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Chelsea aiming to make history in Club World Cup final as Blues eye clean sweep


The Blues defeated Al-Hilal 1-0 on Wednesday in their Club World Cup semi-final and are eyeing their third continental trophy when they compete in Saturday’s final

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Al Hilal vs Chelsea: Match in pics

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Chelsea are through to the Club World Cup final and have the chance to make history by beating Palmeiras on Saturday.

The Blues defeated Asian Champions League winners Al-Hilal in their semi-final on Wednesday, thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s first half strike, to put themselves within touching distance of more glory in Abu Dhabi.

Thomas Tuchel has already won the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League and the 2021 UEFA Super Cup within the first year of his appointment as Chelsea boss.

And now, despite being absent for Wednesday’s semi-final due to Covid-19, he is eyeing a hat-trick clean sweep of continental trophies when his side take on Brazilian outfit Palmeiras on Saturday.

In doing so, Chelsea would also lift the trophy for the first time in their illustrious history.

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Here is all you need to know about Chelsea’s Club World Cup final this weekend.

Will Chelsea beat Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Chelsea defeated Al-Hilal 1-0 in their Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

How Chelsea got here

The story began in May 2021 when Chelsea defeated Premier League rivals Manchester City in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League final.

Kai Havertz’s 42nd-minute strike was enough to seal the Blues their second Champions League title in Porto.

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By winning the Champions League, Chelsea automatically qualified for the Club World Cup as European champions.

And the Blues entered at the semi-final phase of this year’s tournament, where they beat Asian champions Al-Hilal 1-0 in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, courtesy of Romelu Lukaku’s 31st minute goal.

They will now face South American champions and Brazilian outfit Palmeiras, who won the other semi-final, in Saturday’s final.

Will Tuchel be there?

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel remained in London for Wednesday’s Club World Cup semi-final after testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, February 5, the day when the team were supposed to fly to Abu Dhabi following their FA Cup win over Plymouth Argyle.

There were hopes that he would be able to fly out and join the team ahead of Saturday’s final and the German is set to take a Covid test on Friday, February 11.

Should it come back negative, then the Chelsea boss is due to link up with his team in order to take charge of the final.

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But should it come back as positive, then Tuchel will have to watch from home once more.

Chelsea’s previous Club World Cup record

The Blues lost 1-0 to Corinthians in the Club World Cup final in 2012
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Image:

Mike Hewitt – FIFA)

Having only won the Champions League once before their most recent title, the Blues have therefore only competed at the Club World Cup once.

That was in the 2012 edition of the tournament, following their 4-3 penalty win over Bayern Munich, with the game having finished 1-1 after extra time.

Once at the Club World Cup, the Blues defeated Mexican side Monterrey 3-1 in their semi-final in Yokohama, Japan, thanks to strikes from Juan Mata and Fernando Torres, before an own goal by Darvin Chavez sealed the deal.

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However, the Blues then suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to Brazilian outfit Corinthians in the final at the same venue, courtesy of a 69th minute Paolo Guerrero strike.

Their opponents

Palmeiras won the 2021 Copa Libertadores
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Image:

REUTERS)

Brazilian side Palmeiras are standing in Chelsea’s way of making history and they qualified for the Club World Cup by winning the 2021 Copa Libertadores, which is the South American version of the Champions League.

They also have one previous appearance at this tournament, when they finished in fourth place in last year’s edition, while they recently finished 3rd in the 2021 Brasileiro Serie A season.

Abel Ferreira’s side defeated African champions Al-Ahly 2-0 in their semi-final on Tuesday, thanks to goals from Raphael Veiga and Dudu.

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And Veiga is their main threat and the one to watch out for, with the 26-year-old attacking midfielder scoring 19 goals in all competitions for Palmeiras last season.

Team news

Thomas Tuchel will hope to return to the dugout following a bout of Covid-19
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Image:

Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Should Tuchel be back in the dugout for this game, then he will be without just three players as things stand ahead of this all-important final.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek continues to be assessed for a knock and Reece James (thigh) isn’t quite ready for a return to action just yet, but Ben Chilwell (knee) remains out for the rest of the season.

Edouard Mendy will be available again following his return from winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, but Kepa Arrizabalaga’s impressive performance on Wednesday could mean he sits this one out.

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Chelsea have a near-full strength squad to choose from
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Image:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

As for Palmeiras, they have a relatively clean bill of health ahead of this tie and will most likely stick with the same side that defeated Al-Ahly on Tuesday.

They have just one injury concern as things stand, with 19-year-old centre-back Henri still recovering from a devastating tibia and fibula fracture.

Otherwise, Dudu and Veiga will look to repeat their goalscoring heroics from the previous game and will provide their side’s biggest threat, while Rony is set to lead the line for the Brazilians.

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