How Chelsea will line-up in the Europa League final – with Loftus-Cheek out and Kante winning fitness battle

CHELSEA have been dealt a monster blow after Ruben Loftus-Cheek was ruled out of the Europa League final – but there is a positive update on N'Golo Kante.

Loftus-Cheek, 23, is set to face between six months and a year on the sidelines after rupturing his Achilles in the pointless friendly in Boston.

The England man will now miss his country's Nations League finals campaign and the Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku.

But while Loftus-Cheek will certainly miss the all-English showdown in Azerbaijan, there's good news surrounding Kante.

The French midfielder, 28, picked up a hamstring injury against Watford earlier this month and missed the final-day draw with Leicester.

However, reports are now claiming the tireless Kante is winning his race to be fit for the May 29 clash.

He could come in to replace Loftus-Cheek on the right of the Blues' midfield – with boss Maurizio Sarri preferring Jorginho in Kante's natural defensive position.

KANT DO WITHOUT YOU

Should the former Leicester star miss out, Mateo Kovacic will start in the middle of the park, despite his poor form.

In the back-four, Chelsea still have star man Antonio Rudiger out after he went under the knife to rectify a knee problem.

Andreas Christensen could join David Luiz in the heart of the defence, but Sarri could opt to play captain Cesar Azpilicueta alongside the Brazilian.

In that instance, Davide Zappacosta could start at right-back – with Marcos Alonso and Emerson fighting it out for the left-back spot.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to start in goal, while Olivier Giroud is expected to be given the chance to continue his red-hot Europa League form up-front.

The Frenchman is set to be given the nod ahead of the woefully out-of-form Gonzalo Higuain – who is set to be sent back to Juventus when his loan ends this summer.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi out, Willian and Pedro are set to battle it out for the starting right-wing spot.

Eden Hazard is expected to play his last-ever game as a Chelsea player in Baku.

The Belgian star is being linked with a mega-money move to Real Madrid this summer, despite the Blues preparing for their two-window transfer ban.


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