Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel offers Reece James and Andreas Christensen update as injury issues persist

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Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel offers Reece James and Andreas Christensen update as injury issues persist
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  • Thomas Tuchel
    German association football manager and former player
  • Reece James
    Reece James
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Andreas Christensen
    Andreas Christensen
    Danish association football player

Chelsea face an anxious wait to discover the severity of the injuries suffered by defenders Reece James and Andreas Christensen during Wednesday's draw against Brighton.

James started the match in an unfamiliar position at left wing-back as manager Thomas Tuchel experimented following the news that Ben Chilwell will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

However, James' match was ended after just 27 minutes as he went down in uncertain circumstances and was then helped off the pitch in considerable discomfort, with Marcos Alonso summoned from the bench.

To make matters worse for Chelsea, Christensen had already been hurt and soldiered on gingerly until half-time, when he too was replaced by Trevoh Chalobah.

Chelsea have been hit hard by injuries and Covid-19 cases over recent weeks, with N'Golo Kante and Kai Havertz involved against Brighton but the likes of Thiago Silva, Timo Werner and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all sidelined along with long-term absentee Chilwell, with several other players still some way short of 100 per cent.

Asked for an update on the injury front after the last-gasp draw with Brighton that saw Danny Welbeck pop up with a stoppage-time equaliser, an irate Tuchel said: "Reece James we have a hamstring injury and a back injury for Andreas Christensen. That’s pretty much it."

On striker Werner's continued absence, the German added: "Not good. Not good. Not in training."

Asked if Werner's absence was due to Covid issues, he replied: "Yes, of course."

A draw against Brighton was enough to lift Chelsea above Liverpool and into second place before the Reds come to town for a huge showdown on Sunday, yet Manchester City's 10th successive win against Brentford means Pep Guardiola's relentless defending champions now boast a strong eight-point lead at the summit heading into 2022.

One bright spark amid the gloom for Chelsea has been Romelu Lukaku, who was excellent off the bench at Aston Villa on Boxing Day and scored again on his first top-flight start since October against Brighton.

Tuchel admitted his surprise at Lukaku's quick progress following Covid and an ankle injury, but is unsure how long he will be able to keep it up.

"Surprised what he’s doing," he said. "Actually very surprised, but I don’t know how long he can do it. We will try it and then we will see because nobody knows.

"I’m surprised because he was six weeks, eight weeks out, then when he was trying to come back caught Covid and after that one training and let’s go. This is what we do at the moment."

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