Chelsea take a break from the rigours of the Premier League this weekend as they turn their attention to the FA Cup.
The Blues enter the competition at the third round stage today (Sunday, 1.30 pm kick-off) as they take on League Two side Morecambe at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea has lost four of their past six matches – winning only one of seven in all competitions.
That run has ramped up the pressure on manager Frank Lampard and he will be determined to avoid any slip-ups against Morecambe.
Lampard could make changes to his side – and we know he will definitely be without three first-teamers.
Reece James (thigh), Andreas Christensen (knee) and N’Golo Kante (thigh) have all been ruled out due to injury.
“Reece James is out for the game. He will train with us (on Saturday) but the game will come too early,” Lampard said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“Andreas Christensen and N’Golo Kante, too. Kante has a minor hamstring injury so will miss this game and is suspended for Fulham next Friday so we’ll get him right.”
Lampard, meanwhile, revealed that some of the club’s most promising youngsters could play a part against Morecambe.
He said Tino Anjorin, Tino Livramento, Jude Soonsup-Bell, Lewis Bate and Henry Lawrence are all in contention for some first-team minutes.
“We’ve called up both Tinos (Anjorin and Livramento), Jude (Soonsup-Bell), who has been scoring goals in the youth team. We’ve called up Lewis Bate who has trained with us before and Henry Lawrence,” said the manager.
“It’s a great experience for them and it’s something I’ve wanted to do and last season was able to do pre-restart.
“It helps training because it’s really important to have competitive training and having young players enables you to be really competitive without killing the other players physically between games.”
Covid-19 has continued to cause disruption at football clubs but as of Friday, Lampard confirmed: “We haven’t had any players positive in the last couple of rounds (of testing), we have had small numbers of staff.
“Our medical team has been fantastic, over and beyond what the Premier League are laying down, we test, we take people out and we don’t take any risks with anybody. I think that’s only right.
“The country’s in lockdown for a reason. While football’s going on it means there’s a lot of mixing going on. So it’s not the norm and we have to be ultra careful.
“So I’m not completely comfortable but we have to toe the line and we have to try to keep playing, but safety must come first.
“I think there are lots of moving parts and things are changing day by day, and that’s just how we have to look at it.”
Full Chelsea squad available to face Morecambe:
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, Marcos Alonso, Ben Chilwell, Emerson Palmieri, Henry Lawrence, Tino Livramento.
Midfielders: Hakim Ziyech, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Billy Gilmour, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Faustino Anjorin, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Tino Anjorin, Lewis Bate.
Strikers: Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud, Jude Soonsup-Bell.