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Thomas Tuchel confirms key absentee ahead of Arsenal clash

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 midfield maestro.

Thomas Tuchel confirms key absentee ahead of Arsenal clash

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 17: Thomas Tuchel manager of Chelsea with the injured Mateo Kovacic during The FA Cup Semi-Final match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on April 17, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

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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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 AFC Bournemouth 0 0 0
2 Arsenal FC 0 0 0
3 Aston Villa 0 0 0
4 Brentford FC 0 0 0
5 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 0 0
6 Chelsea FC 0 0 0
7 Crystal Palace 0 0 0
8 Everton FC 0 0 0
9 Fulham FC 0 0 0
10 Leeds United 0 0 0
11 Leicester City 0 0 0
12 Liverpool FC 0 0 0
13 Manchester City 0 0 0
14 Manchester United 0 0 0
15 Newcastle United 0 0 0
16 Nottingham Forest 0 0 0
17 Southampton FC 0 0 0
18 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0 0
19 West Ham United 0 0 0
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 0 0

Premier League 21/22

Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 23
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 23
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 18
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 17
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 16
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester City 15
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 15
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 15
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace 14
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 13
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 12
Maddison, James Leicester City 12
Toney, Ivan Brentford FC 12
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 11
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 11
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 11
Richarlison Everton FC 11
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 11
Raphinha Leeds United 11
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa 11