Chelsea FC visits Newcastle United in the very first Premier League contest out of the international break. It’s a match-up of two sides that have plenty of fitness concerns and several injury absentees, so we’ll just dive right into it, starting with the visitors’ list of potential unavailable players.
German forward Kai Havertz tested positive for COVID-19 just before kickoff of the most recent Champions League contest, and since missed the last two matches. He’s recovering nicely, and cleared for training but likely to miss out, according to The Athletic.
The report states that the club is being cautious with him as he may not be full match fitness in time for this one. Also likely to miss out, says the report is the The golden boy of the exciting new USMNT next generation, Christian Pulisic.
He went to Team USA camp with a fitness status of day-to-day, but his most recent hamstring injury seems to have some complications. He didn ‘t feature in either of the Stars and Stripes’ two friendlies and returned early to Chelsea.
Billy Gilmour suffered a knee injury in July which kept him out of action for four months. He was sent off in Scotland’s 2-2 draw with Croatia, seeing red card just ten minutes in. If he does feature, it will almost certainly be in just a limited role.
Finally, Thiago Silva will be monitored as he won’t arrive back with the club from Brazil until less than 48 hours before kickoff. Missing a game due to jet lag? Don’t laugh; it’s real.
Flipping over to the Geordies, Callum Wilson is a doubt, and if he can’t go that is a big blow to their upset hopes.
Martin Dubravka, Ryan Fraser, Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle, and Matt Ritchie are all out as well, but of course, the difference maker, Jonjo Shelvey will miss out as well.
Prediction: Chelsea FC 3, Newcastle 1