Eight [8] key Chelsea  players set to miss Burnley with Cole Palmer update expected

Eight key Chelsea  players set to miss Burnley with Cole Palmer update expected

Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping that a series of possible injury worries don’t carry on into the second week of the international break. His Chelsea side have already been hit by consistent fitness problems throughout the campaign, and now the club are aiming to rise up the table in the final months.

The Blues remain within touching distance of the European spaces, despite their lowly 11th-place standing. They also have an FA semi-final to come.

In order to get over the huge hurdle that Manchester City are – as well as matches against Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Aston Villa – in the last 10 league fixtures, Pochettino will need a strong group at the core. Fortunately, things have begun to steady, with a growing number of consistent players getting minutes.

However, the two-week domestic break has so far thrown up more questions and worries. Cole Palmer is the biggest of the lot, having not trained with his England teammates at the start of the training camp at St George’s Park. He was indoors on Wednesday with several others but has since returned to the grass.

Gareth Southgate ruled him out of the 1-0 defeat to Brazil on Saturday but is hopeful of a possible return for him and Jordan Henderson against Brazil on Tuesday at Wembley. “The two boys trained today, so they’ve come through that okay,” the Three Lions boss said.

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“So they should join the group that will train tomorrow [Sunday], so we’ll go from there with that. But similar to tonight, we’re talking about a high-level game, brilliant experience for the players, a chance to see new players again, build towards the summer. Tuesday, Belgium have played a different eleven, or close to, so they’re going to be a bit fresher.”

With Palmer remaining central to all the good things happening at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino will be determined to see his star attacker come through unscathed. Meanwhile, Carney Chukwuemeka played no part in a big win for the England Under-21s side, sparking concerns over his own physical state.

After a season of niggles, setbacks, and problems, any absence for the midfielder is a red flag. And it has now been confirmed that the midfielder has returned to Cobham early to work on his fitness, despite initial hopes that he would be available for the Under-21s’ second fixture of the break against Luxembourg.

Malo Gusto rounded off a trio of concerns for Pochettino. He has returned to Cobham after being called up by Thierry Henry to represent the French Under-23s in their pre-Olympics squad. The young right-back has had a series of muscular problems this term, so yet another fear emerged, but L’Equipe reports that he was just ill.

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Gusto is said to have had a virus and will now be back at the Surrey-based training centre to recover. With Burnley to come on Saturday, there is initial hope that all three players here will be available again, having starred in their own way last time out against Leicester.

The wider problems continue, though, with no return in sight just yet for Reece James. His initial timeframe appeared to be for around April, but that looks optimistic currently. Christopher Nkunku is also out with yet another setback in a tough first year for the attacker.

There have been no recent updates on either player, while Lesley Ugochukwu hasn’t played since Christmas Eve, which is a long-term issue. Wesley Fofana isn’t expected to be seen this season at all, despite making good progress from his third major injury in as many years.

Romeo Lavia is sidelined with a problem of his own, having only been on the pitch for half an hour this season. There is no immediate expectation that he will come back any time soon either. Pochettino may well give updates on this group when addressing the media on Friday.

Levi Colwill is hoping to return after suffering a toe injury during the 2-2 draw against Brentford shortly before the break. He was left out of the England squad for the international break due to the problem. Ben Chilwell did recover from initial worries ahead of the break to play for the Three Lions, though he looked off the pace against Brazil.

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Benoit Badiashile was named on the bench against the Foxes as he looks to build up sharpness and form in the final stretch. Thiago Silva has yet to play since his injury against Crystal Palace almost two months ago, but he has been on the bench in recent weeks and is fit.

Meanwhile, Enzo Fernandez will face a race against time and jetlag in order to be available at the weekend, playing at 2.50am UK time on Wednesday morning against Costa Rica in Los Angeles. The Argentina midfielder impressed on Saturday, scoring in a 3-0 win, but will face a 14-hour flight back to London after the midweek fixture, giving him just one training session to prepare for the clash against Burnley.

This all leaves Pochettino with plenty to juggle for the home straight. The boss won’t want the situation to get any worse either, with injured players often in double figures this year.

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