Full Chelsea squad revealed for Leeds United tussle as Thomas Tuchel faces midfield conundrum

Chelsea will be looking to maintain their excellent start to life under head coach Thomas Tuchel when they travel to Elland Road to lock horns with Leeds United on Saturday lunchtime

Chelsea will be going in search of a third successive Premier League win when they travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United this lunchtime, kick-off 12:30pm.

The Blues, who defeated Marcelo Bielsa’s side 3-1 in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge back in December, continued their excellent start to life under head coach Thomas Tuchel on Monday evening with a comfortable 2-0 home triumph against Everton.

An own-goal from Toffees centre-back Ben Godfrey and a penalty from Jorginho either side of half time sealed another three-point haul for the Blues, extending their unbeaten run under Tuchel in all competitions to 11 matches.

The win over Everton also cemented the Blues’ spot in the top-four, meaning a win against Leeds, who have lost their last two matches without scoring, would see them move into third-place, ahead of Leicester City, but only on goal-difference.

But despite the Blues having the opportunity to cut the gap to second-placed Manchester United to just one point this lunchtime, Tuchel is remaining grounded, insisting the league table will take care of itself if his players continue to do what is expected of them on the pitch.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference yesterday morning, the German said:

“Upwards means always the next match. In football, it is easy to say there’s no harder match than the next one. Tomorrow, if we take care of our performance, mentality and attitude then we increase our chance to win. If we win, the table takes care of itself.

“I like to look up but we need to stay hungry and we are in the middle of that race and challenge. Where we want to end is clear and looking up is looking to Leeds.”

Although there is no such thing as an easy game in the Premier League, Chelsea will travel to west Yorkshire as favourites to pick up another three points, meaning if they were to be successful it would be 12 unbeaten for Tuchel.

With that in mind, Tuchel has addressed his time in charge at Stamford Bridge so far, insisting that he is “very happy” with how things have panned out in his first few weeks in the job.

“I don’t know if surprised is the right word because that would mean we did not allow ourselves to achieve things like that, and that’s not the case,” continued Tuchel.

“But is it nice to see this very quick adaptation from us and the players? Yes of course clearly. And we are very, very happy with what we see and the way we play and of course with the results.

“We will never forget that in football, of course, you also need luck, we will never neglect that. So this is also a big part of it.

“But the atmosphere, the support and the quality of the group, the bond between the players, and how they play is fantastic.”

Ahead of this lunchtime’s trip up north, Tuchel has been forced to deliver bad news on the injury front, confirming that Thiago Silva will miss out. After missing seven games with a thigh problem, the Brazilian was named on the bench against Everton, offering hope that his return was near. However, he has since suffered a setback, meaning he will miss the clash with the Whites.

“Thiago had a little setback in training,” said Tuchel. “At the end of the training session the day before yesterday [Wednesday], he felt at the very end something around the same area that he injured.

“So we had to take him off. So he is back into the transition phase but not team training so he will be out.”

Tuchel delivered similar bad news in regards to Tammy Abraham. The striker, who has found himself out of favour recently, did miss the win over Everton because of an ankle injury and he still not fit enough to be considered available for a return.

Tuchel added: “He still has ankle pain from the tackle against Newcastle. He isn’t 100% comfortable.

“The day before yesterday [Wednesday] he was fine, yesterday [Thursday] he had to cancel training. So I think these two are out for tomorrow but everybody else is available.”

Elsewhere, the likes of Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount will be amongst those targeting returns after dropping out of the starting line-up against Everton.

 

Godsgift C Ejiama
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