N'Golo Kante and Kepa Arrizabalaga will start for Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.
Kepa has been Chelsea's goalkeeper throughout their domestic cup campaigns and will retain his spot despite the availability of Edouard Mendy with Tuchel having a fully fit squad available to him for the Wembley showpiece against Leicester City.
The world's most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa has struggled for form since joining Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 and was the victim of a clumsy back pass from Jorginho in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal. Tuchel said that the Spaniard will "for sure" start at Wembley as the Blues bid for a ninth FA Cup victory that would take them clear of Tottenham and make them the outright third most successful team in the history of the sport's oldest knockout competition.
"That's the way it is, if you have a goalkeeper for this competition like we have with Kepa you don't change in the final," Tuchel said. "He is a part of the group. He brought us to the final so he deserves to play the final."
While Kepa's starting spot was expected prior to the manager's pre-match press conference, there had been some doubts about the availability of Kante, who played no part in the loss to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. The France international has been struggling with an Achilles issue but Tuchel says that his midfielder's absence was pre-planned and a matter of pain management rather than a serious issue.
"We took the decision together -- N'Golo, me and the medical [team] -- to leave him out and give him this Arsenal match rest and have a treatment," Tuchel said. "It was pain management. It's not a huge injury. It's nothing you need to be afraid of getting bigger. It was just there and it was a bit annoying.
"He did all the training sessions yesterday and today in full, no complaints. He will start tomorrow and very likely finish the game for us."
Jorginho and the returning Mateo Kovacic, who has been out since injuring his hamstring in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Porto, will be vying for a starting spot alongside Kante in Tuchel's midfield.
Of Kovacic's availability Tuchel said: It's huge because Mateo has everything we need in the midfield: experience, power, acceleration and deceleration, he can dribble the ball, beat players, has physical ability and has experience in big games in the Premier League.
"When we missed Mateo and N'Golo, we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience. Billy [Gilmour] did a huge job in both games but it's not fair to compare him to these players because they have more experience and are a step ahead in their development. This is what we absolutely need in key moments in the season. It's big news that Kova is back because he's a big guy in the dressing room around important matches and is a very positive guy."