Chelsea F.C. take on Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League on Wednesday.
Chelsea Online News:
Chelsea will face Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 come Wednesday to start their Champions League knockout stage campaign. With a trip to Germany looming this week and the return leg being played at Stamford Bridge in March, Graham Potter will be looking to maintain Chelsea’s undefeated record in European competition.
Although attention has just recently become largely concentrated on the Blues’ match against Dortmund, the club has been talking a lot about the Champions League in recent weeks. That occurred as a result of the crucial decisions Potter had to make over the composition of his 25-man team.
Only three of the seven new hires who began working in January could be named: David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos, Joao Felix, Benoit Badiashile, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, and Enzo Fernandez. Given their lack of experience and playing time since joining the club, the first two names were quite simple to leave off.
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Despite Badiashile’s three clean sheets in four games, he and Madueke were the unfortunate pair to be left out. Two of the new recruits might be included right away thanks to a vacant spot from the first squad filed and Jorginho’s departure, but if a third name was added, someone else would have to be left out.
The player of choice, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, will not be able to play against his former team. The 33-year-old has now been left out of Chelsea’s last two matchday squads amid rumors of a transfer to Los Angeles FC of the Major League Soccer.
The absence of Badiashile will require the Blues manager to make at least one change, and he will surely be concerned that several players could miss the second leg.
Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Mudryk, and Kalidou Koulibaly are all one yellow card away from missing Chelsea’s upcoming match in the competition. Kalidou Koulibaly has already received one. If a player receives a caution at Signal Iduna Park, he or she would be ineligible to play in the tie’s other match back in west London according to the Champions League rules, which say that receiving three yellow cards will result in a one-game suspension.
Yellow cards are only erased until the quarterfinals have been played, so even if that group manages to avoid getting booked against Dortmund and Chelsea and advances, their problems are not entirely over.
Trevoh Chalobah and kalidou Koulibaly appear to be the two players competing for a spot in the team next to Thiago Silva now that Chelsea is using a back four. Wesley Fofana, on the other hand, is almost ready to start making his injured come back.
However, a start is improbable for the Frenchman because he hasn’t featured in a competitive match since early October. Since recovering from his injury, Koulibaly has resumed training. He was unable to play against West Ham. Before picking which of his defenders to play next to Silva, Potter must weigh a variety of issues, including whether he should choose between Koulibaly and Chalobah.
Of course, Koulibaly has more experience, but the defensive relationship between Silva and Chalobah is probably stronger, and the Brazil international has already demonstrated this season how efficient he can be in a combination with a younger player next to him.