Aubameyang could make his Chelsea debut despite a broken jaw

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took part in Monday’s training session in Zagreb

Denis LOVROVIC

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could make his debut for Chelsea in Tuesday’s Champions League opener at Dinamo Zagreb despite suffering a broken jaw in a home invasion.

Chelsea made an early breakthrough for Aubameyang last week, signing the striker on a two-year contract with Barcelona just months after leaving Arsenal.

The 33-year-old missed Chelsea’s controversial 2-1 win over West Ham on Saturday but traveled with the squad to Croatia.

“Auba is very ambitious, he’s very focused and he’s hungry to play for us, and he’s hungry to prove a point. That’s why he’s here,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel told reporters on Monday.

Aubameyang will be fitted with a bespoke mask to protect his jaw that was broken in an assault by a group of four men who broke into his home near Barcelona and threatened him with guns.

“If a problem arises with the mask today, of course we won’t put it on, but there was no problem for him yesterday and I hope there will be no problem today” , said Tuchel.

“If he’s ready to start, he can’t play 90 minutes, so it’s up to us how we deal with the minutes.

“The fact that he needs a few minutes to get back to full fitness is clear, so it’s up to us to find the solution if he’s on the bench or if he starts.”

Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria is also in line for his first Chelsea appearance after arriving on loan from Juventus.

However, N’Golo Kante is still sidelined with a hamstring problem, while veteran centre-back Thiago Silva has been rested for the trip.

“We have decided with Thiago that he will have a break from traveling and stress after playing every minute so far in very intense matches,” Tuchel explained.

“It was time to give him a break instead of benching him and he has to travel. He can take care of his recovery.”

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