Saturday, December 9News That Matters

Chelsea launch medical review into current injury crisis amid player fears

Chelsea have started a review into the practices used by the club’s medical department, with Graham Potter now deprived of 11 first-team players.

The London side have won just once in their last nine Premier League games after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of rivals Fulham on Thursday.

Joao Felix was sent off on his debut as Kalidou Koulibaly’s goal proved a mere consolation, with strikes from Willian and Carlos Vinicius eventually winning it for Fulham.

Felix is now facing a three-match suspension, while Denis Zakaria had to be substituted after he picked up an injury at Craven Cottage. He joined Raheem Sterling, Pulisic, N’Golo Kante, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell, Broja, Loftus-Cheek & Edouard Mendy on the sidelines.

Chelsea ’s 11 absentees is by far the highest of any Premier League team. Arsenal have just two, with Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson out injured. Liverpool have the next most injuries, with eight, while Fulham have just four, two of which are due to suspension.

The Telegraph claims that the Blues are undergoing a review into the medical department because Todd Boehly and the consortium he represents believe injuries are the major factor holding back Potter.

The takeover last May was followed by a number of upheaval, which impacted the medical department as well as every other facet of Chelsea.

Medical chief Paco Biosca and head physio Thierry Laurent were both sacked, with the new American owners deciding to outsource some of the medical work to a private physiotherapy company. That compromise led to the strange situation which saw Fofana flown to America for medical checks after completing his move from Leicester.

Both Fofana and James have suffered setbacks after their injuries and there is unhappiness at the training ground over the exit of well-respected duo Biosca and Laurent. Players believe they have been rushed back too soon, or have been allowed to play with knocks.

Potter was asked about the injury issue after the defeat by Fulham. “Yeah, absolutely, we’re looking all the time, we’re going over how they are happening, trying to evaluate the whole thing,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to know how things have happened. It’s a bit of bad luck, but it’s also knowing how we can go forward and improve.”

He added: “There’s not anything at the moment. There’s not even a pattern, different problems. It’s tricky. It’s not like we’ve been overtraining. We certainly need to get to the bottom of it.”

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