Callum Hudson-Odoi starts, N’Golo Kante decision – Predicted Chelsea team to play Newcastle



Thomas Tuchel has been dealt a major injury blow ahead of Chelsea’s visit to Newcastle United this weekend with the news that Mateo Kovacic will be out until after the international break with a hamstring problem.

The Croatian midfielder, a star performer for the Blues so far this season, sustained the injury late on in Thursday’s training session at Cobham, something Tuchel seemed to blame himself for, and is subsequently out of the game this weekend.

Kovacic joins Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku on the sidelines and, like Kovacic, are unlikely to be back on the pitch until after the international break next month.

Tuchel dropped the Kovacic bombshell late on in his press conference on Friday having initially forgotten to announce it when he was asked about the team news.

On the Croat missing out, Tuchel said: “He will be out for next week and then comes the national break where he will be out. It is a minimum of these weeks but hopefully he can be back after.

“He injured his hamstring doing a little bit too much in training. It is also my fault which describes the answer.”

Thankfully for Tuchel, both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante have been in training after missing the midweek victory over Southampton in the League Cup thanks to injury.

Kante has recovered from muscle fatigue while Loftus-Cheek is now over a hip problem that he picked up in the final seconds of the Norwich thumping last Saturday lunchtime.

When it comes to predicting a side for the Blues to face the Toon this weekend, there aren’t too many standout decisions that Tuchel has to make.

The front three arguably picks itself right now after the win over Norwich. Kai Havertz should start in the central role once again, Mason Mount is fresh off a hat trick in that game and will start, while Callum Hudson-Odoi will be keen to get another chance on the left of the trio.

In defence, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva are available for selection but it would certainly be harsh to drop Trevoh Chalobah, who has been outstanding not only in the last three games but all season.

With a hectic schedule coming up, one of Christensen, Silva or Cesar Azpilicueta could miss out with Antonio Rudiger and automatic choice on the left of the back three.

Speaking of automatic choices, Ben Chilwell and Reece James are both that and they should line up in the wing-back roles on either flank.

Tuchel does have a decision whether to recall Kante or Loftus-Cheek to start alongside Jorginho in midfield. Logic might dictate Loftus-Cheek getting the nod to start with before introducing Kante from the bench, with the midfielder then starting the Champions League trip to Malmo in midweek for some more meaningful minutes.

Having been rested on Tuesday night for the Carabao Cup win over Saints, Edouard Mendy will return to the side with Kepa Arrizabalaga dropping back to the bench.

Predicted team vs Newcastle: Mendy; James, Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger, Chillwell; Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz.





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