Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku start, Kepa decision – Predicted Chelsea team vs Luton in FA Cup

Throughout this season, Thomas Tuchel has been forced into creative solutions when it comes to picking his Chelsea side. And that is not going to change for this evening’s FA Cup clash against Luton Town.

The Blues’ head coach confirmed in his pre-match press conference yesterday that a number of players were doubts ahead of the trip to Kenilworth Road.

“We have a lot of players in physical overload and we have some injuries from the Carabao Cup final. It’s actually too much to comment because it would be a long list, so we need to see,” Tuchel said during his pre-match press conference.

“We had training today, the physios, the doctors are still working with the players to find out and we can take the last decision tomorrow morning when we have the departure to Luton.

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“We will see who’s ready to play because we want to be ready to play but we suffered. It’s now the third time we’ve played extra time and it was an intense match. This is where we are.”

Tuchel went on to confirm that Hakim Ziyech is ruled out of tonight’s fifth-round tie while none of Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah were pictured in training yesterday.

Add in the long-term absence of Chilwell and that leaves the Chelsea boss with just four senior defenders from which to select his side, and one of those is Reece James who is highly unlikely to start having played almost 70 minutes against Liverpool on his return from a two-month absence.

So once more Tuchel will have to make difficult selection decisions, starting with who is between the posts for the Blues against the Championship side.

On Sunday at Wembley, he went with Edouard Mendy and the Senegal international was outstanding. However, Kepa Arrizabalaga was brought on for the penalty shootout in a move that backfired as the Spaniard missed the decisive spot-kick.

Tuchel spoke yesterday that he felt Kepa had recovered from that disappointment and it’s probably the right move to start him against Luton to ensure Kepa can fully move on from his Carabao Cup final heartache.

With a dearth of centre-backs from which to choose, Tuchel may opt for a four-man defence, at the heart of which would be Antonio Rudiger and Malang Sarr.

With James not expected to start, Callum Hudson-Odoi may be drafted in at right-back while Marcos Alonso should continue on the left.

A fresh midfield three can then be deployed with Jorginho at the base and Saul Niguez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as the two number eights in midfield.

The one area of the pitch that Tuchel isn’t short of options is in attack and after an impressive cameo off the bench against Liverpool, Romelu Lukaku should be given the chance to lead the attack with Kai Havertz rested.

Timo Werner can then come in on the left of the forward line and Christian Pulisic can continue on the right, although academy graduate Harvey Vale should be pushing for a start in that role.

Predicted Chelsea side: Kepa; Hudson-Odoi, Rudiger, Sarr, Alonso; Jorginho, Saul, Loftus-Cheek; Pulisic, Lukaku, Werner.

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