Reece James hasn’t played for Chelsea since the opening day, but the 23-year-old could face Arsenal on Saturday.
James suffered a knee injury in August’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool and was a doubt to make this weekend’s clash. However, the England international was pictured training at Cobham on Wednesday, so he could make the squad on Saturday.
James took to social media to allay fears of an injury setback, telling supporters he’s back ‘against all odds’, but Mauricio Pochettino might have to be cautious. Last season, James missed 22 Premier League games, two domestic cup games and two Champions League matches through injury.
The 23-year-old has made only one appearance in all competitions this season, so he’ll be short of match fitness. Chelsea are in good form too, boasting three consecutive wins across the board, so they’re coping well without James.
Marc Cucurella has impressed as a makeshift right-back in recent weeks, with Chelsea conceding only one goal in his last three appearances, so Pochettino isn’t likely to replace him.
It’s been a rough year for James. He likely hoped to be a regular for club and country but has spent more time on the sidelines. The 23-year-old has 16 caps for England but has featured just once for the Three Lions since September 2022.
Gareth Southgate already has Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold at his disposal, so England aren’t missing James.
No Premier League side have suffered an injury crisis like Chelsea this season. Wesley Fofana could be out until 2024 while Christopher Nkunku, Ben Chilwell and Romeo Lavia hope to return in December. Trevoh Chalobah and Carney Chukwuemeka have been ruled out against Arsenal while James, Marcus Bettinelli, Cole Palmer, Axel Disasi, Nicolas Jackson, Armando Broja and Benoit Badiashile are returning without being 100%.
Chelsea could move into the top-half with a win on Saturday, but Arsenal boast a 100% record away from home…