After a nearly six-week winter World Cup break, Chelsea are back. Well, in a few days, on Tuesday, when we take on AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.
Unfortunately, the break hasn’t quite healed the (physical) wounds in the squad, and most of those who were injured, remain injured, with Wesley Fofana suffering a setback in the behind-closed-doors friendly last weekend and Armando Broja blowing out his knee in the other, open-doors friendly in Abu Dhabi earlier this month. That sort of bad luck has haunted us for the past couple seasons, so it sure would be nice if the football gods smiled upon us once again at some point soon.
In his pre-match press conference today, Graham Potter confirmed our disappointing injury status, with Reece James the only good note provided.
“Wesley just had a little setback which can sometimes happen at the very last stage of the rehab. It will be a couple of weeks so he won’t be available for the game. Obviously, Armando is a big loss in terms of the time he is out.
“Reece is back in and completed 65 minutes in the week, still without Ruben, still without Ben Chilwell, obviously Kanté. Mendy has had a couple of days training with us.
“[Kanté will be] a while. He’ll be end of February, start of March. [It was] a surgery so it was a minimum period of four months pretty much.”
Neither Kepa Arrizabalaga nor Carney Chukwuemeka got a mention, so let’s take that as good news as well. But not sure why Édouard Mendy got a mention; hadn’t heard of an injury there before.
Other than the injured many and the two late-involvements at the World Cup (Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovačić), we do have a full squad available for Tuesday’s match.
Our form prior to the break was drastically bad, and felt even worse. A win at home, where we haven’t won a Premier League match since early October, sure would be a nice way to welcome everybody back. I would say that this is a must-win, but clearly our expectations are no longer that high.
“Well, it’s always nice to win that’s for sure. We know the situation, we know how important it is. We want to try our best. [...] The feeling is positive so we’re looking forward to the game.”
“[We] were suffering a bit before the break in terms of results that weren’t what we wanted and performances weren’t so good either. Sometimes as a team you go through these periods. We went through one there and I could offer lots of explanations as to why. You just have to accept sometimes they happen and you have to get through them and a break can help whether it’s an international break or different competition.
“We had the break, some guys went away to the World Cup, everyone can come back and reset. All of the learning that has happened in that really intense period you can consolidate and say ‘okay, how do we go forward?’ and that has been beneficial.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London