Premier League football is back this weekend after two weeks of international football that felt more like two months! And as usual with international breaks, there are some injury and fitness concerns stemming from it — and that’s before we consider the potentially impactful round of COVID testing coming up, not to mention Chelsea’s early, lunch-time kickoff on Saturday in Newcastle.
Fortunately, Lampard did sprinkle in some good news, as he gave a fitness update in his pre-match press conference today. Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are back in training but neither are fully fit and we’re certainly being cautious with the latter. Meanwhile, neither Thiago Silva nor Ben Chilwell are back yet, and the former will miss the trip to Newcastle just as he missed the first game following the October international break as well.
“Christian Pulisic is not fit for Newcastle, but he’s stepped up his training slowly. It’s been quite a problematic injury so we will stay cautious.
“Kai Havertz is back, his Isolation is over. He tested negative two days ago, so he’s just started training that’s more on his own to get individually some of his fitness back after two weeks at home.
“Thiago Silva has just landed. He just messaged me this afternoon so he probably won’t be going to Newcastle because of the length of the journey and timings.”
“With Ben Chilwell, I haven’t seen him yet. He trained with England, he was improving hence why he was on the bench and got fantastic care so I am positive he will be okay but I will have to see later on today or straight after this.”
“We are still waiting for some of the results of the tests that we now have to do as players are back from internationals. Unfortunately some of our players are arriving back this afternoon, some played last night so with the 12.30 kick off on Saturday there are clearly a lot of challenges for us.”
The most concerning of those updates is the one regarding Christian Pulisic, whose “small” hamstring injury has now caused him to miss three weeks and four games, including this weekend. And it’s hardly the first time that has happened, with a history of muscle injuries stretching back a 2-3 seasons already already for the 22-year-old winger.
So these are CP10’s most recent injury records according to Transfermarkt. A lot of muscular problems. Maybe flukes, maybe more deep. What we thinking? pic.twitter.com/DAzel8gyWw— Lump Of Kamal (@LumpOfCFC) November 18, 2020
Given his explosive style of play, these injuries aren't necessarily surprising, but they are nonetheless a growing cause for concern. It would be a shame if Pulisic weren’t able to live up to his promise and weren’t able to keep making the impact we’ve seen him make already because of these problems.
Chelsea are of course dedicated to finding the best possible solution.
“Christian has had a problematic injury and I think it is normal, every player is different. Christian had a history of muscle injuries before he came to us and he has had them again. Everything about Christian, how he is around the training ground and how he prepares is absolutely perfect.
“We need to try and find the right balance between playing, training and resting throughout the week. He is a young player still and it is not abnormal, we will find a solution and I don’t want to make more out of it than it is because we want Christian available with his ability, but at the minute he is injured and in the short term he is a work in progress.
“We have a great medical team here and we are very joined up in trying to get the best out of Pulisic as we possibly can.
- Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
The next 38 days present 11 games to navigate for Chelsea. It will be impossible for Lampard to trot out the same eleven in every game. Here's hoping for a fully fit squad very soon!