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Chelsea Club World Cup final team news: Who will start in goal vs Palmeiras as Mendy competes with Kepa?

1:46 PM GMT 11/02/2022
Kepa Edouard Mendy Chelsea Premier League 2021-22 GFX
The Blues are set to face Brazilian opponents with major silverware up for grabs, but they still have some big selection calls to make

Chelsea will face Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final on Saturday, with the Champions League holders hoping to get one over on the Copa Libertadores kings and secure more major silverware.

The Blues edged out Saudi Arabian champions Al Hilal in the semi-finals, courtesy of a solitary effort from Romelu Lukaku, with victory in Abu Dhabi secured without manager Thomas Tuchel in attendance as he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Tuchel is still leading as best he can, though, and has more big selection calls to make ahead of another final outing for his side – with the toughest of those coming in goal as Africa Cup of Nations winner Edouard Mendy competes with Kepa Arrizabalaga for starting duties.

Which goalkeeper will Chelsea start in the Club World Cup final?

Spain international Kepa got the nod for a semi-final showdown with Al Hilal as Mendy was a late arrival to the camp following his exploits at Afcon.

He helped Senegal to continental glory in Cameroon and is now pushing to recapture the number one spot at club level.

Stand-in boss Zsolt Low has revealed that Mendy is in contention to start against Palmeiras, telling reporters: “We're very proud of Edou. The whole squad was happy he won the Africa Cup of Nations.

“He arrives in a very good mood. Always has a big smile on his face. He's very important to the group. He gives a lot of energy.

“He was a little tired the first day, needed recovery and a good sleep, but he is fully involved in training.

“We're very happy that he's healthy and absolutely in good shape with good experience behind him. He's ready to play the game.”

Pressed further on the battle between Mendy and Kepa, Low said: “We're very happy with both goalkeepers. It's a comfortable situation to have both goalkeepers like this.

“Now Edou is back he is fresh, we have to take the decision tonight. We talk to Thomas about it. Final decision will be some hours before the game but if we decide for one or the other the one on the bench has nothing to be worried or sad about.

“Both goalkeepers had a big performance in the last weeks. This is why it's a question just for this game. Tonight or latest tomorrow.”

Will Tuchel be back for the Club World Cup final?

Tuchel guided his side to European glory in 2021 and would have been desperate to play a leading role from the dugout when chasing down a global prize.

He has been prevented from linking up with the rest of the Chelsea squad so far, but Low says there is a chance that he could make the touchline for a meeting with Palmeiras.

Asked about the chances of Tuchel making a late dash to Abu Dhabi, Blues assistant Low said: “We still hope he can come and enjoy the group as soon as possible.

“Palmeiras are very emotional. We see a lot of emotion and passion from them but good technical quality from every player.

“They have a European coach who brings structure to the team with good technical players. In the last 10 games they don't lose one. They are in good shape and form.

“But on the other side we are in a good shape and form. We're well prepared. That's why I expect a good game tomorrow. The spectators can enjoy a good game.

“Thomas will absolutely want to be here. The whole club wants that. We hope he can make it. We have 30 hours. Every test can be negative and with one he can fly and join the group.”

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