Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku was brought back to Stamford Bridge to help with Chelsea’s offensive output. However an injury picked up during our 4-0 win over Malmö for the Champions League group stage one month ago has left him out of contention, with the Blues finding alternative ways — and players — to keep scoring without their main man upfront since then.
While Lukaku returned to training alongside wingback Marcos Alonso a week ago, only the Spaniard was in the squad for our Leicester City 3-0 win last weekend. Manager Thomas Tuchel still does not know whether the striker will be ready, or if he should be included in the 20-man squad for our CL match against Juventus this Tuesday.
“I am not sure yet on Romelu. We have one more training, yesterday he was in team training and seemed okay. Let’s see about the reaction. He has right now today an appointment with the doctors and the physios to see about the reaction, to see about the next training.
“We have the chance to bring 20 players to the squad, maybe we have the chance that he is in the squad for the last minutes, but that will be the absolute maximum we can get out of the situation right now.”
During the Leicester encounter, we had two scares in Jorginho and Kai Havertz who were both forced out of the pitch due to injury. Tuchel was glad to inform the Italian-Brazilian midfielder has no lasting issues with whatever troubled him at King Power Stadium. However, Havertz might be out of the picture for the upcoming match due to a hamstring problem.
“Jorgi is absolutely okay.
“We had to take Kai off because of hamstring problems. He felt a bit of tension in the hamstrings, so we took him off and we have some doubts with him. We need to check and see if he can train without any problems, so this is more or less the question mark.”
Striker Timo Werner also returned to training last week, and he is doing good enough to be part of the squad. That however is not the case with midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who remains in recovery from a hamstring injury.
“Timo feels good, he was in training yesterday, he’s back in the squad again, and Mateo Kovacic is still out.”
Having two of your main strikers in the injury room is a scary thought for most teams out there. But not for Chelsea.
Several of our players have picked up the goalscoring slack, from defenders to attacking midfielders and “false-nines”. Part of that is on Tuchel’s skills to find tactical solutions where we can adapt to their absence. But most of it, according to the coach, is on the players stepping up to the occasion.
“We always had the options. It’s on the players. When they are needed and when they have the chance to show their potential, they need to show it and they need to be ready. That’s life at Chelsea and this is what they do in a very impressive way.
“We always have options and when we play with Romelu we play with Romelu and when we play with Timo we play with Timo and when they are unavailable we try to find solutions, but that’s why we are here and that’s why we have a big squad.
“This is why we trust everybody because the guys know what it takes to play for Chelsea. We take care that the attention goes to the guys who are available and who are fit. For the injured players and the guys who are missing, they get our full attention to be as soon as possible back on the pitch.”
-Thomas Tuchel; Source: Chelsea FC
It has been good to show our opponents how good we can be on the offensive side of things even when not landing a “natural striker” in our starting lineups. But hopefully the run comes soon to an end, not just because of the benefit of having a clean injury bill, but also to perhaps make our goalscoring job easier moving forward.