It is not often Chelsea are seen desperately scrambling around for solutions.

With so much artillery stored away in the gun shed, the thought of running low on ammunition is almost unthinkable.

Yet, many of Thomas Tuchel’s soldiers are down to their last rounds, with some exhausted completely.

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Players have been taking shots, unable to retaliate in the manner they are accustomed to.

Currently, the damage is five, fragile first-team regulars on the treatment table.

N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell have recently been joined by Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah.

James took a knock to the ankle in training and missed the mid-week Premier League win over Watford.

In that fixture, Chalobah hobbled off after half-time with a suspected hamstring injury.

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Tuchel was forced to deploy the 22-year-old in central midfield after replacing Saul Niguez at the interval, due to the absence of his usual trio.

Jorginho had been a doubt prior to the fixture but managed to make the bench on Wednesday.

Depending on the Italian’s fitness, he will probably partner Ruben Loftus-Cheek against West Ham United tomorrow.

This will leave only Saul and Ross Barkley as the other two senior central midfielders Tuchel can call upon.

Not an ideal situation, considering the quality of opposition and the pressure placed upon Chelsea to maintain their pace at the top of the league.

Close to home

The Blues might have no choice but to pluck one of the academy players from their promising perch, as a way to make up the matchday numbers.

However, Harvey Vale should not be seen simply as a filler of space.

Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Vale is already on the periphery of Tuchel’s plans, having trained with the primary squad on numerous occasions.

He certainly made a good impression upon Olivier Giroud, who was shocked after discovering the 18-year-old’s true age.

The teenager also earned a place in the travelling Champions League side that faced Malmo last month.

Adventure for Vale

Clearly, the young midfielder is close to a debut in the big leagues.

But perhaps that moment will arrive sooner than expected.

Including the West Ham clash, Chelsea must play four games in 12 days, with a trip to Zenit St Petersburg on the horizon.

Having already qualified for the European knockout rounds, Tuesday could be the perfect time to drop the Vale.

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