After Saturday’s 1-0 disappointing defeat to West Ham United, we already have another Premier League game on our schedule, as we host Aston Villa at the Bridge tomorrow (Wednesday).
While Saturday’s result showed that we’re still very much a work in progress, one good thing we might have going for us is the return of striker Tammy Abraham. The team’s leading goalscorer picked up a hip injury against Valencia last week, which took him out of commission for the West Ham game. And we sorely missed him.
According to head coach Frank Lampard, Tammy might be good to go against Aston Villa tomorrow. It all depends on the players’s pain threshold, and whether the injury will hamper his movements during the match.
“Tammy is okay. We are going to give him every possible chance to be fit. There is still some pain in the area of the injury, we will make a judgement call tomorrow. It is painful for him so it about the pain threshold and does it affect his movement, so I don’t want to commit today [on his availability].”
In case Tammy is not available, Lampard has a number of options available to him. They range from the more traditional centre forward in Olivier Giroud to giving Christian Pulisic another shot at the position.
“He was in good form, and when a player is important, as they all should be, you try to give as much time as possible. You need them to be keen, he is always keen, so he is trying his best and we are trying our best to give him time. If he is not ready then we have to go a different route.”
A player that has not featured for quite some time is midfielder Ross Barkley, whose last appearance was in a 1-0 win over Newcastle back in October. He recently got involved in off-pitch events (again) that cast him in a negative light (again), and raised questions regarding his professionalism.
Lampard has never specifically said that those events are what have been keeping Barkley out of the team, pointing to unspecified injuries, issues, and now, illness as the reason for the midfielder’s absence. One thing however is clear, Barkley has a lot of work to do to convince Lampard and earn minutes in a very competitive midfield where the likes of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, and Jorginho are far, far ahead in the pecking order.
“Ross Barkley has been sick, he was ill Sunday night. He is in this morning but not recovered enough to be available tomorrow. He has been training well. That has never been a huge issue and now he has to keep that level and push that level and compete for a place. That is up to Ross now.”
A less complicated absence remains Antonio Rüdiger, but after suffering from knee and groin injuries this season, Lampard believes the center back is ready to return in the next 7-10 days!
“Toni Rüdiger is close. He has stepped up his training, particularly in the last week, so we are hopeful he will be available in the next week to 10 days.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
That will certainly be a sight for sore eyes that have become used to Chelsea conceding more than our fair share of goals!