Christopher Nkunku could finally make his competitive debut for Chelsea this weekend in Premier League action against Newcastle. The France international picked up a serious knee injury during pre-season that has seen him miss the opening months of the season, however, after returning to training earlier this month, he could be in line to feature in the matchday squad.
Ahead of the clash with Manchester City, prior to the international break, Mauricio Pochettino gave an update on his comeback with the player himself intent on playing against Newcastle. He said: "We had some conversation and he said to me I want to be ready for after the international break, Newcastle. "I asked him yesterday [about a return] and he said 'hmmm,' and I said you are liar!"
Pochettino added: "It is close and he is really well," added Pochettino. "We are happy with him. Romeo Lavia is also close. They trained today on the pitch. Hopefully with the team next week." With that update coming over a week ago, Nkunku and Lavia have since stepped up the intensity in training ahead of possibly featuring against Newcastle on Saturday.
Injury news updates ahead of the clash have been very common with each team dealing with their own injury struggles. At Newcastle, Eddie Howe will be without Callum Wilson, Sven Botman and Dan Burn while Miguel Almiron and Aleksandr Isak are expected to be available.
Meanwhile, at Stamford Bridge, Levi Colwill, Thiago Silva and Malo Gusto have all shaken off minor injuries and knocks to be passed fit ahead of the game. With Pochettino set to speak to the press on Friday, all ears will be eagerly awaiting updates on Nkunku with the conditions for his return now being revealed.
According to the Evening Standard, as of Monday, November 20, both Nkunku and Lavia have four training sessions to prove their fitness to Pochettino and his staff before a decision is made. If neither make the cut, the Blues are back in action eight days on from the fixture at St James Park when they welcome Brighton to Stamford Bridge.
The 26-year-old has already scored against the Seagulls this year with his first goal for Chelsea coming in a 4-3 friendly victory during pre-season. Mykhailo Mudryk, Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson were also on the score sheet and Pochettino will be hoping for a similar outcome for Chelsea's first game of December.
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