turn their attention to Wednesday’s trip to Tottenham for the second leg of a Carabao Cup semi-final contest they lead 2-0 on aggregate.

“The biggest takeaway I think was 45 minutes in the bank for Kovacic, 45 minutes in the bank for Lukaku. That tells me that those two will start against Man City,” Hutchison told ESPN.

Chelsea v Aston Villa - Premier League
Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Kovacic and Lukaku in best Chelsea XI right now

For certain, Kovacic and Lukaku should be in Chelsea’s best line-up in this current moment.

The upcoming league clash against Man City must be in the back of Tuchel’s mind, but his side are so close to a cup final that it would be foolish not to go strong on Wednesday against Spurs.

With N’Golo Kante sidelined through Covid-19, it leaves Kovacic and Jorginho as the obvious starting midfield pairing. Any combination of the trio can be top-class, but the way Kovacic has performed since returning to fitness surely makes it impossible to leave him out. Alan Shearer described him as “brilliant in every department” earlier in the week.

Elsewhere, Tuchel has used various players in the central striker position this campaign at Stamford Bridge. However, it’s clear that summer signing Lukaku is the best and most natural option to spearhead the Blues attack.

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