Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel insists his players are fully concentrated on Arsenal and not Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester.
The Blues are billed to lock horns with their London neighbours Arsenal on Wednesday in a Premier League cracker at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel said: “We just have an eye on the players’ workload and on the statistics that we have, who is maybe overloaded on high speed and from that we will decide who is at risk of injury. Everyone who is not at risk of injury will be available for the game.
“It’s not the time to manage the game on Saturday now. Now is the time to manage the game on Wednesday.
“We’re in the middle of a race for the top four and cannot judge games”
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed that Mateo Kovacic will be unavailable for Wednesday’s clash with Arsenal but is very pleased with the way Billy Gilmour has filled in.
Tuchel said: “He [Kovacic] is not ready for tomorrow, we have to postpone it to Wembley. His personal race is on to make it to the squad for Wembley.
“Billy Gilmour had to step up now because we miss Kova so much and we play normally always with a double-six, so we were rotating constantly between N’Golo [Kante], Jorgi[Jorginho] and Kova. Once we miss Kova now for so many games, so many weeks, it was on Billy to step up and I was very happy that he could deliver when it was needed.
‘So full credit for that, but Kova is a big loss with his ability to drive with the ball, his speed on the ball, without the ball. Kova is such a positive character and unique player, a real fighter on who you can always rely in games and training.
‘We really miss him, he is a good match with Jorgi and N’Golo in all combinations. So it’s a big miss and I can’t wait until he’s back in full team training. He’s taken some steps in the right direction and I hope he can rejoin team training after our game with Arsenal.”
Hakim Ziyech has revealed that he and his teammates had a “small party” in the away dressing room at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening following the Blues’ 2-1 win over Manchester City.
After falling behind just before half time through Raheem Sterling’s close-range finish, Chelsea could have found themselves 2-0 down at the break had goalkeeper Edouard Mendy not kept out Sergio Aguero’s poorly-taken penalty.
That moment proved to be decisive in the contest as Chelsea were much-improved in the second half and found a route back into the game just past the hour mark when Ziyech scored for the second game in a row against City to bring Thomas Tuchel’s side level.
With the game appearing destined to end in a 1-1 draw, left wing-back Marcos Alonso, who was one of five changes made to the side by Tuchel, popped up with a stoppage time winner, turning home Timo Werner’s cutback.
Now, Ziyech has admitted that jubilant scenes did breakout in the dressing room following the full time whistle.
Ziyech told Be inSport via Voetbalzone: “I am very happy. We did have a small party in the dressing room, because we wanted third place and we have it now.
“Beforehand, there were all kinds of side issues: the same opponent as in the Champions League final, they could become champions. But we knew we had to play our own game. I am glad that we succeeded.
“Of course this gives confidence, but in three weeks it will be very different again.
“There will be many other matches first. Only as soon as the final comes close, we will focus on that again, but we have shown that we can beat everyone.”
Kai Havertz has sent a warning to the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool, claiming Chelsea are a dangerous prospect when playing with confidence.
“When we play with confidence, there are not many teams that can beat us,” he told the club’s official programme for the Arsenal clash.
“Apart from that, we also have a lot of other qualities that I think we showed in the matches against Real Madrid – the mix is very good between experience and young players who are very hungry.
“Technically, tactically, almost everything fits right now, so it’s very important that we keep the momentum because there are a lot more big games coming now. We keep on working in every single training session because there is always some room to improve.”
Manchester United have missed out on a £200million sponsorship deal due to the fall-out from their failed bid to join a European Super League.
Pressure from protesters against all the club’s commercial partners has forced Manchester-based The Hut Group to withdraw from an agreement to sponsor the club’s training kit.
They were due to replace AON with the words MyProtein, a firm owned by THG, on the tops in a ten-year deal.
But United are now looking for a new sponsor and feeling nervous about how toxic their brand may now be, with a huge part of their income coming from sponsorship.
A fan group calling itself NOTAPENNYMORE has launched a social media campaign aimed at the club’s main sponsors which include Adidas who sell United kit around the world.
They issued an open letter to all the commercial partners claiming their products would be targeted causing The Hut Group to pull out. This has happened a week after protests at Old Trafford and the club’s Lowry hotel base forced their home game against Liverpool to be postponed.
There are reports that talks between UEFA and United Kingdom government to move Champions League final to Wembley have not make any headway.
But supporters of both clubs were facing up to the increasing likelihood of having to travel to Portugal rather than Wembley for the May 29 showpiece.
A day of intense negotiations between the Government and Uefa over switching the game to Wembley failed to break an impasse.
Accordeing to The Sun, Uefa wants guarantees that media, broadcasters, VIPs and sponsors would be free from any restrictions in the country – with the Government wanting them confined to hotel quarters for the rest of their stay and not allowed out to sight-see.
That is a serious sticking point for Euro chiefs, who are pressing for restrictions to be lifted.
Although the Government is willing to make significant compromises in order to let the game go ahead, there are concerns that simply waving 2,000 potential Covid spreaders into the country is not feasible or acceptable.
And that could lead to Uefa and the Government reluctantly conceding Wembley is not a viable option, with the match instead being shifted – as it was last season – to Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz.