Things are going from bad to worse for Thomas Tuchel at present, after he confirmed at Friday morning’s press conference that another Chelsea player has tested positive for Covid.
At this point in the season, where the Blues are already 10 points behind Premier League leaders, Manchester City, a full-strength squad is the bare minimum that Tuchel requires to be able to chip away at that gap.
A gap that could well increase after this weekend, given that the West Londoners head to the Etihad Stadium for what is, even in January, a must-win game for them.
Only the most optimistic Chelsea supporter will believe that there’s any chance of winning the title should Tuchel’s side depart Manchester having been beaten.
A 13-point gap isn’t insurmountable of course, but it would take a collapse of monumental proportions by Pep Guardiola’s swashbucklers for the West Londoners to take advantage.
The news that Andreas Christensen won’t travel for Saturday lunchtime’s fixture is certainly a blow that Tuchel could do without.
Antonio Rudiger has marshalled the defence superbly well, though Thiago Silva has only just returned from his own period of isolation and could very possibly be lethargic, particularly against an energetic and dynamic City side.
Not to mention the absences of Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah to add to Tuchel’s defensive woes.