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Antonio Rüdiger, Reece James spotted in Chelsea training; Mateo Kovačić, Callum Hudson-Odoi reportedly also ‘close’

Preparations for Thursday

FBL-ENG-PR-NEWCASTLE-CHELSEA Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

After a day off on Monday, Chelsea have returned to training today to begin preparations for Thursday’s game at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

And there’s been some good news spotted at Cobham thanks to the pictures published on the Chelsea official website, with Antonio Rüdiger and Reece James both involved in the session. They missed Sunday’s match against West Ham United: Rüdiger has been dealing with a minor groin injury that’s kept him out for the last couple games while James was not feeling “totally comfortable” despite medical checks coming back negative and so was not risked.

Their absence, plus Andreas Christensen’s last-minute withdrawal due to an upset stomach, resulted in yet another makeshift defensive line, with César Azpilicueta deputizing at left-center back to start. Despite a couple errors, we did keep a clean sheet — a welcome development after the defensive meltdown against Arsenal just a few days prior.

In further good news, Nizaar Kinsella reports that both Mateo Kovačić (ankle) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles) are “on course” and getting “close” to returning. Hopefully before the end of the season!