Chelsea: 2021/22 season preview
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Chelsea face off against Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Thomas Tuchel’s side go into the season as European champions and showed their form with victory in the UEFA Super Cup in midweek. But competition for places is hot in Tuchel’s squad, so Express Sport will now take a look at three players who may be benched for the match.
Italy midfielder Jorginho has had quite the summer, following up his major role in the Champions League final with victory at Euro 2020 with his country.
And that is precisely the reason why he is in line to be left on the bench by Thomas Tuchel on Saturday.
Jorginho may have slotted home the fifth penalty in Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup win over Villarreal, but he started the game on the bench and did not feature at all in the pre-season friendly against Tottenham a week before.
The 29-year-old was afforded a longer rest after his summer exploits than much of the squad and, in N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, Chelsea have a more than competent midfield pairing to deputise in his absence.
Mason Mount, like Jorginho, was afforded a longer summer break by Chelsea to rest and recover after his run to the Euro 2020 final with England.
The midfielder is back with the squad and did come off the bench in the Super Cup.
But Tuchel is not light on options in the two support attacker roles in his system.
And, even with in-form Hakim Ziyech’s shoulder injury, Mount may have to bid his time to return to the starting XI.
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Chelsea’s left-back did not play a single minute for Gareth Southgate’s England this summer.
But Chilwell was still part of the squad who were committed to the Euro 2020 bubble right through until the final day of the tournament.
And as such Chelsea have eased him back into pre-season training, giving Marcos Alonso more time in their warm-up games.
The Spaniard is likely to begin the season as starting left-back, even if Chilwell will eventually return as first choice.
Chelsea: The first five fixtures of the 2021/2022 campaign
August 14 – Crystal Palace – Stamford Bridge
August 22 – Arsenal – Emirates Stadium
August 28 – Liverpool – Anfield
September 11 – Aston Villa – Stamford Bridge
September 19 – Tottenham – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
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