Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel faces a host of decisions ahead of Wednesday evening’s Premier League meeting with Watford at Vicarage Road.
However, when speaking in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Chelsea manager confirmed that three players will definitely be missing – in N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Ben Chilwell – while a further trio could be sidelined – in Jorginho, Reece James and Timo Werner.
He said: “With Romelu (Lukaku) it is pretty easy. He came on and can continue to train. There is no reaction from his injured ankle.
“He stayed in training and is ready to progress with minutes and this is where he is.
“For sure, out is Chilly, still Kova and N’Golo. We have some players who are a doubt. Maybe a bit more time with more examinations to re-evaluate the status – it is Reece James, Jorgi and Timo Werner.
“They all trained today with us, but there will be some last-minute decisions about the three.”
So, with that being said, football.london takes a look at what Tuchel could do at Vicarage Road – if all of these six players are not available for selection.
One way would be to bring Saul Niguez, who has not played many minutes in the Premier League this season since moving to Stamford Bridge on loan over the summer, back into the centre of midfield.
With Kante, Kovacic and Jorginho out, Tuchel really does not have many options in the centre of the pitch – somewhere Chelsea are usually so blessed.
Callum Hudson-Odoi could be moved to right wing-back in James’ absence, with the Blues youngster having experience of playing there under Tuchel in the past.
With Werner out, that does not really cause Chelsea too many concerns because of the abundance of talent at their disposal. Lukaku could come in as a like-for-like replacement for the German.
Alternatively, though, if Tuchel is a tad wary of risking Lukaku from the start after his month-long injury layoff, he could play Kai Havertz in the centre – with the German impressing as the false nine in the past.
Tuchel of course will be hoping the three players, who are set to be assessed in the next 24 hours, will be fit and ready to take on Watford, but either way, Chelsea will be confident going into the match.
On the road this season in the Premier League, the Blues have played six and have won five of those matches. In that time, Chelsea have scored 13 goals and conceded just once – in the 1-1 draw to Liverpool in August.
Mo Salah‘s penalty in that match at Anfield was the only goal they have conceded on the road in the league, meaning they are yet to see a ball go past Edouard Mendy from open play in the top-flight.
With Liverpool and Manchester City also in action on Wednesday, Chelsea know it is imperative to pick up a positive result against Watford, with their two title rivals both gaining two points on them over the weekend.