Chelsea will be looking to open their Champions League campaign with a win when they travel to face Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday at 5:45pm (UK time).
The Blues have had a shaky start to the new Premier League season, already losing twice in their opening six games, and things don’t get any easier with the condensed Champions League calendar getting underway.
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Dinamo Zagreb team news vs Chelsea: No concerns for host
- Ins: None
- Outs: Emir Dilaver, Luka Menalo, Bosko Sutalo
- Doubts: None
Dinamo Zagreb have the benefit of a near-full-strength squad from which to choose on Tuesday, with Emir Dilaver, Luka Menalo and Bosko Sutalo the only absentees. Dilaver has a high temperature, Menalo has a slight problem while Sutalo isn’t expected back from injury until the New Year.
Nine players have been involved in all six of Dinamo’s Champions League games so far including Mislav Orsic and Bruno Petkovic who have both scored three goals. The hosts were also able to give some of their players a rest in their 3-1 league win over Rijeka at the weekend, thanks to a comfortable lead after 60 minutes.
Predicted Dinamo Zagreb XI vs Chelsea:
- Livakovic; Ristovski, Sutalo, Peric, Ljubicic; Ademi; Spikic, Baturina, Ivanusec, Orsic; Petkovic. (4-1-4-1)
Chelsea team news vs Dinamo Zagreb: Aubameyang and Zakaria travel
- Ins: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Denis Zakaria
- Outs: Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante
- Doubts: None
Chelsea have confirmed that both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Denis Zakaria have travelled to Croatia as part of the Blues squad and are in line to make their debuts, should Thomas Tuchel wish to choose them. The pair joined late on the final day of the transfer window and were not involved against West Ham at the weekend, though fellow new signing Wesley Fofana was.
There will be two names not in the matchday squad for Chelsea, however, as Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante both miss out, the latter through injury.
Another topic of conversation among Chelsea fans will be who starts in goal for the Blues, with Edouard Mendy not exactly inspiring confidence at the start of the season. The latest frustrations with the Senegalese shot-stopper came in the 2-1 win over West Ham, in which Mendy flapped at a corner in the build up to Michail Antonio’s opening goal.
Mendy then came under fire for being hesitant in rushing out against Jarrod Bowen after Reece James’ weak header back and was only saved by VAR ruling out Maxwel Cornet’s goal after the goalkeeper had stayed on the ground following contact from Bowen. Some Chelsea fans have called for Mendy to be dropped and replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga, but Tuchel appears set to stick with his No.1.
“It’s a very sensitive position in football in general because not everything is about pure quality and only about decision-making,” he told the club’s official website.
“Somebody sent me an interesting quote about Napoleon, who asked his generals to not only have the best quality but also that he needs them to be lucky generals. This is what you need as well from leaders and from goalkeepers, that they have the kind of momentum where if they do a little mistake, it’s not punished.
“At the moment, he [Mendy] gets punished a lot for not a lot of what he does wrong but there are no doubts in my mind. We are aware he is in that kind of situation but the situation is calm. We have two fantastic goalkeepers and two fantastic guys.”
Tuchel also confirmed Arrizabalaga had looked to leave the club in the summer, adding: “He tried and checked his options, which we were aware of. They were not satisfying for him or for us so he stayed and I’m very happy about that.
“I was always very clear directly with him that I would love him to stay and my point of view is that he’s absolutely ready to play. It’s on us if we give him the chance or not but he’s 100 per cent ready with how he behaves and trains.”
- READ MORE: How to live stream Dinamo Zagreb vs Chelsea
Predicted Chelsea XI vs Dinamo Zagreb:
- Mendy; Chalobah, Fofana, Koulibaly; James, Kovacic, Gallagher, Mount, Chilwell; Broja, Havertz. (3-5-2)