As Chelsea’s match with Arsenal on Sunday draws closer, they find themselves without three valued strikers.
The Independent is currently reporting that none of Chelsea’s Loic Remy, Diego Costa, nor Didier Drogba are certain to be available for Sunday.
Loic Remy suffered a calf injury whilst training for QPR on 11th April. Although he is scheduled to return Sunday, there is some indication he may not be match fit.
Diego Costa was pulled out early in the Stoke City match on 4th April with a recurring hamstring injury. This injury seemingly comes and goes when convenient. Although he is not scheduled to return until 3rd May, the Telegraph reports that he has been working hard all week to return to the bench, but that Chelsea’s medical staff don’t want to gamble on his fitness.
Didier Drogba suffered an ankle injury presumably during the Manchester United match this past Saturday, 19th April and was forced to miss a charity match. His status is currently being assessed for the weekend.
Should all three be unavailable for Sunday’s match, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will only have two very junior forwards available: 17-year-old Dominic Solanke and 18-year-old Izzy Brown. His other option might be to use a combination of midfielders Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and/or Juan Cuadrado in a striker position and load up a solid midfield.
All that said, we all know something always seems to happen when it comes to Chelsea’s fitness news. It wouldn’t be a total surprise to see all three to magically appear on Sunday’s teamsheet, because… horse placenta, voodoo, and whatever else they put in the water on the West side.
Conversely, Arsenal’s injury situation seems to be improving slightly in the Per Mertesacker department.
Arsene Wenger, in Thursday’s pre-match press conference said, “He’s still in the treatment room and I don’t know if he will be available or not.” Being coy, he also mentioned that Mertesacker is “50/50 at the moment. He has not practiced at all.” So there is still a slim chance he may be available pending a late fitness test.
Wenger also said “Apart from Mertesacker, everybody else should be available.” That ‘everybody‘ would exclude Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is still dealing with a groin inflammation, and Mikel Arteta who is not available due to ‘match fitness‘.