Tuchel provides update on Kovacic and Rudiger
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spoke to the media ahead of his side’s Premier League fixture against West Ham United on Sunday, 24 April. The Blues will welcome David Moyes’ side at Stamford Bridge on the back of a shocking 4-2 defeat against Arsenal.
Individual mistakes at various junctures in the game cost Chelsea all three points against Mikel Arteta’s side. It was a shock as the Gunners were in poor form and had lost three straight games. Tuchel made various changes to the line-up after his side’s semi-final win in the FA Cup against Crystal Palace last Sunday (17 April).
Romelu Lukaku, Malang Sarr and N’Golo Kante all started in the London derby but were far from impressive. The absence of Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park and Antonio Rudiger in the backline clearly hurt Chelsea against Arsenal.
Tuchel has confirmed that both his injured players will not be able to recover before his side’s clash against the Hammers on Sunday. The German said (via Football London):
“For Sunday they [Kovacic and Rudiger] are not back. But no other new injuries.”
The Blues have been particularly disappointing this season in front of their home crowd. They have only the eighth best home record in the Premier League. It could be argued that this inability to perform as per expectations at Stamford Bridge has been a big roadblock to their hopes of a title challenge.
West Ham will fancy their chances against Chelsea on Sunday
Earlier in December last year, David Moyes’ side served the Blues their second defeat of their on-going Premier League campaign. The match ended with a 3-2 scoreline favoring the Hammers. The visitors will now be determined to do a league double over their London rivals as the Blues have been kind to the opposition off late. They have shipped goals in a rather uncharacteristic manner, like making two errors against Arsenal.
West Ham are themselves in no great form. They have lost two of their last four Premier League games, drawing one and winning the other.
Chelsea will need to overcome their poor home form and manage all three points against Moyes’s team. If not, they could also be involved in a battle for the top-four.
As things stand, Tuchel’s side are five points clear of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur(57p) and fifth-placed Arsenal(57p) with 62 points. The Blues also have a game in hand.
However, the absence of both Kovacic and Rudiger will definitely motivate the Hammers to complete their league double over their London rivals.