Chelsea will return to Premier League action this week when they take on Brentford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are currently top of the table after seven matches and entered the October international break having just beaten Southampton 3-1 in west London.
Ben Chilwell was on target against the Saints that day, and he continued his hot streak in front of goal by netting for England in their 5-0 win over Andorra on Saturday.
Defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso were also both in action over the weekend as they suffered defeat to France in the final of the UEFA Nations League.
Tuchel had plenty of fitness issues to contend with in Chelsea’ last match, with Reece James, N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic all missing due to various injuries.
And it now looks like the German coach could be without some more first-team players, as Chelsea don’t seem to have made it out of the international break unscathed.
Antonio Rudiger was absent from the latest Germany training session as Hansi Flick’s side prepared for their game against North Macedonia.
By the looks of things, there is nothing seriously wrong with the centre-back, but his manager still felt the need to let him sit out of the German’s final session before travelling to Skopje.
Flick explained after training: “Antonio Rudiger didn’t train as a precautionary measure, he received treatment and was doing well today.
“It was a precautionary measure for Toni Rudiger. The final training was more a matter of regeneration anyway. So it was okay for him in the hotel.”
Romelu Lukaku has withdrawn from the Belgium international squad following an injury.
The frontman was due to play in the Nations League third and fourth play-off against Italy on Sunday, but has had to leave the squad due to a muscle problem.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez addressed the issue in his pre-match press conference, and stated that he is suffering from a similar issue to former Blues fan favourite, Eden Hazard.
” Romelu Lukaku is suffering from muscle fatigue, same as Eden Hazard,” he said.
“They’re not in best conditions to play. They’re leaving the national team camp due to these problems – I don’t know how long it will take.”
Kante missed both the loss to Juventus and the win against Southampton after testing positive for Covid-19.
“N’Golo has symptoms but not a lot of symptoms, so he’s okay,” Tuchel said in his latest midfielder update.
“I don’t want to go into more details. He’s okay. He’s doing well.
“He was concerned about it [in the past], and he did everything not to get it. Unfortunately, he tested positive but we care about him, like we care about every player. We’re in touch with him every single day. The doctors are in touch with him and he has our advice and our support, and he is in a good way.”
However, it appears that the midfielder is back to health and Tuchel will no doubt be happy the player has not been involved with France.
The 30-year-old was pictured in training with his manager and now has time to get back to match sharpness.
Consequently, the former Caen midfielder missed the dramatic 3-2 win for his home country against Belgium in the Nations League semi-final and the 2-1 win over Spain in the final on Sunday evening.
The good news for Kante during this international break is that he, alongside five of his Chelsea teammates, was shortlisted on the 30-man Ballon d’Or nominations list.
James was surprisingly called up by Gareth Southgate shortly after limping off the pitch against Manchester City with an ankle injury.
Tuchel expressed his surprise at the call-up after the news broke and James did eventually pull out of Southgate’s squad to be replaced by club teammate Ben Chilwell and will remain at Cobham to work on his fitness.
It is unlikely the right-back will be involved in full training but there remains a chance that he will return in time to face Brentford.
Much like James, Pulisic will be looking to regain full fitness while his colleagues fly around the world to play international football.
Pulisic is a mainstay in the United States national team but will not be flying across the Atlantic after suffering an ankle injury during the last international break.
“Do we miss Christian Pulisic? Of course we do, his sprints and intensity,” Tuchel said prior to the Southampton match.
The latest on the former Borussia Dortmund man is that the fitness and medical department back at Cobham are reportedly trying their best to up the ante when it comes to stepping up his rehabilitation programme.
It is unknown the exact date that as to when the 23-year-old is expected to don the blue and yellow jersey of the European Champions once again.
Don’t worry, the Brazilian colossus is not injured, but his call up to the national team does mean he will likely miss the clash with Brentford.
South American sides are having to play a higher number of games in the build-up to the 2022 World Cup, meaning the 36-year-old will not return until the morning of the west London derby.
Silva will face Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay in World Cup qualifiers and Tuchel will be watching on through his fingers and praying the defender does not pick up an injury.
Source by Football London