Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has four stars facing suspension in Atletico Madrid tie
Chelsea: Squad train ahead of Atletico tie
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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel will likely have strong talks with four of his players ahead of this evening’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid. The Blues topped their group with an unbeaten record but were handed a tough draw in the first round of the knockout stages against current La Liga leaders.
While Chelsea comfortably sailed through the group stages, four players have put themselves at risk of earning a suspension for the second leg against Atletico.
UEFA rules stipulate that players will be handed a one-game suspension should they pick up three yellow cards.
And four key members of Tuchel’s squad will have to be wary of how they approach tonight’s game should they be selected.
Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Jorginho all picked up two yellow cards each during the group stages and one more note in the official’s book will see them miss the second leg.
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Kovacic and Jorginho played in all six group matches while Ziyech and Mount featured in five matches with the latter pair being rested in the final match against Krasnodar.
Things have changed at Chelsea since then though with Frank Lampard being replaced by Tuchel.
Ziyech has played just 13 minutes of Premier League football since Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Burnley.
But Mount, Kovacic and Jorginho have all played regular minutes under the German head coach.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic will also have to be careful having picked up one yellow card each in the group stages.
If either of them pick up two yellow cards in both legs against Atletico and Chelsea progress to the quarter-finals then they would be ineligible to play.
UEFA changed the rules last summer on yellow cards where they were previously carried over into the quarter-finals.
It now means that Chelsea’s eight players who have all picked up one or two yellow cards, will have their cautions wiped clean should they progress into the next round.
But getting past Atletico to reach the quarter-finals will be no easy task given the Spanish side’s position in their league table.
While Chelsea have been on an impressive run in the Premier League since Tuchel took over with six wins and two draws, they’ve yet to be truly tested.
Atletico do come into tonight’s match on the back of just their second league loss this season though and will be without Jose Gimenez, Sime Vrsaljko, Yannick Carrasco, Kieran Trippier and Hector Herrera.
Tuchel meanwhile will be able to call upon both Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic, although Thiago Silva is not fit to play.
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