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Chelsea dealt Reece James injury blow

Chelsea returned to winning ways in the Premier League during their first match following the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, convincingly beating AFC Bournemouth 2-0, but an injury blow has marred the triumphant display…

What’s the word?

Sky Sports News relayed a statement from Chelsea regarding an injury setback for Reece James this week, with the full-back aggravating the knee issue that he sustained earlier this season against AC Milan in the Champions League, ruling him out of the World Cup.

The statement read:

“Defender Reece James underwent assessment earlier today after being substituted during the second half of last night’s 2-0 Premier League victory over AFC Bournemouth due to a knee injury.

“Scan results have regrettably confirmed a setback for the 23-year-old, with Reece now set to be ruled out for up to a month.”

James took to Twitter to brand 2022 as his “toughest year to date” continuing to state the impact it has had on him, saying it has “affected him mentally”. 

The prominent right-back is set to miss up to six key matches, including two against Manchester City – one in the league and one in the FA Cup – and a pivotal away trip to Anfield to face Liverpool

Potter will be “concerned”

Having been withdrawn from action at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening, Blues manager Graham Potter was evidently disconcerted by the latest setback, especially considering the issue seemed to lie in the same area as the previous injury.

Via CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs, he said: “It’s the same area so we’re concerned. We’ll have to see in the next 24-48 hours. It’s a bit too soon [to tell]. But it was in that action, a chop, he felt something. We have to keep our fingers crossed at the moment. He’s disappointed.”

With Chelsea currently languishing outside the top four, in eighth place and six points off Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, James’ return following the conclusion of the World Cup could not have come at a better time for his side.

The 23-year-old has scored 11 goals and assisted 20 more from 135 appearances since his breakthrough into the senior side, having risen through the Cobham academy; his emergence has – by design – coincided with a period of success for the club, with the 15-cap England ace winning the Champions League, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup at this early stage of this career.

Is Reece James the best right-back in the Premier League?

Yes

Yes

No

No

In the Premier League this term, the Blues have won only one of the seven outings that James has missed out on, highlighting the irreplaceable presence and authority that he brings to Stamford Bridge.

Indeed, the £250k-per-week phenom has been of paramount importance to his outfit, marauding up and down the wing and blending his all-encompassing skills to form a refined, polished edge to his game.

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Cesc Fabregas in action for Chelsea

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Chelsea have options – the veteran Cesar Azpilicueta can still perform admirably wherever he is deployed, and the likes of Denzel Dumfries and Josip Juranovic are reported transfer targets for owner Todd Boehly, with intrigue perhaps advancing following the stricken James’ setback.

However, it will be strenuous to replace Chelsea’s “best player” – as remarked by journalist Jai McIntosh – and nursing him back to full, sustained fitness, is the best remedy to ail the club’s misfortunes.