Expected Chelsea line-up vs Palmeiras: Club World Cup final
Chelsea face off against Palmeiras in the FIFA Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday afternoon. Here is our expected line-up
Chelsea face off against Palmeiras in the FIFA Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues reached the final with a hard-fought 1-0 triumph over Al-Hilal. Romelu Lukaku scored the winner in the 32nd minute after pouncing on a defensive mistake from the Saudi Arabian side.
The European champions are aiming to win the Club World Cup for the first time in their history. Their only previous final appearance was in 2012 where they suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Corinthians.
Here is how Chelsea could line up:
Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga continued his fine form with a strong diving save towards his left against Al-Hilal. First-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was only on the bench after his late return from African Cup of Nations. Arrizabalaga should be fancied to keep his place on the back of recent impressive displays which includes a late penalty save against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup fourth round.
Defence: No changes are likely to the Chelsea backline. Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are expected to start in central defence. Reece James has been working hard on his fitness following a hamstring injury, but he will play no part in the final. Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are assured starters in the wing-back positions with Ben Chilwell still out.
Kante returns in midfield
Midfield: Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho started in midfield against Al-Hilal with N’Golo Kante (valued at £45 million by Transfermarkt) replacing the latter off the bench. The Blues appeared to lose control with Jorginho’s substitution. Kante and Jorginho have played big finals together over the past few years, and the pair could be reunited in the starting line-up tomorrow.
Mason Mount starts
Attack: Chelsea struggled to find the cutting edge in the final third against Al-Hilal. This has been a recurrent theme for some time. Hakim Ziyech was substituted for Mason Mount midway through the second half. The England star is fit after a minor injury scare against Plymouth and could get the nod over the Moroccan.
The rest of the attack could remain identical to the semi-final triumph. Kai Havertz could accompany Mount with Lukaku leading the line once again over Timo Werner. The Belgian has not been overly impressive with his positioning and movement, but should start after grabbing the vital winner against Al-Hilal.
Expected Chelsea line-up (3-4-2-1) vs Palmeiras
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