Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed that Tammy Abraham is one of several first-team stars who could miss today’s clash with Manchester United. The England international has been struggling with an ankle injury in recent weeks and may not be fit enough to feature against the Red Devils.
Lampard also revealed that Christian Pulisic is still sidelined with an abductor injury while Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains short of match fitness after an tearing his ACL last season.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Lampard said: ”Christian trained with the U23s today, so won’t be fit. Ruben won’t be fit for this game.
“Tammy is still feeling the effects, to be honest. Trained today, but to be assessed.”
Pulisic has missed the past six games due to an injury sustained in training while Loftus-Cheek is yet to make an appearance this campaign.
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However, the midfielder is back training with the rest of the squad and has taken part in an Under-23s friendly behind closed doors as he closes on a return.
Abraham picked up his issue during the 2-2 draw with Arsenal last month but played in the subsequent 2-2 draw with Leicester after a painkilling injection.
He missed training earlier this week but Lampard is hopeful Abraham will be fit enough to start against United.
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has failed to make a matchday squad since the FA Cup third round win over Nottingham Forest after speculation about a move away from Stamford Bridge.
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The Frenchman should now be available for selection once again but is behind Abraham and Michy Batshuayi in the pecking while Marco van Ginkel is continuing his rehabiliton following an ACL injury.
Willian is expected to return out wide at the expense of Pedro, who was handed a surprise start last time out against the Foxes.
The rest of the midfield should remain unchanged with Callum Hudson-Odoi on the opposite flank and Mason Mount lining up in the No 10 role.
Jorginho and N’Golo Kante will anchor the back four but Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley are further options if Lampard wants to shuffle his squad.
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The emergence of Reece James at right-back has seen Cesar Azpilicueta shift over to the left of defence, subsequently forcing Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmer out of the starting XI.
Antonio Rudiger is a certain starter in central defence while Lampard has rotated his other defensive options with Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori all earning minutes this season.
Christensen has started the last four league matches and appears favourite to get the nod, while Lampard has another decision to make regarding his goalkeeper.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was dropped for Willy Caballero against Leicester but the Argentine failed to impress and the former is expected to return between the posts.
However, Lampard refused to give anything away in his press conference – instead just revealing that Arrizabalaga’s response to the set-back has been impressive.
“The reaction has been good as I would expect,” Lampard said. “I haven’t had lots of conversations with him. It’s a decision I will have to make.
“It doesn’t matter when you came to the club, I don’t take into account the fee. It’s the training that counts. I have decided, and you’ll find out.
“It wasn’t about giving him a jolt. It was just a selection on that day. I want everyone’s reaction spot on. I know how it will feel for him. I had it in my career, it is part and parcel. I am pleased with the reaction.”
Chelsea predicted line-up vs Manchester United – Premier League
(4-2-3-1): Arrizabalaga; James, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Kante; Willian, Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Abraham
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