Chelsea rocked by injury woes ahead of crucial Manchester United clash

Chelsea's fans will be hoping that some of the injured players can make a surprise return or that Pochettino can find a way to inspire a performance from a depleted squad.

Pratham K Sharma
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Chelsea have plenty of injury concerns at the moment.

Malo Gusto (Source: X)

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Chelsea head into their crucial Thursday night clash against Manchester United reeling from a string of injuries that have decimated their squad. Despite salvaging a draw against Burnley at the weekend, the Blues face a daunting task against their rivals with a lengthy injury list threatening to derail their season.

A key absentee for the upcoming fixture is Malo Gusto, who suffered a hamstring injury. The young defender's return date remains shrouded in mystery, leaving a significant hole in Chelsea's backline. Adding to the defensive woes is the absence of Trevoh Chalobah, who is also sidelined with a hamstring issue. Further compounding Chelsea's problems is the confirmed season-ending injury for midfielder Romeo Lavia. The youngster's thigh injury means he will play no further part in the current campaign, leaving a significant void.

Another player facing a fitness test is Ben Chilwell. The left-back returned from international duty with a knee problem and missed the Burnley game. His availability for the Manchester United clash remains uncertain, with manager Mauricio Pochettino likely to assess his fitness in the coming days. The captain, Reece James is also out as he recovers from a hamstring surgery. The influential defender went under the knife in December and will not feature again this season, a major blow to Chelsea's plans.

The midfield department is also hit, with Christopher Nkunku out with a hamstring injury. The French star's return date is yet to be announced, leaving a question mark over who will orchestrate Chelsea's attacking plays. Youngsters Lesley Ugochukwu and Wesley Fofana are also sidelined with hamstring and knee issues, respectively, and will only be available for next season. Additionally, Robert Sanchez is also sidelined, further stretching Chelsea's resources.

Challenge looms for Pochettino

This extensive injury list presents a significant challenge for Pochettino. The Argentine manager will need to delve deep into his squad and potentially deploy players out of position to fill the gaps left by the sidelined players. The creativity and defensive solidity that Chelsea has displayed at times this season could be severely compromised.

The upcoming Manchester United clash is a pivotal one for Chelsea's season. They are not in a great position in the standings and hence, a win is imperative.