Chelsea have become the latest Premier League side to be stung by positive Covid-19 tests, with GOAL learning that three more senior stars at Stamford Bridge have contracted coronavirus.
At present, the Blues’ clash with Everton on Thursday is still set to go ahead, but that situation could change following the recent postponement of fixtures involving Tottenham and Manchester United.
Having to rearrange matches is the last thing that Chelsea need at this stage, with the games coming thick and fast for Thomas Tuchel’s side across multiple competitions.
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The current situation
The Blues have already seen Mateo Kovacic ruled out of their plans of late on the back of a positive Covid-19 test from the Croatia international midfielder.
Three more prominent players in west London have now been forced into self-isolation, leaving Tuchel short on options.
All of those set to sit out upcoming outings have been in contact with the rest of the Chelsea squad, with a full training session completed on Wednesday.
Tuchel was ready to include two of those players in his thoughts for a home date with Everton, but has seen his pre-match planning thrown into disarray.
The bigger picture
Kovacic was already set to sit out a meeting with the Toffees, alongside Ben Chilwell, who remains sidelined for a while with a knee injury.
N’Golo Kante is being eased back into the Blues fold, but the World Cup-winning midfielder is not yet ready to start and will only be fit enough to make the bench against Everton.
Tuchel is going to have to get creative in his selection, with there few opportunities for him to rest and rotate at present.
Chelsea are due to be back in Premier League action on Sunday against Wolves, before then taking on Brentford in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals prior to Christmas.
Boxing Day will be spent at Aston Villa, while Brighton are due at Stamford Bridge on December 29 and Liverpool on January 2.
Chelsea will then open their FA Cup campaign for 2021-22, while the current holders of the Champions League crown have also had to slot the Club World Cup into their schedule for February.
There have been calls for English football to shut down for a short period of time until coronavirus case numbers start to fall, but there has been no word from the relevant authorities that such an approach will be taken as clubs up and down the country contend with hectic workloads.