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 International Break Awards Chelsea a Huge Advantage in the Premier League title race

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14 Oct 2021
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Nick
Ben Chilwell

Chelsea has had the opportunity to welcome two key players back to training during the international break ahead of the Premier League’s return

International breaks have not always been kind to Chelsea. This year alone, N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic have missed key games for the Blues after suffering injuries while away with their countries.

Meanwhile, Ben Chilwell was mentally and physically impacted by not featuring at all for England at this summer’s European Championship despite being part of Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Fortunately, things have improved for him since his return to Chelsea’s starting XI for the victory over Southampton last time out. This earned the 25-year-old a recall to the Three Lions squad and he started and struck in a comfortable win over Andorra.

Chilwell isn’t the only Chelsea player to have benefited from the current round of international fixtures. Kai Havertz has also rediscovered his goalscoring touch while away with Germany and Timo Werner showcased his improved confidence with two fine finishes in a 4-0 win for Die Mannschaft over North Macedonia.

However, the biggest boost of the international break has been felt closer to home and it’s one that may prove hugely important in Chelsea’s bid to win the Premier League title.

When Southampton visited Stamford Bridge ten days ago, Tuchel was unable to call upon Reece James, Kante and Pulisic due to a combination of injury and illness.

James and Pulisic were both sidelined by ankle injuries while Kante was in self-isolation having tested positive for Covid-19. The situation is very different now.

Kante returned to training at Cobham last week after ten days at home. James, meanwhile, was back in action at Chelsea’s training ground yesterday having recovered from the knock sustained in the defeat to Manchester City at the end of last month.

Pulisic is yet to rejoin the first-team group but sources last week disclosed the expectation was for the American star to be back in training under the watch of Tuchel ahead of Saturday’s trip to newly-promoted Brentford.

The Bees will not prove easy opposition for Chelsea. Seven games into their maiden Premier League campaign and Thomas Frank’s side are seventh in the table having suffered just one defeat – and that only came as the result of a stoppage-time winner for Brighton.

Were it not for the international break, Tuchel would’ve had to do without James and Kante for this fixture. But the enforced two-week gap between the victory over Southampton and the trip to the Brentford Community Stadium has enabled the two to make their returns.

That will benefit Chelsea this weekend and beyond as Saturday’s west London derby begins a run of seven games in 21 days for the Blues. So Tuchel will need his full squad available in order to minimalize the risk of fatigue and injuries to key stars.

It’s unlikely an international break will ever pass without reason for concern for Chelsea. And let’s not forget that both Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Rudiger have missed matches over the past week due to minor injury concerns.

There is no doubt, though, that this time around the pause of the Premier League season has worked in the Blues’ favor. By how much will only become clear in the weeks ahead.

 

  • Ben Chilwell
  • chelsea
  • International Break
  • Kai Haverts
  • N'golo kante
  • Thomas Tuchel
  • Timo Werner
  • Livescore (livescore)
  • Match highlights

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