Chelsea vs Burnley: 3 things to look out for

Aston Villa v Chelsea - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay
Aston Villa v Chelsea - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay / Visionhaus/GettyImages
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Following the international break, Chelsea will return to Premier League action on Saturday as they host Burnley. With their sights set on securing a spot in European competitions, the stakes couldn't be higher for the Blues. They also have an FA Cup semi-final showdown that beckons.

Here are three things to look forward to for the weekend.

1. The impact of injuries.

Chelsea's injury woes show no signs of abating, casting a shadow over the squad as they navigate through a critical juncture of their season. In an ironic twist, it's the players who stayed back at Cobham during the international hiatus who have succumbed to injuries, adding to the club's growing list of sidelined talent. The latest reports indicate that Cole Palmer, Ben Chilwell, and Enzo Fernandez are all under scrutiny, with their availability for the upcoming match hanging in the balance. While Chilwell took to the field in both of England's fixtures, Palmer's participation was curtailed due to a fitness issue, sidelining him after an appearance as an unused substitute against Belgium. Fernandez, on the other hand, made a late return from duty with Argentina, having played in the United States just last Tuesday.

The circumstances surrounding the injuries to Carney Chukwuemeka, Robert Sanchez, and Trevoh Chalobah are particularly perplexing. Despite concluding the last match before the break without apparent issues, this trio has joined the ranks of those incapacitated during training sessions at Cobham under Mauricio Pochettino's watch. Notably, players like Lesley Ugochukwu and Christopher Nkunku remain unavailable, defying initial recovery timelines that suggested shorter absences.

While Chelsea's starting lineup remains largely unscathed for now, the ripple effects of these injuries could severely impact the team's ability to effectively rotate players amidst a congested fixture schedule. This situation is further compounded by the team's struggles for form, which could lead to key players being stretched thin. Pochettino's hesitancy to integrate younger talents into the fray only exacerbates the issue, limiting options and adding pressure on an already beleaguered squad. As Chelsea braces for the challenges ahead, the depth and resilience of the team will be put to the test, with hopes that the tide of injuries subsides soon enough to allow for a strong finish to their campaign.