Chelsea’s season has been defined by injuries almost as much as it’s been defined by the youth revolution, but the situation is slowly getting better, and before long, we might even have an empty treatment room.
We’re not quite there yet however, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco van Ginkel still looking at several weeks at minimum. But there’s better news regarding Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger, both of whom Lampard’s hoping to have back soon, perhaps as early as the weekend.
Lampard on team news: "Hudson-Odoi is not available. Hopefully he will be for the weekend. Rudiger is match fitness rather than the injury itself. Hopefully it will be days and weeks rather than months." No mention of Alonso suggest he wasn't picked to travel. #CFC #UCL— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) November 26, 2019
Neither Hudson-Odoi, who got injured while away with England on international duty last week, and Rudiger, who’s been limited to just 45 minutes of competitive first-team action, traveled with the team to Valencia. Rudiger was involved in training just prior to the flight, so hopefully he is indeed on his way back to match fitness now.
Similarly involved but not traveling were (uninjured?) first-team players Marcos Alonso and Ross Barkley. While Lampard didn’t elaborate on Alonso’s absence, he did put his foot down on the Barkley situation and made it clear that he’s not happy at all with the midfielder’s recent headline-making off-pitch incidents, including the latest shirtless shenanigans in a Dubai nightclub.
Lampard on Barkley 2/2: "I don't want to become a dictator because he deserves some freedom. I like Ross, he is one of my players. He needs to show his reactions on the pitch."— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) November 26, 2019
Lampard made light of the first incident, with the cab driver and the chip bag, and only called Barkley “naive” after accepting his apology, but has taken to this second incident much less kindly, even in public.
Sounds like Barkley’s certainly got his work cut out for him, in what was already a crowded and competitive scrap for minutes in Chelsea’s midfield.