Chelsea will be preparing for their Boxing Day clash with Aston Villa with multiple injury and Covid-19 issues to contend with.
After the Wolves game, the west London outfit had a total of seven positive Covid tests amongst their ranks, meaning it wasn’t a surprise to see three youth players used in the 2-0 Carabao Cup victory away to Brentford.
Thankfully, after the win at the Brentford Community stadium, manager Thomas Tuchel brought some positive news regarding the fitness latest at the club which would come as a relief to the Blues faithful who will be making the trip up to Villa Park.
Without further ado, here is the latest football.london injury news ahead of the Blues’ trip to the West Midlands.
Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi
Each player tested positive for Covid-19 in the build-up to the Everton game and had to spend 10 days self-isolating.
However, both Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi now have a good chance to be involved in the squad for the Boxing Day affair against Villa, as Tuchel alluded to in his post-match Brentford press conference, after appearing in training ahead of the game.
What Tuchel has said: “If I understood it correctly, we need a negative test and we have negative tests for Romelu, Callum and Ben Chilwell. Ben Chilwell will not be involved against Aston Villa.
“The other two will be on the pitch tomorrow if they are again negative tomorrow. Then, we need to see, they have been ill and have symptoms but we will see.”
Expected return date for Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi: Aston Villa (A), December 26
Expected return date for Timo Werner: N/A
The Danish defender returned to Thursday training despite not being pictured, as per the Athletic, after he sustained a minor back injury that has meant that he missed the Brentford win and Wolves draw.
With Christensen being back in training, the expectation is that he will make up the quota of travelling players who will make the trip to the Midlands on Boxing Day – whether he starts or not is another question.
What’s been said: Reliable insider cfcnewspage provided this update on gameday: ‘Christensen was out of the game due to ‘back pain’.’
Expected return date: Aston Villa (A), December 26
The German midfielder missed the trip to Molineux after feeling unwell and there was a worry that he may have been the latest Blues star to have contracted Covid-19.
He also didn’t make the bench for the Carabao Cup quarter-final and it’s unsure as to whether he will feature against Villa.
The player has since posted on social media to excite fans about a possible comeback. If he wasn’t to make it for this one, then he will be aiming for Brighton.
Expected return date: Brighton (H) – Wednesday, December 29.
The Italy star was left out of the squad that travelled to the West Midlands, however, he has returned to training after a false positive Covid test and will be in contention to start against the Villans.
Jorginho started on the bench in the west London derby on Wednesday night but came on to score from the spot.
What Tuchel has said: “So no one is back from there, except for Jorginho, because he had a negative test. It was a wrong positive, obviously. And he’s back in training.”
Expected return date: Aston Villa (A) – Sunday, December 26.
Chillwell looks set to be out for some time yet with the injury suffered in last month’s Champions League victory over Juventus.
It was expected that the season may be over for the ex-Leicester man but the latest update on his injury recovery makes good reading for Chelsea fans.
“Chelsea medical staff are hoping that Ben Chilwell could return for the Tottenham match on January 23 after responding well to ACL physiotherapy,” journalist Rahman Osman tweeted.
The defender won’t likely be seen until after the New Year as he continues his recovery, albeit having returned to training over the past week or so.
What Tuchel has said : “If I understood it correctly, we need a negative test and we have negative tests for Romelu, Callum and Ben Chilwell. Ben Chilwell will not be involved against Aston Villa.”
Expected return date: N/A
The France international returned prematurely from injury for the Wolves game and in his recovery from his ongoing injury concerns, manager Tuchel decided sensibly not to risk him from the start in the quarter-final against the Bees.
Kante, as shown at Molineux, was one of the standout performers in a drab 0-0, so there is no doubt that the west Londoners will need him for the upcoming Boxing Day clash against a resurgent Villa outfit.
What Tuchel has said: “How is the best way for me to put it? Perhaps it is best as an example. What we did with N’Golo Kante, playing 90 minutes, was close to being irresponsible against Wolverhampton. Will he be involved in the squad against Brentford? No, simply no.
“It would be possible if it was the last game of the season but not now, we cannot do this and I will not do this. We will give him time to recover for the Aston Villa match.
“If you have a team with 13 or 14 players for one match, this is a problem but not a big problem. We can do it and it but from the Wolves match we have Trevoh Chalobah injured, a big doubt. The Mateo Kovacic and Kante involved which was taking a huge, huge risk and now we are paying for this.”
Expected return date: Aston Villa (A)- Sunday, December 26.
The 25-year-old suffered an injury scare in the first half against Everton. Loftus-Cheek landed awkwardly on his ankle after contesting a long ball in the 20th minute.
He did manage to stay on the pitch well into the second half before he was replaced by Ross Barkley, but was subsequently left out against Wolves.
Expected return date: N/A