Chelsea receive boost ahead of Aston Villa game as key players back from injury

Chelsea injury news as Mauricio Pochettino works without a large group of key players ahead of hosting Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday

Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo
Moises Caicedo has not been seen training for Chelsea

Chelsea have had a full week to prepare for facing Aston Villa on Sunday as Mauricio Pochettino sets about kickstarting his time as manager. The Blues have taken just five points from their opening five games, winning once – at home to Luton – as well as now going goalless in their last two.

It is a continuation of the poor form that has plagued them for the past 12 months and stretches back to uncharacteristic levels of inconsistency that started in January 2022. With £1billion spent – though over £400million worth of players are unavailable due to injury – there had been an expectation that Pochettino would turn things around.

Luckily for Pochettino he has been afforded seven days to work on his side ahead of hosting Aston Villa on Sunday. Unai Emery’s side have the added challenge of balancing domestic committments to newfound Europa Conference League fixtures as well, handing another potential lifeline to the Blues.

The Argentine is still without a big group of key players though and here, has the latest on those that are doubts for the game. Starting with those that missed Bournemouth as somewhat of a triple surprise…

Noni Madueke
Noni Madueke was omitted from the matchday squad against Bournemouth due to a muscle problem – an issue which he picked up while away with the England Under-21s during the international break. Madueke returned to Chelsea training on Tuesday.

What Pochettino has said: “Noni came from the national team with a muscle problem.”

Expected return date: Aston Villa (H) – September 24

Marc Cucurella

Cucurella missed the Bournemouth tie due to illness. The Spain international returned to Chelsea training on Tuesday.

What Pochettino has said: “Cucurella, fever, yesterday he was at home and today continues still.”

Expected return date: Aston Villa (H) – September 24

Moises Caicedo

Moises Caicedo was pictured with a strapped-up right thigh while away with Ecuador over the international break, suggesting that the midfielder was nursing a knock. He was seen with what appeared to be some blue kinesiology tape strapped around his knee – a medical practice that assists movement and muscles around a joint.

Upon his return to Chelsea, he trained as normal at Cobham. However, he was rested against the Cherries and will undergo further assessments on Monday. It is expected that the 21-year-old will be available for this weekend’s Premier League clash against Aston Villa, however he was not spotted in training on Thursday.

What Pochettino has said: “Caicedo came [back from international break] with a knock in his knee. We will assess tomorrow.”

Expected return date: Aston Villa (H) – September 24

Carney Chukwuemeka
Chukwuemeka was the only goalscorer in the side’s 3-1 loss to West Ham, but a knee injury just before half-time saw him leave the London Stadium on crutches. understands that Chukwuemeka was expected to be out for a possible six weeks. However, an earlier return could be on the cards.

On Instagram, a story from Noni Madueke showed Chukwuemeka back in full training gear and outside after the player had hinted himself he was close to being fit.

What Pochettino has said: “I think it is not an issue that will take months, maybe weeks. I hope we can be as soon as possible with the team again. He scored and then he got injured. Things happen that you cannot manage.

“A little bit unlucky but I think he can become stronger because he feels the way he needs to work and compete, he is young and for sure he will be much better when we start again.”

Expected return date: Unknown

Romeo Lavia
Lavia is yet to feature for Chelsea, with Pochettino eager for him to catch up to the rest of the squad’s fitness levels before getting involved. The Belgian midfielder is said to have suffered a muscle tear on his ankle during the international break which could delay his debut for the Blues further. understands that the ankle injury is set to keep Lavia out of action for at least one month, meaning he may not feature until at least October.

What Pochettino has said: “We are really disappointed because he was training really well last week in the international break. He twisted his ankle and now we are waiting for the results on Monday from the doctor. We hope it’s not a big issue but in the last week, he has not been training with the team.

“It’s a sad situation because he was nearly fit to be involved again with the team. Yes, now we need to wait and hopefully, it’s not a big issue for him and the team of course.

“We don’t know [when he’ll be back] because we need to assess him. He twisted his ankle and now we need to assess him. We do not know the time for him to recover.”

Expected return date: Unknown

Armando Broja
Broja didn’t return to the Chelsea squad this weekend despite comments from the Albanian FA over the international break suggesting otherwise. The president, Armando Duka, insisted the forward would be involved in the Blues’ Premier League clash against Bournemouth.

However, Pochettino disagreed with the statement in his pre-match press conference and the striker was not named in the matchday squad.

What Pochettino has said: “Who said that [he could feature on the bench this weekend to face Bournemouth]? Who is the Albanian FA? The coach? The president? I didn’t hear. It’s not [true]. Not yet.”

Expected return date: Aston Villa (H) – September 24

Benoit Badiashile
Badiashile missed the opening weeks of the season with a hamstring injury picked up at the end of the 2022/23 season, but a return seems close. The club’s official social media account posted a video of Badiashile back in training action on Monday, though Pochettino confirmed he would not be ready to return just yet.

Now, Nathan Gissing reports that the Frenchman has taken another step backwards in his recovery and is not longer training with his teammates. “Chelsea defender Benoît Badiashile sustained a minor setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury at the end of last week,” he wrote. “He has now returned back to individual training, but is hoping to resume team training again next week.

What Pochettino has said: “Not yet [ready to play]. The same situation [as Broja].”

Expected return date: October

Reece James
Still recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered in training, James updated supporters with a message on his Instagram claiming he’ll be ‘back soon’. He was also spotted at Stamford Bridge during the Luton match sat alongside Todd Boehly, John Terry and Lavia.

There is growing expectation that the right-back will be back after the September international break, having posted a picture of himself in training gear with the caption: “Back to it soon”.

What Pochettino has said: “He’s recovering well. I don’t know if he’s close or not because we assess him every single day but he’s started to do things on the pitch with the ball. He’s really well. He’s desperate to play for the team. Yes, I hope it’s close, also so he can be available before the next international break.”

Expected return date: Late October

Trevoh Chalobah
Trevoh Chalobah is yet to make an appearance this season and was expected to depart during the transfer window as well. The defender has been struggling with fitness since pre-season.

During Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States, he went often down twice during matches and had to be taken off on both occasions. He also hasn’t been seen in training since and no update has since been given other than the club’s weekly general statement.

What Pochettino has said: “Yes, of course. I am Chelsea. I am the coach. His future is going to be [here]. He is in our plans. No one is going to decide for me. He is going to be involved.

“Now we have finished the transfer window, he is going to be involved in the decisions. Chalobah and the other players in the squad are part of my plans. Some players don’t play, but that is my choice.”

Expected return date: Aston Villa (H) – September 24

Christopher Nkunku
Nkunku has been sidelined since being substituted against Borussia Dortmund in the club’s final pre-season game. A major blow to the Blues’ squad after arriving for over £60million in the summer, Pochettino admitted he’d be sorely missed in the first half of the season.

What Pochettino has said: “We feel very sorry about him. He was doing well, he was very important player for us. I think the quality is there, one of the best offensive players that can play in different positions always is a big issue for us. Now it’s about not thinking too much about the injuries and being positive about when he can be again with us and recover as soon as possible in a good way.

“We are working in the market also, we are going to miss one player like this. The club is working, trying to find a solution, maybe short term, medium and long term to add the right profile for the team to perform for now.”

What Nkunku has said: “As you can imagine, I’m so disappointed not to be able to be with my team-mates during the start of the season. It’s hard not to have been able to meet you guys at the Bridge. I will work hard to come back stronger. It’s only a matter of time.”

Expected return date: January 2024

Wesley Fofana
Fofana is set for another significant spell on the sidelines after rupturing his ACL.

What Pochettino has said: “Really sad, really bad news. We feel so sad. We can only help him and to be again with the team we know it is tough. We need to help him and wish him all the best. We need to keep going, the competition is there. The competition doesn’t wait for anyone and we need to be ready.

“I hope yes. You have all of the information that this is difficult. He is evolving in a different way but hopefully, his recovery goes very well.”

Expected return date: Spring 2024

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