Graham Potter has some tough decisions to make ahead of his Chelsea side travelling to Austria to take on Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League on Tuesday. Kalidou Koulibaly was absent from Saturday’s draw with Manchester United and was not spotted in Chelsea’s open training session that took place on Monday morning.
The injury to Koulibaly continues the recent trend of Chelsea defenders being unavailable. Both Reece James and Wesley Fofana are already on the side-lines with respective knee injuries, with the latter likely to be back at the end of the month, while James will not feature for the Blues until after the World Cup.
Potter also has to contend with managing the minutes of veteran defender Thiago Silva who missed last Wednesday’s draw with Brentford after the 38-year-old needed time to recover from the Aston Villa game the previous weekend. Silva returned to play the full 90 minutes against Manchester United but could miss the Champions League clash with Salzburg due to the quick turnaround of fixtures in a compacted schedule.
Following the draw with the Red Devils, Graham Potter was asked about the seriousness of Koulibaly’s injury. He said:
“He just felt his knee at the back end of the Brentford match. We’re not sure the extent yet but this one was too soon for him.”
With no real indication on how long Koulibaly may be out for, if Potter wants to stick with a five at the back Silva may have to start on Tuesday evening. But away from the defensive injury woes, Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns elsewhere, so here is the expected pool of players for Graham Potter to choose from:
Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Edouard Mendy, Marcus Bettinelli.
Defenders: Ben Chilwell, Kalidou Koulibaly (Doubt), Thiago Silva (Doubt), Marc Cucurella, Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah.
Midfielders: Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Denis Zakaria, Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Carney Chukwuemeka.
Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Armando Broja, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling.