Thomas Tuchel confirms key absentee ahead of Arsenal clash
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that midfielder Mateo Kovacic will not be fit to face Arsenal on Wednesday evening after limping off against Crystal Palace at Wembley in their 2-0 FA Cup semi final win.
The Croatian midfielder was forced off midway through the first half of the game, with Ruben Loftus Cheek coming on to replace the strike maestro.
And Tuchel has confirmed that the injury was to his ligaments, meaning that he will need a period on the sidelines that he hopes will be limited to two weeks, but could be longer.
The German boss also noted that several of his players were doubts after their recent exertions in the Champions League and FA Cup, while Calum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell remain sidelined with longer term injuries.
“Kovacic is out for the game. It’s a ligament injury, hopefully not longer than two weeks but that can be a long time for us in terms of games. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell are out. Some other players are doubts but hopefully okay’, Tuchel revealed.
Lukaku to start the clash?
The clash with the Gunners at Stamford Bridge is something of a free hit for the Blues, with 3rd place in the League table largely sown up as clubs behind them trip over each other in a race to drop the most points.
As a result, Tuchel could tweak his lineup somewhat to accommodate players that have been struggling to date, not least Romelu Lukkau. Speaking to the media, Tuchel revealed that it was a lack of fitness that meant he could not start the semi-final, but hinted that he could return to the starting XI against Arsenal.
‘He lacks the stiffness and fitness for matches, maybe it is not even his fault’, he revealed. But, he continued, ‘It is an option that he starts [vs Arsenal].’
Having bullied the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season, he could be set to repeat the trick and get his Chelsea season back on track.
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