Thomas Tuchel explains Edouard Mendy absence and Kepa Arrizabalga start for Chelsea vs Tottenham

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Thomas Tuchel says a “huge hit” suffered in Chelsea’s victory over Zenit on Tuesday night is why Edouard Mendy doesn’t feature against Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon.

The Senegal international has been in stellar form this season; the only goal the 29-year-old has conceded in the Premier League is Mohamed Salah’s penalty in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

Mendy is firmly established as Chelsea’s number one stopper and the only action Kepa Arrizabalaga has played in the opening weeks of the campaign was the final minute and then penalty shootout victory in the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal.

But with Mendy ruled out, the Spaniard has been thrust into the starting XI at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It is his first outing in the top flight since the final day of the 2020/21 campaign.

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“Edou got a huge hit and we tried everything in the last days,” Tuchel told Chelsea’s 5th Stand App ahead of this afternoon’s clash between Tottenham and Chelsea.

“He never felt fully comfortable in diving and getting another hit on it. Yesterday in training, we decided if a miracle doesn’t happen overnight then Kepa will play.”

The reintroduction of Kepa wasn’t the only big change Tuchel made to his Chelsea starting XI. Thiago Silva returned to the side while N’Golo Kante, despite having returned from injury, was only named on the substitutes’ bench.

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In attack, Kai Havertz was brought back into the side and lined up in a front three that included Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku.

“You earn your momentum and create results,” Tuchel told Sky Sports ahead of the game. “There’s hard work behind it and we want to keep going.

“This is the mindset today: leave everything on the field, be fully focused, play highly motivated in this stadium and a London derby.

“To keep the momentum going is one of the most difficult things because it needs hard work behind it. But we hope to have a good performance to be able to win.”

Source by Football London

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