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Ruben Loftus-Cheek hamstring injury adds to Chelsea woes

More injuries is the last thing we need

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Southampton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Chelsea Football Club/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel was already facing a selection headache before yesterday (and not in a good way) in midfield, with N’Golo Kanté out, Mateo Kovačić half-fit, and Conor Gallagher suspended, leaving just Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as the only ones standing — not counting youngster Carney Chukwuemeka who’s still waiting for his first-team debut or Billy Gilmour, who was drafted in to make up numbers before still surely heading out on loan before the deadline.

While yes, in a purely physical sense, both Jorginho and RLC “should” be able to play (the majority of) five games in four weeks, we often see performance levels dip when players are overused or overloaded. Even worse, we often see an increase in muscle and soft tissue injuries as well.

And sure enough, Loftus-Cheek drew the short straw from the football fitness gods this time, and picked up a hamstring injury in the first-half of last night’s 2-1 defeat to Southampton, emerging from the dressing room after the break with a massive ice pack on his leg. Kovačić, himself just coming back from a lingering knee problem, was pressed into action earlier and for longer than we would’ve liked — which could in turn now have repercussions for his recovery.

Oh, and we play again in three days.

“It’s a hamstring injury [for Ruben], so the next midfielder is out and nobody is left. The recommendation for Mateo Kovačić was 20 minutes, we made 45 out of it. That’s the situation.

“I also don’t understand why we are in this situation regarding the injuries, and the injuries like all players in midfield. But that’s the way it is, and we need to find solutions.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Yahoo!

Gallagher will be back from his suspension for Saturday, though whether he’s ready and trusted to play again will be a different question. And who knows how long Ruben will be out now; hamstrings can take anywhere from weeks to months but definitely not days.

Chelsea FC v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Meanwhile, we have injury and availability concerns at other positions now, too. Reece James could not travel to Southampton due to illness while Trevoh Chalobah stayed home with a knee problem. Both issues are reportedly minor, but the turnaround time is very short as well.

“Trevoh Chalobah is injured from the match [on Saturday]. It’s a tight squad. When you look at our upcoming schedule, see the game today and see the bench, it’s a bit worrying in terms of already having a lot of key players out and not available. A team on our level needs concurrence in the squad and needs everybody available to push each other to the limit. Hopefully, we will turn things around soon.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

And unfortunately we cannot count on any sort of momentum or confidence to boost flagging fitness levels at the moment either.

Time to dig deep and then, even deeper.

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