Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Andreas Christensen will miss Chelsea’s game against Manchester City on Saturday following a positive Covid test.
Chelsea already had issues in defence, with Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James currently sidelined with hamstring injuries. Ben Chilwell is also out for the foreseeable after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in the Blues’ 4-0 win against Juventus back in November.
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Christensen now faces seven days in self-isolation, which would also see him miss the trip to Brighton next Tuesday. He started Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham on Wednesday, meaning he must have returned the positive test in the interim.
While the government has announced that the self-isolation period for those who test positive for Covid will be cut from seven days to five, that will only come into force next Monday. As such, Christensen will have to sit out the full week.
Speaking ahead of a potentially season-defining trip to the Etihad, Tuchel said: “There is no injury news, which is maybe good news.
“Trevoh Chalobah is out, Ben Chilwell is out, Reece James is out and we have one positive Covid test with Andreas Christensen so he is also out for the game.”
In response to their dwindling options at the back, Chelsea have recalled Kenedy from his loan at Flamengo. He will be used to cover for Chilwell at left-back and left wing-back, which should at least give Tuchel some flexibility.
“We cannot say Kenedy is the solution but he can be a solution,” Tuchel said, when asked about the Brazilian’s return to west London. “He is back and I’m very happy about that.
“It is a huge opportunity for him to make his mark at this club and in this team. We will try now, from today on, to push and support him as good as we can.”
Whoever Tuchel starts in defence on Saturday, they will face a tough test against City’s forward line. Pep Guardiola’s side have won 11 league games on the bounce, scoring 33 goals in the process.
That has seen them open up a 10-point lead at the top of the table, with Chelsea’s title challenge faltering after a series of frustrating draws. Guardiola faces issues of his own, however, confirming that City have also registered new Covid cases ahead of the weekend.
“Some people are coming [back to training], some people are positive again,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “When you test twice negative you come back, otherwise you stay at home isolating, which happens at all the [Premier League] clubs in the last three months.
“We have some new cases, yeah, but we want privacy. I can’t tell you [who is out].
“We are used to it, unfortunately, to handling this situation for a long time. It’s happened for one or two years.
“We adapt and hopefully the cases are handled and players come back in a good condition.
“I think the Covid is all around the world. It is not that in this part of the world there is no Covid. That is not true.
“We had a lot of cases and a lot of injuries. We played Aston Villa with 11 first-team players.
“The last four or five games we played with academy players on the bench. We are in the same situation as all other clubs.
“Injuries may be less because our medical department is incredible. But in terms of Covid, we are the same.
“It is not that we are smarter or wiser or do the protocols better. When the virus comes into the bubble, everyone suffers. There’s no exception.”
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