Chelsea will try to put the controversy surrounding their participation in the European Super League to one side when they face Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge tonight.
The Blues, who have confirmed they are one of 12 founding members to be included in the controversial plan, will seek to build on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final win against Manchester City at Wembley.
Moroccan ace Hakim Ziyech scored the only goal of the game, tapping home side Timo Werner’s square pass just ten minutes into the second half, securing Chelsea a place in the second consecutive FA Cup final, where they will face Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers.
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While players and Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel will be looking forward to next month’s event, they must first focus on their desire to return among the top four, although it remains to be seen whether the top four finish will mean anything in the middle of Super League plans.
Tonight, the Blues face the Brighton team, which is not yet safe from relegation to the Championship, which means that they will certainly be ready for battle, although it is likely that they will be fired even more after the events of the past two days.
As for things on the field, which have been extremely successful for Chelsea since Tuchel took control towards the end of January, all eyes will be on his starting line-up tonight, especially considering that Mateo Kovacic is the only player excluded. due to injuries.
Tuchel, however, has already confirmed that goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is likely to keep his place among the sticks ahead of first-choice stopper Edouard Mendy.
Arrizabalaga started the semi-final win over City and kept a well-deserved clean sheet, boosting his chances of returning to the side under Tuchel.
After the game, Tuchel praised the Spaniard’s stance and suggested he start tonight’s altercation with Graham Potter’s Seagulls.
Tuchel said: “It was clear that Kepa was in the goal because he is a fantastic guy, an amazing sports guy and a fantastic character who has our confidence.
“I’ve rarely seen a guy who has so few minutes and had to wait so long for his chances and then give so much influence to the team. On a mental level he offers so much support and is so professional. Is a great character.
“I think everyone, including the other two goalkeepers, wanted a top performance and a clean goal from him. I’m very happy for him to deliver and it’s very likely he has another match against Brighton.”
This season, the former Athletic Bilbao stopper is forced to play a second fiddle until the summer, signing Mendy, who was impressive in his debut season in England.
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Mendy has amassed 36 appearances for the Blues this season, keeping 21 clean sheets, meaning Arrizabalagi has hampered any chance of taking away his 1st place.
Since Tuchel was named Frank Lampard’s successor in late January, Arrizabalaga has performed four times, keeping the sheets clean in all of them.
Of those four outings, only one was in the Premier League, coming away with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United in February.