After a fantastic performance from a cobbled together FA Cup lineup, I was really starting to look forward to watching Leicester City play again, just in time for another announcement that their third consecutive Premier League has been postponed.
This time it is a little bit different, because it wasn’t actually requested by us, although the small squad may still be thankful for it.
In his prematch press conference, Brendan Rodgers announced that Patson Daka, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Caglar Soyuncu and Luke Thomas were all fit to return, taking us above 10 fit outfield players.
More than that it gives us to two fit CBs, one fit LB and a striker, although perhaps the most exciting return is less tied to a specific position.
Interesting to see James Justin switch from right to left back midway through that half. Might just be a part of his rehab plan with the way he's likely to be used when he's back for the first team.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) January 8, 2022
James Justin is back! Not to start games yet, but he’s playing again and would have made the bench.
Of course, the injury list is still a little daunting...
Timothy Castagne - a late drop out from the Watford game with a muscle injury.
Jamie Vardy - injured his hamstring, then played through it against Liverpool. Could be out into March.
Jonny Evans - another thigh injury, this time into April. Age may be getting to both.
Ricardo Pereira - strange to believe that a broken leg was good news, but could even be back by February.
Ryan Bertrand - pulled out of the Man City warm up with a knee problem. Could be back this month.
Wesley Fofana - was expected back early this year, but rumours of a setback...
Boubakary Soumare - out through illness, and would have missed this game too so not a minor one
And then of course there’s the four currently competing in the AFCON, although we don’t want to see them back before it’s over and the club can hardly be blamed for their absence.
Blame is maybe one of the most interesting things in all of this. Injuries happen of course, but this many and this consistently? It’s hard accept, especially after we were blessed before with several years without any major absences.
Little Wes’ injury certainly was bad luck. The same with James Justin, Ricardo and probably Bertrand, although we didn’t see that one happen.
The concern for me is all of the soft tissue injuries. No one can really stop players getting hurt, but muscle injuries are the one’s clubs can do the most to reduce the risk of. For years we did an excellent job of that, but those days seem to be long gone.