Thomas Tuchel on another cup final meeting with Liverpool
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Picking a Chelsea side will never be an easy task for Thomas Tuchel. After all, the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain manager is blessed with one of the most vastly talented and effective squads in world football.
The German boss watched his side reach their fourth final this campaign after they edged their way past a dangerous Crystal Palace side at Wembley. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount both found the back of the net in a much-improved Chelsea performance in the second half of the contest.
But the west Londoners will surely have to be much better when they host Mikel Arteta’s out of form but yet quality Arsenal side. The Gunners arrive into the contest on the back of their worst period of form this Premier League season.
A perilous run of three consecutive defeats has blind-sided an Arsenal side who had breezed into the international break in fourth position, after recording five wins in six matches. But as Arteta and co prepare a huge reaction to their horrific run off recent results, Express Sport considers four players who must start against the north Londoners.
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Antonio Rudiger has arguably been Chelsea’s most consistent and effective presence ever since Tuchel took over the reins at Stamford Bridge. The German has emerged as a leader of men at Stamford Bridge, driving his team mates throughout the contest and gesticulating the minute any Chelsea player drops their standards.
As well as the customary effort from 35 yards he has every single game, Rudiger’s aerial presence in both boxes has proven to be vital for Chelsea. As well as levelling the aggregate score-line against Real Madrid, he is always the first player to head away opposition corners and free-kicks.
Rudiger essentially became a Chelsea undroppable the very second Tuchel walked through the doors at Stamford Bridge. Only an injury of serious proportions would keep the German from being in Chelsea’s backline.
The Chelsea midfielder has shown glimpses of brilliance throughout the campaign, but he has put together a brilliant run of performances. Loftus-Cheek caught the eye with his performances as an almost in-drifting right=wing-back against Southampton and Real Madrid.
But it was his display at the heart of central midfield against Crystal Palace which really made a huge statement. As well as smashing the Blues into a second half lead, he brought the penetration and bravery on the ball Chelsea were sorely lacking in the first half.
Whether it is as a right-wing-back or as a central midfielder, Loftus-Cheek surely merits a place in Tuchel’s starting line-up.
Confidence appears to be flowing through Werner’s veins, after an outstanding tripartite of performances for the Blues. The often-misfiring German has contributed three goals and two assists in his last three matches, including a magnificently composed strike against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Good form has been very hard to come by for the former RB Leipzig ace, but he is hitting his stride at a crucial time in Chelsea’s season. Arteta likes to take the game to the opposition, particularly when he is playing against a rival.
And Werner’s pace in behind could prove to be crucial against a Gunners’ defence which must be devoid of confidence having shipped six goals in their last three matches.
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For the first time in his Chelsea career, Mason Mount has found the net in his last three matches. The Blues academy ace has helped himself to four goals and two assists in his last three matches, including a magnificent brace against Southampton and an outstanding finish against Los Blancos at the Bernabeu.
The Blues’ front three of Mount, Werner, and Kai Havertz has worked like a dream in Chelsea’s last three victories and, providing all three are match fit, Tuchel should deploy the tripartite together once more. Despite the fact he has played 46 matches this season, Mount has been razor sharp both with and without the ball for the Blues in recent weeks.
If Arteta’s side do not bring their A-game to Stamford Bridge, Mount, Werner, and Havertz could run riot.
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