No Covid suspension for Premier League – reports
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Thomas Tuchel will ring the changes for Chelsea’s Boxing Day trip to Aston Villa following Wednesday’s 2-0 Carabao Cup win at Brentford. The Blues need three points after one in their last four Premier League games has left them six points behind leaders Manchester City.
Express Sport runs through the latest team news and how Tuchel will likely set his side out against Steven Gerrard’s resurgent hosts.
Tuchel has praised backup stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga for his form when given a chance, but Edouard Mendy is firmly his first-choice.
The Senegal international will return between the sticks in one of the final games before he jets off for the Africa Cup of Nations.
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Defence: Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger
After featuring in midfield against Wolves last time out in the league, Trevoh Chalobah could drop into defence, allowing Cesar Azpilicueta to rest after playing 90 minutes in midweek.
Thiago Silva was Chelsea’s standout defender at Molineux last weekend and should return in the centre of the defence.
Antonio Rudiger was also given the night off at Brentford and is likely to feature as the left-sided centre-back.
Midfield: James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso
Reece James only played 25 minutes in midweek and is set to start this weekend, with Marcos Alonso keeping his place on the opposite wing.
Chelsea’s midfield injury woes are clearing up, and considering both were on the bench in midweek, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante should be Tuchel’s partnership.
Attack: Mount, Pulisic, Lukaku
Mason Mount has been a shining light while Chelsea have struggled for results in recent weeks, so he’ll be one of the first names on the team sheet.
He could be joined by Christian Pulisic, who will be able to return to the wing rather than playing down the middle.
Why? Because Romelu Lukaku is back in training and could be the answer to Chelsea’s recent frustrations in front of goal.
After Chelsea’s win at Brentford in midweek, Tuchel confirmed a group of key players had returned to training after providing negative Covid results.
He said: If I understand it right, we need a negative test first of all, and we had that for Romelu [Lukaku], Callum [Hudson-Odoi] and [Ben] Chilwell today.
“Ben will not be involved in the Aston Villa game, but the other two can be on the pitch tomorrow if they test negative.
“The guys have had some symptoms so we will have to see. The Premier League is the toughest place to play so it’s good news but I’m not over-excited because I need to check to see how they are.”
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