Tuchel could use 'fantastic' 22-year-old to solve his latest injury woes at Chelsea - TCC View
Are Chelsea actually in a… crisis?
No, of course not. But there must be plenty of emergency lights flashing inside the halls of Cobham at the minute.
Especially within the treatment room, where the beds are beginning to fill up at a rate of knots.
Longer-term patients Ben Chilwell, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante could soon be joined by some new guests.
In his press conference ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League tie against Watford this evening, Thomas Tuchel delivered a potentially disastrous injury update.
“For tomorrow, we have some players in doubt,” said the German coach.
“Reece James, Jorginho and Timo Werner all finished training. There will be some last-minute decisions on the three.”
Okay, are we allowed to call it a crisis now?
Starting to get shaky
Three first-choice central midfielders and the two primary wing-backs out, with a missing forward to throw in for good measure.
It’s a scenario any manager up and down the country would recoil at the thought of.
Unfortunately, this is not some nightmarish illusion for Tuchel.
He has the very real task of reassembling his side, with the first trial run just hours away.
Chelsea’s starting midfield for this evening’s game away to Watford may well read: Marcos Alonso, Saul Niguez, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesar Azpilicueta.
Typically, this quartet would only play together in a cup fixture or dead rubber European occasion.
Certainly not in a top-flight event.
It is the central duo of Saul and Loftus-Cheek that may be cause for the biggest concern.
Not only have the pair played just over an hour and a half together this season, but the Spaniard has also rarely seen the light of day in terms of competitive action.
Other than Ross Barkley – a man also lacking in serious minutes – there really are no obvious alternatives.
But perhaps the less apparent choice could actually be a saving grace.
Trev to the rescue
Before transitioning into a defender, Trevoh Chalobah spent almost all of his career in midfield.
For Ipswich Town, Huddersfield Town and Lorient, the 22-year-old was deployed as a defensive unit in front of the back-four.
Muscle memory would surely kick in if Tuchel were to redistribute the Englishmen from his centre-back post.
He could provide extra cover to the more offensive thinkers in Loftus-Cheek and Barkley, whilst also acting as the assured figure next to the unsecure Saul.
The on-loan Atletico Madrid man needs a consistent shoulder to lean on.
Few have been more reliable than Chalobah this year, who was called ‘fantastic’ recently by Owen Hargreaves.
Depending on the extent of Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic’s wounds, Chalobah might just be the way forward.