Premier League action returns this weekend and Chelsea will enjoy a rare weekend of facing a team with greater injury issues than themselves. The Blues travel to face Newcastle United at St James' Park and could still see eight players ruled out, as the last of their international stars compete in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
While Trevoh Chalobah, Carney Chukwuemeka, Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana will definitely miss the away trip, Mauricio Pochettino has already noted that Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia will be monitored 'day by day' as they come into contention. The pair were pictured training separately at Cobham on Monday as they near a return in the coming days or weeks.
The Blues had a further boost on Monday as Levi Colwill and Malo Gusto, who had each pulled out of action for England and France under-21s respectively, were pictured taking part in Chelsea training. Colwill had missed Chelsea's draw with Manchester City ahead of the international break due to a shoulder injury, while 20-year-old Gusto had a knee injury show on a scan.
It does not appear Newcastle will be so lucky, even though Kieran Trippier has returned to training ahead of facing Chelsea after pulling out of the England squad this week. Eddie Howe is currently without 13 players. Jacob Murphy, Dan Burn, Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson, Sven Botman, Harvey Barnes, Miguel Almiron, Fabian Shar, Alexander Isak, Javier Manquillo, Matt Targett are all injured, while Sandro Tonali is out of action due to suspension. The Italian is unavailable until August 2024 after breaching rules when betting on matches in Italy.
Newcastle will be without one further player this summer in the former of Lewis Hall. The 19-year-old, who has been representing England's Elite League squad during the Premier League's pause for the international break, joined the Magpies in the summer from Chelsea.
It was a deal that came with plenty of scrutiny after Hall had been expected to sign a new deal and then move on loan to Crystal Palace, after struggling to earn any minutes during the Blues' pre-season tour under Mauricio Pochettino. The deal to take Hall to Newcastle sees the youngster move on a season-long loan, with an obligation in place to make the transfer permanent next summer based on performance-related criteria.
Many took issue with the deal that strengthened a potential Champions League rival while allowing them to work within their financial fair play restrictions. However, in a twist of fate, it now puts increased pressure on Howe's squad for the match this weekend
Premier League rules state that 'during the period of the Temporary Transfer of his contract registration a Player shall not play against the Transferor Club'. That of course will see Hall ruled out of the match.
The problem is set to reoccur in less than a month when Chelsea take on Newcastle at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup. The Blues can provide permission for Hall to play in the December fixture, that is not expected.
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