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Antonio Conte unwilling to rush Chelsea debuts for January deadline day signings

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Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea made some much-needed adjustments to the first-team squad this January, bringing in three new established players in midfielder Ross Barkley, left back Emerson and striker Olivier Giroud, replacing youngsters Charly Musonda Jr, Kenedy, and (not so young but not so trusted) Michy Batshuayi.

True to form however, Conte will not be rushing them into action. Barkley, who signed at the beginning of the month has started just once despite the busy schedule. Now, with Emerson (ACL) and Giroud (hamstring) both coming off of injuries as well — it’s a bit of a theme, unfortunately — the same pattern should be expected, despite injuries to other key players, too.

Given that Morata is still out of contention due to his back injury, Eden Hazard will probably be called once again to start a game as a centre-forward/false-nine in Monday’s game against Watford.

Another injury concern is Andreas Christensen, who became the seventh hamstring injury-victim of Chelsea’s season in Wednesday’s loss. According to Conte, the injury is not major, but Christensen is certainly unavailable for Monday. Even minor hamstring injuries can take a couple weeks to clear up, so this is unsurprising.

In better news, both Willian and David Luiz are getting close to returning from their respective injuries, with the former gravely missed against Bournemouth and the latter having not started a Premier League match in over three months. If David Luiz can’t go, Conte will be facing some tough and sub-optimal decisions for the starting lineup in defense.

Injuries or no injuries, Chelsea need to get back on the winning track on Monday against Watford after Wednesday’s humiliation by AFC Bournemouth at the Bridge.