Frank Lampard has yet to be able to choose from a fully healthy squad as Chelsea manager, and that trend is certainly set to continue for a while yet. But in some respects, the situation is improving.
Two players who have not been involved for a good while, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic, are showing positive signs that their return is near. In fact, they recently both took part in a training-ground match, to help them work their way back to match fitness (RLC also took part in an U23 match earlier this week).
“We just had an in-house game here which Ruben and Christian Pulisic took part in.
“It’s great to see Christian get some minutes. He’s short of match fitness but it’s the first time the injury has felt at a level to get him on a big pitch in a relatively competitive match. That’s a big step forward, hopefully.
“Ruben played half of that game himself. He is trying to find match fitness. He’s short of that, Ruben is saying that himself and I can see that. There is work to do.”
However, this is the only good news on the injury front.
Otherwise we are still looking at a team that will not have Mateo Kovacic — thankfully not out of contention for long, as per Frank — and possibly not Willian either.
“Willian we are assessing. He is a question mark for Sunday.”
And for more bad news, we have Callum Hudson-Odoi’s re-injury. Even though Chelsea had been taking it easy in recovering him from a hamstring problem, he is back in the medical department with a fresh setback. Frank is understandably frustrated by the entire situation here, not just for the club but also for the players personally whose playing time is being “stolen” by these fitness issues.
“He had a re-injury yesterday. We’re having a scan this afternoon. He will be longer than expected.
“It’s tough. He wasn’t rushed back. All the signs were he was fit to train. He got re-injured on his first training session with us. It’s frustrating for him, a young boy who is so keen to play, and frustrating because it’s another injury for us.”
To end on a brighter note, we have young midfielder Billy Gilmour who had a great performance in our 2-0 win against Liverpool on Tuesday in the FA Cup, showing the world that he is ready to fight with the top dogs in the sport.
There is a good chance that Gilmour features again this weekend, because of all the injuries if nothing else.
“He’s been the same. He had a day off, I’m sure he enjoyed it, he should do. His family were here for the game.
“Billy is a very determined young lad, very smart. He’ll understand it was a good game for him, but the hard work starts now.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
And the same goes for the rest of the team. Our Premier League results sure could use some improvement; let’s hope the win against Liverpool serves as inspiration!