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Mendy, Chilwell, Loftus-Cheek, Fofana: Chelsea without key players as Kepa’s role vs Man City confirmed



(Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to start in goal for Chelsea against Manchester City as Graham Potter remains without several players for their Premier League clash on Thursday night.

Wesley Fofana, Reece James, N’Golo Kante and Armando Broja all remain sidelined for Chelsea to offer Potter a headache to find solutions.

Edouard Mendy, Ben Chilwell and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have all been missing due to shoulder, hamstring and calf problems. However, all three are on the verge of returns which offers a boost to Potter as the medical room sees a reduction in numbers as they return to the training pitches.

Carney Chukwuemeka appears to be back to full fitness which has seen him feature in both matchday squads against Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest.

READ MORE: Chelsea handed double Man City injury boost as Pep Guardiola responds to Blues’ struggles

Chelsea will need a fully fit squad for Manchester City‘s visit to the capital on Thursday if they are to stop the prolific Erling Haaland and co. Haaland has scored more goals (21) than Chelsea (20) in the Premier League already this season.

There is a chance Loftus-Cheek could be in the matchday squad but Mendy, Chilwell and new signing David Datro Fofana won’t be available for selection, Potter confirmed ahead of the match when providing updates.

Edouard Mendy

After the draw to Nottingham Forest, Potter revealed Mendy was progressing however wasn’t fully fit just yet.

“He’s been training a little bit more than he was. He’s not fully fit at the moment but hopefully the next week or so he will make progress.”

Marcus Bettinelli is likely to begin on the bench with Kepa retaining his starting place in the side.

Ben Chilwell

The 26-year-old won’t be involved against Pep Guardiola’s side. He has been sidelined since November with a hamstring injury sustained against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

READ MORE: Why Graham Potter won’t panic if Chelsea ‘suffer and drop points’ vs Man City despite Champions League hopes

However, Chilwell could return to first-team training after their league outing against Fulham next Thursday.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Loftus-Cheek, 26, returned to first-team training following a calf issue picked up against Newcastle United in the final game before the World Cup break.

Whether he will be fit enough to make the bench on Thursday remains unclear, however the midfielder is closing in on a return to the side.

David Datro Fofana

After arriving from Molde on January 1, Fofana was in the stands on Sunday at the City Ground to watch the 1-1 draw versus Nottingham Forest.

But Potter isn’t set to utilise the Ivorian just yet. The Chelsea head coach wants to see the 20-year-old train before an assessment and decision over his short-term future is made.

“He’s been on a bit of a break so we’ll give him some time to train, to assess him, and then work out the best solution in terms of taking the next step in his career.”