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Chelsea sweating on five stars for Aston Villa clash as Graham Potter faces injury doubts

Chelsea sweating on five stars for Aston Villa clash as Graham Potter faces injury doubts

Graham Potter, the head coach of Chelsea, is once again dealing with a growing list of injured players and will be concerned about the fitness of at least five team members before their upcoming match against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Although Chelsea has performed well in recent weeks and is now unbeaten in four games, the mounting number of injured players may lead to another injury crisis that Potter will have to manage.

Before the 2-2 draw with Everton, Potter was informed that N’Golo Kante had returned to the squad, and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was back in training after suffering from shoulder and finger injuries. 

However, Thiago Silva is still out with a long-term injury. Potter had hoped to have nearly a full squad to choose from, but some of his key players have picked up injuries during the international break. 

Although the break has given some players the chance to rest and recover, Potter is eager to have them back in action. With the game against Aston Villa approaching quickly, time is running out for Potter to get his players back to full fitness.

SportsDias looks at the five players who face a race against time to prove their fitness for the clash.

Kai Havertz

Potter is hoping that Kai Havertz will maintain his recent impressive form after scoring in three consecutive games, a feat he hasn’t achieved since March 2022. The 23-year-old has been performing exceptionally well for Chelsea, scoring against Everton, Leicester, and Borussia Dortmund.

However, Germany’s recent update on his fitness ahead of their match with Belgium indicated that Havertz had been suffering from an illness and had returned to London to recover. While this may not be a severe issue, it could have disrupted his momentum and affected his training regime, potentially affecting his readiness for the next match.

If Havertz has recovered, he is expected to start in the front three. Nevertheless, Potter has other options, including Mykhaylo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, and David Fofana, to replace Havertz if he is not fit enough to play.

Reece James

James participated in the last 10 minutes of England’s 2-1 victory against Italy on Thursday. However, just two days later, both Chelsea and England verified that he had left the team camp and returned to his club. 

The right-back had once again experienced a hamstring injury, and Potter may be hesitant to play him against Villa to avoid more serious damage.

 Due to his injury difficulties this season, James has only played in 12 Premier League games, and it may be necessary to take precautions to protect him. 

In that situation, Potter may have to rely on his squad for a substitute if the 23-year-old is unable to demonstrate his fitness in time. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the most probable candidate to replace him.

Raheem Sterling

The winger formerly associated with Manchester City has been struggling with a hamstring issue since his last appearance in the 2-0 victory over Dortmund earlier this month. 

Consequently, the 28-year-old was not considered for international selection, and Gareth Southgate did not include him in his squad. 

Potter stated before the match with Everton that the injury was “not serious,” indicating that he may be able to compete against Villa.

This season, Sterling has scored seven goals in 26 games for Chelsea, but he has not scored a Premier League goal since New Year’s Day. Therefore, even if he returns to full fitness, he may find it difficult to regain his place in the team.

Mason Mount

There have been concerns about Mount’s future at Chelsea, but Potter clarified that his absence from the team roster was due to injury problems. 

The 24-year-old has been unable to play due to a lower abdomen issue and has not competed since the 2-0 loss to Tottenham. 

Although he was chosen for the England squad, he withdrew after speaking with Chelsea, and Potter disclosed the reason for his absence from the Three Lions’ games against Italy and Ukraine.

“He’s never been available as far as I am aware,” he said. “He needed a bit of time for his injury to settle down which has pretty much ruled him out of England. Whether that meant they needed a bit of time to double-check that, I don’t know.”

Wesley Fofana

With Silva’s recent absence, Fofana has gained a consistent place in the Chelsea team and has performed well enough to be selected for the French national team. However, he had to withdraw due to hamstring fatigue after being substituted during the draw with Everton.

After that game, Potter has praised the centre-back for his recent contributions and his peformance: “Wes Fofana had to come off with fatigue, as he has had a long time out. He was feeling his hamstring. Wes was fantastic and defended well.”

Considering this situation, the Englishman would be eager for Fofana to recover and rejoin the starting lineup with Kalidou Koulibaly and Benoit Badiashile. If the medical team determines that the 21-year-old is not fit to return, Trevoh Chalobah could be selected as a replacement.

Chelsea sweating on five stars for Aston Villa clash as Graham Potter faces injury doubts

Chelsea sweating on five stars for Aston Villa clash as Graham Potter faces injury doubts

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