On Saturday, Chelsea will face Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final, with the Champions League holders seeking to get the better of the Copa Libertadores champions and win another big trophy.
The Blues are poised to play Brazilian opponents in a match with substantial prize money on the line, but they still have some important selection decisions to make.
The Blues defeated Saudi Arabian champions Al Hilal in the semi-finals thanks to a solitary goal from Romelu Lukaku, with success won in Abu Dhabi despite manager Thomas Tuchel’s absence due to a coronavirus test.
Tuchel is still in charge as best he can, and he has more important selection decisions to make ahead of another final appearance for his team – the most difficult of which is in goal, where Africa Cup of Nations champion Edouard Mendy contends with Kepa Arrizabalaga for the starting spot.
In the Club World Cup final, which goalie will Chelsea start?
Mendy was a late arrival to the camp following his performances at the Afcon, therefore Spain international Kepa got the nod for a semi-final clash with Al Hilal.
He led Senegal to continental victory in Cameroon and is now attempting to reclaim the club’s top rank.
“We’re quite proud of Edou,” stand-in boss Zsolt Low told reporters about Mendy’s chances of starting against Palmeiras. The entire team was ecstatic that he had won the Africa Cup of Nations.
“He’s in a great mood when he arrives. He has a wide smile on his face all the time. He’s a vital member of the team. He exudes a lot of vitality.
“He was a little fatigued the first day and required some rest and sleep, but he is now completely engaged in training.”
“We’re overjoyed that he’s in good condition and has a lot of experience under his belt. He’s up for the challenge.”
“We’re really delighted with both goalkeepers,” Low remarked when asked about the competition between Mendy and Kepa. It’s a nice situation to have both goalkeepers in this position.
“Now that Edou is back and fresh, we must make a decision tonight.” We discuss it with Thomas. The final decision will be made a few hours before the game, but whether we choose one or the other, the bench will be unaffected.
“Both goalkeepers have put in strong performances in recent weeks. This is why it’s a game-specific question. Tonight or, at the very least, tomorrow.”
Will Tuchel be available for the final of the Club World Cup?
Tuchel led his team to European triumph in 2021 and would have been anxious to play a key role in a global competition from the dugout.
So far, he has been unable to join up with the rest of the Chelsea team, but Low believes there is a chance he will be able to join them on the touchline for a match against Palmeiras.
“We still hope he can arrive and enjoy the group as soon as possible,” Blues assistant Low said when asked about Tuchel’s chances of making a late sprint to Abu Dhabi.
“Palmeiras have a strong emotional component. We see a lot of emotion and enthusiasm from them, yet every player has good technical ability.
“They have a European coach who brings organization and good technical players to the club.” They haven’t lost a game in the last ten. They are in good physical condition.
“On the other hand, we’re in good shape and condition.” We’ve done our homework. That’s why I’m looking forward to a nice game tomorrow. A excellent game can be enjoyed by the audience.
“Thomas will be ecstatic to be here. That is something that the entire club desires. We’re hoping he’ll be able to make it. We’ve got 30 hours. Every test may be negative, and he could travel and join the group with just one.”