Lukaku injury, Christensen contract – the issues facing Tuchel ahead of Newcastle vs Chelsea

Chelsea face Newcastle United this weekend at St. James’ Park off the back four consecutive victories following the international break.

The Blues have had contrasting fortunes during that period, however, recording comprehensive wins over Malmo and Norwich before needing penalties to overcome Southampton – but Thomas Tuchel and co. have seen their injury list add up in that time too.

Nevertheless, Chelsea will head into the clash with the newly-taken over Magpies as firm favourites. Tuchel will be posed plenty of questions in his press conference, but what answers will he and his team be able to provide on the pitch?

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Video Unavailable takes a look at some of the most pressing concerns he may be approached about below:

Injury news

There’s certainly plenty to chat about.

Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic, Andreas Christensen and N’Golo Kante were all pictured in Chelsea training on Thursday, but how many of them will be ready to take to the pitch?

It seems the knocks to Azpilicueta and Christensen that kept them out against Southampton were pretty minor, and Tuchel’s comments on Kante following the clash with Norwich did not highlight any major concern.

As Chelsea face another of the league’s strugglers, perhaps he will not look to rush anyone back, however.

Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both appear to still be out of action though. Tuchel was cautious on making any predictions or providing any timescales on the ankle and hamstring injuries the pair suffered respectively, but following a week of treatment, the Blues must have a more accurate picture and prognosis.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek also did not feature against Southampton due to a hip complaint and he missed the training session, but will have another opportunity on Friday morning to take part.

Christensen’s contract

Tuchel spoke at length last weekend about how he could see Andreas Christensen becoming a Chelsea legend, but all that has followed is speculation about his future in general.

The latest reports stated that it had been two months since Chelsea and Christensen communicated over a new deal. The offer that has been provided to the Denmark international is reported to be an increase on his current deal, but would keep him among Chelsea’s lower earners.

Much like with Antonio Rudiger, it has been suggested both parties would like to extend the deal but as the season pushes closer to January, and the time the Denmark international will be allowed to speak to other clubs, uncertainty is currently prevailing.

Tuchel has often distanced himself from any negotiations between club and player, but the outcome of such talks will be key to finding out how prevalent his voice really is.

With talk of Trevoh Chalobah’s deal being extended and his growing importance in the side, it will be interesting if the 22-year-old’s role becomes more prominent with the futures of Rudiger and Christensen both in the air.

Hudson-Odoi’s role

Given the 20-year-old’s form in recent weeks it will be fascinating to see if Callum Hudson-Odoi is once again afforded an opportunity on the left wing after needing to settle for a place at wing-back against Southampton in the Carabao Cup.

Tuchel has conceded that he has not used the youngster to his full potential during his time at the club.

“We are also very aware we are maybe a bit unfair and play him too often as a right wing-back where he cannot show his full potential,” the Blues boss has noted.

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Since injuries to Lukaku and Werner, Hudson-Odoi has been able to show some end product, recording a goal and assists against Norwich and Malmo. Tuchel even adjusted the academy star’s position when Chelsea needed a goal against the Saints.

Where he starts against Newcastle could go a long way in showing how much trust Hudson-Odoi has earned in recent weeks. Hakim Ziyech did not appear to do much to earn his place in Tuchel’s starting XI, but Mason Mount will return to the line-up.

The left wing position will be up for grabs, and with Pulisic nearing a return to the matchday squad, and we’ll soon see if Hudson-Odoi has the credit in the bank to continue to start, despite the minutes in his legs.

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