[NEWS] Chelsea team news: Expected 3-4-3 for Fulham with Rudiger out

Chelsea host Fulham on Saturday as they look to take another step towards next season’s Champions League. But Thomas Tuchel will also have en eye on this season’s competition with the Blues

hosting Real Madrid next Wednesday . Here , Express Sport looks at
the manager’s likely line-up for today’s Premier League clash at
Stamford Bridge (5.30pm).

Goalkeeper – Edouard Mendy
Every game will be crucial between now and the end of the season ,
with Chelsea targeting a top-four spot as well as Champions
League and FA Cup success.

And so Tuchel will again turn to Mendy, who has firmly established
himself as the club’s No1 and is topped only by Manchester City’s
Ederson in teams of Premier League clean sheets this season.

Aided by Chelsea’s impressive defence since Tuchel took charge,
Mendy has kept 15 clean sheets in the top flight, just two behind
Ederson – as well as an impressive seven in the Champions League.

And Tuchel will need him to be on top form again in Saturday’s
derby against a Fulham side desperate for points in their battle
against relegation.

Defence – Zouma, Silva, Christensen
Antonio Rudiger will miss Saturday’s game after picking up a
knock in last week’s 1-1 draw against Real Madrid.

The German centre-back has been revitalised under Tuchel, and
the manager is confident he will recover for next week’s second leg.

Tuchel can call on Kurt Zouma to slot seamlessly into his back
three, with Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen set to keep their
places from the game in Madrid.

And Cesar Azpilicueta could be rested with the second leg in mind.

Midfield – Hudson-Odoi, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso Mateo Kovacic is still out with a thigh injury, so Tuchel is likely to
stick with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho as his midfield pairing.

Tuchel said of Kovacic’s injury: “He trained with us, but he’s still
not fully confident, he felt something at the end of training. So he’s
not available unfortunately.

“Before training today we thought that Kova had a big chance to
join us latest for Madrid, maybe even for today. So now we have a
little setback, not a big one, with him.

I don’t want to be too
negative, let’s see how he is tomorrow.”
Ben Chilwell and Azpilicueta started in the wing-back positions
against Madrid, with Reece James coming on to replace the latter
midway through the second half.

All three could be rested against Fulham, meaning Marcos Alonso
would play on the left while Callum Hudson-Odoi could be bought
in on the right.

Attack – Ziyech, Werner, Mount
Timo Werner has faced more criticism after firing straight at former
Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois during last week’s clash against
Real Madrid.

But Tuchel has largely kept faith with the misfiring striker, and
could give the summer signing another chance to find the
sharpness he needs in front of goal following his winner against
West Ham last weekend.

Hakim Ziyech could come in for Christian Pulisic as Tuchel looks
to freshen up his options, while Mason Mount has proved himself
a hugely influential player all season, and should again start
against Fulham.

Chelsea expected XI (3-4-3): Mendy; Zouma, Silva, Christensen;
Hudson-Odoi, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Ziyech, Werner, Mount.

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