Team News: Chelsea first-team star to be rested vs Southampton

Chelsea star Reece James rested for the game against Southampton

According to The Athletic (subscription required), Chelsea have rested star right-back Reece James for an important league game against Southampton on Saturday.

James played the full 90 in the last two games against West Ham United and Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea feel he has played more minutes than expected since returning from a recurred knee injury.

The England international suffered a knee injury during the Champions League game against AC Milan on October 11. That injury made him miss the World Cup as well.

Chelsea star Reece James rested for the game against Southampton.
Chelsea star Reece James is rested for the Southampton game. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

The 23-year-old came back into action by starting against Bournemouth on December 27. But, he suffered another setback that kept him out for five weeks.

Keeping all those things in mind, Chelsea want to manage the minutes of James moving forward to the crunch part of the season. They think the right-back will be required for a key game against Tottenham Hotspur next week, before the return of the Champions League against Dortmund.

Despite understanding the reason behind this decision, it is slightly mystifying to think that Graham Potter and his staff did that, knowing there is a week’s gap between the Southampton and Tottenham game.

Chelsea star Reece James rested for the game against Southampton.
Chelsea are looking to manage James’ minutes. (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Moreover, given how bad Chelsea’s form has been in 2023, one would assume that the manager wanted to play his best team to get three points against the Saints.

With that not being the case now, club captain Cesar Azpilicueta may start instead of James. We can be sure of the Spaniard doing his best to not let us feel the absence of the Englishman.

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During the press conference, Potter did mention that Raheem Sterling and Ben Chilwell will be in the squad for this game. We hope that they play significant roles to lead us to a win.