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Hudson-Odoi out, Pulisic doubtful, James back as Tuchel expects another ‘tough one’ against Brentford

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Burnley v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Every player except Ben Chilwell is back in training for Chelsea at the moment, but two of them are still likely to miss out on tomorrow’s game against Brentford.

As Thomas Tuchel revealed in his press conference today, Callum Hudson-Odoi is still recovering from injury and Christian Pulisic is recovering from jetlag and international duty. On the plus side, Reece James is raring to go once again and Thiago Silva should be available as well.

“Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will miss the game tomorrow. Callum still feels his Achilles a little bit and has some lower back problems. Everyone else was in training. [Reecey] is ready to go [and] is in the squad for tomorrow.”

“Thiago is a bit different to Christian. Thiago didn’t play the third match with Brazil and was back one day earlier. He didn’t have the same jet leg as Christian. Thiago was here yesterday and trained today and feels very good. So he is available for tomorrow.

“For Christian, we have to decide. He did not train today and we decided to give him another recovery session. He did not train with the team but he was here. He was very tired and had huge jet lag because he played one day ago — one-and-a-half days ago — like 85 minutes and he played all three matches for the US. We need to figure out if that makes sense and if it makes sense, for how many minutes it makes sense tomorrow.”

March was a strange and historic month at Chelsea in many ways, and the players have been dealing with all those distractions quite excellently. The last two football-less weeks have lessened some of those distractions — Tuchel got to talk mostly about football in his presser in fact! — but coming back from an international break is never easy, especially with a tough opponent coming in.

FBL-ENG-PR-BRENTFORD-CHELSEA Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Brentford played some of the best football we’ve seen against us this season in the final 15 minutes of the reverse fixture, and while we learned from that for our League Cup encounter, Tuchel’s expecting another tough challenge from our West London neighbors.

“It is always a challenge to come back after these breaks. Everyone was all around the world with different experiences, some of them very successful, some of them not. Some played a lot, others have jet lag. It’s always a challenge coming back. It’s time to regroup and go again tomorrow.”

[...]

“When we played them in the first match, it was maybe one of the worst moments to play them because they were absolutely flying. They were full of positivity and belief, we played a very good match and struggled in the last 18 minutes like crazy and we needed to defend and a lot of luck to escape with three points.

“Then we had another match at Brentford in the Carabao Cup, we played very very well and learned from our first match. That’s the challenge for tomorrow. They played for a long period of the season in a back five, 5-3-2, but they change in the last matches to a 4-3-3. Let’s see what they do tomorrow. They are still a very physical team, a very direct team. They still are a team that rely heavily on set pieces so we know about it and need to be ready. We expect a tough one again.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

We have a five-point cushion on fourth place Arsenal with ten games to go. That gives us some margin for error in these final two months, but not too much. It’s comfortable now; we can keep it that way by simply winning the games we’re expected to win. There are massive games coming up, including Real Madrid twice over the next two weeks, but we cannot lose focus in the league either.