Aubameyang in line for Chelsea debut against Dinamo Zagreb

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Summer-signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in line for a Chelsea debut in the Champions League opener at Dinamo Zagreb; “He’s very ambitious, very focused, and he’s hungry to play for us and prove a point still,” says Blues boss Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea signed Aubameyang from Barcelona on Deadline Day, seven months after he was shown the door at Arsenal following off-the-fields issues with head coach Mikel Arteta.

Aubameyang suffered a fractured jaw during a break-in ahead of completing his switch to Stamford Bridge but travelled with the Chelsea squad to Croatia and trained wearing a protective face mask ahead of Tuesday’s Group E opener against Dinamo Zagreb.

Tuchel confirmed Aubameyang could make his debut either from the start or from the bench against Dinamo and is relishing watching the 33-year-old prove his point as the spearhead of the Chelsea attack.

“We had the opportunity to take everybody who was available to Zagreb to do our last training here, that includes Denis [Zakaria] and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference.

“Aubameyang had a test with his mask, felt fine, trained normal, so if everything goes well today, they will both be available.”

On Aubameyang, Tuchel continued: “He’s the sort of player [to thrive in adversity], he’s very ambitious, very focused, and he’s hungry to play for us and prove a point still.

That’s why he’s here, that’s what we felt from the first moment and he’s happily invited to prove a point tomorrow.”

Asked whether Aubameyang had encountered any issues while training in his face mask, Tuchel replied: “If an issue will come up we will not play put him, of course, but there was no issue for him yesterday and I hope there will not be an issue today.

“Is he ready to start? Of course. But he cannot play 90 minutes, it’s about us taking a decision on how we manage the minutes. It’s clear he needs minutes to get his rhythm and fitness, so it is on us to find the solution if he comes from the bench or starts.”

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