Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has provided an injury update on his squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Southampton.
The Lowdown: Difficult Spell
The Blues head into this weekend’s clash off the back of two sobering defeats at the hands of Brentford and Real Madrid, with the latter loss having left them with a “mountain to climb” to try and keep their Champions League hopes alive next week in the Bernabeu, according to Karen Carney.
In truth, the west London side can hardly use the excuse of injuries as a reason for their recent, post-international break woes, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell the only injury-related absentees for the visit of Carlos Ancelotti’s side.
The humbling 3-1 defeat also saw Reece James make just his third outing of 2022 having only recently recovered from a muscle injury, although the England international – who has been dubbed “phenomenal” by talkSPORT pundit Ally McCoist – could not help inspire a result on his return to the starting XI.
The Latest: Tuchel Reveals…
As for the trip to St Mary’s this weekend, Tuchel has revealed in his pre-match press conference that Hudson-Odoi will once again be unavailable – with his absence a “matter of weeks” according to the German – while he also admitted that both Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech are doubts for the Premier League encounter.
“Callum Hudson-Odoi is still out and we have doubts with Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech,” Tuchel revealed (via football.london journalist Adam Newson).
The attacking duo faced a late fitness test at 3pm on Friday, according to Goal’s Chelsea correspondent Nizaar Kinsella, with their involvement against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side uncertain, while the aforementioned Chilwell remains on the treatment table with a return to action still some way off.
Both Ziyech and Lukaku featured off the bench on Wednesday evening against Los Blancos, although neither player could inspire a second-half revival, with the latter man notably coming under fire after missing a guilt-edged chance from just six yards out.
The Verdict: Another Headache
Those doubts – as well as Hudson-Odoi’s absence – provide the Blues boss with more unwanted headaches for Saturday’s game, with the Stamford Bridge outfit potentially set to be left with a shortage of attacking options.
With reported Borussia Dortmund target Timo Werner still failing to fire, that leaves Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic as the likely attacking trio – as was the case against the La Liga side – albeit with the latter man having recorded just a 6.5 match rating in midweek, as per SofaScore.
Tuchel has already demanded an improved display from his charges against the Saints, although he admitted a repeat performance could see them lose again if they are not careful.