Real Madrid vs Chelsea: Injury roundup, Lukaku and Azpilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta instructs Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Cesar Azpilicueta instructs Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

A demolition job was performed by Chelsea when they travelled to the South Coast on Saturday afternoon. Southampton are in a particularly substandard run of form of late, yet the way the London side bounced back with an astute plan from manager Thomas Tuchel was masterful. Tuchel’s game plan appeared to be to use attack as a form of defence, and, wow, was that strategy effective. The increasingly impressive German star Kai Havertz was elegantly brilliant; a double-double drag back was sublime. He also managed to net in the clash.

Other goalscorers included left wingback Marcos Alonso, a move started by makeshift but competent-seeming right wingback Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Loftus-Cheek’s cross was delicately, expertly and almost magically flicked on accurately by a new-look Mason Mount towards Alonso. Subsequently the Spaniard dispatched in deadly fashion with an enjoyably entertaining end to the move. Mount also added two of his own as well as reminding doubters that he is arguably the best English attacking central midfielder around. Chelsea fans were most delighted to witness Germany international Timo Werner bag a brace, too. A latter tap-in will hopefully solidify some desperately needed constant confidence for Werner; yet his initial goal was expertly taken by rounding Fraser Forster.

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Chelsea injury updates before huge deciding fixture

While losing to Brentford at home 4-1 is invariably unacceptable for the Pensioners, a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid is more understandable. Nevertheless, Tuchel got the required response versus the Saints; along with the necessary win to all but guarantee Champions League football at Stamford Bridge in 2022/23. This enables a difficult but potentially inspirational trip to Spain. Prior to the Champions League quarterfinal second leg between superclub Real Madrid and the English giants this week, Pride of London will now assess Blues injury concerns.

Hakim Ziyech was a doubt for the Southampton victory before the game began. Although, Ziyech made it to the bench and appeared as a substitute; therefore Pride of London assume his availability for Tuesday. Callum Hudson-Odoi has an achilles issue which will see him sidelined for a “few” more weeks. Ben Chilwell is out for the remainder of the season.

A pair of important Chelsea stars missed the meeting at the weekend, as you will know they are Romelu Lukaku and Cesar Azpilicueta. Lukaku was absent for the final training session at Cobham due to a “problem” sustained in the Real defeat, meaning he was not ready for Saturday. Whereas Azpilicueta received a positive COVID test. According to, Tuchel said this on the duo concerning Madrid:

"“Azpi had a positive Covid test since yesterday. So I have no prediction about that. I don’t even know the rules about travelling and what’s going on. First of all, we need a negative test. We can’t do anything about that, just hope and wait.“Romelu I don’t know yet. He had pain and could not do the last training session. He wasn’t available for today and time is running. We leave the country again on Monday, so let’s see.”"

Consequently, below is a predicted starting XI for the impending los Blancos contest, with a couple of annotated notes to explain the prospective selection further. The formation is the currently favoured 3-4-1-2; naturally the setup is flexibly interchangeable in-game to become a 5-4-1 when defending. Or a less attacking 3-4-2-1. From right to left, after the goalkeeper:

Edouard Mendy (GK); Cesar Azpilicueta (RCB), Thiago Silva (CB), Antonio Rudiger (LCB); Reece James (RWB); Mateo Kovacic (CM), N’Golo Kante (CM), Marcos Alonso (LWB); Mount (No.10); Werner (LS), Havertz (RS).

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If ‘Azpi’ is unavailable due to the virus, maybe Andreas Christensen will deputise again following a less uneven display against Southampton. Do you agree with PoL’s expected XI, or would you make alterations? Let us know via our verified Twitter account.