Callum Hudson-Odoi was back on the bench on Monday as Chelsea snapped a two-match losing streak by beating West Ham, 3-0, and while he did not feature, he also did not feature in this morning’s injury update from Frank Lampard as the Blues gear up for the Arsenal match on Boxing Day.
However, the update still makes for sore reading, with a trio of wide players, including both starting fullbacks, Reece James and ben Chilwell ruled out, joining still-recovering Hakim Ziyech on the sidelines. And it doesn’t sound like they will be back anytime soon, especially the defensive duo, which is a problem given our run of fixtures coming up: Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Manchester City in the span of a week.
“[Chilwell and James] are both doubtful so I can’t give you an answer at the moment. We’re not sure whether they will be fit for either [Arsenal or Aston Villa].
"[Ziyech] won’t be fit for Arsenal. He had a knee injury at the start of the season and he now has a muscle injury. You have to wait to recover. It’s not a long-term concern and we hope to have him back in the next week or so.
“And hopefully he can offer what he did before because he was offering great things. We missed that in a way but that’s football, that’s squad and it’s what happens when players are playing at high level every two or three days.”
While Chelsea may be clear favourites to take all three points against Arsenal who are winless in their last seven league matches and are reminiscent of Chelsea's forgettable 2015-16 league campaign, it would be foolish to underestimate the motivational power of a fierce derby that can raise the game of any team.
A struggling Arsenal, now with Willian but without an injured Aubameyang are exactly the kind of banana peel that Chelsea could easily slip on.
“They’re just a good team with a good manager. They’ve had some tough results recently but the general way of the Premier League this season for every team it’s been more inconsistent than it’s been in probably previous seasons for most teams. It’s not my concern exactly where they are at, my concern is the team at face value, in terms of quality, and they are a high-quality team.
“When you play a derby form does go out the window. Sometimes the idea of playing the derby is the spur that the team needs to try to get a result. So we have to expect the best Arsenal, which is a really good footballing team, with really good players, well-coached, rotations in their team, lots of threats in attacking areas. That’s what I expect, so we have to prepare for that.”
- Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
It's time to paint London blue once again on Saturday!