Photos: Two Chelsea players back in training ahead of the Man United game after missing the previous match

Chelsea have been far from consistent this season.

They began the campaign quite brilliantly by charging up the Premier League to top spot, making them at one stage the favourites for the title.

But too many draws meant their lead slipped away quite considerably, allowing Liverpool and Manchester City to overtake Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Uncharacteristic mistakes have crept into Chelsea’s makeup recently.

Errors that cost them against Real Madrid in the Champions League and at home to Arsenal last week.

Add the defeat to Brentford just after the international break and the Blues set an unwanted record of losing three consecutive matches at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1993.

Tuchel’s team cannot claim to be the defiant defence machine they once were either.

They only conceded three times in their opening ten league outings.

In the last ten, Chelsea have let in ten.

But there has at least been one regular theme throughout the campaign.

Chelsea’s walking wounded

Injuries seem to be just around the corner for the entire senior squad, with even the fittest of soldiers subject to damage.

It’s difficult to remember a period when Tuchel had his entire troop available to him.

Reece James and Ben Chilwell’s absence at the same time between January and March derailed Chelsea’s assault on City’s kingdom.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Mateo Kovacic’s trips to the treatment room have also majorly impacted the side.

Romelu Lukaku hasn’t looked the same since missing several games through an ankle problem.

Many more have suffered bumps and bruises, sitting out the odd fixture here and there.

This has played havoc with starting a similar XI from match to match.

Manchester United awaits

Tuchel was again forced into making changes at the weekend against West Ham United.

Rudiger and James were unavailable, whilst Andreas Christensen had to drop out just before kick-off through illness.

However, the German coach can crack a small smile ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Manchester United thanks to some good news omitting from Cobham.

Yesterday, the club’s official website uploaded images from a recent training session.

Snapped by the cameras were Rudiger and James, who could return at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Thomas, you know what to do.

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.