Four Chelsea players who missed out on the thrashing at Newcastle United last weekend are aiming to be back in the matchday squad this weekend. Midfielders Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, as well as striker Christopher Nkunku and defender Malo Gusto, all missed the 4-1 rout at the hands of the Geordies.
However, as of now, it’s a very realistic goal that the quartet could all be back in the mix at home against Brighton & Hove Albion come Sunday. Let’s explore this idea in depth.
Chelsea FC vs Brighton & Hove Albion FYIs
Kickoff: Sun. Dec. 3, 4pm, Stamford Bridge, London, UK
Premier League Standing: Chelsea 10th, 16 pts, Brighton 8th, 22 pts
Google Result Probability: Chelsea 56% Brighton 22% Draw 22%
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
Click where the name is highlighted for more more on that player’s injury and rehabilitation.
The Ecuadorian was not able to train much last week, due to his returning to the team late after international duty. Such is the nature of the beast, when it comes to international breaks and players flying across the Western and Eastern hemisphere.
Caicedo’s jet lag kept him from being crisp and fresh, and manager Mauricio Pochettino said Caicedo need not be risked at St. James Park, because Chelsea have such a massive squad.
Both were supposed to be in contention to make their Chelsea debuts last weekend, but neither made the road trip. Lavia (ankle) is thought to be slightly behind Nkunku (knee injury) in the current process.
Pochettino said last week:
“Lavia and Nkunku are still out. There is no timeframe for them, it is difficult to say because we need to assess them day-by-day. They are in a good condition.”
Nkunku has at least featured for the side in preseason friendlies, and it was against Borussia Dortmund, in Chicago on August 2, where he tore his knee up. Lavia was acquired so late in the summer transfer window that he didn’t feature in any Chelsea preseason matches.
He withdrew from France youth team duty, as a precaution due to a knock, and then found himself left out of the matchday squad last Saturday. He’ll play on Sunday, and they really need him, with team captain Reece James now suspended.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now, while writing for the International Baseball Writers Association of America. You can follow the website on Twitter.