As Chelsea try to course correct their thus far disappointing season, and it’s obvious to anyone paying attention how much work that will be, manager Graham Potter will be hamstrung by a selection crisis.
While the extended time off for the World Cup break helped other teams heal up, Chelsea still have plenty of injury concerns to contend with. There are so many players to cover that we’ll just dive right in here.
Boxing Day Fixtures: Chelsea vs Bournemouth FYIs
Competition: Premier League regular season
Kickoff: Tue Dec 27, 5:30pm GMT, Stamford Bridge, London, UK
Chelsea win 73% Draw 17% Bournemouth win 10%
Chelsea Starting XI Prediction: go here
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
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It is doubtful, to at least some degree that Potter will be able to call upon the following four players for selection in this one: Reece James (knee), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (lower leg), Ben Chilwell (thigh), Kepa Arrizabalaga (ankle).
You’ll recall that most of these guys were long-term injury absentees, set for a spell on the sidelines, back before the World Cup break. Of the quartet, James is the one who is most likely to feature.
Wesley Fofana was a doubt heading into Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Brenford, due to a knee injury, but now he’s got a fresh injury. Fofana left the friendly early, limping off with a knee problem. Although he posted a message on social media later that seemed to imply, he’ll be back in less than a month.
Mason Mount missed the friendly with a calf strain, and it is unknown how severe his issue is.
Additionally, four more players are already confirmed as out of service for this one:
N’Golo Kante (thigh), who missed out on France’s run to the final of the World Cup, Armando Broja (knee) who is gone for the rest of the season, and even faces a challenge to be ready in time for the next term, summer signing Carney Chukwuemeka (thigh) and sometimes captain’s armband wearer Cesar Azpilicueta (calf).
On top of all that, Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) and Mateo Kovacic (Croatia) also played on the final weekend of the World Cup, just this past Saturday, so it’s possible they’ll be given some R&R before coming back into the fold, and when they do, it could be after this match.
Got all that?
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. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.