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Chelsea team news: Expected XI vs Tottenham as Thomas Tuchel made N’Golo Kante decision

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Chelsea head into their London derby clash against Tottenham with the boost that N’Golo Kante is fit to play against the North Londoners.

Boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed that the Frenchman has fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered against Liverpool last month. 

Kante is likely to go straight into the team for the Spurs game. Express Sport predicts five changes from the Blues’ last Premier League match against Aston Villa.  

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy 

Mendy was excellent against Villa and has solidified his place as the club’s No 1 goalkeeper.  

He has played in every match since the beginning of the Premier League campaign, despite Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty-saving heroics against Villarreal in the European Super Cup. 

Mendy made an incredible double save to deny Villa in Chelsea’s 3-0 victory last weekend.  

His six saves were the most he has made in a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. 

Centre-backs: Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger

Azpilicueta was a substitute against Villa but still had time to set up the second of Romelu Lukaku’s brace. The Spaniard found Lukaku on the edge of the box and the Belgian thumped home the third goal in added time.

The defender then crossed for Lukaku to head home the only goal during Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League victory over Zenit St. Petersburg in midweek.  

Silva or Andreas Christensen could take the central role. Rudiger will likely play on the left despite his uncertain future.  

The German could leave on a free transfer at the end of the season if he does not pen fresh terms. Chelsea’s defensive trio will have the tricky task of keeping quiet Harry Kane, who is yet to score a Premier League goal this campaign. 

Wing-backs: Reece James and Marcos Alonso

Reece James is back from suspension and will surely replace Callum Hudson-Odoi at right wing-back. James featured against Zenit but was burgled during the European clash.  

Tuchel confirmed that the England star has trained and it seems likely that he will be ready to play.  

Alonso has surprisingly been preferred to Ben Chilwell on the left. Tuchel has claimed that the latter struggled to deal with not featuring for the Three Lions at Euro 2020. 

Chilwell made his first appearance since May’s Champions League final when he played the final 10 minutes against Zenit. 

Central midfield: N’Golo Kante and Jorginho

Tuchel could completely switch his midfield despite Mateo Kovacic’s excellent performance against Villa. The Croatian bagged a goal and an assist.  

Summer loan signing Saul Niguez could also drop out having struggled last weekend. The Atletico Madrid midfielder was hauled off at half-time and replaced by Jorginho, who might start against Spurs.  

The main team news, though, is that Tuchel has Kante available. The 30-year-old has recovered from the ankle injury he suffered against Liverpool last month.  

Tuchel said: “N’Golo is back, and back in full shape and ready to play.”

The Chelsea boss has a plethora of options to choose from for the two roles behind Lukaku.  

Mount, Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have all featured this season. Christian Pulisic remains injured.  

Tuchel could choose to put Mount back in, having left the 22-year-old on the bench against Villa. The England midfielder was taken off early against Zenit, perhaps in anticipation of a start against Spurs. 

Germany star Havertz has started the season well. He could line up behind Lukaku, whose place in the team is one of the few that are guaranteed.

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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