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Loftus-Cheek back injury flares up again, Alonso rested, Drinkwater left behind as Chelsea travel to Malmo

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Squad news ahead of Thursday’s Round of 32 first leg

Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Chelsea have arrived in Sweden this afternoon ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League Round of 32 clash against Malmo FF, and as it’s been the case for almost every away trip so far in the competition, the Blues have left a few players back at Cobham, taking just the bare minimum number of players along (11 starters, 7 subs, 1 third goalkeeper) — or in this case, the bare minimum plus one extra.

Staying behind are Danny Drinkwater (newly registered but carrying some sort of tendon problem), Marcos Alonso (“rested”), and, worryingly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whose back injury has apparently flared up again.

The 23-year-old was ruled out for most of January with the same problem, but made his (earlier than initially expected) return as a substitute against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup, and had featured off the bench in each of the three games since as well. Loftus-Cheek had started five of the six group matches as well (all except the very first one) this season, so this is (once again) a terribly unfortunate blow for him.

Hopefully he’ll be back soon.

The full 20-man traveling squad is as follows:

GOALKEEPERS: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Wilfredo Caballero, Jamie Cumming

DEFENDERS: Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Andreas Christensen, Ethan Ampadu, Cesar Azpilicueta, Davide Zappacosta, Emerson

MIDFIELDERS: N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Ross Barkley

ATTACKERS: Eden Hazard, Willian, Pedro, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Gonzalo Higuain, Olivier Giroud