Chelsea will be without 11 players for Premier League clash with Aston Villa

Reece James of Chelsea during a open training session at Chelsea Training Ground on April 25, 2024 in Cobham, England. 

Mauricio Pochettino expects to have Chelsea talisman Cole Palmer available to him when the Blues travel north to Aston Villa on Saturday night - but the Blues boss will be without a host of senior players as they seek to respond from their heavy defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday evening.

Chelsea suffered a 5-0 drubbing at the Emirates Stadium and they did so without Palmer, who arrived from Manchester City last summer. The 21-year-old, who would appear to be destined to head to Germany for the Euros with England this summer, has scored 23 goals and returned 13 assists in his 39 appearances in what has been a season of struggle for Chelsea.

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However, Pochettino will have to make do without defenders Malo Gusto, Reece James and Levi Colwill and attacker Raheem Sterling when the Londoners head to Villa.

"They are not available yet. They are close. They were doing partial training, but they are not available," Pochettino told the Evening Standard of Gusto, James and Colwill. “We assume that Cole will be part of the squad tomorrow...Sterling suffered pain in his lower back.”

They aren't the only absentees, however; former Villa midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka, who left the Lions for Stamford Bridge in a deal worth around £20m in the summer of 2022, will also be absent and so will miss a reunion with his former club. Enzo Fernandez, it's already been confirmed, has undergone surgery and will miss the remaining games.

“Carney felt something in his knee related to his problem before. We hope it is not a big issue and can be available as soon as possible," Pochettino added. “Fernandez feels the pain and he feels the limitations because of the problem. The most important thing is to fix the problem for him. If he cannot perform because of the situation then it is not good for him or the club.”

On top of James, Gusto, Sterling, Colwill, Fernandez and Chukwuemeka, Chelsea already have a remarkable list of players who are missing through injury. Ben Chilwell is out, as are winger Christopher Nkunku, midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu and defenders Wesley Fofana and Romeo Lavia. Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez could return from illness.

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