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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has ruled out three first-team players for his side’s clash against Arsenal on Wednesday (April 20).
The Blues are aiming to continue their momentum following three consecutive wins, including their FA Cup semi-final victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Tuchel’s side host the Gunners who, in contrast to their rivals, have suffered three defeats on the bounce, and Mikel Arteta’s side will be desperate for a victory to reignite their charge for a top-four place.
In a pre-match press conference, Tuchel confirmed that Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi will all miss the London derby. As per Football.London, the Chelsea boss said:
“Kova is out of the game, ligament injury. Hopefully not longer than two weeks. Callum out of the game. Ben Chilwell out for the game. And some players in doubt who we need to examine.
“Ben will be able to join in team training with the youth, this will be his next step in the weeks and hopefully, he can join our training at the end of the season. With Callum, it’s day by day but not possible to join team training.”
Kovacic picked up an injury in the cup semi-final, leaving Wembley with heavy strapping to his knee, but didn’t need crutches.
Chilwell is still recovering from a long-term knee injury that will probably keep him out for the remainder of the campaign, while Hudson-Odoi is managing an achillies problem.
Tuchel demands Chelsea players continue fighting until the end
It looks almost certain that the Blues will finish third in the Premier League this season. They currently sit 11 points behind Liverpool in second, and five points ahead of fourth-placed Tottenham, with Spurs having played two more games than their London rivals.
However, Tuchel is determined to remind his players that they still need to be putting maximum effort into their performances, with an FA Cup final against Liverpool coming up in May.
The 48-year-old said in his conference:
“I’m not sure we don’t become second or fourth. So we will fight hard. We have a crucial four matches coming in a short period of time with Arsenal, West Ham, Man United and Everton. These are crucial matches for us given the task and what we don’t want to achieve.
“It’s a big challenge physically but mentally to dive into the main competition that is Premier League. It seems like things are pretty safe but things can change so, so quickly.
“We want to demand it from the team and it is challenging for everybody, but at the same time, it’s what you sign up for when you sign up for Chelsea.”
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