After a gruelling trip to Lille in midweek, Chelsea are set to travel to Riverside Stadium on Saturday as they take on Middlesbrough in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. The ongoing crisis at Stamford Bridge is certainly taking a toll on the players and the support staff, with nearly all of them facing an uncertain future at the club. However, Thomas Tuchel will hope to guide his team’s focus on the pitch and secure an entry to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Predicted Chelsea Lineup Vs Middlesbrough
Thomas Tuchel is expected to rest some of his key players after the midweek trip to Lille. With that in mind, a few lesser-used players could get the opportunity to impress including Malang Sarr.
The Frenchman is expected to form the three-man backline alongside Trevoh Chalobah and Antonio Rudiger. The German is the only experienced centre-back among the three and his experience could be invaluable as Chelsea look to keep a clean sheet against Middlesbrough.
As for goal, Kepa Arrizabalaga remains the favourite to start in this cup competition. The Spaniard is expected to replace the first-choice ‘keeper Edouardo Mendy.
Reece James is a doubt for Chelsea heading into this affair which means Cesar Azpilicueta could be forced to operate at right wing-back for the second time in a row.
Ben Chilwell, meanwhile, has been ruled out due to his knee surgery, which means Marcos Alonso is a favourite to start on the opposite flank.
As for the central midfield unit, N’Golo Kante may be rested, as Tuchel looks to deploy a double-pivot consisting of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic. The German should have no shortage of alternatives but he will be hoping none of them will be required this weekend.
Tuchel had rested Romelu Lukaku, Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech in the midweek encounter against Lille, starting with the offensive duo of Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.
This time around, the German could deploy Lukaku as the lone number nine, operating just behind Timo Werner and Mount in the advanced roles. Pulisic, Ziyech and Havertz are the other alternatives, though it won’t be surprising to see them start as well.