HomePremier LeagueChelsea recover Palmer for Aston Villa trip but James and Colwill still...

Chelsea recover Palmer for Aston Villa trip but James and Colwill still out

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Cole Palmer will be available for Chelsea’s trip to Aston Villa on Saturday after missing Tuesday’s defeat at Arsenal through illness, but Reece James and Levi Colwill remain sidelined.

Palmer was absent as Chelsea were thrashed 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, a result which represented a new low point in their first season under Mauricio Pochettino.

The ex-Manchester City forward has 20 goals and nine assists in the Premier League this season, with that former tally putting him level with Erling Haaland at the top of the competition’s scoring charts.

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While Palmer should feature at Villa park, neither James nor Colwill are in contention, despite both players returning to partial team training this week after spells on the sidelines.

“No, they are not available yet but they are close. Yesterday, they were doing some training with the squad. They are close but still not available,” Pochettino said of James and Colwill.

“Cole has been training well in the last few days. We assume he is going to be ready for tomorrow, to be part of the squad.”

Chelsea have been accused of overreliance on Palmer this term, and Pochettino admits they were far worse for his absence last time out.

“Cole is a very good player for us,” Pochettino added. “He’s a key player for us and it is showing that we struggle a little bit without him.”

Chelsea did suffer an injury blow this week, though, as midfielder Enzo Fernandez was ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing groin surgery.

Asked whether the Argentine could have played on until he end of the campaign, Pochettino said: “He feels the pain and he felt limitations because of that problem.

“The most important thing was to fix the problem for him. If he cannot perform because of the situation then it is not good for him or the club.

“We talk about trying to be together, but it is another thing we need to deal with. We need to be positive. It is the only way to move forward. Never give up.”

Chelsea’s ambitions for this campaign are now limited to Europa League qualification, with their hopes of silverware being ended by last week’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to City.

That result led to renewed speculation regarding Pochettino’s future, and he admits he has something to prove in the closing weeks of the campaign.

“It looks like I have something to prove, no? It’s usually the coach who has to prove he deserves to stay as part of the club,” he said.

“But we are all responsible, we’re all part of the situation and we all need to prove we deserve to be here next season.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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