Another seemingly never-ending international break is over at long last, and proper football’s back. And in fact, proper football’s back very quickly — perhaps too quickly, as strange as that statement may be — with Chelsea taking on West Bromwich Albion in the first match of the weekend, Saturday lunchtime.
West Brom are bad and Chelsea are (still) unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel, but this is precisely the sort of trap game in which we could easily lose points if we’re not careful, especially as West Brom don’t concede too many goals. Combined with key players’ exertions over the break — Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen all played and traveled a lot — multiple old and new injury concerns, not to mention the early kick-off and the upcoming Champions League quarterfinal tie against Porto midweek, this is the sort of game that can quickly turn from a sure three points into frustration and worse.
Fortunately, Chelsea’s walking wounded were all present in yesterday’s training save for N’Golo Kanté, who’s dealing with the hamstring strain he picked up while playing for France. Tammy Abraham and Thiago Silva have both been training throughout the break, while Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi are doing okay as well. Mason Mount’s injury scare with England was evidently nothing more than that. Édouard Mendy skipped Senegal duty due to a scheduled dental procedure, but he should be good to go as well.