A number of youngsters returned to Chelsea’s first team training after missing the trip to Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup
Chelsea return to Premier League action against Crystal Palace and have even had a week to prepare for the clash – a rarity for Thomas Tuchel’s side this season.
Last Saturday the Blues need 120 minutes but overcame Palmeiras to earn another trophy to add to the collection with the Club World Cup, but now focus must return to domestic action.
The final in Abu Dhabi saw Mason Mount subsituted after just 30 minutes with an ankle issue, as he was replaced by Christian Pulisic.
While Tuchel has yet to provide an update on the talismanic midfielder thus far, it’s expected that Mount is pushing for a return in time for the Carabao Cup Final against Liverpool.
The 23-year-old is another crucial player added to Chelsea’s injury list that most notably includes Reece James and Ben Chilwell.
The Blues have dealt with a number of injuries and Covid-19 issues in recent months that has seen them rely on their development squad for numbers in first team training.
Jude Soonsup-Bell, Xavier Simons and Harvey Vale all started in Chelsea’s Carabao Cup win over Brentford in December, while Lewis Hall shined against Chesterfield in the FA Cup. The latter made the bench against Liverpool and Brighton in the Premier League while Vale managed to pick up a minute against Tottenham, and also made the bench against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The duo were not included in Chelsea’s 23-man squad for the trip to the UAE but did not have to wait long to be reintegrated into the first team set up.
Vale scored a particularly nice goal in Blues training, and was joined by Hall and Soonsup-Bell, as well as Charlie Webster and January signing Dylan Williams.
18-year-old Vale and Soonsup-Bell have both featured in advanced positions for the Blues so may be hopeful of a place on the bench in Mount’s absence, but will have their work cut out to make the 20-man squad with Ruben Loftus-Cheek nearing his return from injury and Kenedy being added to the squad since Chelsea’s last Premier League match.
Williams, a left wing-back purchased from Derby appears to have been handed the No.76 shirt as he featured with the first team squad at Cobham on Thursday.
While the youngsters have been involved with training in close proximity to the clash, it must be noted the Under-23s are set to play Tottenham at Kingsmeadow on Friday night.
The Blues youngsters are desperate for three points as they sit 13th in the table, above only Derby in Premier League 2. Spurs lie fourth in the table but the London rivals drew 2-2 in August with Vale bagging a brace to give Chelsea a two-goal lead.
That does not necessarily preclude the starlets from featuring in Tuchel’s squad, but they will have their work cut out.
Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Marucs Bettinelli, Trevoh Chalobah, Saul Niguez, Ross Barkley and Kai Havertz made up Chelsea’s nine-man bench in their last league outing.
While space will open up with Mount’s absence, after he started the game against Spurs and Bettinelli drops out, Edouard Mendy will return, while Loftus-Cheek and Kenedy will also be in contention to head into the squad.