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Don’t educate Chelsea fans about injuries – the number has been high for 29+ weeks

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August 3rd 2023, 2 weeks before the opening game of the Premier League season, new signing Christopher Nkunku walks off in Chicago sustaining an injury that would then keep him out until December. At the time we didn’t quite know the existent but that has been the story of Chelsea’s season.

Before Chelsea faced Liverpool back on the opening day, the blues went into the game without the signing of Lavia, Caicedo and Cole Palmer. Two of those have become regular starters whereas Lavia has been held back by consistent injuries. As well as those three missing the game – Badiashile, Broja, Chalobah, Fofana and Nkunku were unable to play.

Following Chelsea’s opening day draw. The blues had still yet to sign Cole Palmer and were dealt with a massive blow after Reece James was added to the injury list just after one Premier League game, the same players who missed the opening day also missed the second game. Chelsea’s pain continued in the second game as Carney Chukwuemeka sustained an injury shortly after scoring in the 3-1 defeat to West Ham, he has yet to start a game since then and we are now in February.

Heading into the third game of the season, Chelsea’s injury list extended to nine, the latest name to enter the report was Mudryk after picking up a knock in training. As a result he didn’t get close to full fitness until the international break.

The number of players out remained nine until October, the number then went up to ten after Ben Chilwell picked up an injury in the closing stages of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup victory against Brighton. Chelsea’s 2-2 draw against Arsenal saw Reece James come off the bench for the first time in the league since the opening day, whilst Badiashile suffered from not having a pre-season and had to wait for his time to come from the bench.

As November arrived, the injury number was sitting at eight and by the end of the month the number had dropped to six. As December arrived the number went to seven. The addition of Malo Gusto and suspension of Reece James saw the blues head into the league game against Brighton without a recognised right back. Following the victory over Brighton in the first week of December, the number went up to nine as Lesley Ugochukwu and Noni Madueke joined the long list.

The outlook of Chelsea’s season fully changed after the 2-0 defeat to Everton as Cucurella and Sanchez both went off with injuries as well as Reece James. Heading into a manic festive period, a total of 12 were listed on the injury report.

In the middle of December; Sanchez, James, Cucurella, Chalobah, Chilwell, Chukwuemeka, Fofana, Ugochukwu, Madueke, Lavia, Gusto and Nkunku all found themselves on the injury list and that alone equates to around £400m worth of signings. Enzo Fernandez found himself added to the list ahead of the Christmas Eve clash.

Heading into 2024, the number of unavaliable players stayed in double digits. The addition of Levi Colwill following his injury in the warm-up against Aston Villa added new fears that the injury number just wasn’t coming down. Pochettino hasn’t helped himself at times this season but he has been dealt an unprecedented number to have to juggle across the season.

As we come to the close of February, the number of players who are not fully fit sits at eight. But that is just more than a number. For Nkunku his injuries have meant he has not had the opportunity to start matches to be impactful and the influence off the bench is hard to come by.

As we look at the injuries Chelsea have faced across the season, Pochettino entered the campaign with a minimum of 5 players unavailable, peaked with 12 out in December and still faces at least 8 not available to his disposal. The noise around the number? You could almost hear a pin drop. Chelsea fans don’t need to be educated on how clubs have had other injuries given the club have been dealing with it since November 2021.

Chelsea fans and media have had to deal with the lack of significance claims regarding the players Chelsea have had missing for matches this season, especially in the build up to Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

The reason why the current names are frowned at by opposition fans and media is based on the lack of availability to prove themselves. If Cole Palmer or Malo Gusto suffered similar fait to those out back in August, the same narrative of ‘not being important’ would have been pushed. This current squad are making a name for themselves, at least 75% of them, of course they aren’t going to look crucial but injuries have interfered.

The only regular starters at Stamford Bridge who have not missed any or under two matches so far this season have been; Petrovic, Disasi, Gallagher, Fernandez (2), Caicedo (2), Sterling and Palmer. The rest of the squad have been unavailable for three or more matches so far this season. One goalkeeper, 3 midfielders and 2 forwards. Only Gallagher, Fernandez and Sterling were at Chelsea during pre-season.

As someone who mostly views football in negative light, I almost have no doubts that Chelsea would be sitting around the top 6 had fait been on the right side.

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