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César Azpilicueta, Romelu Lukaku remain questionable for Real Madrid second leg

Early team news

Chelsea v Palmeiras: Final - FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021 Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Chelsea have had pretty decent luck with injuries as of late, though the extended absence of Callum Hudson-Odoi with what is apparently some sort of an Achilles problem is starting to be a bit concerning.

And joining him (and of course Ben Chilwell) on the sidelines this weekend have been César Azpilicueta and Romelu Lukaku, neither of whom made the short trip to Southampton and remain questionable for the upcoming slightly longer (and much more daunting) trip to Madrid.

Tuchel certainly didn’t sound too hopeful of being able to count on them, when talking to the media after Saturday’s 6-0 laugher on the South Coast.

“Azpi had a positive Covid test since yesterday. So I have no prediction about that. I don’t even know the rules about travelling and what’s going on. First of all, we need a negative test. We can’t do anything about that, just hope and wait.

“Romelu I don’t know yet. He had pain and could not do the last training session. He wasn’t available for today and time is running. We leave the country again on Monday, so let’s see.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

Despite the big names involved, these two absences are not nearly as impactful as one might imagine.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek got the start at right wing-back yesterday in Azpi’s stead, with the once again fit Reece James coming off the bench. He will probably start on Tuesday. And the situation is less complicated up front: Lukaku has been just the backup for several weeks now. Kai Havertz started yesterday and only need to put in 45 minutes of work (with one goal) before getting to call it a day.

Still, hopefully both Dave and Big Rom come back quickly and healthy soon.

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