Chelsea could welcome back a number of first team players for Villa clash

Thomas Tuchel’s side have been struggling with both injuries and Covid cases

Aston Villa’s Boxing Day opponents Chelsea could be in line to recall multiple key players to their first team following recovery from injury and coronavirus respectively.

The Blues were forced to field a number of teenagers in their Carabao Cup victory over Brentford but look set to be able bring back more of their experienced names for the trip to Villa Park.

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Yoane Wissa of Brentford has his shot saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Brentford and Chelsea at Brentford Community Stadium

Speaking after the quarter-final win, Thomas Tuchel seemed optimistic that he’d have a stronger line-up at his disposal.

“If I understood it correctly, we need a negative test and we have negative tests for Romelu [Lukaku], Callum [Hudson-Odoi] and Ben Chilwell,” he said.

“Ben Chilwell will not be involved against Aston Villa.

“The other two will be on the pitch tomorrow if they are again negative tomorrow. Then, we need to see, they have been ill and have symptoms but we will see.

“It is a Premier League game at one of the toughest places where you can play in Aston Villa. It is good news, don’t get me wrong but I am not overexcited now because I know I need to check how they are.”

There is a slight chance that Chelsea will be able to bring Hakim Ziyech and Andreas Christensen back in following injury too but the likelihood of that is much slimmer.

“For Hakim I don’t know, it’s very painful. He got a kick and it’s very painful so not a lot of time until Aston Villa,” Tuchel added.

“Andreas got an injection and is also very painful in the lower back. So bad news that we’ve struggled with the same things for several days now and of course we want to be competitive at the same time.

“Not easy but we try to stay positive and arrive at Aston Villa with full commitment to the competitions.”

Villa confirmed via Twitter on Christmas Day that they will be without manager Steven Gerrard for the next two games after he tested positive for covid.

This comes days after the boss said he was ‘one hundred percent’ that the Boxing Day fixture would go ahead.

There has been no update of any other players testing positive for the claret & blue since December 22 but all players will be tested again prior to kick-off.

We’ll keep you updated if anything changes but as things stand - Boxing Day football is go!

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