Chelsea have the most unwelcome task of getting the Premier League party started this weekend with a lunchtime kick-off up in Newcastle. Any trip to St James’ Park is fraught with annoyance and danger, especially right after an international break — even if the stadium will have no actual fans in it still.
Lampard’s task hasn’t been made any easier by said international break, with Thiago Silva likely to miss out due to travel (he just got back today from Brazil) and potential concerns remaining over Ben Chilwell (who hurt his back last weekend for England) and Kai Havertz (who’s been sitting at home for the last two weeks with COVID-19). And of course Christian “glass cannon” Pulisic is still nursing his “problematic” hamstring injury.
The only good news on the injury front is that Billy Gilmour came through unscathed in his 60 minutes of action for Chelsea U21 on Wednesday, but he’s unlikely to be ready for first-team action just yet after four months out.
Winter is coming.