Chelsea will be looking to wrap up a top-four finish when they travel to Villa Park to lock horns with Aston Villa on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues, who played out a 1-1 draw with the Midlands outfit at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture earlier this season, are in the driving seat to finish in the top-four, currently finding themselves in third, one point ahead of both Liverpool and Leicester City.
Although they have an advantage over their two top-four rivals, Chelsea know that any slip-up could be pounced upon, meaning they will have to take on Dean Smith’s side with the mindset of winning like their lives depend on it.
Chelsea will make the trip north brimming with confidence after Tuesday evening’s crucial 2-1 win over Leicester at Stamford Bridge, as second half goals from Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho got the job done for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Although that three-point haul could prove to be defining in Chelsea’s push to bag a top-four finish, nothing is yet finalised, meaning one more difficult hurdle needs to be crossed.
But with the UEFA Champions League final against Manchester City to come in just over a week’s time, will Tuchel be tempted to take his chances, rotate his pack and save his senior stars for the trip to Porto?
With that said, here is a round-up of all the very latest Chelsea injury news ahead of the clash with Villa.
Centre-back Christensen has now missed Chelsea’s last three matches, including the FA Cup final, after suffering a hamstring injury in the Blues’ 2-1 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium almost a fortnight ago.
That resulted in him being replaced by Kurt Zouma, who has since dipped in and out of the starting line-up in the Dane’s absence.
Ahead of last Wednesday evening’s tussle with Arsenal, Tuchel hoped that Christensen would be back available for either one of the two recent clashes with Leicester. That, however, has not proven to be the case.
He has made progress in his recovery but it remains to be seen whether or not he will return against Villa. Tuchel will almost certainly provide an update on his condition ahead of the trip to Villa Park.
French midfield enforcer Kante was forced off just past the half hour mark against Leicester on Tuesday evening with a minor hamstring complaint.
After starting the contest against his former club, the World Cup winner was unable to soldier on and was replaced by Croatian ace Mateo Kovacic on 32 minutes.
Addressing his condition following the full time whistle, Tuchel played down the severity of the injury.
Tuchel explained: “N’Golo is not injured. He told me – and I understood him in French – he went out before an injury.
“He felt his hamstrings and was worried that he would get injured if he continued to play.”
Another injury concern to a midfield player that Tuchel also had to address on Tuesday evening was that of Havertz.
The former Bayer Leverkusen star was absent from the matchday squad because of minor hamstring problem.
Tuchel has since issued an update on the attacking-midfielder and confirmed that he hopes to have him back available for selection against Villa, but no guarantees can yet be made.
“Kai, unfortunately, got injured a little bit at Wembley,” said Tuchel. “He felt his hamstring slightly.
“Hopefully, we will have him back in the squad for Aston Villa on Sunday but we are not sure yet.”
Elsewhere, Marcos Alonso, Hakim Ziyech and Tammy Abraham will be amongst those hoping to come back into Tuchel’s thoughts against Villa after playing no part against Leicester.
Source by Football London