We’re into the November international break and Chelsea’s stars have jetset around the globe to take part in their nation’s World Cup qualifying matches.
The Blues are well represented as always, with a large number of the squad heading off to ply their trade, although a substantial group will have the chance to work at Cobham too.
Thomas Tuchel will simply have his fingers crossed that his squad can return to the Chelsea training pitches healthy ahead of the clash with Leicester in the Premier League.
The German coach will hope to escape the agony of monitoring his stars, while many supporters will simply be agonisingly waiting for domestic football to return.
It’s not all doom and gloom however, and maybe there’s a couple of things Chelsea fans can even get excited about.
We take a look at a few below:
After missing the last international break as he recovered from injury N’Golo Kante returns to France’s squad to face Kazakhstan and Finland.
Most affiliated to the Blues would simply prefer to see the talismanic figure rested, and Tuchel would certainly be among that number.
The Chelsea head coach explained: “We are happy on one side when our players get nominated because they are proud to play for their country and we want to have the best players that are nominated. On the other side, we would love to rest the players, of course, and give them some days off to disconnect and relax.
“With the guys who come from injuries, it feels a little bit like we take care of them, and by doing that we take into account where they play and travel. This is the case with N’Golo and Christian.”
However, it is a great opportunity for Kante to earn some valuable playing time and to build his fitness from not being able to complete the match against Burnley.
International breaks also offer the perfect opportunity for the likes of Jules Kounde and Tchouameni to possibly ask about what playing at Stamford Bridge is like. Who better to answer than the Blues’ most lovable character?
There’s also a slim chance we could see Kante and Tchouameni playing together after Paul Pogba pulled out of the France squad.
The Monaco midfielder has already noted how he has been inspired by Kante’s ability.
Tchouameni said in the summer: “I look at the way Pogba uses the ball, the way Kanté wins the ball, [Patrick] Vieira’s box to box style, the way Iniesta, Cesc and Xavi [Hernandez] use the ball. I love watching Kevin De Bruyne play.”
Maybe Blues fans can get a hint of a future centre midfield partnership.
Andreas Christensen contract
There’s no sign that a contract extension will be announced over the next 10 days but the Blues defender believes there will be some clarity ‘soon’.
Any progress is a good sign after talks stalled over the final details of a deal, with negotiations thought to be close to complete all the way back in August.
Regardless the Denmark international does not seem concerned.
“I do not know why everyone thinks it is a bad situation. Nobody has said it’s bad, yes. [For] Both sides. Because I’m still happy and I enjoy playing football,” the centre-back said.
But, Chelsea should be keen to tie him down?
“Yes, but on the other hand, they also have a player who right now enjoys playing football and the coach shows him confidence,” said Christensen. “There is no bad relationship, there is nothing.”
Maybe we’ll hear more from the Danish defender before the international break is done.
Tuchel has already noted that he may be able to provide a more accurate update on Romelu Lukaku’s ankle injury in the second week of the international break.
The German coach said: “To give you any date now, I would have to confirm. We also have the national break now and we will be more clear after that.
“We will use the time, of course, and see what is going on in the second week of the national break.
“If you ask me the question then I can be more precise than now. We have that break and we will use it. He will have treatment every day, the same for Timo and Mateo, to bring them on the pitch as soon as possible.”
We’re days into the break and already Lukaku has turned into a tease. The 28-year-old was in Cobham training on Sunday and on Tuesday posted a cryptic tweet that seems related to his return.
While Lukaku will be putting the work in to try and approach a return for the Blues, Tuchel has given the Chelsea players, who have not joined up with their national sides, a week off.
“Looking at the fixtures in December and January, it is a lot,” Tuchel told Chelsea’s 5th Stand App.
“The [Club] World Cup is coming and other international breaks so we decided here for the staff to give one week off, completely, to give everybody the chance to recover mentally and recharge the batteries.
“December will be tough, January will be tough and it will continue like this. No more breaks and we want to push the team to the limit so that is why we use the time now, after the game [Burnley] to rest.”
Chelsea’s stars should be raring to go as another crucial period ramps up for the Blues, though the likes of Saul Niguez might have preferred more time to impress the boss.
Source by Football London