Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz are both expected to miss Chelsea’s game at Newcastle on Saturday, reveals Simon Johnson. This despite the latter being given the go-ahead to return to training. The duo haven’t featured of late, but Chelsea fans will have to wait a bit longer before seeing them both in action again.
Why is Havertz not available?
He sat out Chelsea’s last two games after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Havertz has been isolating and didn’t go away with Germany for their fixtures against the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Spain.
Due to the nature of the illness, he has only done a limited amount of exercise at home.
He has been given the all-clear to resume training and will be part of the preparations for the Newcastle contest. The impact of the virus on his fitness, however, means he is unlikely to feature.
Chelsea are about to begin a schedule of 13 matches in the space of 43 days so there is a reluctance to take any risks.
A return for the Champions League match at Rennes next Tuesday night or the derby versus Tottenham on November 29 is more of a possibility.
And what about Pulisic?
The Athletic understands Pulisic is going to face at least another week or two on the sidelines.
He has not featured since straining a hamstring during the warm-up ahead of the Burnley game on October 31.
It is believed he is still suffering from a few complications and Chelsea are wary about rushing him back.
The 22-year-old suffered the same problem in the FA Cup final against Arsenal on August 1, which caused him to miss the start of the season. Pulisic has been able to play for just 283 minutes so far.
He did join up with the USA last week, yet there was never any intention for him to play and he was released early to continue his rehabilitation at Cobham.
How much of a blow is this to Frank Lampard?
It is obviously far from ideal. Havertz has been a consistent member of the first XI since he joined in the summer, while Pulisic also established himself as a mainstay in the side when fully fit.
Havertz had been showing increasing signs of improvement. This absence has disrupted that progress as well as the growing understanding he was developing with his team-mates.
Pulisic was Chelsea’s best player in the final few months of last season, so his time out is always going to be felt.
Yet, it is worth remembering Chelsea won the Premier League games Pulisic and Havertz weren’t available for before the international break.
Their performances in the 3-0 victory against Burnley (Havertz played, Pulisic was ruled out) and 4-1 triumph over Sheffield United (both ruled out) were arguably their best of the campaign.
Anything else I need to know?
Chelsea are unlikely to have Thiago Silva available to face Newcastle. He is not due to return to England until Thursday after playing in Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Uruguay on Tuesday.
Lampard left Silva out of the squad for the game against Southampton last month after he got back from international duty just a few days before.
Chelsea are optimistic that Ben Chilwell will be fully fit. He suffered a back spasm during England’s game against Belgium on Sunday, which caused him to be substituted. But he was training with the national team once again in the build-up to Wednesday’s match with Iceland.
Billy Gilmour, who has been out for four months with a knee injury, has been lined up to play for the development squad against Bristol Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy on Wednesday.