Kante and Mendy start, Havertz decision – predicted Chelsea team to play Champions League final

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Thomas Tuchel picks by far and away the most important starting eleven of his fledgling Chelsea career on Saturday when his Blues take on Man City in the Champions League final.

Frank Lampard got the Chelsea team through the group stages and after being parachuted in to the club in late January, Tuchel has guided the side through the knockout phases of the competition that culminates in the biggest game in club football in Porto on Saturday evening.

Eight months of graft comes down to one game at the Estadio do Dragao this weekend and Tuchel has been handed a huge boost ahead of the game with two key players taking part in full training.

Both N’Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy were present as Chelsea held their open training sessions at the venue on Friday evening having been injury doubts coming into the game.

Kante was held back for the 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa on the final day of the Premier League season having been withdrawn just before half time four days prior against Leicester.

Goalkeeper Mendy was forced off at the break of the loss at Villa Park having sustained a rib injury when trying to keep out Bertrand Traore’s opener.

But both took a full part in the training on Friday and both are expected to start the showpiece game in Portugal as Chelde ahave reached the final of the competition for the first time in nine years.

So, with everyone available, how could the Blues line up in Porto?

Tuchel said himself that if Mendy was fit then he’d play and he certainly looked ready to play on Friday, so he should line up in goal with Kepa on the bench.

The defence pretty much picks itself, it is just a question of who plays where.

Reece James has played the last three games as a right-sided centre half with Cesar Azpilicueta moving to right wing-back but it would be an enormous surprise if that remains the same on Saturday. James should move to right wing-back with tghe captain switching inside.

Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger should join Azpillicueta, with Ben Chilwell on the left hand side.

In midfield, Kante simply has to start and he is likely to be joined in the middle by Jorginho, that would mean Mateo Kovacic would start a third Champions League final on the bench.

 

Tuchel has given the nod to Hakim Ziyech in big games since the head coach arrived so the Moroccan is in with a big chance, though Christian Pulisic is also pushing having been dropped for the semi final second leg win against Real Madrid.

Then you have Kai Havertz and Timo Werner as well both vying for a place. Like Ziyech, Werner has also been trusted in the big moments by Tuchel and for Havertz, his elegance and mobility could well get him the nod.

Predicted Chelsea team vs Man City: Mendy; James, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, Chilwell; Jorginho, Kante; Mount, Havertz, Werner.

As always, there are questions in the front three though there is one guaranteed starter – Mason Mount. Who joins him is the big question.

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