Chelsea face Real Madrid on Wednesday night in what promises to be a vital game in the Blues’ season. Thomas Tuchel’s side were emphatically beaten by Brentford at the weekend and will be looking to put that result behind them when they face Los Blancos.
Thomas Frank’s side shocked Chelsea on Saturday, comfortably beating the European Champions 4-1 at Stamford Bridge. Vitaly Janelt bagged a brace, Christian Eriksen claimed his first Bees goal and Yoane Wissa netted at the death as Frank’s side all but secured their top-flight status.
Toni Rudiger delivered a long-range thunderbolt to power Chelsea into a second-half lead, but the Blues capitulated straight afterwards for their heaviest loss of the campaign. After six straight wins while shaking off all the takeover talk, Chelsea cracked and lost focus and discipline – leaving boss Tuchel perturbed but not panicking.
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He said: “After so many wins and so many good results, I will now refuse to make a drama out of it… why should we? Brentford made a lot of the 10 minutes we gave them. After the third goal, we had a disallowed goal, a pressing situation against the goalkeeper, and another big chance from Kai Havertz. We missed all three of them and there was a feeling that it wasn’t our day. So it’s a mixture of everything.
“I don’t know why that has happened. We gave a big chance straight away after our goal, and then the next one was a goal. From there, we did not defend maturely enough. We were not aware of the danger in these moments which is also very strange for us. We got punished. They made the most of these 10 minutes which is maybe not normal. So it’s a summary of strange events but it’s on us and it’s our fault. I would not rely on it being destiny or it happens. We will dig in and try to find out why it was like this. There are some reasons which we can put on us and we will analyse and digest it. There is nothing else. It’s hard to take because it’s very unusual for us what happened today – so we will refocus on Monday.”
On a positive note, Reece James’ return to action was a massive positive for Tuchel and co, who will now have a stronger squad to select from against Madrid. With this in mind, football.london provides you with the latest Chelsea injury news ahead the German’s press conference later on today.
The Senegalese shot stopper was truly off-colour during Saturday’s game. Alongside making a few shaky mistakes early on, he also had to receive treatment midway through the first half after what looked to be a knee injury. He was able to continue for the full 90 minutes, and fans will be thankful that he came away unscathed from whatever incident caused the discomfort for Chelsea’s number 16.
What Tuchel said: “Actually, I have to watch it again. I think it is an unthankful game for a goalkeeper. Also, for him, he has a lot to process. That’s why he goes and plays these tight matches – a rematch of the African Cup Final to qualify for the Qatar World Cup. He does another penalty shootout, and he can feel it. He is part of the team and unfortunately, he couldn’t help us like he did in the first match.
“We have nobody injured.”
It was somewhat a surprise to see the centre-half not starting from the off, especially considering the tight turnaround for Thiago Silva from the international period. However, his absence from the back four was just a tactical decision rather than an injury one, which means we could see Nathanial’s brother back in the squad for the visit of Carlo Ancelotti’s side this upcoming Wednesday.
What Tuchel said: “Just selection, we decided to play with a back four, and we chose our four central defenders.”
The USMNT international returned a day later than Thiago Silva, meaning the Brazilian was able to start against Brentford, whilst the aforementioned winger was left out completely as a precaution which could be seen as a blessing in disguise.
Pulisic played a big part in last season’s success against the Spanish giants and will now hope to have the same impact this time, having had more rest time compared to the rest of his teammates.
What Tuchel has said pre-Brentford: “Thiago is a bit different than Christian because he didn’t play the third match for Brazil. He came back one day earlier and didn’t have the same jet lag. For Christian, we have to decide. He didn’t train today. We gave him a recovery session. He was here but very tired with the jet lag and time difference. So we have to figure out of it makes sense to play him tomorrow and for how many minutes.”
Expected return date: Real Madrid (H), Wednesday, April 6.
Despite being named in the Denmark squad, Christensen was quick to pull out of his international duties. The Dane suffered a knock in the Champions League Round of 16-second leg against Lille and didn’t feature for his country before returning to Chelsea for training earlier this week.
Expected return date: Real Madrid (H), Wednesday, April 6
Hudson-Odoi managed just one appearance in February as he struggled with a troublesome Achilles issue. No risks have been taken with the academy graduate – hardly a surprise as a ruptured Achilles tendon derailed his rapid development in 2019.
What Tuchel has said: “Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will miss the game tomorrow. Callum still feels his Achilles a little bit and has some lower back problems. Everyone else was in training.”
Expected return date: unknown.
Chilwell suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his knee that is set to keep the wing-back out for the rest of the season. The 25-year-old performed well in the early stages of the season but won’t make a return until the summer.
Expected return: Summer 2022