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Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi on brink of Chelsea returns after negative COVID-19 tests

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 Dec 2021

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Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi could be available for Chelsea’s Premier League meeting with Aston Villa on Boxing Day following negative COVID-19 tests. 

Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi were among a group of seven players to miss last weekend’s 0-0 Premier League draw with Wolves due to a positive coronavirus test. 

However, Tuchel confirmed the duo could be back in training on Thursday if they return a negative result for the second straight day. 

Ben Chilwell has also tested negative but will not be involved against Villa on Sunday as he continues to recover from a serious ankle injury. 

“If I understand correctly we a negative test first of all, and we had a negative test for Romelu and Callum and Ben Chilwell,” said Tuchel following Chelsea’s 2-0 EFL Cup quarter-final win against Brentford. 

“Ben Chilwell will not be involved in the Aston Villa game and for the other two they will be on the pitch tomorrow if they test negative again. Then we need to see. The guys have been ill and had symptoms. So let’s see. 

“It’s a Premier League game at one of the toughest places you can play. It’s good news, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not over-excited now because I need to check how they are.” 

Chelsea’s success over Brentford came following a late double, with Pontus Jansson putting through his own net and Jorginho – who made his comeback after a false COVID-19 positive – scoring a penalty in the final 10 minutes. 

The Blues had struggled to create meaningful chances before that and only remained on level terms thanks to some good saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

Tuchel is pleased to have the world’s most expensive goalkeeper performing at a high level with Edouard Mendy due to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. 

“I am super impressed and very happy with Kepa. It is not a surprise anymore because he is in that state of mind as a person, a character and a sportsman where he just delivers for us because he does what he does best,” said Tuchel. 

“This is what he shows every day in training and that’s why he gets the reward. I am absolutely sure that this is the reason he has these kinds of performances.

“We need him in this shape. The goalkeepers are a strong group. Kepa is a big part of it and he was a big factor today – in the first half especially.” 

Chelsea will go up against London rivals Tottenham and their former head coach Antonio Conte in a two-legged semi-final, with Arsenal and Liverpool contesting the other final-four tie. 

“It was always going to be a tough draw. Tottenham is nice for our fans. A London derby, we are looking forward to it and we want to be there,” said Tuchel. 

“I am absolutely happy about this result [against Brentford]. We had a brilliant performance and result given the circumstances and the line-up and the situation of some of the guys that played today were youngsters and some of the others leading them hadn’t had many minutes. 

“I’m very happy. Very disciplined, very structured, and in the structure with a lot of confidence and quality individually so well done for the boys, I’m supper happy.” 

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SoccerNews

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