In an already turbulent season, Chelsea has found a couple of positives and negatives with the early international break.
The first international break of the 2020/21 season is now over as players around the world are returning to their clubs. Although it may have seemed like a pointless hiatus in the infant stages of the season, there have been some positive takeaways for Chelsea, as well. Numerous Blues players found themselves on the scoresheet, while others returned to Cobham with knocks.
The international break can be cruel—as history has shown—and the best example of this is the case of Edouard Mendy. After making a dream move to the English capital, the Senegalese shot stopper played in just two matches before breaking for international duty. The 28-year-old saw his trip cut short due to a right thigh injury and is now expected to miss some time for his new club. Either Kepa Arrizabalaga or Willy Caballero will step in between the sticks. While there are worse backup choices, it’s still a significant blow to the Blues that could’ve easily been avoided if not for the seemingly pointless break.
Further, Ben Chilwell withdrew from the England squad as a precaution and while that’s a relief on the surface, the uncertainty of the situation has given Chelsea fans quite the scare. Chilwell’s emerged as one of the key players in Frank Lampard’s plans, improving the side in attacking areas and along the back line. The Blues have lacked a complete left back for awhile now and with Chilly B finally building up to full fitness, it would be a shame to see him suffer another setback. Luckily, it doesn’t look like much, but we’ll find out soon when Lampard heads to the podium before the match.
In addition to Chilwell, another newly acquired Chelsea player cut his break short and returned to Cobham earlier than anticipated. Hakim Ziyech played his first competitive match in a matter of months, dazzling spectators with a sizzling assist in his 30 minutes on the pitch. Ziyech returned to London following the match in order to ensure he’d be named to Lampard’s side against Southampton. The Moroccan looks to play a huge part in creating chances for the Blues, so the international hiatus provided him with an opportunity to get his feet wet before the real thing on Saturday.
Of all players from SW6, nobody had a better international break than Reece James. James found himself running with the big boys in the England senior squad for the first time. He made multiple substitute appearances before being handed his full debut against Denmark. James continued to impress those around him, including England boss Gareth Southgate. Southgate was also taken aback by the impressive shifts put in by Mason Mount. Mount got back into form, scoring the winner against Belgium for the Three Lions, while also making multiple other appearances.
The Blues’ German attacking duo used the break to find their footing again on the pitch. Timo Werner and Kai Havertz both found themselves on the scoresheet for Joachim Low’s side. As the pair continues to adjust to the physicality of the Premier League, it’s crucial they keep their heads held high, remaining patient and composed. The good form will hopefully carry over into the league as the Blues look to field their first healthy XI all season.
Overall, the international break had more ups than downs and that’s a wonderful thing to hear. With all the bad luck Chelsea has had over the years, things finally look to be falling into place for Lampard and his men.
What were some things you took away from the international gap? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!